i and thou and the guy that wrote it down

I and thou. Us and them. Utopian prophet and social visionary or charlatan and snake oil salesman, as intellectual lamb in sheep’s clothing; a crypto-Zionist as a very good cop? Martin Buber’s translator has died which brings focus back to Buber and who he really was and what he really served; perhaps ultimately within and beyond all the humanistic gymnastics he was just another flowering of the desert propaganda song and dance man, advocating a given brand of Zionism, an acceptable public face that helped spawn an industry of so-called peace activists that are part of the larger normalization industry.

—Friedrich Overbeck, Portrait of the Painter Franz Pforr (c. 1810)
Both the painter of this portrait, Friedrich Overbeck (1789-1869), and its subject, Franz Pforr (1788-1812), were founding members of the Brotherhood of St. Luke, a group of six Vienna Academy students who banded together in 1809 to protest the stultifying routines of academic training…Read More:http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/sub_image.cfm?image_id=2208

And it has worked well. A smashing success, a broadway show that continues to pack them in. At its base level was a supplanting and usurping entity like any other colonial business venture and from Buber to Abba Eban to such frauds and hucksters as Amos Oz, they all state the case of normalization and you can throw in Hannah Arendt into this ghastly mix as well. Buber of course was the most ingenious since he finagled with the Torah and Kabalah, whitened the content, and made his sandy shot for humanism in the major leagues of philosophy. At bottom, the Israel Peace Camp, may be a complete fantasy, an artificial construction, a big lie that applies to all these bad actors from Halper at ICAHD and Tikkun Olan, Benny Morris an so on. Its the normalization industry and there are forces in the Arab world that are complicit with it under the guise of liberal pacificism.Reform. Public beheadings in Saudi-Arabia but the top tiers of society, the IKEA crowd, can read Oz in Arabic.   And in all these writers, the lions of peace and their celebrity studded ilk , think Folman and Waltz with Bashir, there is the racial profiling, the voyeurism and orientalism that taints the purity and gives the con away….

( see link at end)…The ideas of the Austrian-born philosopher Martin Buber were highly influential in post-World War II America. They inspired interfaith alliances that helped seed the civil rights and antiwar movements. They influenced Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr, the favorite philosophers of some recent presidents. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quoted Buber in 1963 in his “Letter From Birmingham Jail.”

But until 1956, when Maurice S. Friedman published a broad survey of Buber’s work, few Americans besides professors and divinity students had ever heard of him.

—Philipp Otto Runge, The Hülsenbeck Children (1805-06)
In an age that witnessed both dwindling institutional patronage and a rising bourgeois art market, many artists….Read More:http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/sub_imglist.cfm?sub_id=61&section_id=9 — found this little gem, in Peace News, by Uri Davis:
Like Buber, one of my father’s relatives (Leon Roth), was a professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem at the time. He also witnessed the atrocities committed against the Palestinian Arabs in the name of the “Jewish State”. Unlike his colleague Buber, however, he resigned his post and returned to Britain.
Buber, on the other hand, sold out. In 1963 he had this to say: “I have accepted as mine the state of Israel, the form of the new Jewish community that has arisen from the war. I have nothing in common with those Jews who imagine that they may contest the factual shape which Jewish independence has taken.” (Martin Buber, “Israel and the Command of the Spirit”, Israel and the World, p257.) According to Edward Said, prior to 1948 the Buber family were tenants of the Saids in Jerusalem. They paid their rent for their house in the wealthy mixed Arab-Jewish Talbiyya Quarter to Edward Said’s father. Sometime towards 1948, a tenant-landlord dispute erupted between Mr Said and Professor Buber, and the case was taken for adjudication before the British Mandate court. Buber lost the case and had to leave the premises.
At the door, after returning the keys to Edward Said’s father, Buber turned round and said: “Mr Said, you just wait. I will be back.”
Read More:http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.ca/2011/04/martin-buber-kibbutz-movement-and.html

The book, “Martin Buber: The Life of Dialogue,” marked the first effort to explain and popularize the humanistic and religious concepts Buber intermarried in his often abstruse work. It largely achieved its purpose, helped along by two pages devoted to it and its subject in Time magazine and positive reviews. Writing in The New York Times, Niebuhr called the book “a real contribution to American culture.”

