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Albert Einstein’s advice to Jared Kushner

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I grew up in a second-generation Jewish family in the 50s in a small Republican village on Lake Michigan just north of Milwaukee.  Jews in America had not yet come into their own and there was still a lot of anti-Semitism.

Albert Einstein was considered America’s greatest intellectual and its most prominent Jew. So we had that going for us. My mother used to put quotes from famous Jews on the refrigerator. Jonas Salk, who invented the polio preventing vaccine was one of them. Albert Einstein was another.

With the ascendancy of Jared Kushner as Trump’s adviser, especially on Israel, he is now perhaps Americas most prominent Jew.  He was featured in an above-the-fold front-page article in last Sunday’s New York Times.  This was the callow 35-year old Kushner, whose main experience has been in real estate, who along with his father-in-law, met Netanyahu at the White House when he arrived on Wednesday this week. 

Is there any hope that in the course of their meetings there was a wider reopening of minds about the nature of the state of Israel?  Not a chance.

Kushner has met Netanyahu before.  His father was a big contributor to Netanyahu’s election campaigns.  Attorney David Friedman, who specializes in bankruptcy law and who has done a lot of work for Trump, has been appointed by Trump as American ambassador to Israel.  Friedman is a big financial supporter of a settlement on the West Bank. Kushner’s family has also contributed to that settlement, believing as they do in the cause of a greater Israel, in the further colonization of the West Bank, and in moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Young Jared is being touted as the man who will try to bring peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.  But the New York Times editorial advises that for Jared the situation is “complicated.” I’ll say.

The United States and Israel want to get Egypt and Saudi Arabia, both Sunni Islamic countries, involved in its aggression against Shia Iran. That will be tricky.  Remember that Osama bin Laden, when asked why he organized the 9/11 attack, replied that one of his reasons was American support for Israel. Bin Laden was a Saudi Arabian. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. Supporting Israel against the Palestinians is not something that sits well with the Saudi population and the Saudi monarchy knows it.

What if instead of the young, inexperienced, colonial-minded, super religious Zionist Kushner, Albert Einstein was Trump’s adviser?

It is useful to know that Einstein advocated a binational state in Palestine with equal rights and equal power for Arabs and Jews. In 1946, two years before the establishment of the state of Israel,  Einstein wrote that “the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish State with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power…. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain—especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks.”  

In 1955, the year he died, Einstein wrote that “our stance towards the Arab minority is a true touchstone of our moral standard.”

On March 13, 1955, in Einstein’s last media statement published in the New York Post, he wrote “we had great hopes for Israel at first. We thought it might be better than other nations, but it is no better.”

Long gone are the days when the great astrophysicist and mathematician was a moral beacon for American Jewry, a quarter of whom voted for Trump. But Einstein remains a moral force for the great majority of us who see the pre-fascist Trump phenomenon for what it is. The first edition of the venerable socialist magazine Monthly Review in 1953 featured an article by Albert Einstein titled “Why I Am a Socialist.” Einstein had fled Europe in the 1930’s. He knew the ugly nature of a narrow nationalism. He understood that the world had out-grown nationalism and that a universalism, the solidarity of humankind, was what must come about.

He recognized with his fellow Jew, Rosa Luxembourg, that the future was either “socialism or barbarism.”  Creating and arming the new nation state of Israel and overwhelming the Palestinians was a project Einstein understood to be an unfolding disaster.

Kushner would have no idea what Einstein was writing about. Can whatever advice he gives to his father-in-law help the situation?

To pose the question is to answer it.  Solidarity with the Palestinians is needed now more than ever. Einstein, I am sure would’ve welcomed the boycott, divest and sanction movement. “BDS.” That’s a sign I can put on my refrigerator.

Michael S. Smith
About Michael Smith

Michael S. Smith is a lawyer, author and radio host. He can be heard on "Law and Disorder."

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24 Responses

  1. AddictionMyth
    February 17, 2017, 11:18 am

    Trump unintentionally accelerated Israel’s progress to one-state – with equal rights and full freedom of speech and religion for all. Let’s see Jared try to stop it. Oh the irony.

    • echinococcus
      February 17, 2017, 12:53 pm

      Sorry, but were you compos mentis when you wrote that message? Where on earth or hell did you see “progress to one-state – with equal rights and full freedom of speech and religion for all”, when all is going exactly the other way?

