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What would Zionism’s founder think of Israel? The authority of Theodor Herzl is often misunderstood or misused by his successors

"The Independence Hall Museum", the house in Tel Aviv where David Ben-Gurion declared te state of Israel. Photo: JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

"The Independence Hall Museum", the house in Tel Aviv where David Ben-Gurion declared te state of Israel. Photo: JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images


July 20, 2020   5 mins

When in December 1895 Moritz GĂŒdemann, Chief Rabbi of Vienna, called on the noted journalist Theodor Herzl at his apartment to discuss establishing a Jewish state in Palestine, he happened upon the future founder of Zionism standing beneath a Christmas tree which he was decorating for the amusement of his (uncircumcised) son.

Raised in ultra-assimilative Budapest Neolog-Judaism, Herzl’s acquaintance with Hebrew and (in adulthood) Jewish practice was minimal, and he was a most unlikely man to spark a global movement of Jewish self-consciousness.

Yet, within eight years of meeting GĂŒdemann, he had created the structures of a worldwide campaign, mobilised a mass following of impoverished Orthodox Jews in Russia and Galicia, and argued his cause in person to the representatives of three world powers. Within a decade he was dead, and since then he has remained in many ways a mystery. It is this mystery that Derek Penslar’s recent biography Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader makes strides toward unravelling, in doing so posing questions for Israel today.

Zionism’s foundational text, the 1896 Der Judenstaat (“The Jewish State”) was born almost by accident. In May 1895 Herzl’s long gathering background despondency regarding the Jewish predicament in Europe was energised by an external shock: rabid anti-Semite Karl Lueger’s election as mayor of Vienna. This would prove the spark for the explosion of creativity that launched Zionism, the fuel being Herzl’s deep emotional unease arising from a fraught marriage and frustrated literary ambition.

“Herzl was in the grip of an existential crisis” Penslar writes: “he experienced a prolonged period of heightened energy that in June escalated into a frenzy
 Herzl’s Zionist program emerged as a kind of condensation, in which an effulgence of psychic energy gradually thickened and stabilised.”

He later recalled writing while “walking, standing, lying down, in the street; at table, [and] at night when I started up from sleep.” Herzl needed Zionism as an overarching purpose just as Zionism needed Herzl’s energy to come to life.

Despite frenzied composition Der Judenstaat’s tone is powerfully controlled. Herzl dissects the “Jewish Question” with forensic rigour, evoking the psychological “de-personalisation” of advanced depression, “standing outside himself” as observer, watching dispassionately. “The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live in perceptible numbers,” Herzl wrote: “Where it does not exist, it is carried by Jews in the course of their migration. We naturally move to those places where we are not persecuted, and there our presence produces persecution.”

Paradoxically, Herzl argued, if Jews embraced the “otherness” gentile Europeans attributed to them, disdaining Jewish assimilation, then reconciliation would follow. Removing Jews en masse from Europe would eliminate anti-Semitism. If Jews “become an independent nation, settled on the soil of their own land and leading the life of a normal people” Christian Europeans would view them as reliable international partners — not “enemies within”. The few Jews remaining behind in Europe would be indulged by Christians as a benign curiosity.

Jews too would be transformed: “We are what the ghetto made us,” but the Jewish authorities would “make it impossible
 for those of our people, who are hawkers and peddlers here, to re-establish themselves in the same trades there”. Gentile esteem would ensue. A “blank slate” would facilitate innovation: a seven-hour work day; funded worker education; centralised labour agencies matching need to supply. Success would attract Jewish diaspora migrants and, again, Christian respect.

Though no theocracy, Herzl’s Jewish state would honour religion because Jews “feel our historic affinity only through the faith of our fathers” — even if many Jews lacked faith at the present. Palestine was preferred not because God commanded it but because tradition meant it “would attract our people with a force of marvellous potency”.

Herzl was happy to embrace stereotypes to make the case. “We have attained pre-eminence in finance,” he argued, so Jewish financiers should alleviate Ottoman public debt as the price of statehood. He even sought help from anti-Semites like Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm, who he hoped could be motivated to pressure Sultan Abdul Hamid II in order to answer Germany’s own “Jewish question”.

