2 3 4 T H E J E W I S H QU E S T IO N
of German-Jewish origin and had not experienced the humiliations and terror of growing
up in Eastern Europe. In addition, Brandeis’s group was fearful of losing control over mon-
ies to be tithed to the Keren Hayesod, insisting that the administration “of the fund should
be vested not in the world Zionist Executive but in the national Zionist federations—partic-
ularly, of course, the Zionist Organization of
Where Weizmann and his asso-
ciates thought in terms of a refuge for diaspora Jews and a general donation fund for all
Zionist expenditures in Palestine, the American leadership favored a gradualist approach to
the question of settlement in Palestine, with an emphasis on separate investment corpora-
tions established for specific commercial projects. Where Weizmann thought the political
battle for Palestine had only just been joined, Brandeis believed that modest Jewish coloni-
zation under the aegis of the British mandate would
Shmarya Levin (1867–
1935), a colleague of Weizmann’s, polemically summarized Brandeis’s position as a will-
ingness to wait until the last mosquito had left the notoriously marshy Palestine before al-
lowing the first Jew to settle
If it is unclear how Einstein appropriated his view of Zionism as a form of cultural na-
tionalism, it is also uncertain how he arrived at his own gradualist position on Palestine, a
view much more compatible with that of the American leadership than with that of the
A close ideological ally of Weizmann, Blumenfeld was apparently un-
successful in convincing him of the political priorities of the movement. Yet Blumenfeld
achieved an important purpose in enlisting Einstein’s cooperation for the American tour. He
did this by bridging Einstein’s cultural Zionism with the general purpose of creating a
university, a cultural institution in Palestine that served the purposes of both cultural and
[57]Weizmann, Ch. 1977, p. xiii. Besides Brandeis, the most prominent members of the American
leadership were Felix Frankfurter (1882–1965), Stephen S. Wise (1874–1949), and Julian Mack
By keeping revenues intended for the Keren Hayesod separate from a specially instituted Univer-
sity Fund, the Weizmann group sought to avoid charges of commingling of funds. See, for example,
Jewish Correspondence Bureau (London), 18 January 1921, pp. [1]–2.
[58]For further analysis of the conflicts between the American leadership (ZOA) and the interna-
tional Zionist Organization, see Halpern 1987, chap. 4, and Urofsky 1975, chap. 7. A reminiscence of
the conflict by Einstein’s secretary during the American trip, Salomon Ginzberg (1889–1968), who
later changed his name to Shlomo Ginossar, is presented in Ginossar 1949. A contemporary view
from the American vantage point is afforded by the letters of Louis Brandeis to Felix Frankfurter,
March–May 1921, Urofsky and Levy 1991, pp. 70–78. The differences as seen by Menahem M. Us-
sishkin (1863–1941), an ally of Weizmann’s who also accompanied Einstein to America, are present-
ed in his report to the Zionist Association of Germany on 26 June 1921 (see Jüdische Rundschau, 1
July 1921, p. 372).
[59]As retold by Weizmann’s wife, Vera, in her autobiography, Weizmann, V. 1967, p. 101.
[60]Einstein’s hesitant nationalism and focus on the cultural institution of a Jewish university would
have predisposed him to the “cultural” element in Zionism. One personal source for this point of view
was Otto Warburg (1859–1938), an influential member of the Zionist Association of Germany (see
Kurt Blumenfeld to Chaim Weizmann, 15 March 1921, in Blumenfeld 1976, p. 67). Another source
may have been the influence on him of the father of his secretary, Salomon Ginzberg. Asher Ginzberg
(better known as Ahad Ha’am, 1856–1927) represented the “moral” Zionist position that only when
the spirit of the people has been centralized, can the work of centralizing the people themselves be
started. For an account of his life and views, see Zipperstein 1993.
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