|Resources » Zionism »|
|Author: Theodor Herzl|
Herzl gives his views on the causes and effects of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe before the British Royal Commission. His sympathy and love for these persecuted fellow-Jews gleam from the words.
74. The mere fact of this Commission having sat will give an impetus to immigration to England; it will have formed an additional notification of the desirability of England as a place for emigration.
75. You have had witnesses... who have explained... the reasons which induce Jews from Eastern Europe to come to this country and to America. Permit me to say that it is not by any means chiefly material advantages that draw them hither. Moral advantages play the larger part - a desire to live in conditions compatible with human aspirations - a desire for the freedom of life and soul which the Jew cannot under present conditions know in Eastern Europe.
76. The Commission must understand that Jews more than any other people certainly not less - are attached to their homes. This fact makes their lot more tragic. In medieva l Germany the word Elena means both misery and exile, and the two have ever been synonymous for the Jew.
77. An immigrant Jew is not in a condition to foresee what will happen ten years later when he reaches a higher social scale where he will display greater enterprise. At the moment of his immigration, his only thought is not to starve... It is like a natural force which drives them and like a stream of water which seeks the place of least resistance.
78. If you want to understand this question you must not only try to look at it from the East End of London point of view. .. I think if you see a pool of blood in your room, you have the natural wish to clean your room. But what is the reason for the pool of blood? The reason is that outside is a wounded man. Help the wounded man first and then clean your room.
79. I do not think it [immigration]. is due solely to persecution ... I think a man has a natural tendency to remain on his soil if he has a soil... Among those coming here are adventurers and young people who like to know the world. ..But... family fathers... only come when they are in very deep depression. When a man is already at home with his family he does not like to change his place.
The Galut [Diaspora]
In these statements Herzl envisioned the galut from the perspective of the restored State. Under the new circumstances the Jews living in galut and wishing to assimilate faced a favorable and tolerant reception in contrast to the hostile attitude of the majority prior to the existence of the State.
80. Jews who wished to assimilate with other people now felt free to do so ... There were also some who wished to adopt the majority religion, and these could now do so without being suspected of snobbery or careerism ... Toleration can and must always rest on reciprocity. Only when the Jews, forming the majority in Palestine, showed themselves tolerant, were they shown more tolerance in other countries.
81. What a degraded era that was... when the Jews had been ashamed of everything Jewish, when they thought they made a better showing when they concealed their Jewishness. Yet in that very concealment they had revealed the temper of the slave at best of the liberated slave. They need not have been surprised at the contempt shown them, for they had shown no respect for themselves.
82. Those who succeeded in business or in some other field often openly forsook the faith of their fathers. They were at pains to hide their origin as though it were a taint. Those who forsook Judaism denied their own fathers and mothers in order to be quit of it; they must have thought it something low, reprehensible, evil... After baptism they were still suspect, and remained, as it were, in quarantine. Marranos, the baptized Jews of medieva l Spain had been called. Marranoism then was the quarantine for refugee Jews!
83. And all that time Judaism had sunk lower and lower. It was an "elend" in the full sense of the old German word that had meant "out-land" - the limbo of the banished! ... Whoever was "elend." The Jews had thus fallen always lower, as much by their own fault as by the fault of others. Elend ... Golus ... Ghetto. Words in different languages for the same thing. Being despised and finally despising yourself.
In his debates with his contemporary philanthropists of Western Europe, Herzl was explicit in his plan that they approach the Jewish problem on a national scale and in accordance with its size and gravity. They insisted on charitable, that is, petty amelioration. He failed to change, in the main, their viewpoint.
84. Up to now, among the arguments in favor of Zionism, one of the best is the bankruptcy of assimilation. Now we have a new one: the insolvency of philanthropy. And what an insolvency! For when the wealthy become bankrupt the losses are enormous.
85. The credit policy of the great Jewish financiers ought to be placed at the service of the National Idea. But should these gentlemen... not feel disposed to do anything for their fellow-Jews who are unjustly held responsible for the large possessions of certain individuals, then the realization of this plan will afford an opportunity for drawing a clear line of demarcation between them and the rest of Jewry.
86. I have warned English Jews of their unpreparedness to meet a state of affairs they hoped could never arise, in speech after speech... Jewish charity is still run upon lines that in the Middle Ages were ample. Alteration of conditions has entirely outgrown it.
87. I am very thankful from a human standpoint, for this great Jewish charity as it is exercised in London, and if I make objections they are only from the political point of view. Certainly I do not say it is wrong to give a piece of bread to a starving man.
88. I do not condemn it [charity]. I regret that the moneys spent in the work of charity are not used in a general scheme which would, perhaps, be more efficacious and which would avoid creating professional beggars, and which would help real working people...
89. I would give them [the philanthropists] general advise, and say, ’Unite your forces 'and find out the right place for settling and help the real working men instead of the wandering beggars and the professionals.
90. There is the principle of philanthropy which I hold to be altogether mistaken. You breed beggars. It is characteristic of the situation that no other people shows so much philanthropy and so much beggary as the Jews. Plainly there must be a close connection between these two phenomena. Philanthropy, it is apparent, debases the character of our people...
91. ...You (Baron Hirsch] haven't set about the whole matter the right way. You drag these would be Jewish farmers across the seas. They are bound to think that in the future, too, they will have a claim upon your support - and this does nothing to foster their will to work. Whatever such an exported Jew cost you is not worth the price.
92. You will prove nothing with your 20,000 Argentine Jews even if they prosper. Whereas, if the experiment fails, you furnish a dreadful argument against all Jews.
