Martin Buber on Palestine and Israel (with Postscript)

The eminent Zionist scholar and Jewish philosopher Martin Buber (1878-1965) said to  the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore in 1926 that the Jewish purpose should be:

 

“pursuing the settlement effort in Palestine in agreement, nay, alliance with the peoples of the East, so as to erect with them together a great federative structure, which might learn and receive from the West whatever positive aims and means might be learnt and received from it, without, however, succumbing to the influence of its inner disarray and aimlessness.”

 

(This was part of a letter to the New York Times I wrote on January 23 1995 from Scarsdale where I lived at 36 Lynwood Road, the house of an aunt, for two years or so, while working in Greenwich and battling in the Ninth Circuit and US Supreme Court in a battle against racism and corruption that continues to this day.)

 

Postscript January 23 2008:

 

I had lost the reference to these words of Martin Buber.  I have now found them again thanks to Dr Martin Kaempchen:

 

Dear Dr Roy,

The quote by Martin Buber is indeed in my book, viz. in the short essay „A Talk with Tagore“. In my „Rabindranath Tagore and Germany: A Documentation“ (Max Mueller Bhavan, Calcutta 1991), the quotation is on page 96. `The original German essay is titled „Ein Gespräch mit Tagore“ (Martin Buber: Nachlese. Lambert Schneider Verlag, Heidelberg 1965, 202-204.) The English translation is to be found in the periodical „India and Israel”. vols. X/XI, 1950. Special Recognition Issue 15.10.1950, p.18 (no translator mentioned). So, the quotation is not in a letter to Tagore; and the essay was not written in 1926 (when the meeting between Tagore and Buber took place in Prague), but in 1950, as the beginning of the essay bears out. I hope this will help you. With my best wishes, Martin Kaempchen”

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