Mr. Friedman, who died at 90 on Sept. 25, wrote a dozen more books about Buber’s work, including what is still considered the definitive English-language biography, a three-volume work published in the early 1980s.

Carl Spitzweg art. Richard Silverstein:I’m glad to report that Buber appears to have acted righteously and that other sources seem to have ulterior motives in spreading stories that aren’t accurate. I should also note that Edward Said spoke quite favorably of the politics of Martin Buber and the Brit Shalom movement he helped found:
“During the inter-war period, a small but important group of Jewish thinkers (Judah Magnes, Buber, Arendt and others) argued and agitated for a binational state. The logic of Zionism naturally overwhelmed their efforts, but the idea is alive today here and there among Jewish and Arab individuals frustrated with the evident insufficiencies and depredations of the present. The essence of that vision is coexistence and sharing in ways that require an innovative, daring and theoretical willingness to get beyond the arid stalemate of assertion and rejection. Once the initial acknowledgment of the other as an equal is made, I believe the way forward becomes not only possible but attractive.”…Read More:http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2011/11/01/edward-said-and-martin-buber-the-real-story/ image:http://ghpoetryplace.blogspot.ca/2011/12/sonnet.html

In the 1950s, his English translations of Buber’s essays from the original German made many of them available in the United States for the first time. They found a receptive audience among Protestant ministers, Jewish social activists and others poised to join the emerging civil right


Buber (1878-1965) was an iconoclast whose ideas were described as equal parts theology, anthropology, politics and mysticism. He combined insights from biblical prophecy with a social worker’s concern for human events in the here and now. He dismissed formal religious dogma as “the great enemy of mankind” and assigned responsibility for the fate of the world to each person living in it.

“Dialogue,” he said, was the fundamental event of daily life, either in the form of “I-it” dialogue between humans and objects, or “I-thou” dialogue between people, among communities and between each person and God. Dialogues defined human history, he said, and the quality of them would determine humanity’s future….

—Georg Friedrich Kersting, On Outpost Duty (1815)
In its theoretical and aesthetic concerns, German Romanticism differed markedly from its French and British counterparts….Silverstein:I also have to report a depressing historical irony: Prof. Buber’s home at 3 Hovevey Zion is now owned by Michael Steinhardt, the chief funder of the Birthright program, a devout Jewish neocon and pro-Israel apologist. I could hardly think of a more depressing decline in the intellectual and moral value of the historical occupants of this property than this one. Read More:http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2011/11/01/edward-said-and-martin-buber-the-real-story/

In “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” King applied the concept to race relations in America. He wrote: “Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I-it” relationship for an “I-thou” relationship, and ends up relegating persons to the status of things.”

Paul Mendes-Flohr, a Buber scholar and professor of modern Jewish history and thought at the University of Chicago Divinity School, said that Mr. Friedman’s work was a bridge between the radical intellectual ferment in Germany between the two world wars and the cultural revolution in America during the 1960s.

“When Martin Luther King Jr. first became familiar with Buber,” Professor Mendes-Flohr added, “it would almost certainly have been through Friedman’s work.”

Mr. Friedman was at work on a memoir about his own extended dialogue with Buber when he died, apparently of a heart attack, at his home in Solana Beach, Calif., his daughter, Dvora Dawson, said.

Buber’s ideas about communication and social action influenced humanistic Protestant theologians like Tillich and Niebuhr, who in turn have been cited as influences by Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. They also provided an intellectual framework for interfaith organizations like the National Conference of Christians and Jews, which was at the forefront of civil rights work.

Mr. Friedman’s first book on Buber, adapted from his doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago, was enhanced by a personal relationship that began in 1950 with a letter he wrote to Buber about his dissertation work.

