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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Racist Zionism 05: Different racist Zionist lines - creation of Hebrew institutions

Cultural and "synthetic" Zionism - the question who is a "Jew" - Ahad Ha-Am, Saadia Gaon - Hebrew writers - racist Socialist Zionism - profession pyramid - the "new Jewish man" - synthetic Zionism: Weizmann, Wolffsohn, Sokolow - racist settlement work - racist Zionism in the "USA" - Wolffsohn in Turkey and Turkish details - Arab nationalism

from: Zionism; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 16

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

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<CULTURAL AND "SYNTHETIC" ZIONISM

[Racist Zionist thesis by Ahad (Aḥad) Ha-Am - the question who is a "Jew" and who not any more]

The basic distinction in contemporary polemics was made around the turn of the century by Ahad (Aḥad) Ha-Am: he refused to believe that it was humanly possible, even under the most favorable conditions, in the light of the Jewish birthrate, for the majority or even any substantial fraction of the Jews of the world to emigrate to their national homeland [[which was not their homeland, but the religious center]] and thus significantly reduce the population in the Jewish Diaspora. He thus saw the "Jewish plight" as intrinsically insoluble by purely [[racist]] Zionist means, and the Jews could only do what they had already done in the Exile in bad times: either emigrate to more favorable countries, such as America, or temporize with the conditions in Russia.

Ahad (Aḥad) Ha-Am himself did a bit of both, eventually emigrating to London, where he practically stopped writing but served in an important way as spiritual guide to the young Chaim Weizmann and a coterie of others. The fundamental problem of the modern age, and the one to which [[racist]] Zionism could indeed address itself, was the crisis not of the Jews but of Judaism, i.e., the rapid and radical disintegration of Jewish faith and identity that was going on everywhere. A secularist and positivist himself, Ahad (Aḥad) Ha-Am did not believe that the process of loss of religious faith was reversible. The function that revealed religion had performed in talmudic and medieval Judaism, that of guaranteeing the survival of the Jews as a separate entity because of their belief in the divinely ordained importance of the Jewish religion and people, it was no longer performing and could not be expected to perform. The crucial task facing Jews in the modern era was to devise new structures to contain the separate individuality of the Jews and to keep them loyal to their own tradition. This analysis of the situation implied, in its very first assertions, a view of Jewish history which Ahad (Aḥad) Ha-Am produced as undoubted and which has since become the common coin of secular [[racist]] Zionist and [[racist]] Israel historiography: that the Jews in all ages were essentially a nation, and that all other factors profoundly important to the life of this people, even religion, were mainly instrumental values.

[[To be Jewish is a religion - and not a nation, but Zionists used their fantasy of a nation for their purposes: for territory speculation, and gold mines should be found...]]

[Saadiah Gaon about the Jew in 10th century: only Torah Jews - non-Torah Jews - Jewish identity caused by anti-Semitism - Hebrew writers Berdyczewski, Brenner and Klatzkin against "national spirit" ideology and against Orthodox Jewry, but for modern Jewish people]

A thousand years earlier Saadiah Gaon (d. 942 C.E.) gave expression to the raison d'être [[reason of existence]] of the Jew in the pre-modern era when he pronounced that "the Jewish people is a people only for the sake of its Torah", i.e., that Jews exist as the instrument of Judaism. To accept this definition in the modern age of disbelief would mean that contemporary Jews have broken radically with their past, that continuity no longer existed in Jewish history, and that whatever solution could be found for the present situation would (col. 1046)

address itself to masses of individuals who still bore the name "Jew", in varieties of suffering or quiet desperation and on various levels of pride or self-hatred, to help them make the best of their situation. Such an understanding of Jewish modernity could lead to an assimilationist conclusion, as it had throughout the 19th century. It could also support the basic thesis of [[racist]] Herzl that the Jews existed as a community in his day only because they shared a negative situation, anti-Semitism [[which was provoked mainly by Jewish nationalism]], and that this was the one problem which they could, in the here and now, solve together. Whose who chose to deal with that problem only by national and political means would then be free to evolve whatever culture might suit them. This view of modern Jewish culture was maintained by Hebrew writers and ideologists, such as M. J. Berdyczewski, J.H. Brenner, and Jacob Klatzkin. They could accept neither Ahad (Aḥad) Ha-Am's notion of ongoing continuity in Jewish history nor, more fundamentally, his description of the "national spirit" as an authoritative guide and standard to which he attributed a majesty comparable to that which the religious had once ascribed to the God of revelation.

