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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Racist Zionism 07: WWI and Zionist militarism

Racist Zionism becomes a mass movement - Jews against Jews in the battles - Jews expelled from Palestine and in eastern Europe - help from "US" Jewry - tactics of German kaiser and British Empire - Jewish refugees in Egypt - Russian revolution - Balfour Declaration of 1917 - legion and Jewish militarism - Haganah since 1919

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

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

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[World War I provoking more racist Zionism - Jews fighting against each other in the wars - Balfour Declaration of 1917]

[[Generally the First World War should last only 3-6 months. The racist German leadership meant it would be an easy battle and after a fast victory all soldiers would be at home again on Christmas, as fast as it was in 1870/71. The racist German and Austrian soldiers went to war singing and making party in the trains. But this time the case lasted 4 years...]]

<[Racist] Zionism was transformed into a mass movement and into a major political force by World War I. At the outbreak of hostilities the seat of the [[racist]] Zionist executive was in the capital of one of the major warring powers - Berlin; and even though an office was soon established in neutral Copenhagen, there was no possibility of effective central direction in a situation in which major Jewish communities were on both sides of the line.

The situation was all the more complicated by two facts:

-- that Palestine was under the control of Turkey, which joined the Central Powers in 1915;
-- and that the largest Jewish community in the world and the one most disaffected from its own oppressive government, was in Czarist Russia, which was allied to the Western powers.> (col. 1049)

That the vast conflict was bound tragically to affect a people whose masses lived on both sides of the frontiers in regions which turned into battlefields soon became all too obvious. [[Also "Christians" were fighting on both sides - so Jews also were fighting on both sides, because they were a religion and not a "nation". But the racist Zionist propagandists did never see this and blamed the racist emperors for their death rates in the armies...]]

<THE STRUGGLE FOR THE FUTURE

[[This "future" would be an eternal war in the Middle East...]]

[Changes in the racist Zionist movement since 1914]

That the vast conflict was bound tragically to affect a people whose masses lived on both sides of the frontiers in regions which turned into battlefields soon became all too obvious.

[[The bankers of the racist Empires were organizing their wars, also some Jewish bankers were part of it]].

The [[racist]] Zionist movement, national in spirit but international in structure, was also bound to find itself in a precarious position. Its headquarters were in Berlin, but the majority of its followers lived in countries at war with [[racist kaiser]] Germany or neutral. There were suggestions that the central office should move to Scandinavia. British and U.S. [[racist]] Zionists wanted it transferred to the [[criminal racist]] United States and placed under the leadership of Louis D. Brandeis. Russian [[racist]] Zionists feared that such a step would cause affront to [[racist kaiser]] Germany and further antagonize Turkey, they wanted a coordinating bureau in neutral Copenhagen. Thus the old central office remained in Berlin and its representatives stayed in Constantinople, their task more vital than ever: to see to it that the young yishuv [[Jews in Palestine before 1948]] weathers the storm.

two members of the Executive (Sokolow and *Tschlenow) were sent to London to take charge of political activities there, while another member, Shemaryahu *Levin, went to the [[criminal racist]] United States. Nonetheless, one of the results of the fact that the [[racist]] Zionist headquarters never left Central Europe was the widespread and persistent impression that the movement was under [[racist kaiser]] German influence.

Whether [[racist kaiser]] Germany itself took it for granted was far less certain. Berlin never took [[racist]] Zionism seriously. Its international character had always been suspect. The recent struggle of the yishuv (1913) against German as the language of instruction in the German-Jewish Hilfsverein schools, including the newly founded Haifa Technological Institute, caused considerable irritation. Having achieved the huge political success of involving Turkey in the war as an ally, Berlin would do nothing to place any strain on the friendship.

Repeated [[racist]] Zionist initiatives directed at obtaining Turkish - or at least [[racist kaiser]] German - expression of sympathy (col. 1077)

for Jewish aims in Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] were repeatedly rebuffed. Even where the proposals concerned the rights of Jews in Russian Poland, which was occupied by [[racist kaiser]] German troops (Count Bernstorff, German ambassador in Washington, urged his government to promise them equality of rights in the future), Berlin responded negatively, ostensibly because such a step could make it more difficult to achieve a separate peace with Russia at some later date.

