On April 9th, 1948, a month before Israel declared independence, just over one hundred residents of Deir Yassin were massacred by members of two militant Zionist groups – Lehi and Irgun – as part of an effort to cleanse the area of its Arab population. The next day, Albert Einstein wrote the following passionate letter to Shepard Rifkin, a New York-based representative of Lehi who had recently written to Einstein in the hope of garnering some high-profile support for the group’s efforts. His belief that Einstein – a man who publicly backed the creation of a Jewish homeland in the British Mandate of Palestine, but by different means – would agree to such a suggestion was clearly misplaced.
April 10, 1948
Mr. Shepard Rifkin
American Friends of the Fighters
for the Freedom of Israel
149 Second Ave.
New York 3,N.Y.
When a real and final catastrophe should befall us in Palestine the first responsible for it would be the British and the second responsible for it the Terrorist organizations build up from our own ranks.
I am not willing to see anybody associated with those misled and criminal people.
(Signed, ‘A. Einstein’)