Talk on Dutch radio, June 1947 (reprinted in "A Land of Two Peoples" by Martin Buber with Paul R. Mendes-Flohr, New York: Oxford University Press, 1983)

Two Peoples in Palestine

by Martin Buber

Part I

In coming to speak to you about Palestine, I would like first to share with you a perspective on this subject – which is of such importance to the entire world – that is not generally presented in newspapers and journalistic books. In addition, I would like to make use of the example of Palestine to illuminate the pernicious effects of an evil which afflicts humankind perhaps more than any other evil. I am referring to the current exaggeration, indeed glorification, of politics in our world, of its absolute domination, out of all proportion to what is truly important in life.

The domination of politics is not always apparent, for it has insinuated itself into every area of life, taking in each realm a different form, dressing up in all manner of disguises, and speaking in the specific language and terms of each realm. People think, for example, that it is the economic principle that outweighs all other considerations in determining what occurs in contemporary society. This supposition, however, is quite unfounded, and it is only because the political principle has infiltrated economic life and undermined its foundation that this attitude prevails. The vital and healthy foundation of any economy is comprised of the inner urge to create goods that are of benefit to humanity and that further our cooperation with other men, our brothers, whose relationship to us rests upon a basis of common assumptions and similar goals. This healthy foundation, however, has been pushed aside by greed for futile dominion and by competition that knows no bounds. If the motto of a natural economy is “to create what is needed