93. Some of these charitable organizations are not for, but against, persecuted Jews. The poorest must be dispatched very fast and very far… And thus careful inspection reveals many an apparent friend of the Jews to be merely an anti-Semite of Jewish origin dressed up as a philanthropist.
94. To give alms is not to help. Alms are merely the tie which binds the lazy rich to the lazy poor. But these two categories do not represent the whole of the Jewish people.
95. Even the Jews who tax themselves in proportion to their fortunes cannot fulfill their duty with money alone. Money does not restore life to the dead, health to the maimed, parents to the orphaned. And how can alms relieve the fear of those who, although they themselves have not been the victims of assaults, continue to live in the self-same circumstances? Their turn may come at any moment.
Herzl the Man
This section reflects Herzl's opinions on various ideas and events, usually epitomized in pithy phrases and spiced with striking frankness.
96. The protests of several Rabbis were among the most striking of these manifestations. That these gentlemen pray for Zion and at the same time agitate against it will forever remain a strange phenomenon.
97. If the great powers of this earth are satisfied, are content with the slow progress of their loftiest ideas, how satisfied must we poor folks be if we can affirm that things are going forward a little.
98. The help of the powers, some people will say, signifies nothing good. Either they want to be rid of us or they want to deny us admission. So be it. If it portends injustice to our people we shall reply to it in the future. In our future, in our country! And our answer shall consist in .the advancement of human civilization.
99. No one is wealthy or powerful enough to force civilization to take a single retrograde step. The mere preservation of obsolete institutions is a task severe enough to tax all the powers at the disposal even of an autocratically governed State. A cross-bow is quite a beautiful weapon which inspires me with elegiac feelings when I have the time. But its place is in the Museum.
100. The pressure exerted on us does not make us better. We are in no way different from other people. It is true that we do not love our enemies. Yet only he who has conquered himself is entitled to reproach us for that. Pressure naturally creates hostility against our oppressors, and our hostility aggravates the pressure. It is impossible to escape from this vicious circle.
101. He who does not wish to come with us can remain behind. Rejection by some individuals is irrelevant. Let all who are willing to join us fall in behind our banner, and fight for it with voice, pen and deed.
102. A scheme such as mine is gravely imperiled if it is opposed by practical people. Now practical people are as a rule nothing more than men sunk into the groove of daily routine, unable to emerge from a narrow circle of antiquated ideas.
103. For in the new life our folk will flock to work, and then the world will see what an industrious people we are.
104. We are collectivists only where the immense difficulties of the task demand this. For the rest we wish to respect the rights of the individual most scrupulously. Private property, which is the economic basis of independence, should develop freely and be respected among us... The spirit of enterprise has to be encouraged in every possible way.
105. There are old customs, old memories, that attach us to our homes. We have cradles, we have graves, and it is known how Jewish hearts cling to the graves. Our cradles we shall carry with us - they hold our future, rosy and smiling. Our beloved graves we must abandon - and I think their abandonment will be the hardest thing for our "covetous" people.
106. Naturally the best of the new world belongs to the most courageous.
107. When we depart from Egypt once again we shall not leave the fleshpots behind.
108. I think a democratic monarchy and an aristocratic republic are the finest forms for the State...The form of State and the principle of government must involve a balancing of opposites.
109. The masses too are even more prone than Parliaments to submit to every heterodoxy of opinion, and to be attracted to every vigorous ranter. It is simply impossible to conduct internal or foreign affairs in the presence of the assembled people. Politics must take shape in the upper strata and work downwards...
110. Those who inaugurate this movement will scarcely live to see its glorious close. But the inauguration in itself will lead them to a sense of pride and the joy of spiritual freedom.
111. As for myself, I feel the publication of this pamphlet ends my task. I shall take up the pen only if the attacks of noteworthy antagonists compel me.
112. The Jewish State is necessary for the world; consequently it will come about.
113. Whether this political pamphlet remains a political romance for the present depends on the Jews themselves. If the present generation is too inert, another, finer and better, will take its place. The Jews who so desire will have their State, and they will deserve it.
114. Although I now appeal to reason, I am fully aware that reason alone will not suffice. Old prisoners do not willingly leave their cells. We shall see whether the youth we require are at our command; the youth who sweep the old along, carry them forward on powerful arms and transform rational considerations into enthusiasm.
115. Democracy without a sovereign's useful counterpoise is extreme in approbation and condemnation, leads to parliamentary prattle and produces that objectionable class of person, the professional politician. Besides... a pure democracy presupposes exceedingly simple customs, and our customs become daily more complicated with the growth of commerce and increase in culture.
116. The word "impossible" already seems to have ceased to exist in the vocabulary of technical science... Wherever we moderns appear with our inventions we transforms the desert into a garden...Distance has ceased to be an obstacle. The treasury of the modern spirit already contains immeasurable riches. .. A hundred thousand heads think and seek at every point of the globe, and what one discovers belongs to the whole world within a moment.
117. I believe that a generation of wondrous Jews will grow forth from the earth. The Maccabeans will rise again. The Jews who so desire will have their State. Let us live as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own Homeland. The world will be freed by our liberty, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness.
118. My associates and I make no distinctions between one man and another. We do not ask to what race or religion a man belongs. If he is a man, that is enough for us.
119. Only in Jerusalem will you enjoy the universal peace of God.
120. There seems to be a profound reason for that [the Messianic movements]. It was not that the people believed what they said, but rather that they said what the people believed. They soothed a yearning. Or, perhaps it would be more correct to say, they sprang from the yearning. That's it. The longing creates the Messiah.
