Herzl, a writer and a statesman, founded national Zionism and the World Zionist Organization, which elevated the Jewish problem to an international political subject of primary importance. It was the Dreyfus case that awakened in him national Jewish feeling and brought him to the conclusion that the Jewish problem could only be solved by political means. The concept of emergence from the Diaspora and return to Zion found expression in his book "Der Judenstaat" or "The Jewish State", which was written in 1896.
Herzl's goal in The Jewish State was nothing less than the regeneration of the Jewish nation as a political entity. The task seemed impossible. The Jews had settled throughout the world; they were a minority everywhere, possessed no common territory, spoke many languages, and followed different traditions; and their religious ideology had become splintered as a result of emancipation and reform. There was no Jewish nation in the political sense; only Jewish communities scattered throughout the world.
Keenly aware of the magnitude of the Jewish problem, Herzl stressed the power inherent in the idea of a national territory. He noted that no human being was "powerful or wealthy enough to transport a people from one domicile to another." Only an idea could create the necessary momentum. The idea of a Jewish State, he strongly believed, had the power to motivate Jewry, for "all through the long night of their history the Jews have not ceased to dream this royal dream. 'Next year in Jerusalem' is our age-old watchword." It was simply a matter of showing that the vague dream could be transformed into reality.
The starting point of Herzl's ideology, as presented in The Jewish State, was his analysis of the Jewish question. For Herzl, the root of the problem was the Jew's feeling of homelessness - the sensation of being unwanted, an alien even in the country of his birth. The sense of homelessness, Herzl declared, existed even though Jews had sincerely tried everywhere to merge with the national communities in which they lived, seeking only to preserve the faith of their fathers. It was not permitted, though the Jews were loyal patriots, sometimes even super-loyal. In vain did they make the same sacrifices of life and property as their fellow citizens, strive to enhance the fame of their native land, or augment its wealth by trade and commerce. In their native lands where they had lived for centuries, they were still described as aliens, "often by people whose ancestors had not yet come to the country when our fathers' sighs were already heard in the land. The majority can decide who the strangers are...”
Keeping pace with this feeling of homelessness, and often resulting directly from it, was the phenomenon of anti-Semitism. The forms of its occurrence varied from country to country, but one thing was clear to Herzl: anti-Semitism existed wherever Jews lived in large numbers. Moreover, the longer anti-Semitism was dormant, the more violently did it finally erupt. "The infiltration of immigrating Jews attracted by apparent security and the rising class status of autochthonous Jews combine powerfully to bring about a revolution."
What were the causes of anti-Semitism? Its earliest cause, Herzl believed, was the factor of religious differences and the loss of assimilability during the Middle Ages. Modern anti-Semitism, he felt, was due largely to economic factors and had developed out of the emancipation of the Jews following the French Revolution. When civilized nations awoke to the inhumanity of discriminatory legislation they enfranchised the Jews. However, enfranchisement came too late. In the ghetto, Herzl noted, the Jews had developed into a bourgeois people, and they had emerged from it as a full-fledged rival to the middle class. "Thus, emancipation suddenly thrust us into the circle of the bourgeoisie, and there we have had a dual pressure to sustain - from within and from without."
Herzl was convinced that the equal rights of the Jews before the law could not be rescinded where they had once been granted, as it would be contrary to the spirit of the age, and would drive all Jews into the ranks of the revolutionary parties. Hence, he reasoned, anti-Semitism would grow because "the very impossibility of getting at the Jews only makes the hatred greater and more bitter."
No matter what the cause of anti-Semitism, economic, political, or religious, the results were always the same. It inevitably led to bloodshed, poverty, destruction of property, and demoralization. It was a vicious circle, Herzl believed, because "the pressure inspires in us hostility against our oppressors, and our hostility in turn increases the pressure."
In The Jewish State, Herzl emphasized that the constant oppression of the Jews would produce one positive effect: it would weld the Jews into one united people. The feeling of fellowship among the Jews, which had begun to crumble after the era of emancipation, was strengthened anew by anti-Semitism. "Thus," he concluded, "whether we desire it or not, we are and shall remain a historical group of unmistakable solidarity. We are a people - our enemies have made us one without our volition, as has always happened in history. Affliction makes us stand by one another, and at such times we suddenly discover our strength."