Buber was living in Israel by then, having left Germany in 1937 for what was then known as British Palestine. The letter was hand-delivered by Mr. Friedman’s mother, Fannie.

“My mother was going to Israel that year and took along a letter I wrote to him,” Mr. Friedman said in a 1984 interview with The Times. According to family lore, she travelled many hours by bus over hot, dusty roads to accomplish the mission. Mr. Friedman maintained the relationship — what he called “the focus of my life” — in many personal visits and exchanges of correspondence until Buber’s death.

In his preface to the fourth edition of “Dialogue,” published in 2002, Mr. Friedman wrote: “If I have had some share in Buber’s becoming so well-known in the English-speaking world in the last 45 years, it is not because I have accepted his thought uncritically or on faith, but because I have made it my own.”

Buber’s thinking, he added, compelled him “to stretch my mind, heart and spirit beyond their usual boundaries.”

Maurice Stanley Friedman was born on Dec. 29, 1921, in Tulsa, Okla. His father, Samuel, was a life insurance salesman. His mother, a rabbi’s daughter, was a social activist and voracious reader whose love of ideas profoundly influenced her son, said Rosalind Petchesky, a niece of Mr. Friedman and a professor of political science at Hunter College.

After graduating from Harvard in 1942 with a degree in literature, Mr. Friedman was declared a conscientious objector during World War II and served with the Forest Service as a firefighter, or smoke jumper, parachuting from airplanes to battle fires in the wilderness. He received his Ph.D. in religion and history from Chicago in 1950. He went on to teach at Sarah Lawrence, Manhattanville, Temple and San Diego State, among other colleges and universities.

Besides his daughter, survivors include his wife, Aleene; a son, David; a sister, Roberta Pollack, and a granddaughter.

In his 1984 interview with The Times, Mr. Friedman was asked to sum up Buber’s legacy, a body of work that runs to about 4,000 pages. Demonstrating a disciple’s faith in the power of dialogue to bridge any gap between one person and another, he answered:

“He is really saying that if we don’t allow a genuine ‘We’ to life, we will destroy ourselves. ‘We’ meaning community, fellowship, the social principle. He was very concerned about the nuclear threat and said that genuine dialogue was the only way to survive.” Read More:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/06/books/maurice-s-friedman-martin-bubers-biographer-dies-at-90.html?pagewanted=all


(see link at end)…Justus Weiner:  Said’s father was the owner of a thriving office supply business, the Standard Stationary Company, based in Cairo. In 1952 a revolutionary mob burned his flagship store (and a branch) to the ground, and several years later the nationalization program instituted by Egyptian President Nasser ultimately forced Said’s father out of the country. Thus, the truly devastating financial losses suffered by Said’s father were in no way connected to Israel.
Evicting Martin Buber

In a speech at Birzeit University in 1998, Said publicly charged that the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, known as an apostle of coexistence between Arabs and Jews, had lived in the Brenner Street house and “did not mind living in an Arab house whose inhabitants had been displaced.”8

Once again, the truth involves a very different story. The house at 10 Brenner Street was built in the early 1930s and its registered owners were Said’s grandfather and later his aunt and her five children. There is no record in the Land Registry of Edward Said’s parents ever owning any interest in the house. The building was initially divided into two apartments which were rented out from 1936 onwards. After 1938, one apartment (and a downstairs storeroom) was leased to Martin Buber and his extended family, all of them recent refugees from Nazi Germany. The Bubers, relying on the long-term nature of their lease, made major improvements in the apartment and landscaped the garden.

In early 1942, Edward Said’s aunt broke the lease and reclaimed the premises for her family’s personal use, winning a judge’s ruling in favor of eviction, and forcing Buber to vacate together with his library of some 15,000 books.9 Given the shortage of housing in Palestine during World War II, their eviction could not have come at a worse time. Curiously, this event occurred during the very period when Edward Said was himself allegedly growing up in the same house, and long before Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, but Said never mentioned the presence of Martin Buber or his library in “my beautiful old house” during those years. Read More:http://jcpa.org/jl/vp422.htm

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