121. My last word to the Jews will be: The stranger must be made to feel at home in our midst...
122. Man, thou art my brother! Brother, thou art welcome here!
123. I am not ashamed to say". . now that I have lived to see the restoration of the Jews, I should like to pave the way for the restoration of the Negroes.
124. I do not underestimate ideal and sentimental motives. But material incentives have their value as well.
125. And above all is God.
126. Yes, Heine was a true poet who sensed the romance of the national destiny. He had sung German songs ardently, but the beauty of Hebrew melodies had not escaped him.
127. Even my dreams are eternal, for others will dream them when I am gone. Though the creators of Beauty and Wisdom pass away, Beauty and Wisdom are themselves immortal.
128. We cannot change the order of things. As they were twenty years ago or two thousand years ago, so they are today. When Job's hour strikes he must compose himself and say: "The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away!"
129. We understand that a community must have an ideal in its own interest... an ideal is indispensable. For it is that which draws us on. ..The ideal is for the community what bread and water are for the individual. And our Zionism which led us hither and which will lead us still further to yet unknown heights, is but an ideal, an infinite endless ideal.
130. Old institutions need not go under at one blow in order that new ones may be born. Not every son is posthumous. Parents usually live along with their children for many years. It follows that an old social order need not break up because a new one is on the way.
131. Having seen here a new order composed of none but old institutions I have come to believe neither in the complete destruction nor the complete renewal of a social order. I believe ...in a gradual reconstruction of society. And I also believe that such a reconstruction never comes about through systematic planning, but as the need arises. Necessity is the builder...
132. That Jews themselves should be devising means for excluding their own people from whole districts is... monstrous. In principle they are pursuing the same policy as those who favor a restriction of alien immigration.
133. The character of England as a free country is not only an English question but it is a question of universal interest.
134. To cure the evil you must go to the fountain.
135. I would not be the crown witness for anything against Jews.
136. Certain things you may do with a member of your family which would be an offense from another.
137. You cannot close it [immigration] without changing all the conditions of your land. Russia is a closed land, but England is not.
138. A desperate immigrant is not necessarily an undesirable man. I believe young civilization is made by despairing men.
139. I was, and still am, compelled to reckon on my initial shyness. When I am dealing with famous or well-known people, I often become ridiculous through embarrassment ...Rich people must not be shown too much deference. ..Riches affect me only in the guise of beauty...One of our sort doesn't think of these results of wealth when he rails against it.
140. I had no intention whatever of becoming one of his [Hirsch's] dependents. Either I would render him compliant with my purpose or I would go away empty-handed. I was even ready with an answer if he should offer me a post in the Jewish [Colonization] Association: "Into your service? No. Into that of the Jews? Yes."
141. This pen is a power. You [Baron de Hirsch] will be convinced of it if I remain alive and in health - a reservation which you too must make with regard to your own work. You are the great money-Jew. I am the Jew of the spirit. Hence the difference in our means and approach... I am on my way... At the utmost you can stem the course of evolution for a brief moment and then the whirlwind will sweep you away.
142. Would you [Baron de Hirsch] like to make a wager with me? I shall raise a national Jewish loan. Will you obligate yourself to contribute 50 million marks when I shall have raised the first hundred million? In return I shall make you Commander-in-Chief.
143. I have given the matter up. Why? My plan would be wrecked by the opposition of the poor Jews rather than the rich...The other day I expounded my entire plan to a sensible friend... I reduced him to a jelly, he swam in tears; I convinced his reason and wrung his heart. Then he slowly came to himself, and said to me: "Through this undertaking you will make yourself ridiculous or tragic." Becoming a tragic figure would not daunt me; ridicule, though, would destroy not me but the cause. ..This is why I give the thing up.
144. There stands the wall: this demoralization of the Jews. I know that beyond it lies freedom. But I cannot break through the wall with my own head alone. Therefore I give up.
145. As a practical proposition I am done with the matter. But I cling to the theory of it and cherish it. Perhaps this shows that I too am one of the demoralized Jews. A Christian would go through thick and thin in behalf of such a mighty idea.
146. I don't want to look like a Don Quixote. But the petty solution -your 20,000 Argentineans or the conversion of the Jews to Socialism - I will not accept. For I am no Sancha Panza either...
147. I shall still try to do something for the Jews - but not with them. The last step I shall take, and perhaps the most effective, will be to place the matter before the exalted personage [The German Kaiser]. He is reputed to be an anti-Semite, but this does not bother me...
148. Truly, it will be hard to gain over the Jews. But gain them I shall. I feel gathering within me a gigantic strength for this glorious task. A man grows as his aim in life becomes higher.
149. If I am to lead [the Jewish people] no tears must be shown. The leader must have an unfaltering countenance.
150. The Promised Land is where we carry it.
151. The Jewish State is a world necessity. They will pray for me in the synagogues. But also in the churches.
152. Again I noticed that I have the power to stir people. These are only old men, slow-moving and sotted with wealth. Yet I could sense how their soul emits sparks when I strike upon it. Our youth to whom I want to give a full and rich future I shall of course carry by storm.
153. I am far from wishing to be an innovator. The more people there are who share my universal idea, the better I shall be pleased.
154. We have the most wonderful human material that could be imagined.
155. I am turning first to notable Jews who have distinguished themselves by their past efforts, but I do not need them. Naturally, I am bound to be gratified if prominent men march with me. But I am not dependent on them.