Brenner regarded the national past and most of the Jewish heritage as weak, desiccated, cringing, and unworthy. There was thus created at the beginning of the 20th century, in part under the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche, a school of thought which wanted to create a Jewish state not only because there had already been a radical break with the Jewish past but in order to realize such a change. These writers wanted to establish a bold and earthy people, whose hands would not be tied by the rules of the rabbis or even by the self-doubts of the prophets. (This trend toward a total break was never attractive to more than a small minority among the [[racist]] Zionists, but it eventually evolved into a heresy to be represented by those few Israel writers and intellectuals who opposed the very notion and term of Jewish peoplehood and [[racist]] Zionism - and were called "*Canaanites".

[Racist Socialist Zionism - the problem of professions and the plan of a national economy pyramid - A.D. Gordon - the plan to form a "new Jewish man"]

Of all the schools of thought that were arising within the [[racist]] Zionist movement in its very first few years, Socialist [[racist]] Zionism was, at least in practice, the most important. In the work of its founding father, Nachman Syrkin, and a few years later, of the younger, Marxist, Ber Borochov, a socialist explanation of the "plight of the Jews" was constructed. In this view, the Jews were everywhere rejected aliens because their economic pursuits were "unproductive" or peripheral. for their masses were locked in the Pale of Settlement without any outlet into the modern development of the general society and its economy. They were middlemen, small craftsmen or luftmenschen [[air human beings]] who were not integrally bound to the roots and basic aspects of production and especially not to farming, modern industry, and other forms of primary economic activity. Socialist [[racist]] Zionists did not, of course, blame the Jews for this unhealthy economic situation, for they knew that it was not only a result of many centuries of persecution and discrimination but also of the "judophobia" of the gentile peasants and workers who regarded the Jews as alien "exploiters" and unwanted competitors; the anti-Semitism which attacked Jews because of their marginal economic role was the source of the very phenomenon that it attacked. This vicious circle produced the "inverted pyramid" of the Jewish economy in the Diaspora, the phenomenon that Jews were fewest in production and became more numerous the further away one went from farms and factories. that was the cause of an inevitable process of mass flight from Russia, Rumania [[Romania]], and other countries, which would, in the view of Borochov, eventually propel Jews toward the land within which a proper kind of national economy, a "normal" pyramid, would be created.

However, the non-Marxist Labor [[racist]] Zionists, particularly those in Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]], (col. 1047)

such as A.D. Gordon, who was influenced by Tolstoy, affirmed neither such a historical inevitability of a mass emigration to Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] nor its socialist future, nor did they theorize about the need to create a Jewish national community as a necessary precondition for "healthy class struggle", which could not take place in the Diaspora where both Jewish workers and their employers were trapped by unhealthy circumstances. For Gordon and his pioneering disciples [[racist]] Zionism was an act of will, an affirmation about the dignity of physical labor and the rootedness of man in his own soil, of the desperate necessity to create a new Jewish man in the Land of Israel to replace the disfigured human being who had been shaped by his misery and alienation from nature in the Diaspora.

The men of the Second Aliyah, the young pioneers who went to Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] in the first decade of the 20th century, adhered in their majority to some version of the socialist [[racist]] Zionist faith and especially to the notion that the "new man" whom they were creating and exemplifying through themselves was the essential positive feature of Jewish history in the modern era. This group was eventually to become the dominant element among the founders of the [[racist Zionist Free Mason CIA Herzl]] State of Israel. It had no doubt from the beginning of its career that it was the creative center of the Jewish world and that, most immediately, the [[racist]] Zionist movement was important insofar as it made their image of the Jewish settlement in Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] possible.

[Synthetic Zionism and racist Zionist leaders - Chaim Weizmann, David Wolffsohn, Nahum Sokolow - general Hebrew renaissance and racist Jewish settlements in Palestine - Hebrew settlement work]

The major thrust of [[racist]] Zionism in the era immediately after Herzl was neither toward his purely political activity for the achievement of the "charter", nor toward small-scale settlement combined with cultural evolution; it was toward "synthetic Zionism". This term was coined by Chaim Weizmann, who had been a young opponent of [[racist]] Herzl in his lifetime and who succeeded to the acknowledged leadership of the movement by 1917, when the Balfour Declaration was obtained from the British Government as the result of prolonged negotiations during which he had been the central figure. Weizmann was, however, not alone in this shifting of the [[racist]] Zionist outlook and policy.