      People have been asking about any sightings of said thing since at least 1897. A long time. So a first report would be a bombshell. We’d like to know.

      • AddictionMyth
        February 17, 2017, 2:19 pm

        Sorry but were you having a brain fart when you wrote that?

      • echinococcus
        February 17, 2017, 3:17 pm

        I asked you first.
        You’re free to provide a minimum of evidence. Good luck.

      • AddictionMyth
        February 18, 2017, 9:11 am

        The fact that you didn’t call me ‘crazy’ or ‘moron’ in your last comment is all the proof I need. :-)

      • echinococcus
        February 18, 2017, 4:53 pm

        I mean any evidence to support the crazy idea (and no, nobody is calling you crazy so far) that there is “progress to… equal rights and full freedom of speech and religion for all “. It’s so against every fact and against any logic, you know.

      • DaBakr
        February 20, 2017, 9:30 pm

        @i saw no evidence trump is pushing either a single or two state solution where Palestinians would have sovereignty over Jews in Israel. I would say that as rare as it might bevi agree with ec. Where is this ‘irony’ your gloating about?

    • eljay
      February 17, 2017, 1:24 pm

      || AddictionMyth: Trump unintentionally accelerated Israel’s progress to one-state – with equal rights and full freedom of speech and religion for all. … ||

      I suspect that a one-state “Jewish State” solution will be less about equal rights, etc., for all than it will be about “necessary evil” against non-Jews. But I could be mistaken.

      • Mooser
        February 17, 2017, 3:17 pm

        Ah,t’was ever thus.

        One man’s MDR will give another man a bad irony toxicity.

    • rosross
      February 18, 2017, 8:28 pm

      Yes I agree. Whether intended or not, Trump talking about one-state and talking about it first, pushes the goal of one-state and if the Israelis and their supporters think they can have an Apartheid State they are more deluded than they appear and they appear, extremely deluded, if not thoroughly stupid.

      Progress will have been made when people stop talking about Arabs, a culture and Jews, a religion. This issue is not about Arabs, a culture which like European, embraces many countries, or Jews, members of a religion who are citizens of dozens of countries around the world and for whom UN Mandated Israel is not home and will never be home.

      This is about indigenous Palestinians and their mainly European Zionist Jewish colonisers, i.e. Israelis.

      The irony of course is that anyone spending time in UN Mandated Israel can quickly see that culturally it is Arabic/Middle Eastern, and religious affiliation is irrelevant, unless one is a religious bigot of course, which Zionists generally are, despite the fact that most Zionists are atheists or secular and have no religion, which must make any God who might exist, crack up in helpless laughter if s/he has a sense of humour, which, looking at the world, appears likely.

  2. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    February 17, 2017, 7:31 pm

    I knew Al Einstein. He was a friend of mine*.

    Jared Kushner, you’re no Einstein.

    *Actually, Einstein was of friend of all humanity, not just me.

  3. JLewisDickerson
    February 18, 2017, 2:54 am

    RE: Young Jared is being touted as the man who will try to bring peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. But the New York Times editorial advises that for Jared the situation is “complicated.” ~ Michael Smith

    SEE: “It’s Time to Pay More Attention to Jared Kushner” | By Kevin Drum | | November 15, 2016
    LINK –

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 18, 2017, 3:12 am

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “From Sleepovers to Speaking Fees: NYT Profile Reveals Netanyahu’s Close Ties to the Kushners” | By Allison Kaplan Sommer | | Feb 17, 2017
      Netanyahu’s relationship with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner goes way back. His father featured alongside Adelson and Ron Lauder on a list of potential donors Netanyahu compiled in 2007.
      LINK –

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 19, 2017, 10:48 pm

      AND SEE: “Has Jared Kushner Become A Steve Bannon Groupie?” | By Daniel J. Solomon | | February 14, 2017

      [EXCERPT] Jared Kushner is widely perceived as a moderate in President Donald Trump’s White House — a socially liberal New Yorker hailing from a family of Democrats. But that impression might be wrong, according to reports that he’s become a backer of chief strategist Steve Bannon’s nationalist-populist agenda.

      The latest court gossip reports that Trump’s son-in-law – far from being furious about the Muslim ban – in fact supported it, Vanity Fair alleged based on an unnamed source said to be friendly with Kushner. The anonymous individual told the publication that Kushner has “always been far more defensive of Donald and their policies than the general public has believed. Most of the time, he is defending everything in the administration.” Kushner has even proposed knocking down the walls between his and Bannon’s office, a sign of how close the two are, the magazine claimed. . .