156. My five hundred copies [Jewish State] came this evening. When I had the bundle carted to my room I trembled violently. The great decision stands wrapped up in this bundle. From here on, my life will perhaps take a new turn. ..The most remarkable of all things is when a man never gives up.
157. Whoever slashes at me I will slash... Those, however, who go with me will leave a name in history.
158. Dr. Beck, the old family doctor of my parents, has examined me and diagnosed a weakness of the heart, caused by powerful excitement. He fails to understand why I concern myself with the Jewish cause, and among the Jews he frequents no one else can understand it.
159. Great things need no solid foundation. An apple must be put on a table so that it will not fall. The earth floats in mid-air. Similarly, I may be able to found and stabilize the Jewish State without any firm support.
160. At this moment my thoughts turn to the dead Baron de Hirsch. The living are right - and I am right, so long as I live. The Jews have lost Hirsch, but they have me. And after me they will have someone else, ever upwards is the law. I have taken on the same task in a different and I believe better way, and more effectively, for I am employing not the power of money but of an idea.
161. Tomorrow it will be a year since I inaugurated the movement by my visit to Hirsch. If during the coming year I make a proportionate advance - comparing the initial nothing with the present gains - then we shall be 'leshonoh haboh b'yershalayim.'
162. We prepared the ground for a fragment of world history [negotiations with Turks in Constantinople] for this attempt to found a Jewish State will live in the memories of men, even if our plan remains a dream...
163. The greed with which the whole world covets Constantinople is understandable. Everyone wants to possess it, and this is the best guarantee for Turkey's survival. Not a pirate among the nations will concede this treasure of beauty to another - and so perhaps it will remain unstolen.
164. The sight of this imposing parliamentary structure externals have their dramatic effect - induced a touch of the dizziness I had experienced in the ante-chamber of the Grand Duke. At the same time I came to understand why the English Jew should cling to a country where he can enter this house as one of its masters.
165. As I sat on the platform of the Working Men's stage... I saw and heard my legend being made... I believe that by now they no longer have a clear image of me. A faint mist is beginning to rise and envelope me, and may perhaps become the cloud on which I shall walk... I made a firm and silent resolve to become ever worthier of their trust and love.
166. Don't make me mountains with your molehills. We can't anticipate the future. Let us go forward, and we shall see.
167. Everything I resolve upon comes to pass, even if at another time and in another way; and the goal itself will assuredly be reached, although I myself shall scarcely live to see it.
168. In general, it was my unremitting course during those three days (of the Congress) to make Nordau forget that he was playing second fiddle at the Congress, a role from which his amour propre visibly suffered. I stressed on every occasion that I was president solely for technical reasons... and that apart from this he was entitled to precedence under all circumstances.
169. I called upon Nordau. He spoke gloriously. His address is and will continue to be a monument of our age. When he returned to our table I went over to him and said, "A monument more lasting than bronze."
170. Ten years from now, the children in the Judenbreetstraat [in Amsterdam] and in all the Jewish quarters in the world will be singing the Zionist anthem.
171. I am not better or cleverer than anyone of you. But I remain undaunted, and that is why the leadership belongs to me. In darker moments than the present I did not lose courage - indeed I made still greater sacrifices.
172. The chief tenet of my life: Whoever wishes to change men must change the conditions under which they live.
173. My testament for the Jewish people: So build your State that the stranger will feel contented among you.
174. Yesterday, upon the opening of my play’ I Love You’… I again suffered for my Zionism. When the curtain fell there was violent hissing, which obviously could not have been aroused by this unpretentious little comedy I must not live on Zionism, I am not to be allowed to live on literature. A problem!
175. I have thought of an appropriate epitaph for myself: "He had too good an opinion of the Jews."
176. When once the Jewish State exists, all of this [diplomacy] will of course look trivial. Perhaps a juster historian will discover that it was still something after all for a Jewish journalist without means, during an era of the most abominable anti-Semitism and when the Jewish people had sunk into, the depths, to have 'converted a rag into a flag, and a degraded multitude into a nation, which rallied, head erect around that flag.
177. Zionism was the Sabbath of my life.
178. And yet I feel, I know, that I am by instinct a great writer, or was one, who failed to yield his full harvest only because he became nauseated and discouraged... In the Jewish question I have become a renowned propagandist, but as an author, particularly as a playwright, I am held to be nothing, less than nothing.
179. I am "broken down" and have dropped all work for a while…it is possible that we stand on the threshold of obtaining a British charter and founding the Jewish State? The exhaustion of my energies makes it seem plausible. In his review of Altneuland Dr. Hugo Ganz says very aptly: "No Moses enters the Promised Land."
180. I had to attend a consultation of my physicians, who decided to send me to Franzensbad for six weeks on account of my heart trouble. I have been feeling exhausted for a long while, but kept plodding on.
181. In the midst of life there is death.
182. I gave my blood for my people.
183. [In his will Herzl asked that his body be buried in Vienna next to that of his father to remain there until] "the Jewish people will carry my remains to Palestine."
These "Personal Items" depict various reactions and moods which Herzl experienced - pessimism, fear, exultation, disappointment, etc.
184. I must frankly admit to myself: I am demoralized. From no side help; from every side attacks. Nordau writes me that nobody stirs any longer in Paris. The Maccabeans in London are more Pickwickian than ever. ..In Germany, I have only opponents. The Russians look on sympathetically while I slave away but none of them lends a hand. In Austria, especially Vienna, I have a few adherents. Those who are not self-seekers do absolutely nothing; the others - the active ones - want to get a boost in their careers, thanks I an editor of the Neue Freie Presse.