Even Herzl's immediate heir in the presidency of the movement, David Wolffsohn, and most of those with whom he surrounded himself, especially Nahum Sokolow, were committed or at least inclined to the cultural, Hebraic renaissance and to the gradual upbuilding of Jewish settlement efforts in Palestine as the ongoing immediate tasks of the movement, while continuing diplomatic efforts and hoping that the time would come when major political arrangements would be possible. Moreover, the very struggle for these achievements, the labor of securing, step after step, "one cow, one dunam" in the Land of Israel, or the laying of the (col. 1048)

foundation for an educational system in Hebrew culminating in the creation of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, were the routine ongoing life of [[racist]] Zionism, while those who engaged in these daily endeavors continued to dream of the eventual Jewish commonwealth, to be achieved at some political turning point in history.

The handful who were taking the lead in the early years of the century by going to Palestine were moved by visionary considerations, and they regarded themselves, and were regarded within the [[racist]] Zionist hinterland, as a kind of secular priesthood preparing the way for those who would follow.

[[Hebrew racism implicated the extermination of the Yiddish language. And the booklet "The Jewish State" of racist Herzl can be read what would follow: Arabs driven away, Arabs enslaved. And the Arab population knew about that and organized resistance...]]

[Racist Zionism in the criminal racist "USA" - racist Zionism becomes a religion for itself]

Even in the [[criminal racist]] United States, where the Zionist movement consisted almost entirely of recent immigrants of the same origins as the pioneers in Palestine (so that these American [[racist]] Zionists were then not themselves candidates for joining the pioneer vanguard) the labor for Zion became a quasi-religious experience. Even those "Western" Jews in America who had become [[racist]] Zionists, because they said they wanted to extend philanthropic help to Jewish refugees who chose to go to Palestine, belonged to a generation in American life which was dominated, among both Jews and gentiles, by the "social gospel", the teaching that the meaning of religion is not in metaphysical faith or theology but in the work of social reform in this world.

[Actions of synthetic Zionism for racist Jewish settlements: money, tales, spiritual uplift, hopes - political domination of the non-Zionists in the community councils - school system - barriers against assimilation]

"Synthetic" Zionism thus provided those who adhered to it, everywhere with such daily commandments as

-- the collecting of money to help the Jewish National Fund purchase dunams for new settlers;
-- with tales of courage and suffering by the pioneers in Palestine;
-- with spiritual uplift at the sight of a cultural renaissance;
-- and with the ultimate hope, sustained even in the decade between 1904 and 1914, that some great political event would come to pass.

The cultural and "synthetic" Zionists emphasized more than the purely "political" Zionists the activity called in Zionist debates Gegenwartsarbeit [[word about the present]], i.e., "work in the present", in the Diaspora. They included in it not only the task to "conquer" the Jewish community councils, proclaimed by Herzl himself, but also the need for modernized Hebrew education,

-- in new-type hadarim (ḥadarim, called "heder metukkan" (ḥeder metukkan)) and in secular-type schools;
-- the establishment of Jewish athletic and sports clubs for the young (Bar Kokhba, later Maccabi, etc.);
-- and, most important of all, the active participation, on separate Jewish tickets, in parliamentary and local elections, particularly in the Austrian Empire, in order to emphasize the existence of specific Jewish national interests in multinational states, crystallize the Jewish public around them and thus erect a barrier against political assimilationism.> (col. 1049)

[[See more details here]]:

<THE TRANSITION PERIOD.

[Uganda expedition negative for mass settlement - Rothschild money for Jewish racist settlements in Palestine - "Ugandists" don't give up - Jewish Territorial Organization under Zangwill for Uganda - "practical" wing of racist Zionism enforced]

That the political activities of the movement could, after the leader's death, no longer be conducted in the same centralized, personal way had been clear to all concerned. After the "natural" successor, Max Nordau, refused to take over, the task fell to another close friend, David Wolffsohn. But he was hardly a political leader, and if the inevitable change came but gradually, it was because the desire to remain faithful to "Herzlian Zionism" dominated the heirs to the leadership and because the main problem inherited by them, Uganda, called for immediate decisions. By then, neither side, the Zionists nor the British, were interested in proceeding with the project. A group of experts went to East Africa in December 1904 and reported in April 1905: the proposed area was not suitable for mass settlement.