Herzl's statement that the Jews were a Volk stirred the Jewish intellectuals of both Eastern and Western Europe. The Yiddish word Folk denotes an important Jewish concept. The Jews of Eastern Europe were thrilled when Dr. Herzl, of the famous Neue Freje Presse) spoke their language, as it were, and declared his adherence to dos Yiddishe Folk. Nor was that all. Not only did Herzl declare the Jews to be a people; he declared them to be one people. And so the assimilationists of Western Europe and the tradition-bound Jews of Eastern Europe, regarded by the former as unimproved and backward, were to be members of one body, suffused with one spirit, and sharing one common destiny.
Herzl's nationalistic appeal to the Jewish people was heightened by its Messianic overtones. Among the Eastern European Jews, in particular, Herzl stimulated the old dream of a return to the Promised Land, even though he had not ruled out other territories as possible sites for a Jewish State. "Is Palestine or Argentina preferable? The Society will take whatever it is given and whatever is favored by the public opinion of the Jewish people." The Messianic appeal was not anticipated by Herzl but was inherent in the concepts of nationalism. For modern European nationalism had drawn from the old monotheistic religions not only their exclusiveness but also their profound belief in a forthcoming "end of days," an era of ultimate fulfillment.
Throughout his exposition in The Jewish State Herzl revealed an awareness of the power of nationalism, its attractions and its dangers. "It might be said," he wrote, "that we should not create new distinctions between people; we ought not to raise fresh barriers but make the old ones disappear instead. I say that those who think along these lines are lovable romantics; but the idea of a fatherland will go on flourishing long after the dust of their bones will have been blown away without a trace.”
Herzl also knew that there was considerable danger in bringing Jewish nationalism into the glaring light of international politics. His was an age of political unrest, in which strong currents of national revolt and international rivalry could be discerned under the smooth surface of apparent peace. Had Herzl's theory contained the faintest suggestion of the use of force, his efforts to gain the support of both the international community of nations and the Jews themselves would have miscarried. It was as a peaceful emancipator, therefore, that Herzl appeared before the Jews of Europe. His plan contemplated no force of arms. It depended largely upon international discussion, diplomacy, and positive political action.
The very nature of Herzl's approach to the Jewish question produced in his treatise a rejection of those solutions that advocated the use of violence and those that ignored the question of nationalism. In the latter category Herzl placed two concepts that enjoyed some popularity among European Jews: the doctrine of assimilation and the ultra-religious, or "ghetto," doctrine.
The idea of assimilation was based on the belief that the Jews were not a people at all but only an aggregation with vestigial religious doctrines and tenets that separated them from their neighbors. Its adherents were convinced that the Jews would eventually become an organic part other peoples among whom they lived. Assimilation, they reasoned, would eliminate the causes of anti-Semitism.
Reared in a family that believed in assimilation, Herzl had great difficulty trying to shed its effects. His struggle with the concept of assimilation is strongly evident in The Jewish State. Prior to writing this treatise he even believed that anti-Semitism, if exerted steadily, could act as a stimulant to hasten the assimilation process.
Nevertheless, it can be seen in Der Judenstaat that Herzl's attitude had undergone a basic change and that he had taken a new position on assimilation. He now felt that assimilation was unacceptable and even impossible for the Jewish people as a whole. He saw that assimilation was dependent on factors beyond the control of the Jews: a desire for widespread intermarriage on the part of the majority population and sufficient time (at least one or two generations) to permit nearly complete assimilation to take place. Neither of these conditions seemed likely to obtain. The rapid rise of anti-Semitism made this dear.
Furthermore, from a nationalistic point of view assimilation was undesirable, since the "distinctive nationality of the Jews cannot, will not, and need not perish... Whole branches of Jewry may wither and fall off, but the tree remains alive."
