9 0 D O C U M E N T 5 4 F E B R U A R Y 1 9 2 1
On the day this document is dated, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency—quoted a day later in the New
York Times—announced that Einstein had accepted the invitation to “accompany the Zionist delega-
tion from Europe which will visit the United States next month, it was announced here today. Profes-
sor Einstein will appeal to the Jews in America for support for the Hebrew University to be erected
on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem” (New York Times, 22 February 1921).
Weizmann’s planned trip to the United States came against the background of his conflict with the
honorary president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Louis D. Brandeis. The clash be-
tween Brandeis and Weizmann began at the Zionist Conference in London in July 1920. This conflict
caused an internal rift within the ZOA between a pro-Weizmann faction and an anti-Weizmann fac-
tion (see Haas 1929, pp. 126–138). Even the planned trip itself became a contentious issue between
the American and European Zionists. Weizmann had wanted to organize a conference in London as
a preliminary meeting prior to the full-scale National Conference of the ZOA in Cleveland, planned
for June 1921. At such a conference, scheduled for February 1921, he hoped to achieve the acceptance
of the Keren Hayesod by the ZOA. However, the Brandeis faction was “shocked at the ill-defined and
inefficient outline of the proposal and of the unbusinesslike and potentially lax methods it seemed to
invite” and refused to attend the London meeting, which led to its cancellation (see Urofsky and Levy
1991, p. 64). Subsequently, “the Europeans petitioned for invitations to America. Brandeis vehement-
ly opposed such visits. As the chasm between the European and American leaders widened, the
Brandeisians feared that Weizmann, Sokolow or Levin would strengthen the American opposition.
The Europeans would, they feared, reinforce diaspora nationalism; ‘intensify Zionism in America’
among the ‘rank and file [who would] be delighted’ if the Europeans would ‘come here’; and above
all ‘repel Schiff and those who have lately started to come into line’” (De Haas to Brandeis, 29 Feb-
ruary 1920, [IsJCZA, De Haas Papers, quoted in Lipstadt 1978, p. 56]). Moreover, it was deemed
“‘unseemly,’ Weizmann was told, for a British Zionist to appear to be directing the Zionist movement
in the United States” (see Barnard 1974, p. 279).
Weizmann decided to undertake the journey in spite of all the opposition, “his sole purpose, he
said, was to achieve a compromise with the American Zionists” (Barnard 1974, p. 279). In early Jan-
uary 1921, Weizmann’s conflict with the Brandeis group over Keren Hayesod widened further. He
wrote to the ZOA: “I have not lost faith in our Zionist Organisation, although I am fully convinced
that the moment has come when we must try and enlist the help of the whole Jewish people in the task
of building Palestine”; see Chaim Weizmann to the Executive of the Zionist Organization of America,
6 January 1921 (published in Wasserstein 1977a, pp. 133–134). For more details on the breakdown
of negotiations between the Brandeis and Weizmann factions over the Keren Hayesod, see Haas
1929, pp. 139–145. On the establishment of the Keren Hayesod in July 1920, see Ulitzur 1946, pp.
[4]On Einstein’s negotiations with the University of Wisconsin, see Doc. 24, note 14. For the invi-
tation by Yale, see 2 February 1921 in Calendar. For the invitation by the Research Council of the
National Academy of Sciences, see Augustus Trowbridge to Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, 22 November
1920 (Vol. 10, Doc. 207).
[5]For an expression of the crucial importance Einstein assigned to the improvement of interna-
tional relations, see, e.g., Einstein 1920i (Vol. 7, Doc. 47).
[6]Paul M. Warburg was serving as Einstein’s representative in the United States in his negotiations
with American universities (see Doc. 43).
54. From Vladimir M. Chulanovsky[1]
21. II. 21 Leiden, Witte rozenstraat 57.
Hochverehrter Herr Einstein!
In grosser Verlegenheit wende ich mich an Sie um Hülfe.
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