Herzl tirelessly promoted his project through speeches, articles, meetings and a futuristic novel Die Altneuland (“The Old-Newland”) which attempted to communicate the texture of lived experience in the hoped-for state. The novel gave Zionism emotional content, offsetting Die Judenstaat’s arid rationalism. Herzl understood that for a political project to succeed it must appeal to the imaginative faculty, yet he rejected categorisation of Die Altneuland as “utopian”. The book’s subtitle If you will it, it is no dream was meant to be taken seriously.

Penslar deems Herzl a paradigmatic exemplar of what sociologist Max Weber later termed “charismatic authority”. From Vilnius to Sofia crowds assembled – even at dead of night – to watch Herzl’s carriage passing by.

Jewish criticism of Herzl was incessant, and prior to 1945 anti-Zionism was the majority position in world Jewry. Assimilationists balked at Herzl’s despair of achieving Enlightenment pluralism in Europe; rabbinical scholars decried his ambition to restore a Jewish polity through human agency as a blasphemy.

“Heart neurosis! That, and the Jews, will kill me off!” Herzl complained to physician Alexander Mamorek in September 1903. His struggles presaged the coalition instability which plagues modern Israeli politics, sustaining unity among partners in Zionism’s fractious alliance proving nightmarish. The yearnings of Secularists for European culture, the Orthodox for inherited tradition and Hebrew language enthusiasts for a newly-created identity were painfully antithetical. Herzl’s words to Mamorek proved prophetic: he succumbed to a lethal combination of stress and cardiac arrhythmia nine months later.

Herzl was very much a product of Budapest, the city where he lived until he was 18, and one of the great centres of European Judaism. The Herzl home abutted Dohanhyi Street’s Great Synagogue, then the world’s largest and built to resemble the ground plan of a church, and staffed by cassocked rabbis. The family worshiped there regularly, if not zealously.

Today an extension of the synagogue incorporates the site of Herzl ’s home; the garden in which he played is merged within land which became (and remains) a mass grave for around 2,000 Jews of the Budapest ghetto who died variously by bullet, starvation and disease in autumn 1944. That coincidence presents a powerful argument for his project’s necessity.

Penslar’s presentation of Herzl presents strong implicit arguments regarding the state he imagined and most importantly the proposed annexation of the West Bank. For one thing, nowhere in either Der Judenstaat or Die Altennueland did Herzl specify what the geographic boundaries of the Jewish homeland should be.

In Die Autlnueland Herzl even retreated from asserting territorial sovereignty itself. In his mature thought the “Jewish State” was to be a “charted” – not sovereign – entity sheltering within a great power: more like the State of New York than the United States of America. It would have no army of its own.

Herzl was clear that land transfer would be through consensual purchase. Even this should be preceded by international approval under “public law”. Initially Der Judenstaat hinted at Jewish exclusivism, but later Die Altneuland stressed Arab equality. The assertion of a biblical mandate for control of the West Bank (or “Judea and Samaria” as Likud politicians’ term it) clashes even with Der Judenstaat’s earlier rejection of theocracy.

For Herzl the Jewish people’s self-consciousness, not Palestine’s land mass, was what enabled statehood. Hence his claim to have “founded the Jewish State” at Basel before it had any land whatsoever. In the already quoted diary entry of 3rd September 1897 he asserted that “The foundation of a State lies in the will of the people for a State). Territory is only the material basis; the State, even when it possesses territory, is always something abstract. At Basel, then, I created this abstraction.”

On top of his many other talents Herzl possessed an eerie capacity for prediction. On 3 September 1897, reflecting on the first Zionist Congress at Basel, Herzl wrote: “to sum up
 I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. Perhaps in five years and certainly in 50, everyone will know it.” Fifty years and two months later, on 29 November 1947, the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to partition Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states.

Six months later, on 15 May, 1948, David Ben Gurion read out Israel’s independence declaration in the Tel Aviv Museum standing beneath Herzl’s portrait and thereby invoking his authority. Yet it’s an authority that is often misunderstood or misused by his successors, so that today it could be argued that what Israel desperately needs today is more Zionism.