185. The prosperous Jews are all against me. So I am beginning to have the right to become the world's worst anti-Semite. I often think of Levysohn's prediction: "Those whom you want to help will start by nailing you rather painfully to the cross."
186. I feel that I am growing exhausted. Oftener than ever I believe that my movement is at an end. While I am still absolutely convinced of its feasibility, I cannot overcome the initial difficulties. But one million florin are required to put the movement squarely on its feet. Yet this bagatelle (in relation to a great cause) is wanting -and we shall have to go to sleep, although it is fully daylight.
187. Nordau writes that he will on no account sign an appeal for money unless it were also signed by well-known millionaires... I reply that I too would not be simple-minded and inexperienced enough to sign an appeal for money which was not all that it should be. But that, considering my means, I have made sufficient financial sacrifices, and must for the future leave it to the Jewish people to decide whether they mean to do anything for themselves, and how much.
188. I brought Nevlinski today his ticket for Constantinople. The expedition costs me not a little. Nevlinski also asked me to take along some fruit for the Turkish court ...all imported from France. The basket cost me 70 florins.
189. We are leaving for Sofia tonight. Altogether the expedition [to Constantinople] will cost me about 3,000 francs. The sunken capital increases.
190. Paid David Nutt 19 pounds plus a few shillings for the English edition of the Jewish State. He has sold only 160 copies. Also obliged, a few days ago, to send three hundred francs to Nordau, so he could pay for the French translation.
191. The professional and philanthropic Zionists [Hovevei Zion] are sidling my way again, now that they realize they cannot halt the Congress.
192. I stand in command of striplings, beggars, and sensation-mongers. Some of them exploit me. Others are already jealous or disloyal. Still others desert me as soon as any little career gives them an opening. Only a few are unselfish enthusiasts. Nevertheless, even this army would do the job if a success were in sight. Then it would quickly become a first-rate body of regular troops.
193. The position [President of the World Zionist Organization] requires a man to remain silent when a single word could fire enthusiasm; to keep other people's courage up when his own is ready to give away; to stomach a bad business with a cheerful air: to traffic with rogues, be besieged by beggars and snubbed by insolent boors. The beggars, to be sure, would behave like the boors if they had the money - and vice versa. To all this add envy, treachery, scurrilous attacks and no reward, for of course I have done the whole thing out of vanity… I am tired; my heart is out of gear.
194. Noise is everything... A sustained noise is in itself a noteworthy fact. World history is nothing but noise; noise of arms, and of advancing ideas. Men must put noise to use and still despise it.
195. He thought I was crazy and now he has come over to my side - in the same way, all the others will come who once called me a lunatic. But what if I had allowed these people to dissuade me? The world would have been poorer by an idea, and Jewry by a great movement.
196. Like a love-sick youth who sees his beloved under every woman's hat, I find now in everything a stimulation or a reminder of my idea.
197. Yesterday to the painter Josef Israels. A short, dapper, shrew, old little Jew. At present he is painting David playing the harp before Saul. I explained what Zionism was about and courted him. He thought it a beautiful idea.
198. I read it... and at first I was fairly stunned. The tremendous achievement which it represented set up, in the beginning, an unpleasant train of thought. I saw at once the grave consequences it could entail for me at the Neue Freie Presse. If, after the expiration of my leave, I went to Palestine instead of back to the office, it might cost me my job. On the other hand, I cannot disregard the Kaiser's wish - tantamount to a command. Eulenburg wrote that the Kaiser would be disappointed if he did not see me in Jerusalem... I cannot help myself. I must put even my position at stake.
199. A pity that I am a wage slave of the Neue Freie Presse ...The sullen, indescribable battles I have had to wage for every little step I took, will never be suspected or appreciated by the ungrateful Jews, who once I succeed, will become my enemies.
200. The Count [Eulenburg] came out at once...Naturally he feels himself to be my superior, as belonging to what he considers a higher breed. But how can I resent this when I consider the outrageous way in which precisely the "higher" Jews... behave towards our idealist cause.
201. The Kaiser left a deep and strong impression. Afterwards I tried to render it in a comparison and could hit on the following: I felt as though I had entered a magic forest where the fabulous unicorn is said to dwell. Suddenly there stood before me a splendid woodland animal, with a single horn on its head. Its looks, however, surprised me less than the fact that it existed. I had previously imagined the appearance but not the actual breath and life of this creature. And my astonishment grew when the creature began to speak in a kindly human voice and said: "I am the fabled unicorn."
202. There are two factions here [in Jerusalem]. One wanted me to deliver the communal address to the Kaiser; the other apparently wished to keep me away altogether - me and my Zionism. Since, as I was in. formed, the Haham Bashi at Constantinople has proposed to his colleagues here that I be laid under the great ban, I preferred on the whole not to go near these niggling Oriental protesters.
203. Palestine became too hot for me. If the Turkish Government had a grain of political foresight, this was their chance to put an end to my business. Ever since my arrival at Constantinople they have had opportunities such as may never recur. They could have expelled me. Or they might have made even shorter work of me at the hands of gendarmes disguised as murderous bandits. The Turkish government has allowed me to pursue and complete my journey; and, if my assumptions are correct, I am today a political factor.
204. Out of piety I still put up at the old place [at the Hotel Castille, Paris] where I wrote The Jewish State four years ago. What a road since then! And what weariness. My heart is badly strained. I suffer palpitations and an irregular pulse.
205. My work would appear far more remarkable if people knew with what financial worries I have to contend, as the result of my outlays on Zionism.