      LINK –

  4. JLewisDickerson
    February 18, 2017, 4:11 am

    It just occured to me (looking at that photo) that Jared Kushner is Trump’s Roy Cohn!

  5. rosross
    February 18, 2017, 8:38 pm

    Einstein was not religious, ergo, Einstein was not Jewish. Einstein rejected the concept of a personal God so he rejected Judaism although since he had been brought up by atheist/secular parents, he had never been Jewish anyway.

    One can be a lapsed Jew, but Einstein was not a lapsed Jew, he was secular, agnostic with a deeply spiritual nature which was open to all religions but rejected the personal God concepts of both Judaism and Christianity.

    Einstein’s parents were committed secular/atheists and so not Jewish, and Albert was educated at a Christian school. Einstein’s wife was not Jewish but Christian.

    Quite why he would be a Jewish hero when he was not a member of the religion is the question. And no, the first Jew was a convert and the label is for members of Judaism – it is not a race or a nationality beyond religion. If Judaism did not exist there would be no Jews, just as there would be no Christians if Christianity did not exist.

    • echinococcus
      February 18, 2017, 10:44 pm


      Quite why he would be a Jewish hero when he was not a member of the religion is the question

      A question easily answered: because the tribal, Jewish definition of “Jewish” is exactly the same one adopted by the Nazi: the racist one. It is also very close to the theocratic definition of ethnies in the Dark Ages, when no one was allowed to be without a religion.

      No third explanation about it.

      Any other

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew
      February 18, 2017, 10:54 pm

      Rosross is allowed to define jewishness as he wishes and to categorize einstein as not fitting his definition. Yet einstein defined himself as a jew and to omit Einstein’s self definition is a type of posthumous disrespect.

      • Mooser
        February 19, 2017, 12:30 pm

        “Rosross is allowed to define jewishness as he wishes and to categorize einstein as not fitting his definition. Yet einstein defined himself as a jew”

        Right you are, “Yonah”. That’s just how it works.

        You got a way to make it work any differently?

    • Sibiriak
      February 18, 2017, 10:59 pm

      In 1921, Einstein explained his vision of cultural Zionism. (Of course, his views were not static and changed over time.)

      How I Became a Zionist


      […] I believe German Jewry owes its continued existence to anti-Semitism. Religious forms, which prevented Jews in the past from mixing with, and integrating into their environment, are now dwindling away under growing prosperity and better education. Thus, there remains only this contrast to their environment, called anti-Semitism, that leads to social separation. Without this contrast, the mixing of Jews in Germany would happen quickly and unhindered.

      Until seven years ago I lived in Switzerland, and as long as I lived there I did not become aware of my Jewishness, and there was nothing in my life that would have stirred my Jewish feeling or stimulated it. This changed as soon as I had taken residency in Berlin. There I saw the predicament of many young Jews. I saw how the anti-Semitic environment prevented them from pursuing orderly studies or struggling for a secure basis of existence. This is especially true for Eastern European Jews, who are continuously subjected to harassment. I do not believe they constitute a large number in Germany. Only in Berlin are there, perhaps, a great many. Yet their presence has become a question that occupies the German public more and more. Meetings, conferences, newspapers press for their quick removal or internment. The housing shortage and economic depression are used as arguments to justify these harsh demands. Those facts are deliberately overstated in order to bias public opinion against Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Eastern European Jews are made the scapegoats for certain defects in present-day German economic life, things that in reality are painful aftereffects of the war. The confrontational attitude toward these unfortunate refugees, who have escaped the hell that Eastern Europe is today, has become an efficient and politically successful weapon used by demagogues. When the government contemplated measures against Eastern European Jews, I stood up for them in the Berliner Tageblatt, where I pointed out the inhumanity and irrationality of these measures.

      Together with a few colleagues, Jews and non-Jews, I held university courses for Eastern European Jews, and I would like to add that our activity met with the official recognition and full support of the Ministry of Education.

      These and similar experiences have awakened my Jewish-national feelings. I am not a Jew in the sense that I would demand the preservation of the Jewish or any other nationality as an end in itself. I rather see Jewish nationality as a fact, and I believe every Jew must draw the consequences from this fact. I consider raising Jewish self-confidence necessary, also in the interest of a normal living together with non-Jews. This was the major motive of my joining the Zionist movement. Zionism, to me, is not just a colonizing movement directed toward Palestine.