Alexander Faludy is a law student and freelance journalist.

AlexanderFaludy

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David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago

Why has my post beginning “Zionism has always been a strong strand of Judaism….” been marked as Spam? I can only assume that an anti-semite did not like it, and so abused the flagging process. The abuser ought to be banned from Disqus.

Dr Irene Lancaster
Dr Irene Lancaster
3 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

David, this is very worrying if the reason you cite is correct. I have written another comment, asking them to reinstate your post, but it appears that this is in vain. Why on earth is an Anglican training at Mirfield (I’ve taught people from there – they know nothing about Judaism or Israel) be asked to write on Judaism is a mystery to me – the UK must be the only country in the world where Jews are not allowed to write about their own tradition and history which has been assumed by the State Church which is now attended by a mere 2 % of the population of fewer!

Bullfrog Brown
Bullfrog Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

Before the Nazis took power, even though wealthy Jews were buying land in the Ottoman Empire, and Jews had lived for centuries in places like Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed, most European Jews considered themselves citizens of the countries in which they were born, ie the idea of a Jewish homeland was not prevalent. That all changed with the rise of the Nazis.

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago
Reply to  Bullfrog Brown

Everything you are saying is correct. Mostly diaspora dwellers were waiting for the age of the Messiah. However the urge to return would get a boost whenever times became insecure.

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago

Interesting article. Like all of us, Herzl was a product of his times and for him that time was the high point of Imperialism.
Nobody imagined that so many empires would have disappeared by 1918.
I suppose he imagined a province within the Ottoman Empire.
Events change everyone’s plans so I suspect his views would have changed.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  David Jory

Well said. Now up to people today to clean up the mess started in 1947.

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

The “mess” was created already in Ottoman times by the Arab elites (of whom the infamous Amin Al-Husseini was a prime exemplar). They couldn’t bear the way their felahin were being liberated from their oppression by cash wages (paid by Jews).

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
3 years ago

If Herzl thought that Israel could be created and continue to exist without an army events after his death would have shown that he was mistaken.

Dr Irene Lancaster
Dr Irene Lancaster
3 years ago

Herzl owned a Christmas Tree because he and his family wanted to fit in in the ambience of their time. And in germany and Austria being different was somewhat frowned upon. Alas, Christmas Trees (introduced to England by German Prince Albert) didn’t work, due to a small matter called the Dreyfus Affair, on which Herzl reported in Paris. However, at Basle, the first Zionist Conference of 1897, (moved there from Munich, whose Jewish community including their cowardly rabbi, were too scared of repercussions from the populace), Herzl stated that to be called up to the Bimah to read from the Torah on this momentous occasion, was the most important event of his life, putting even his Zionist credentials in the shade. And, as you rightly state, he also anticipated a political Jewish state in the Jewish homeland in 1947, which was more or less correct.

By the way, for the sake of equity, I wonder how William the Conqueror would view this country today, and if that is too long ago, I wonder what Disraeli would think of Boris – now there’s a question? As for Churchill, I wouldn’t even go there with the present Tory regime.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

How can Judaism have a homeland if other religions don’t have homelands? And since Judaism began in what is now Iraq and Christianity began in Palestine, surely if religions had rights, and they do not, then Jews should have a bit of Iraq and Christians would have rights to Palestine.

Israel is no more than a more recent colonisation project by Europeans and because it refuses justice to the indigenous people, a remaining weeping sore in that process.

lawall
lawall
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Jews have lived in scattered communities throughout Israel since it was called the Roman province of Judea. Most fled Roman persecution; some, however, stayed home. By the 1880’s, the land was largely desolate and unpopulated. The European Zionists who showed up bought the land they moved into, following Ottoman law. They were the legal owners of the land they moved into. As the Jews made productive factories and orchards, Arabs and Beduin from the surrounding impoverished lands of Syria, Egypt and present-day Jordan moved in to take jobs (much like Mexicans cross the border to work in the US).

