Herzl Theodor - The Jewish State

Author : Herzl Theodor
Title : The Jewish State An attempt at a morden solutiuon of the jewish question
Year : 1943

Link download : Herzl_Theodor_-_The_Jewish_State.zip

Foreword. AMONG THE CLASSICAL UTTERANCES OF ZIONISM, Theodor Herzl's "The Jewish State" occupies a unique place. Its greatness does not lie in its originality. Even in 1895 it did not offer a radically new analysis of the Jewish problem. Moses Hess' "Rome and Jerusalem" is saturated with a Jewish historical pathos which Herzl never attained. Leon Pinsker in his "Auto-Emancipation" has cut deeper into the social and psychological realities of Jewish homelessness than Herzl in his first utterances as a Zionist. Yet these two prophetic manifestos of national awakening did not succeed in arousing the response which followed the publication of "The Jewish State." Why was "The Jewish State" saved from the obscurity which was the fate of its predecessors, "Rome and Jerusalem" and "Auto-Emancipation"? Why did its call reverberate in every Jewish community in the East and the West? Its success may be partly ascribed to the time of its appearance, the tense days of the Dreyfus affair which forcefully posed the Jewish problem to many Jews who had become unaware of its existence. It may also be ascribed to the simplicity of formulation behind which, however, one felt an elemental force. But the most potent cause was the personality of its author which already pervades the pages of "The Jewish State." From the very beginning of his Zionist career when he was still grappling with the problem in the privacy of his study, entirely unaware of others perplexed by the same problem, he seems to have been possessed by a sense of mission and vocation-already bowed under the burden which he was to bear until his last day. Speaking of the composition of "The Jewish State," Herzl later wrote: "I do not remember ever having written anything in such an exalted state of mind as this book. Heine says that he heard the pinions of an eagle fluttering over his head when he wrote certain verses. I felt that I heard a similar rustling when I wrote this book. I worked at it daily until I was quite exhausted." Some of this exaltation and sense of destiny must have communicated itself to the hundreds from every land and station and opinion, who in response to his call convened at the first Zionist Congress in Basle two years after the publication of "The Jewish State." As we peruse the pages of this little book today, our feelings vacillate between admiration and astonishment. By the side of penetrating social and psychological analysis expressed with sparkling, aphoristic brilliance there are almost incredibly naive, utterly unnecessary, elaborate plans for the organization of the emigration from the Diaspora and the institutions, laws, and even manners of the future state. These details seem to point to Herzl's belief in a very speedy realization of his dream which further depended only upon a combination of external circumstances brought about comparatively easily. He could not visualize the long and difficult road leading to redemption out of the Galuth. When he wrote "The Jewish State," Herzl had a very hazy picture of the great Jewish communities in Eastern Europe, their culture, divisions of opinion and national and social aspirations. His knowledge of the mechanisms of political power was based on the superficial impressions of an artist-journalist interested in the lights and shadows surrounding politics rather than in the struggle of interests which is so largely its core. As a matter of fact we, his younger friends and co-workers were even then aware of these gaps in his make-up as a Jewish leader. We often criticized him, questioned the wisdom of some of his political moves. Yet none of us ever entertained a doubt that he and he alone was qualified to lead us. His greatest qualities were humility and faith. He was not a humble man in the ordinary sense of the word. When meeting the conventionally great heads of states, or the "money kings" of his own people, it was his habit to bear himself with a pride which almost bordered on haughtiness and which to many appeared incongruous in view of the political powerlessness of the movement which he represented. Herzl's real greatness came to the fore in his humility before the integrity and faith of the humble Jewish masses in the Eastern Ghettos whom he had discovered through the Zionist movement. The most moving entries in his diary refer to the delegates from Eastern Europe at the first Zionist Congress. In the Ghetto of Vilna and Warsaw he discovered the great army of workers and adherents on whom he knew he could rely "unto death." This discovery was new to him and from that moment he considered it as his supreme ambition "to be worthy of their trust." He was haunted by the spectre of pogroms, which at that time, although they stirred the imagination of Western Jewry, were a very mild manifestation of anti-Semitism as compared with what is going on now. He did not realize the almost unlimited resources of patience and moral fortitude which stirred in the Ghettos of Vilna and Warsaw, which were prepared to bear their difficulties in the hope that Jewish detractors would perish, as they did of yore. But he was determined to create a temporary shelter for these people, particularly when he realized that the Palestine solution might be brought about at a somewhat later date than he had thought. He was rational, or what we call today, realistic, in contradistinction to the somewhat mystical attitude of mind adopted by the Eastern Jewish communities. He was faced with the greatest possible surprise in the whole of his career when his Uganda project met with resistance on the part of those Jews who needed this shelter most. The sheltered Jews of Western Europe were prepared to send the Easterners to Uganda, but the Easterners preferred to wait, 'midst danger, and not to swerve from their faith in the ultimate solution of the Jewish problem in Palestine. Despite the many disappointments and heartaches which he experienced in his brief career as a Zionist leader, Herzl never lost his faith in the inevitable establishment of the Jewish state. When he wrote "The Jewish State" he was hardly aware of the magnitude of the task which was to be involved in making the first steps towards what he called "a modern solution of the Jewish problem." Nor was he aware of the role that he himself was to play in it. In the introduction to "The Jewish State" he had written, "I feel that with the publication of this pamphlet, my task is done: I shall not again take up the pen unless the attacks of note-worthy antagonists drive me to do so or it became necessary to meet unforeseen objections and to remove errors." Actually his task had only begun. For the remaining years of his life his personality was to be entirely subordinated to the needs of the movement which he founded. In his opening speech at the first Zionist Congress he said: "What some of us have individually written and said can and should be passed over but not that which the Congress may decide." The years that he had given to the leadership of the Zionist movement were for him a period of reeducation and spiritual re-molding. Another man might have withdrawn in the face of so much disappointment and frustration. Herzl never lost the faith which he expressed in the last lines of "The Jewish State": "I believe that a wondrous generation of Jews will spring into existence. . . . The Jews who wish will have their state. We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own homes. The world will be freed by our liberty, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness. And whatever we attempt there to accomplish for our own welfare will react powerfully and beneficently for the good of humanity." During the last twenty-five years we have been given a chance to work for the fulfillment of this vision. Even our opponents often speak with admiration of the "wondrous generation of Jews" who have, with their toil and sacrifice, transformed Palestine into a home for hundreds of thousands of Jews. The grimmer aspects of Herzl's vision have also been fulfilled, more horribly than any of us has even imagined in his blackest nightmares. The Jewish problem, the tragedy of Jewish homelessness, which is now unfolding itself before our eyes in all its radical urgency, places upon the agenda of mankind Herzl's great solution. A younger generation of Jews, who may be granted the privilege of completing that which we have begun, can draw inspiration and courage from the clear vision and lofty faith emanating from the pages of Theodor Herzl's "The Jewish State." Chaim Weizmann. ...

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