      The Jewish nation is a living fact in Palestine as well as in the diaspora, and Jewish national feelings must be kept alive everywhere that Jews live. Members of tribes or peoples must —under today’s living conditions—have a lively tribal awareness in order not to lose their dignity and moral rectitude. It was the unbroken vitality of American Jewry that made clear to me how sickly German Jewry is.

      We live in an age of exaggerated nationalism and, being a small nation, we have to take this into account. But my Zionism does not preclude cosmopolitan conceptions. Starting from the reality of Jewish nationality, I believe that every Jew has duties toward his fellow Jews. The significance of Zionism is of course manifold. It opens the possibility of a dignified human existence to many Jews who presently suffer in the hell of Ukraine or decay economically in Poland. By repatriating Jews to Palestine and giving them a healthy and normal economic existence, Zionism is a productive activity that enriches human society. But the main point is that Zionism strengthens the self-confidence of Jews, which is necessary for their existence in the diaspora, and that the Jewish center in Palestine creates a strong bond that gives Jews moral support. The undignified mania of adaptive conformity, among many of my social standing, has always been very repulsive to me.

      The founding of a free Jewish community structure in Palestine will again put Jewish people in a position where they can unencumbered fully unfold their creative capabilities. The establishment of the Hebrew University and similar institutions will not only lead the Jewish people to its own national renaissance, but also give Jews the opportunity of contributing to the spiritual life of the world on a freer basis.

      • Mooser
        February 19, 2017, 12:35 pm

        Q) Hey, Einstein, what’s the difference between ‘real estate’ and ‘territory’?
        A) It’s all relative.

    • Stogumber
      February 19, 2017, 4:28 am

      Yes, but look at the matter from the angle of Mr. Smith’s mother. Would visiting a synagogue or adoring a particular God boost your children to strive for the higher professions? Or make yourself feeling superior to your neighbours? (Especially if you are no true believer yourself.) Quoting Einstein as a proof for common Jewish genius and moreover as a moral authority would do the trick much better.
      We must take into account the real needs of the average humans.

  6. W.Jones
    February 19, 2017, 2:12 am

    I liked this article and the story about quotes on the refrigerator reminded me of our site’s champion of THE PROPHETIC, Marc Ellis, whose writings I miss a bit recently.

    The question of One State, or even Tow States reminds me of the theme of THE PROPHETIC. It is a prediction of a positive, good status to come.

    The question I would like to ask someone who has studied THE PROPHETIC, is: If something is predicted in Tanakh, how do we know it will come to pass? For example, Isaiah 26 predicts the resurrection, Rambam said Daniel predicted the date of Messiah’s arrival and that Is. 42 predicted Messiah’s death. These were associated with a blessed future state of the world.

    The prophecies in Tanakh were accompanied by claims that God inspired or said these predictions through the prophet’s mouth. But just because a person is inspired I don’t know is enough to mean some prediction will occur.

    I mean, if Marc Ellis or another moral, powerful writer declared that God inspired him to say that we will have a Two State or One State solution within in the next 20 years where millions of Israelis and Palestinians live in justice and peace together, I don’t know that this would be some full proof. I mean, I respect Marc and would value that he said this, but I don’t know that simply him making that declaration would mean it must occur. I would think rather that we would have to examine the prediction on the merits before coming to a conclusion.

    Nowadays we have different Prophetic, moral, inspiring leaders making predictions, but I don’t know that we can say that the inspiring predictions will definitely occur.

    • Jane Porter
      Jane Porter
      February 24, 2017, 11:16 am

      In 1955, the year he died, Einstein wrote that “our stance towards the Arab minority is a true touchstone of our moral standard.”

      The Arabs in Palestine were ,then not a minority.
      They were the inhabitants of a land called Palestine composed of Christians, Jews, Muslims
      and Druzes And it was a population of mixed ethnic origin, through all the invasions like so many other countries through the history. The last conqueror is a minority, like the Turks ,
      or the Normans, the Roman etc… Why can’t the last conquerors just not mix with the rest, as a part of them,accepting the culture of the occupied Palestinians would enrich culturally themselves and the palestinians.this small land. And those who still believe that God had giiven them this land….then they should pray god that he shows them another ’empty land for
      a landless people .

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