The original land designated to the Jews in what the British and the League of Nations called the Palestinian Mandate included present-day Jordan as well as Israel, and also included the Golan Heights. After the Israeli declaration of independence in ’47, the surrounding Arab states declared war, with their goal of exterminating the Jews. They told the Arabs and Bedouin living in Israel to get out of the country to make their job of exterminating Jews easier. Most Arabs in Israel fled to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Unfortunately for them, Israel won the war. Those Arabs and Bedouin who chose to remain in Israel exist today as Arab-Israelis, with full voting rights with Jews and with representation in the Knesset. Those Arabs and Beduuin who fled to Jordan and Egypt were “resettled” into refugee camps in Gaza and on the West Bank, denied the right to live in anything but tent cities and denied incorporation into either Egypt or Jordan as either residents or citizens. After Israel won the ’67 War and assumed administrative control of both Gaza and the West Bank, the Arabs and Beduin there were finally permitted to build permanent housing, infrastructure and establish businesses.

To repeat: there were virtually no “indigenous people” in Israel when the European Jews moved into the area. It was desolate and depopulated. The majority of Arabs and Beduin living in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank now are mainly the descendants of immigrants from mainly Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon who were looking for jobs offered by Jewish farmers and factory owners.

Palestine is a name coined by the Romans around 135 CE from the name of a seagoing Aegean people who settled on the coast of Canaan in antiquity ““ the Philistines. The name was chosen to replace Judea, as a sign that Jewish sovereignty had been eradicated following the Jewish Revolts against Rome.

In the course of time, the Latin name Philistia was further bastardized into Palistina or Palestine. During the next 2,000 years Palestine was never an independent state belonging to any people, nor did a Palestinian people distinct from other Arabs appear during 1,300 years of Muslim hegemony in Palestine under Arab and Ottoman rule. During that rule, local Arabs were actually considered part of, and subject to, the authority of Greater Syria (Suriyya al-Kubra).

Israel is more than a country based on a religion. It is a country based on a culture, a history and a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,000 years.

The weeping sore in the situation is the shitty treatment the Arab countries have given the Arab and Beduin residents of Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians are treated the worst of any Arab peoples by the Arabs themselves. The Palestinians living in Lebanon have never been able to live outside of the strict ghetto boundaries set by the Arabs who run that country, and Palestinian workers throughout the Middle East are exploited for their labor in places such as Qatar and Bahrain and treated almost as badly as slaves.

lawall
lawall
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Jews have lived in scattered communities throughout Israel since it was called the Roman province of Judea. Most fled Roman persecution; some, however, stayed home. By the 1880’s, the land was largely desolate and unpopulated. The European Zionists who showed up bought the land they moved into, following Ottoman law. They were the legal owners of the land they moved into. As the Jews made productive factories and orchards, Arabs and Beduin from the surrounding impoverished lands of Syria, Egypt and present-day Jordan moved in to take jobs (much like Mexicans cross the border to work in the US).

The original land designated to the Jews in what the British and the League of Nations called the Palestinian Mandate included present-day Jordan as well as Israel, and also included the Golan Heights. After the Israeli declaration of independence in ’47, the surrounding Arab states declared war, with their goal of exterminating the Jews. They told the Arabs and Beduin living in Israel to get out of the country to make their job of exterminating Jews easier. Most Arabs in Israel fled to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Unfortunately for them, Israel won the war. Those Arabs and Beduin who chose to remain in Israel exist today as Arab-Israelis, with full voting rights with Jews and with representation in the Knesset. Those Arabs and Beduin who fled to Jordan and Egypt were “resettled” into refugee camps in Gaza and on the West Bank, denied the right to live in anything but tent cities and denied incorporation into either Egypt or Jordan as either residents or citizens. After Israel won the ’67 War and assumed administrative control of both Gaza and the West Bank, the Arabs and Beduin there were finally permitted to build permanent housing, infrastructure and establish businesses.

To repeat: there were virtually no “indigenous people” in Israel when the European Jews moved into the area. It was desolate and depopulated. The majority of Arabs and Beduin living in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank now are mainly the descendants of immigrants from mainly Egypt, Syria and Lebanon who were looking for jobs offered by Jewish farmers and factory owners.