The adherents of the ultra-religious, or ghetto, solution of the Jewish question argued that it was incumbent on the Jews to remain separate from other peoples, to follow strictly their sacred religious laws, and to await particularly the coming advent of the Messiah. Herzl considered this point of view sterile.
The Jewish question, he believed, was neither a social nor religious problem, even though it sometimes took these forms. Boldly he noted, “... it is a national question, and to solve it we must first of all establish it as an international political problem which will have to be settled by the civilized nations of the world in council." Since the Jewish question was a national one with international ramifications, it could only be resolved, Herzl concluded, by the creation of a special instrument to encompass both these factors: a Jewish State, recognized and secured by international agreement, to which Jews could migrate and in which they could freely settle on a large scale.
The rise of the Jewish State, Herzl was convinced, would put an end to anti-Semitism. He reasoned that, with the large-scale migration of the bulk of European Jews to the new state, the economic foundations of anti-Semitism (the modern cause of the evil) would crumble and collapse. Those Jews who chose to remain behind in the lands of their birth after the creation of the Jewish State could then easily be absorbed, as all bars to assimilation would be let down in the absence of economic competition from the Jewish middle classes.
How was this national state to be achieved? The first step, Herzl believed, was to convince the Jewish people of the need for a Jewish State. He recognized that if one man were to attempt to create a state it would be folly, but he believed it practicable if the will of a whole people were behind it. National consciousness would lead to the awakening of the national will. "Those Jews who want a state of their own will have one."
The skills and knowledge the Jews had acquired since their emancipation would now serve them in laying the foundation of a modern state. Herzl felt “... we are strong enough to form a state, and a model state at that. We have all the human and material resources required for it." Besides, in recent history other peoples, such as the Greeks, the Romanians, the Serbs, and the Bulgarians, had successfully attained statehood.
It seemed to Herzl that anti-Semitism would provide the motive for creating the Jewish State. The sheer force of Jewish suffering and misery Judennot, would act as a propelling force to set in motion a migration to the projected state.
Herzl's plan for creating a state called for the formation of two organizations, the Society of Jews and the Jewish Company. The Society of Jews would make the plans and take the necessary steps for the establishment of a state, while the Jewish Company would deal with the economic interests of the Jews in the countries from which they were emigrating and in the development of the new state. The Society was to provide the Jews with an authoritative political organ, explore and educate public opinion, determine the political preconditions for mass migration, search out a suitable territory for a state, and negotiate with the Great Powers for its acquisition and for the granting of a political charter that would guarantee Jewish sovereignty. Thereafter, the Society of Jews would give instructions to the Jewish Company concerning immigration, land purchase, and colonization. In addition, the Society would prepare the legal and administrative groundwork for the future state. In brief, the Society would be the forerunner of the state; for, "to put it in the terminology of international law, the Society will be recognized as a state-creating power, and this in itself will mean the formation of the state."
Of course, the task of establishing a state could not be carried out without adequate financial support. The Jewish Company would have the task of supplying such aid. It would help those who chose to leave their old homes and would organize commerce, trade, and industry in the new country. Thus the Jewish Company would provide an orderly and equitable method of liquidating the business interests of Jewish emigrants and compensate the various countries for the loss of Jewish income and taxes. In the new country the Jewish Company would purchase land and equipment for settlement, erect temporary housing for workmen, and provide financial help for incoming settlers. The Company, as Herzl conceived it, was transitional, and he assumed that its functions in the new land would eventually be assumed by the state.
How and where would the Company be organized? Herzl felt that the Jewish Company should be set up as a joint-stock company, incorporated in England under British laws and protection. Its principal center would be in London, and the Company's capital would be about one billion marks. Herzl offered three approaches to the task of creating the capital stock of the Jewish Company, leaving the selection of the best method to the Society of Jews, which would use its prestige to establish the credit of the Company among the Jewish people. It was Herzl's hope that wealthy Jewish financiers would subscribe the necessary funds. He favored this method because it seemed the simplest and swiftest means of obtaining the requisite financial resources while providing investment opportunities with the possibility of a fair return. His second approach, to be used in the event that the financiers were reluctant to help, was an appeal to small banks. If this, too, proved unsuccessful, Herzl proposed to capitalize the Jewish Company through the direct subscription of funds by the Jewish masses.
