Martin Buber in 1958: Old Zionism and Modern Israel (“Effects of Hitlerism”)

In this segment (3 of 4) of the article I unearthed in the files of Allan Solomonow, Jewish sage and philosopher Martin Buber continues to lovingly challenge Israel and all Zionists to beware not just fascist tendencies within all nationalisms, but explicitly the effect of Hitlerism on Jewish nationalism and Zionism. I didn’t first say it, but it does seem that in many regards, Hitler may have lost the war, but Hitlerism certainly did not.

Tomorrow I will include with the final posting of this piece the scan of the Jewish Newsletter from June 2, 1958 in which it first appeared.


[Martin Buber wrote:]

Effects of Hitlerism
[actual sub-heading in original article as is the emphasis in the first paragraph]:

“This organic phase of the settlement in Palestine went on till the days of Hitler. It was Hitler who brought Jewish masses to Palestine, not selected people who felt that here they must fulfill their lives and prepare the future. So, selective organic development was replaced by mass immigration and the indispensable necessity to find political force for its security. This was the hour when my great friend, the late Judah Leib Magnes, and I, and other friends felt that we must state clearly our own proposals. But the majority of the Jewish people preferred to learn from Hitler rather than from us. Hitler showed them that history does not go the way of the spirit but the way of power, and if a people is powerful enough, it can kill with impunity as many millions of another people as it wants to kill. This was the situation that we had to fight.

“We of the Ichud made two suggestions, either one of which could have led the Jews and Arabs not only to coexistence, which was not enough in that critical hour, but to cooperation, the only possible form of coexistence in the Near East. The one was the plan for a bi-national state; the other was the plan for a federation. Magnes inclined more to the bi-national state, and I think he was right. At that time this plan had a chance. I am inclined to think that the plan which now has a future is the one for a federation, of while the State of Israel would be a member with equal rights and with a Magna Charta making its autonomous national civilization secure. This would make possible the economic development of the Near East through which the Near East could make a great and essential contribution to the future of mankind [sic -Jim].

“Things happened otherwise, as we know. We made the wrong political entry into Palestine; — partition — followed by the war of the Arabs against partition and against Israel. The most urgent question for us now is the question of the Palestine Arab refugees. Already ten years ago, I proposed that Israel should take the initiative and invite all the interested groups, states and churches alike, to a conference in order to work out a common solution to the problem of the refugees. The question of the refugees is decisive for Israel, yet so far as I can see, there is no Israel-Arab policy at all. Thus a situation has developed that is incomparably more difficult than any earlier one.”

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