Palestine is a name coined by the Romans around 135 CE from the name of a seagoing Aegean people who settled on the coast of Canaan in antiquity ““ the Philistines. The name was chosen to replace Judea, as a sign that Jewish sovereignty had been eradicated following the Jewish Revolts against Rome.

In the course of time, the Latin name Philistia was further bastardized into Palistina or Palestine. During the next 2,000 years Palestine was never an independent state belonging to any people, nor did a Palestinian people distinct from other Arabs appear during 1,300 years of Muslim hegemony in Palestine under Arab and Ottoman rule. During that rule, local Arabs were actually considered part of, and subject to, the authority of Greater Syria (Suriyya al-Kubra).

Israel is more than a country based on a religion. It is a country based on a culture, a history and a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,000 years.

The weeping sore in the situation is the terrible treatment the Arab countries have given the Arab and Beduin residents of Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians are treated the worst of any Arab peoples by the Arabs themselves. The Palestinians living in Lebanon have never been able to live outside of the strict ghetto boundaries set by the Arabs who run that country, and Palestinian workers throughout the Middle East are exploited for their labor in places such as Qatar and Bahrain and treated almost as badly as slaves.

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago

I am posting this again because of a spurious “spam” flag that has not been corrected after 4 hours.

Zionism has always been a strong strand of Judaism and Jewish consciousness for at least 2,600 years. The use of “Zionism” in this article should be read as “Modern Political Zionism”. In this sense only, can one argue that Herzl founded Zionism.

Even with this qualified definition of Zionism, it would be truer to say that Herzl’s was a powerful voice and a strand in an historical movement that had been underway already for decades (perhaps as a consequence of Napoleon’s opening of the European ghettoes). It was proceeding by land purchases, just as Herzl envisaged.

Israel was a functioning democratic state from the moment of its declaration (unlike most ex-colonial projects), because the Yishuv had developed organically all its own institutions of governance rather than relying on an inheritance from the colonial power. In a sense, independence was a formality. However it did also free Israel of the hinderances to self-defence that the British administration imposed to appease the Arab nationalist elites..

Herzl’s later vision of something short of full sovereignty might have been feasible had the Arab nationalists not resorted to violence and intimidation, and had the British not pandered to it (in violation of the mandate terms). So it is worth examining the origins of the Arab violence and intimidation.

By and large, Arab peasants were very happy with the upsurge of Jewish Economic activity Jews were buying more land than they had Jewish labour to work it. They employed Arabs for cash wages.

The significance of Jewish cash in Arab peasant hands is often overlooked. The Arab landlords had become used to running a tax-loan racket. Their tenants had little cash with which to pay the Ottoman taxes, so they “borrowed” tax money from their landlords, pledging an exorbitant chunk of their harvest for repayment. The Jewish cash wages liberated the Arab tenants from the tax-loan racket, much to the chagrin of the landlords.

The landlords fought back by getting the Ottomans to outlaw land sales to Jews. The ban failed, because Jews were offering such attractive prices that ways were found to do the land sales (much as still happens today in defiance of lethal fatwas).

Unable to stem the haemorrhage of their power, the Arab elites resorted to the “honour of Islam” card – the stoking of anti-Jewish racism. This worked well enough to cause a lot of violence and intimidation, and the rest is history.

Modern Western “liberal” anti-zionism is very ironic. Western “liberal” anti-zionists fail to understand that they are fighting Israel for the right of the Arab elites to oppress the Arab masses.

Bullfrog Brown
Bullfrog Brown
3 years ago

Herzl’s foresight was brilliant, and was a result of the pogroms in ‘pale of settlement’ in the late 19th century. Emancipation of Jews in Western Europe after the 1870s created more anti semitism as Jews were allowed to learn professions & the Dreyfus affair in 1894 strengthened Herzl’s desire for a Jewish homeland.

To the author of this article, Alexander Faludy, I don’t think you have addressed the title of your article ‘ What would Zionism’s founder think of Israel?’

cap0119
cap0119
3 years ago

So an Anglican official with an Arab surname is smearing and implicitly de-legitimising the state of Israel on the front page UnHerd? Is this UnHerd’s idea of “alternative ideas”? Not sure if I will consider this a “first strike” or just cancel my subscription now.