How would the Society of Jews, the forerunner of the state, come into being? Could it legally act on behalf of the Jewish communities of the world? To answer these questions Herzl drew upon his knowledge of Roman law, particularly the ancient juridic institution of the negotiorum gestio. Under this concept, any person or group could protect the property of an incapacitated or absent party without receiving a war-rant from the owner to do so. A person acting in this manner derived his mandate from what the law deemed to be a "higher necessity" and was designated a gestor, the manager or care-taker of affairs not strictly his own.
A state, Herzl stressed, is created by a nation's struggle for existence. In the process of such a struggle it is often impossible to obtain proper authority in due form beforehand. In fact, any preliminary attempt to obtain a regular decision from the majority would probably ruin the undertaking at the outset, for partisan divisions would render the people defenseless against external dangers. "All heads," he stated, "cannot be put under the sahat, as the German saying goes. That is why the gestor simply puts on the hat and leads the way." Action by the gestor of a state is sufficiently authorized if the dominus (the principal) is prevented either by want of will or by some other reason from helping himself. "But through his intervention the gestor becomes liable to the dominus in a manner similar to a contracted obligation-quasi ex con tractu. This is the legal relationship existing before, or, more correctly, created simultaneously with, the state."
Since the Jews were dispersed throughout the world, they were not in a position to conduct their own political affairs, nor could they protect themselves against common dangers. They were, Herzl believed, unable to create a state without the help of a gestor. The Jewish gestor, however, would not be a single individual because such a person would appear ridiculous. Furthermore, since he might appear to be working for his own gain, he might seem contemptible. The gestor of the Jews was to be a corporate person, such as the Society of Jews. After 1897 the gestor became, in fact, the World Zionist Congress.
Inherent in this theory were the answers to the important political questions: who shall rule and what group or class should enjoy a privileged position in the Jewish State? The Society of Jews, or gestor, would "arise out of the circle of valiant English Jews whom I informed about my scheme in London." Herzl had in mind the Order of Ancient Maccabeans, an organization of prominent English Jews. The order, he felt, would either become the Society of Jews or serve as the model for the Society. In terms of class structure, the Society, if it closely paralleled its model, would be composed of an elite of Jewish community leaders, religious, economic, and intellectual, drawn from the upper and middle classes.
It would be the middle class of Jewry, however, that would benefit most from a Jewish State. It would be this class that would do the most to spread the idea of a state and provide the necessary technical and professional manpower for the national movement.
Once the state was established, Herzl foresaw very little change in the power structure, no matter what form the government took. Both power and privilege would remain in the upper and middle classes, with the latter acting as the backbone of the state's bureaucracy. From the ranks of the middle class, Herzl predicted, would come a "surplus intelligentsia" that would provide the state with an aristocracy of talent.
Herzl was convinced that his plans for the intelligentsia would meet with the latter's full approval. A unity of interest existed between the needs of the intelligentsia and the needs of the Jewish State. The differentiation that had marked the rise of this middle class had created a strong class solidarity. Economic pressures brought about by older and more firmly established social groups were threatening to destroy this feeling of union.
The "surplus intelligentsia" of the Jewish middle class, Herzl believed, would gradually sink and become a helpless revolutionary-minded proletariat unless its energies were diverted toward the goal of creating a Jewish State. These factors would be quickly grasped by the intelligentsia and compel it to support a state that strengthened its claims as a class. The intelligentsia would secure its own ends and at the same time give to the state the power and authority it required.
Apart from this description of the forces and instruments that would make possible a national Jewish State, Herzl included in the pages of The Jewish State many practical suggestions on statecraft. These ideas, which were in large measure derived from his personal observations and experiences, made the book more readable and gave additional substance to his theory of the State.