206. I miss at every turn the fifty thousand florins [$24,000] which I have put into the movement. I am rendered more dependent in my relations with the Neue Freie Presse than would otherwise have been the case. I have to tremble lest I be dismissed; I don't care to take now the holiday which my health requires, for I have already been away from my desk for six weeks - the whole of it spent on active service for Zionism. So, once more, I return today to the office, after having been a free and mighty lord at Basel... like a submissive clerk back from vacation. Cruel!
207. While riding out... today, the title for my novel about Zion suddenly occurred to me: Alt-Neuland reminiscent of the name of the Prague synagogue, Altneuschul. It will become a famous word.
208. I thought the Sinai matter was so certain that I no longer wanted to buy a family vault in the Doblinger Cemetery, where my father is provisionally laid to rest. Now I consider the matter so utterly shattered that I have been to the borough court and have acquired vault 28.
209. At the hotel [in St. Petersburg] there awaited me no letter of recommendation from Rothschild to Witte. His lordship pleads "present circumstances." Is it opportunism or cowardice? Who is he afraid of seeing me become too important? Very well, we must go ahead without him. As heretofore.
210. The Sixth Congress. The old hurly-hurly. I have severe heart symptoms from sheer exhaustion. If I did it all for the sake of thanks, I would be a big fool.
211. Yesterday I submitted my report to the Greater Actions Committee. Items: England and Russia. It didn't occur to a single one of them that for this unprecedented labor I deserved so much as a smile, let alone a word of gratitude.
eva luating Men
In this chapter Herzl frankly expresses his opinion of men, some important, others ordinary, whom he met during the course of his work for the Zionist cause.
212. On the whole a pleasant, intelligent natural sort of man [Baron de Hirsch] - vain par example but I could have worked with him. With all his obstinacy, he gives the impression of being reliable.
213. We are, in fact, two natures such - as emerge at the beginning of a new era - he [Baron de Hirsch] the condottiere of money, I condottiere of the mind.
214. We came to the conclusion that the "Address" [the plan for the Jewish State] should not be laid before the Rothschilds, who are vulgar and contemptuous egotists.
215. I took Gudemann [Chief Rabbi of Vienna] to the station. At parting he said to me: "Remain as you are! Perhaps you are called of God!" We kissed each other goodbye. There was a strange light in his fine eyes as from the car window he again clasped my hand and held it firmly.
216. I occasionally visited Gudemann. He had grown rather lukewarm, but I managed to rekindle his spirits.
217. I grew quite angry at the poltroon [Gudemann] and said to him: "You are a Jew living through protection (Schutzjude) - and I - am a protecting Jew. Obviously you could never understand me ...In conclusion I said to him: "It is hopeless. You, to whom I have spoken longest and most often on the matter, you forever desert me. Unfortunately you still do not know what it is all about. We are standing at Donay-Eschingen, at the first trickle of the river. But I tell you that it will yet be the Danube!
218. I recognized at once the type that Leven [a French Jewish leader] represents: by nature sluggish but well meaning; a hater of novelties who finds it hard work to think - or learn something new... Those who have already concerned themselves with Jewish endeavors Zionist colonies or the like - are hard to set on a fresh path. Still I believe I won him over - that is, so far - as a torpid nature can be won to any cause demanding enthusiasm.
219. When he [Leven] harped on his French nationality I said: "What? Do not you and I belong to the same nation? If not, why did you wince when Lueger was elected? Why did my spirits suffer when Captain Dreyfus was accused of high treason?" At parting I said to him: "You and your kind will never go along with me."
220. Zadoc Kahn professed himself to be a Zionist. But French "patriotism" also has its claims. A man has to choose between Zion and France. Zadoc Kahn belongs to the breed of little Jews. Yes, I shall be surprised if I get any serious help from him.
221. Zadoc's attitude (at this second meeting) throughout the discussion contented me. He seems to be inclining towards my plan. But, clearest of all, I recognized the impression I made on him when the door opened for a moment and an elderly lady - presumably Zadoc's wife pecked in with curiosity. It gave me an inkling of what he must have said about me.
222. Again, with Zadoc Kahn. His mood had changed. I gathered from his remarks that he had presented my idea to several people and had everywhere met with rebuff.
223. Talked with Max Nordau. His was the second case of understanding me in a flash. The first was Benedikt. But Nordau seized the matter as an adherent; Benedikt ...as an opponent. Nordau will... go with me through thick and thin. He was my easiest conquest, and so far the most valuable. He would make a good president of our Academy or Minister of Education.
224. Nordau is completely won over to the cause. Nordau thinks that the plan will need 300 years for its realization. I believe 30 provided the idea makes headway.
225. Israel Zangwill is of the long-nosed Negro type, with woolly hair, parted in the center; on his clean-shaven face an expression of sturdy pride, the trait of an honest striver who after bitter struggles has won his way through. The disorder in his room and on his desk leaves me the inference that he is a man who lives in his inner life. I have read none of his writings, but I think I know him. He must bestow upon his style all the grooming which is missing in his looks.
226. Our conversation [with Zangwill] is laborious. We speak in French over which his command is weak... Still, we agree on some main points. He too favors our territorial independence. He maintains, however, the racial point of view - something I can't accept, for I merely have to look at him and at myself. All I say is: we are an historical unit, one nation with anthropological diversities. This also suffices for the Jewish state. No nation has uniformity of race.