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago

Zionism has always been a strong strand of Judaism and Jewish consciousness for at least 2,600 years. The use of “Zionism” in this article should be read as “Modern Political Zionism”. In this sense only, can one argue that Herzl founded Zionism.

Even with this qualified definition of Zionism, it would be truer to say that Herzl’s was a powerful voice and a strand in an historical movement that had been underway already for decades (perhaps as a consequence of Napoleon’s opening of the European ghettoes). It was proceeding by land purchases, just as Herzl envisaged.

Israel was a functioning democratic state from the moment of its declaration (unlike most ex-colonial projects), because the Yishuv had developed organically all its own institutions of governance rather than relying on an inheritance from the colonial power. In a sense, independence was a formality. However it did also free Israel of the hinderances to self-defence that the British administration imposed to appease the Arab nationalist elites..

Herzl’s later vision of something short of full sovereignty might have been feasible had the Arab nationalists not resorted to violence and intimidation, and had the British not pandered to it (in violation of the mandate terms). So it is worth examining the origins of the Arab violence and intimidation.

By and large, Arab peasants were very happy with the upsurge of Jewish Economic activity Jews were buying more land than they had Jewish labour to work it. They employed Arabs for cash wages.

The significance of Jewish cash in Arab peasant hands is often overlooked. The Arab landlords had become used to running a tax-loan racket. Their tenants had little cash with which to pay the Ottoman taxes, so they “borrowed” tax money from their landlords, pledging an exorbitant chunk of their harvest for repayment. The Jewish cash wages liberated the Arab tenants from the tax-loan racket, much to the chagrin of the landlords.

The landlords fought back by getting the Ottomans to outlaw land sales to Jews. The ban failed, because Jews were offering such attractive prices that ways were found to do the land sales (much as still happens today in defiance of lethal fatwas).

Unable to stem the haemorrhage of their power, the Arab elites resorted to the “honour of Islam” card – the stoking of anti-Jewish racism. This worked well enough to cause a lot of violence and intimidation, and the rest is history.

Modern Western “liberal” anti-zionism is very ironic. Western “liberal” anti-zionists fail to understand that they are fighting Israel for the right of the Arab elites to oppress the Arab masses.

Dr Irene Lancaster
Dr Irene Lancaster
3 years ago

As a Jewish historian of the period, I really admired David Barnett’s article and found it accurate in every respect (which is more than can be said about the article itself, by a Christian writer who isn’t Jewish and doesn’t understand the subject in depth). DB’s article should be re-posted asap. Your website is becoming increasingly disappointing in its wokeness.

Dr Irene Lancaster
Dr Irene Lancaster
3 years ago

No wonder that the UK’s Labour Party, universities, churches and some of the Press are, as I was told around 20 years ago at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, infiltrated from top to bottom by antisemites. Luckily, where I live at least I’m allowed to teach factual Jewish history, including the history of the UK’s abject betrayal of the Jews of Europe during their Mandate, as well as of the incipient Jewish state. Israel doesn’t need the UK and in another year or so, we’ll see if the UK doesn’t come begging to the tiny Jewish State that they once dismissed as full of dregs stemming from eastern Europe. The lying snobbery of many of those participating on this website, as well as their falsfications of history is beyond belief!