Herzl buttressed his theoretical concepts with concrete suggestions on such diverse subjects as agriculture, civil service, treaties, education, communications, shipping and transport, trade, and taxation. In addition, he attempted to anticipate and forestall the attacks that he knew would be made on his book and its blueprint for a Jewish State. Illustrative of Herzl's thinking and approach to these problems were his comments on capitalism and its institutions, labor, law, the military, and the press and his defense against the possible charge that he had written a utopian work.
Like many another Central European thinker in the second half of the 19th century, Herzl's thoughts on capitalism were strongly influenced by the ideological struggle between the proponents of "scientific socialism" and their rivals, the state Socialists." Herzl was favorably disposed to state socialism and adopted most of the arguments of this school in his book. Society had grown so complex, he believed, that the classical concepts of capitalism were in dire need of revision. What was needed most were positive state-sponsored programs of political and economic reform and the use of state power to weed Out speculation and exploitation. The abuses of laissez faire had to be curbed if capitalism was to survive. Nevertheless, Herzl did not wish to see the demise of all capitalistic institutions. Thus, for instance, he placed great value on the need for free enterprise. In his introduction he noticed that the technical progress achieved in his era had enabled even the "most stupid of men with his dim vision" to note the appearance of new commodities all about them. The spirit of free enterprise had created them. Without such enterprise, labor remained static: "All our material welfare has been brought about by entrepreneurs … the spirit of enterprise shall be encouraged in every way." Risk, with its reward of profits, was to remain the privilege of private capital. To assure the healthy growth of private enterprise in his proposed state, Herzl recommended protective tariffs, state-controlled labor agencies, and a national bureau of statistical research to aid employers in their daily labor and marketing problems.
Herzl's views of private property reflected the influence of Hegelian philosophy, state Socialist tenets, Roman law, and the writings of the French 18th-century philosopher Montesquieu. Private property, he strongly felt, was the mainstay of capitalism and also of individual liberty and therefore had to be freely developed in the Jewish State. Although Herzl was adamant about the rights of individuals to enjoy private property, he felt no compunction about the superior right of the state to interfere with private property rights whenever such action was deemed necessary. Nonetheless, he stressed that the state act in an equitable manner and not in an arbitrary fashion.
Herzl's exposure to Hegelian and state Socialist doctrines also shaped his attitude toward labor. Acutely aware of the seamy side of laissez-faire politics, he vigorously avoided, like his philosophical mentors, the empty abstractions of the Manchester school of economics. He was convinced that the Manchester theorists had no appreciation of the higher duties of the state in the protection of the working class. This basically paternalistic outlook appears throughout The Jewish Slate and reflects ideas that had slowly evolved in Herzl's mind and writings during the period 1882-96. Typical of this formative period were his thoughts about labor outlined in his 1892-93 correspondence with Baron Johann von Chlumecky, a prominent member of the Austrian Parliament. In these letters Herzl first stressed the concept which he was later to incorporate and feature prominently in The Jewish State, that the condition of unskilled, destitute workers could be ameliorated by a state-sponsored system of work relief (assistance par le travail).
From the ranks of Jewish unskilled labor drawn chiefly from the great reservoirs of Russia and Romania, Herzl theorized in The Jewish State, it would be possible to fashion an army of workers. This labor force, directed by the Jewish Company and organized along military lines, would carry out the gigantic physical task of building a viable state. In accordance with a preplan, its members would construct "roads, bridges, railways and telegraph installations, regulate rivers and build their own dwellings." This army, composed solely of volunteers, would operate under a strict disciplinary code. To stimulate the growth of this labor force, Herzl recommended promotions for merit, bonuses, pensions, insurance, educational benefits, and the opportunity to work one's way up to private proprietorship. In addition, the Jewish Company would build attractive schools for the children of the labor force and provide numerous social services as well as amusement centers and religious facilities for their parents.
Furthermore, in the initial state-building phase, the army of unskilled workers, who would not receive pay for their labor, would be fully protected by the Jewish Company. Herzl felt that a "truck system," that is, the practice of paying workmen's wages in goods instead of in money, would have to be applied in the first few years of settlement. This system would prevent the labor force from being victimized by unscrupulous merchants. However, Herzl visualized that payment of wages would be made for overtime work during this formative period.