Meanwhile, practical work in Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] gained priority even before any official change took place in the policy of the movement. One of the first visits paid by Wolffsohn was to Edmond de Rothschild, who promised to aid in practical undertakings in the country. Wolffsohn also visited Vambery, who was not optimistic. In his view, the best way for [[racist]] Zionists was to settle Palestine through quiet work within the existing laws. It was in this direction that the [[racist]] Zionist movement gradually veered after [[racist]] Herzl's death, though it never gave up the political element of its philosophy.

The turning point came at the Seventh [[racist]] Zionist Congress (1905) which witnessed the first split in the movement when supporters of Uganda refused to concede defeat. They saw themselves as "territorialists", (col. 1073)

and with the gates of Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] virtually closed, the "Ugandists" refused to reject a proposal made by a great power at a time when the need to find a refuge for the victims of persecution was at its highest.

The departure of the Ugandists, who established the Jewish Territorial Organization under the leadership of Israel Zangwill, was bound to weaken the movement. But it strengthened the "practical" wing in [[racist]] Zionism (led by M.M. *Ussishkin), which, for the first time, obtained representation on the [[racist]] Zionist Executive. The latter was now composed of three "political" [[racist]] Zionists, three "practical", and Wolffsohn as the balancing force. The controversy did not end at that, and difficulties arose when the territorialists sought to negotiate with governments. Tensions relaxed somewhat when the two organizations found themselves cooperating at a conference called by the [[racist]] Zionists (Brussels, January 906) in order to discuss assistance to Russian Jews. This also produced meager results.

[Racist Zionist difficulties to establish racist Jewish settlements in Palestine - England and Turkish borderline discussions - Wolffsohn in Constantinople in 1907 - Turkish money needs are too big - Anglo-Levantine Banking Co. in Constantinople founded]

Wolffsohn and his advisers looked for new political initiatives, though this time - in accordance with an explicit ruling of the Seventh [[racist]] Zionist Congress - not beyond Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] and "adjacent areas". El Arish and Sinai drew renewed attention; Syria and Mesopotamia were considered. Sinai was then causing difficulties between Constantinople and London, which wanted the Turkish-Egyptian border to be fixed as far away from the Suez Canal as possible. A suggestion that the establishment of a [[racist]] Jewish settlement in Sinai may serve as a "compromise" found no support. France displayed no interest at all; when Nordau sought its help on behalf of persecuted Jews in Russia, he was told that France cannot add to the many difficulties of an allied government.

There were other attempts, among them discussions with the foreign minister of the Netherlands about raising the problem of Jewish migration during the second Peace Conference at The Hague. Another proposal spoke of calling a special international conference to deal with the subject. The Dutch thought that it would be appropriate for the initiative to come from England; London felt that a Dutch initiative would be better. A German official promised to take it up with his foreign minister, but no more was heard of it. In the meantime, a fleeting hope arose that it might be possible to renew some of the contacts with Turkey.

The sultan's financial troubles were greater than ever, and his officials were looking for help.

[[Herzl had suggested in his racist booklet "The Jewish State" that Jewish money could help the Turkish government with Jewish money, so the Jews would get permissions for racist Jewish settlements in Palestine]].

Twice during the year 1907 Wolffsohn visited Constantinople, and there were moments when he felt that "substantial" progress had been achieved. He no longer spoke of a "Charter" and concentrated on immigration and land acquisition. But the Turks needed vast sums of money, which were, as before, far above the financial ability of the [[racist]] Zionists. The results were therefore the same as during Herzl's desperate journeys. On the credit side, a start had been made for the opening of a bank in Constantinople (The Anglo-Levantine Banking Co.) in which the controlling interest was to be in the hands of the Jewish Colonial Trust (enabling it to appoint the bank's deputy director, who would represent [[racist]] Zionist interests, both financial and political).> (col. 1074)

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Sources
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol.
                        16, col. 1045-1046
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol. 16, col. 1045-1046
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol.
                        16, col. 1047-1048
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol. 16, col. 1047-1048
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol.
                        16, col. 1049-1050
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol. 16, col. 1049-1050
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol.
                        16, col. 1073-1074
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol. 16, col. 1073-1074


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