GEORGE DAVIDOVICI
GEORGE DAVIDOVICI
3 years ago

QUOTE (from the article)
” In Die Autlnueland Herzl even retreated from asserting territorial sovereignty itself. In his mature thought the “Jewish State” was to be a “charted” ““ not sovereign ““ entity sheltering within a great power: more like the State of New York than the United States of America. It would have no army of its own.
Herzl was clear that land transfer would be through consensual purchase. Even this should be preceded by international approval under “public law” “
UNQUOTE
It is perfectly understandable that Herzl’s idealism could not take into account the Middele Eastern reality of the second half of the 20th century and still valid today. If we consider the number of Muslims and non Muslims buthchered by Muslims or the hords of Muslim and non-Muslim immigrants flooding Faludy Sandor’s Europe, the Islamic Paradise of the Midle East that is willing to accomodate Zionists in a not sovereign ( without an army ) Zion / Israel is an utopia like the end of anti-Semitism in Europe after its Jewish majority has been exterminated or emmigrated. However Herzl’s idealism is in GOOD FACE. For a “jounalist” of present decades like Faludy Sandor it is rather difficult to associate the same adjective. It is also strange, to say the least, that Faludy did not mention the still only valid international approval, ” public law”, of 1922 that legalizes a sovereign Jewish state in a Palestine including Judea and Samaria.

QUOTE
“The assertion of a biblical mandate for control of the West Bank (or “Judea and Samaria” as Likud politicians’ term it) clashes even with Der Judenstaat’s earlier rejection of theocracy.”
UNQUOTE
If we agree that the term West Bank was introduced by Jordan, the illegal occupier of Judea and Samaria between 1948 and 1967, it means that both the biblical mandate and the Der Judensdaat were already familiar with it ?!

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

Quite how anyone could have thought that taking and colonising someone else’s country in the name of a religion which would disenfranchise everyone who belonged to other religions, could ever work is the real question.

Religions don’t get rights to land, self-determination or homelands. If they did then all religions would have the same rights. As it is, Judaism was not invented in Palestine but in what is now Iraq. Jews wandered into Palestine and set up camp a few thousand years ago along with many others but that confers no rights.

The entire premise of setting up a religious State for Jews in and on Palestine was immoral, illegal and in a modern age, criminally unjust,

The only way to set it to rights is for Israel to do what all other nations founded through colonisation have done – one state with full and equal rights for the indigenous people and their European colonisers.

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Have you ever visited Israel? Have you ever spoken to an Israeli Arab? Do you think they would prefer to live under the rule of ‘Hamas or the PLO?

Did you know that Jews were the largest community in Jerusalem in 1845? Do you know anything about Mizrahi Jews?

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

Yes, to all of it. The issue quite simply is that religions do not get land rights, do not get self-determination and do not have rights to homelands regardless of how long they may live somewhere. They certainly do not have the right to dispossess others, colonise their country and deny them human and civil rights because they are followers of other religions.

You make the mistake of talking about Israeli Arab. What you mean is the almost a quarter of Israelis who are non-Jews. Israel has and never had any issue with Arabs or Palestinians because it offered immediate citizenship to all of them, if they were followers of Judaism, when it was founded. Indeed, anyone spending time in Israel can see how Arabic is its culture. So, the only reference is between Israeli Jews and Israeli non-Jews. Which is why the latter are second-class citizens in Israel still.

The colonial entity of Israel was always doomed because it pretended followers of Judaism were a people, when they were simply members of a religion; they pretended that the oxymoron of atheist Jews could exist, when it is impossible; and they applied their atheist thinking to the most backward of Jewish beliefs, i.e. that Jews are superior to non-Jews and must always remain in control.

The fact that some followers of Judaism have lived in Palestine for a long time is about as relevant as the fact that some followers of Judaism have lived in India for a long time. Christians founded the city of Istanbul and lived there for more than a thousand years. So what? Should Christians today have a right to return there to live, pushing out the indigenous Turks and demanding they have sole rights and sole power?

Most Jews have no connections to Semitic peoples,. My ancestors certainly did not. And even if they had, it would not give them the right to colonise another country in the Middle East or wherever and deny the indigenous people their rights.

GEORGE DAVIDOVICI
GEORGE DAVIDOVICI
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Athena you are one of the many ignorants fooled by fake narratives. The League of Nations decision of 1922 that entitles a Jewish state in Palestine is still the only valid international law recognising Jewish rights to a home in the Middle East. Besides, a Persian emperor more than 2000 years before not only recognised this right but supported the return of Jews and the rebuilding of their Temple. Moreover this story was with a strong mobilising appeal for the revolutions in the 19th century for establishing modern nation states. See among others Verdi’s Nabucco. For many Italians its choral hit is considered like an unofficial national anthem.