The state not only would protect the labor force from being exploited but would also establish a new legal standard workday, the seven-hour day. Following the path indicated by such work experiments in Belgium and England, Herzl suggested that there be "fourteen hours of labor, but one group of workers will relieve another after a shift of three and a half hours In three hours and a half a healthy man can do a great deal of concentrated work. After a recess of three and a half hours - devoted to rest, to his family, to his education under guidance - he will be quite fresh again. Such labor can work wonders. The seven-hour day! It makes possible a total of fourteen working hours - more than that cannot be put into a day."
So deeply ingrained in his thinking was the seven-hour day that Herzl considered creating a national flag for the future Jewish state that would symbolize this work standard for the benefit of the rest of the world. He suggested "a whit flag with seven gold stars. The white field signifies our new, pure life; the stars are the seven golden hours of our working day. For the Jews will move to the new land under the banner of labor."
Women and children were to be excluded from the labor force. The Jewish Company was to bear the burden of caring for the needs of these dependents. The homes of the laborers would be built by the labor army and resemble neither "the dismal workmen's barracks of European towns, nor the miserable shanties that are lined up around factories." Even though economies would compel a certain uniformity in construction, all efforts would be made to create spacious garden towns consisting of dusters of detached houses. Each labor community would take advantage of the natural conformation of the land in order to prevent the growth of hypertropic cities. The unskilled workers, Herzl stressed, would have the opportunity to earn their houses as permanent possessions by means of their work -"not immediately, but after three years of good conduct."
Within the sphere of the state, Herzl believed, there were two distinct kinds of law, the law that governs the state (constitutional) and the law by which the state governs (ordinary). Although Herzl recognized the importance of the former, he devoted little attention to it and stressed instead the development of ordinary law in his proposed state. He emphasized that when the State began to approach realization, the Society of Jews would appoint a council of jurists to lay the groundwork for its laws. During the transition period this council would act on the principle that every immigrant Jew was to be judged according to the laws of the country he had left behind. Thereafter legal uniformity was to be sought. The laws would be modern, making use of the best precedents available, and indeed might become a model code, embodying all just social demands.
Herzl's identification of the state with justice indicated that he had taken a definite stand on the question as to whether the law was to be above the state or the state above the law. His legal training compelled him to side against those who placed the state above the law and exalted the state as a power agency. Yet Herzl was not completely willing to reject the value of state power if it was used judiciously and for the common welfare of a nation's citizens.
This balanced approach to the question of state power was also evident in Herzl's thoughts on the role of the military in the Jewish State. He stressed that an army would be necessary, if only to preserve order internally and defend the state against an external enemy. Under no circumstances, however, would it be used for the aggrandizement of the state, nor would it ever be allowed to dominate the state.
Herzl felt that public opinion had to have an outlet in a modern state. The great organs of opinion, particularly the newspapers, provided such an outlet and were necessary for good government. As the chief purveyors of news and opinion, the newspapers therefore had a grave responsibility to their public and their nation. Although freedom of the press was essential, there were reasonable limitations to such liberty. Libel and slander, for example, could not be justified under freedom of the press. Herzl therefore felt that in the Jewish State there should be some limitations to freedom of the press in order to safeguard innocent people from slander or libel. As long as a newspaper in the Jewish State did not violate ethical principles and common decency, however, it could print what it wished. It could even oppose the government and governmental policy without fear of recriminations or retaliation.