227. Lunched at the home of Sir Samuel Montagu… A house of English elegance, in grand style. Sir Samuel a splendid old fellow, the best Jew I have met so far... Kosher food served by three liveried footmen. I expounded my case. I gradually roused him. He confessed to me - in confidence - that he felt himself to be more an Israelite than an Englishman. He would be willing to settle with his entire family in Palestine.
228. Visit to Colonel Goldsmid... He said to me: "We shall work for the liberation of Israel... That is the idea of my life." But if the movement ever took shape, he would leave the British and enter into the Jewish service. Only instead of Jews he would prefer to say Israelites because Israel embraces all the tribes.
229. He [Col. Goldsmid] showed me the flag of the Hovevei Zion displaying sysymbols of the … response. I unfolded my white flag with its seven stars. Nevertheless we understand each other. He is a wonderful fellow.
230. Birnbaum is unmistakably jealous of me. What the baser sort of Jews put into vulgar or sneering language, namely, that I am out for my personal advantage, is what I catch in the intimations of this cultivated gentleman ...I judge Birnbaum to be an envious, vain, and obstinate man. I hear that he had already turned away from Zionism and gone over to Socialism, when my appearance led him back again to Zion.
231. Baron Hirsch died... His death is a loss to the Jewish cause. Among the rich Jews he was the only one who wanted to do something big for the poor ones. Perhaps I did not know the right way of handling him. .. Today I have the feeling that our cause has grown poorer. For I always believed that I would still win Hirsch over to the plan.
232. Hechler is at all events a curious and complicated character ...He counsels me superbly and with unmistakably genuine goodwill. He is at once shrewd and mystical, cunning, and naive... His advice and precepts have been consummate...
233. Nevlinski is invaluable to our cause. His skill and devotion are beyond praise. He will have to receive an altogether exceptional reward... Nevlinski is rich in acquaintances and influence. As with Ziad... so he stands high with many other prominent Turks.
234. Received from Nordau a good letter... Zadoc Kahn took him yesterday to the Rue Laffitte, where he spoke with Edmond de Rothschild. That Rothschild should receive such a distinguished man of letters in his office and not at his home argues a streak of snobbishness.
235. Nordau reports that he went with Zadoc to Edmond de Rothschild. The "audience" lasted 63 minutes, out of which Rothschild spoke fifty-three and Nordau with "difficulty and rudeness" only ten.
236. Rothschild will hear nothing of the matter. ..What I am doing he considers dangerous because I render the patriotism of the Jews suspect; and, in addition, injurious - namely, to his own Palestinian colonies... By way of contrast there is something humorous in today's Paris dispatches which report street demonstrations against the Jews and notably the Rothschilds. In front of the same building... where on Friday E. de R. snubbed my friend Nordau, the Sunday mob was howling: "Down with the Jews!"
237. I asked him [Edmond de Rothschild] how far he was acquainted with my project. Whereat he began to spout: he had heard about me ...and lost himself up hill and down dale in a refutation of my program, of which he had no exact knowledge. After five minutes I interrupted him and said: "You do not know what it is about. Let me explain it to you first. I began: A "colony" is a little state; a state is a big "colony". And I unfolded the plan.
238. After two hours. ..I picked up my umbrella and rose: "By way of concluding this conversation I say to you; how do I recognize the power of an idea? By the fact that a man involves himself whether he says yes to it or whether he says no.
239. General impression: Edmond [de Rothschild] is a decent, good-natured, faint-hearted man who utterly fail to understand the matter and who would like to call it off as a coward tries to call off an imperative surgical operation. I believe he is now disgusted that he ever began with Palestine.
And the fate of millions of persons hangs on such men!
240. Twice Edmond de Rothschild said: "One mustn't have eyes bigger than one's stomach." This was, I believe, the high point of his philosophizing.
241. I am an opponent of the House of Rothschild because I consider it to be a national misfortune for the Jews. The only member of the family who by his past behavior has awakened general sympathy is Edmond de Rothschild - a man whom I held, and still hold, to be a good staunch Jew; and shall such a man refuse to contribute to our national salvation?
242....Wolffsohn came back to Yildiz Kiosk... He had done brilliantly… without knowing Turkish or French, he had penetrated the palace guards to the quarters of Court-Marshall Eulenburg.
243. Only Wolffsohn stood the test and stuck by me through thick and thin, as he always does.
Religion and Rabbis
Herzl had a deep regard for Judaism and a real respect; for the conviction-ful Rabbi. Personally he tended towards humanism, and staunchly advocated the separation of church and state.
244. The Rabbis will also be the first to understand us, will grow enthusiastic for the Cause, and will inspire others from the pulpit. ..We feel our historic affinity only through the faith of our fathers, because we have long absorbed the languages of different nations to an ineradicable degree... Israel will pray for us and for itself.
245. We shall likewise create centers for the deep religious needs of our people. Our ministers of religion will understand us first, and be with us.
246. Faith unites us, knowledge gives us freedom. We shall, therefore, not permit any theocratic tendencies to emerge among our spiritual authorities. We shall keep them to their synagogues... Army and Rabbinate will be honored as highly as their valuable functions require and deserve. But they must not interfere in the administration of the State.
247. Our community of race is indeed peculiar, unique for we actually regard ourselves as still associated only by the faith of our fathers.
248. What dark days those were when a Sabbetai [Zevi] and his like appeared. Our people was not yet able to take account of its own situation, and therefore yielded to the spell of such persons. It was only at the end of the nineteenth century ... that our own people... realized that its salvation lay within itself, that nothing was to be expected from fantastic miracle-workers. They realized then that the way of deliverance must be paved not by a single individual, but by a conscious and alert folk-personality.
