Rabbi Shmuely Boteach Wins Hyperbole Award: Claims that if Leaders Had Listened to Einstein the Jewish People May Have Perished

I am a fan of Rabbi Boteach’s books and essays and seeing that he had a piece up on the Algemeiner website on one of my favorite topics (the Yakov and Esav story) I stopped to read.

But when I got to this line of Boteach, I nearly fell out of my chair. He writes:

“Had the leaders of the Allies taken the advice of Einstein or Gandhi, the Nazis would have taken over the entire world, and the Jewish people may have ceased to exist.”


Reb Shmuely points to the fact that Einstein was a pacifist and that after the war he had regrets about helping to develop atomic bombs.

What Reb Shmuely doesn’t say is that when Einstein realized the dangers posed by the Nazi regime, he sought to warn the U.S. of the Nazi’s plans to build an atomic bomb and he spoke out against pacifism.

In a letter to the American League in 1937, Einstein wrote:

“It must be said that, of late, pacifists have harmed rather than helped the cause of democracy. This is especially obvious in England, where the pacifist influence has dangerously delayed the rearmament which has become necessary because of the military preparations in Fascist countries.”

In Einstein’s words in a letter to a Japanese friend after the war, he wrote:

"I didn't write that I was an absolute pacifist but that I have always been a convinced pacifist. That means there are circumstances in which in my opinion it is necessary to use force."
"Such a case would be when I face an opponent whose unconditional aim is to destroy me and my people."