Herzl greatly feared that many people would consider The Jewish State utopian. His attitude was understandable in view of the preva lent ideas of the times. The 19th century had been marked by an unusual number of publications dealing with the same theme, the need to rebuild or reform society along modern lines. Some of these works were completely visionary. Others, notably the books of the French Socialists (Cabot, Fourier, Blanc, Saint-Simon, Proudhon), were dubbed utopian by the "scientific Socialists," Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, to discredit their authors and their themes. The term "utopian' was applied by the Marxists to all reformers who did not accept the division of society into classes, the inevitability of class struggle, and the certainty of social revolution. Apprehensive of such criticism, Herzl met the issue of utopianism head on. In the preface of his treatise he addressed his would-be critics by noting that "it would be no disgrace to have written a philanthropic Utopia. I could achieve an easier literary success-and, as it were, avoid all responsibility-if I presented my plan in the form of a novel for readers who want to be entertained. But that would not be the kind of amiable Utopia that has been produced in such abundance before and after Sir Thomas More. And I think the situation of the Jews in various countries is bad enough to render such introductory dalliance superfluous."
In many ways The Jewish State represented a complete break with utopian tradition. It contained nothing suggestive of a perfect society, nor did it reveal any tendency to mold individuals into uniform creatures with identical wants and reactions, devoid of all emotions and passions. Individuality and individual expression were not to be crushed on either esthetic or moral grounds. Private property and the family were to remain intact rather than be sacrificed to the unity of the state, as demanded by most utopias.
Finally, Herzl's work lacked the symmetry so beloved by all utopians. The settings of most utopias are invariably artificial and tend to neglect natural regions in favor of perfectly round islands and perfectly straight rivers. Herzl dealt with concrete territories: Palestine and Argentina.
The publication of Der Judenstaat aroused a storm of controversy almost without parallel in modern Jewish history. Immediately after the appearance of the first edition (3,000 copies) a vehement campaign was launched against Herzl and his publisher, Dr. Max Breitenstein. Doubts were expressed about the personal integrity of the author. The leaders of the Union of Austrian Jews and of the Vienna Jewish Community flung bitter reproaches at the publisher and forced him to issue the first counter-brochure against Herzl's work (National Judaism, by Chief Rabbi Moritz Gudemann). The press, both Jewish and non-Jewish, was generally unfavorable to Herzl's plan. A number of journalists alluded to the adventurer who would like to become king of the Jews. The Neue Freie Presse, of which Herzl was literary editor, kept silent about Der Judenstaat and maintained this policy until the author's death.
TheAilgemeine Zeitung of Vienna said that Zionism was a madness born of despair. The Ailgemeine Zeitung of Munich described the treatise as a fantastic dream of a feuilletonist whose mind had been unhinged by Jewish enthusiasm. Even among the Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion) there were many who feared that so clear an exposition of nationalism would cause the Turkish government to take steps to destroy the Jewish settlements in Palestine. Assimilationist elements of Western Jewry were disturbed by the declaration that a Jewish people as such existed and that it constituted a single entity throughout the world. Similarly, many lay leaders of Western Jewry and, with few exceptions, the rabbis, both Orthodox and Reform, utterly condemned Herzl's ideas as contrary to the fundamental principles of Judaism. The Orthodox opponents were antagonistic because they believed his plans violated the ancient Messianic idea of Jewish redemption; human realization of the restoration of Israel was considered futile and impious. They were also alarmed by Herzl's emphasis on a political and economic solution to the Jewish question. Many of the Reform rabbis opposed Herzl's theories on the ground that they negated the doctrine of the ''mission of Israel," that is, the concept that God desired the Jews to be dispersed among the nations of the world to teach their neighbors the ideals of ethical monotheism.
On the other hand, The Jewish State was greeted with enthusiastic support by Jewish youth groups throughout Europe. Disciples, especially Jewish university students, began to rally around Herzl, and he soon found himself the leader of a viable nationalistic movement. Prominent men such as the critic Max Nordau and the poet Richard Beer-Hofmann were swept off their feet by his message and sang its praises. Others soon followed suit.
However, it was on the Jewish masses of Eastern Europe that Herzl's ideas made their greatest impression. Little was known there of the contents of The Jewish State) for it had been kept out of these areas by Russian censorship. Only its title captured the attention of the Jews, as did the stories told of the author-the Western Jew who had returned to his people to lead them to the Promised Land. Thus, overnight Der Judenstaat catapulted Herzl into the forefront of Jewish political affairs, a position he was to retain until his untimely death in 1904.