249. God, Himself, in His inscrutable wisdom decided what instruments will serve His ends. Such was the sensible reasoning of our pious Jews when they threw themselves enthusiastically into the national enterprise of restoration. And so the Jewish nation once more raised itself to nationhood.
250. Reb Shmuel was an aged, bent man of most gentle demeanor ...had come with the earliest group of immigrants. ..He was the comforter of the people of Neudorf ...He had been and remained a simple country rabbi staying with the village congregation, though he had often been called by large urban communities. He was universally honored for his wise and God-fearing life...When he preached in Neudorf... people came long distances to hear him.
251. Where was your Geyer... in those days ...He was an anti-Zionist rabbi! He opposed us violently. ..When we early Zionists began to seek out our land and our people, this Dr. Geyer abused us. Yes, he called us fools and swindlers. He denied our people and land. He read Zion out of the prayer hook. ..Zion was everywhere but in Zion!
252. Now he is more Palestinian than any of us. Now he is the patriot, the nationalist Jew. And we - we are the friends of the aliens. ..This pious man rolls his eyes to heaven and all the time seeks his immediate advantage.
253. In the old Ghetto days, when the rich men had all the influence, he talked to suit their notions. ..He and his ilk invented the myth of the Jewish mission. The function of the Jewish people was asserted to be to instruct the other peoples. Therefore, they alleged, we must live in the dispersion. ..And Zion was not Zion!
254. The fact was, of course, that we not only did not teach the other nations but that they taught us... bloody, painful lessons. Finally we... sought the way out of Egypt. And we found it. Then ...Dr. Geyer came here and brought with him all his old arrogance and hypocrisy.
255. They [the Jews] could not have mourned merely for ruined masonry that would have been too silly. No, they sighed for an invisible something of which the stones were a symbol. It had come back to rest in the rebuilt Temple, where stood the home-returning sons of Israel who lifted up their souls to the invisible God as their fathers had done upon Mount Moriah.
256. Jews had prayed in many temples, splendid and simple, in all the languages of the Diaspora. The invisible God, the Omnipresent, must have been equally near to their everywhere; yet only here was the true Temple.
257. Only here had the Jews built up a free commonwealth in which they could strive for the loftiest human aims. They had had their own communities in the Ghettos, to be sure; but there they lived under oppression...without honor and without rights, and when they left, they ceased to be Jews. Freedom and a sense of solidarity were both needed. Only then could the Jews erect a House to the Almighty God Whom children envision thus and wise men so, but who is everywhere present as the Will to Good.
258. God would not have kept us alive so long if there were not left us a role to play in the history of mankind.
259. When I say God I do not mean to offend the freethinkers. For my part they can say World Spirit or any other term in place of this beloved old wonderful abbreviation by which I touch the simplest understanding. For in our theological battle of words we ultimately mean the same thing. In belief or in doubt we mean the same thing: that it is inexplicable.
260. I want to bring up my children with a belief in the historical God. To me God is a beautiful, beloved, old word which I wish to retain. It is a wonderful abbreviation for conceptions which would be beyond the grasp of a child-like or constricted mind. By God I understand the Will to Good, which does not conquer everywhere at once, but always conquers in the end.
261. For [God] Evil too is but a means. How and why for instance, does the Will to Good permit the existence of epidemics? Because as a consequence, filthy old warrens are torn down and, in their stead, rise new, sunlit healthy cities with inhabitants who draw a fuller, freer breath. So, too, anti-Semitism no doubt has within it some thing of the divine Will-to Good, for it forces us to close ranks, unites us under pressure, and through our unity will bring us freedom.
262. My conception of God is ...Spinozistic and approaches the natural philosophy of the monists. But Spinoza's "substance" seems to me something...inert and the universal ether of the monists, besides being incomprehensible, is too intangible and contrived. But I can conceive of an omnipresent Will, for I see it at work in the world we know. I see it as I can see the functioning of a muscle. The world is a body and God is the functioning of it.
263. The ultimate purpose I do not and need not know; for me it is enough that it is something higher than our present estate. I can put this in other and ancient words, and gladly do so: "Ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil."
264. Everything English [in Chief Rabbi Adler's home in London], with old Jewish customs breaking through. It drove home to me the feeling that Jewish ways need not be ridiculous, as they are among us in Austria where the heart has gone out of our observances...
265. I was with Gudemann ...He still acted out of sorts. But when in the course of my reasoning I managed to rekindle him, he said: "I am all yours." "Good," I said, "then preach about it in the synagogue." "Excuse me," he cried in fright, "but it can't be done! I am told on all sides that people simply don't want to hear about it." "Are you the shepherd of your flock?" I asked. "I shall allow you to be as discreet as you please. For all I care, come out against Zionism - but do not be silent about it…"
266. The amiable little "rebbe" of Rymanov told me all this the power of the Rebbes in friendliest confidence. .. He added that he wouldn't dream of revealing such things to anyone else. Obviously, he regards me as a greater wonder-rabbi than even his uncle, the Wonder-Rabbi of Sadagora, and he thinks that I am somehow engaged in much the same sort of business. ..I left him to his error.
|Print Version | Send to Friend|
Shlichut | Zionism | Mount Herzl | Shlichim | World Zionist Congress | World Zionist Organization | Zionist Activities in the Diaspora | Zionist Young Adult Movements | Making Aliyah 2013 | Activities in Israel and Countering Antisemitism | Israel Advocacy | Delegitimation of Israel | Israel Education | Zionist Education | Herzl