[Expulsions of Jews in Turkish Palestine]

Nonetheless, in the military and political vacillations that were to follow, the [[racist kaiser]] Germans sought to preserve the precarious status quo in and around Palestine, but even that proved difficult. Soon after the outbreak of hostilities, one of the most ruthless members of the Turkish ruling group, Jamal Pasha, assumed command in Syria and Palestine and began a series of expulsions, some of them explained as military measures, others as the result of the fact that many of the Jews in the country were foreign (mostly Russian) citizens.

The grave danger to the very existence of the yishuv (which numbered about 85,000) alarmed not only the [[racist]] Zionists but Jewry as a whole. The largest Jewish community (Russia) could do little; its political influence was nil and it had been overwhelmed by its own huge refugee problem, created by the mass expulsion of Jews from the war zones by the Russian army command [[see also, e.g.: *Lithuania, *Latvia, *Estonia]].

["U.S." Jewry organizing help for European and Palestine Jews - tactics with neutral "USA": mass murder in Armenia - no mass murder of Jews in Palestine]

There remained only one large section of the Jewish people not directly involved in the war. U.S. Jewry immediately offered a helping hand both to the Jewish victims of the fighting in eastern Europe and to the yishuv. Furthermore, U.S. Jewry had political weight, and the United States was at the time represented in Constantinople by Henry *Morgenthau, who was willing to help. Coming on top of the Turkish atrocities, of which the Armenians were the main victims, reports of harassment in Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] created an atmosphere that was harmful not only to Turkish but to its allies as well.

One of the main aims of the [[racist kaiser]] Central Powers had been to keep the U.S. neutral. The unpopularity of czarist Russia in wide circles of the [[criminal racist]] United States public played into their hands. There were also great economic interests involved in the struggle for U.S. sympathies. This helped to make the rulers of Turkey realize that turning Jewish Palestine into another Armenia by large-scale massacres may be too costly, and, although Jamal Pasha often acted on his own, the worst fears that were felt in the first months of the war only partly materialized.

Before the end of 1915 the German ambassador in Constantinople, Count Metternich, sent a confidential circular letter to his consulates in Turkey explaining their government's "friendly attitude" toward Jewry's aspirations concerning the raising of the spiritual and economic standards of the Jews living in the Ottoman Empire and furthering Jewish immigration and settlement there (Palestine was not mentioned); all this, of course, provided no harm was done to Turkish or [[racist kaiser]] German interests.

[Racist Empire England and racist kaiser Germany fighting for Turkey]

In the meantime, a [[racist]] Zionist political campaign was slowly gaining ground in Britain. It centered around a younger leader who had become prominent as one of the critics of [[racist]] Herzl's policies - Chaim Weizmann. One of his closest advisers was a much better known critic of [[racist]] Herzl - Ahad (Aḥad) Ha-Am. The political climate in [[racist Empire]] England was unlike that of [[racist kaiser]] Germany. For a long time [[racist Empire]] Britain guarded the integrity of the Ottoman Empire until the latter's misgovernment; the steady penetration of [[racist kaiser]] interests into Turkey and the expansion of Britain' own interests in the Near East made that policy no longer tenable.

[Local movements - racist Zionist fight for Balfour Declaration - Jewish leaders Balfour and Lloyd George - Sykes-Picot Agreement 1916 with international administration]

The future partition of the vast Ottoman domains raised great problems and offered great opportunities, including some for the non-Turkish elements in the empire and for the Jews in Palestine [[national Arabs, racist Zionist Jews etc.]]. Weizmann was one of those who soon grasped the suddenly unfolding prospects. The history of his efforts is the (col. 1078)

history of the Balfour Declaration. It was a dramatic struggle in which the chief participants were outstanding leaders of the [[racist Empire]] British government, foremost among them Balfour and Lloyd George, leaders of the Jewish community, split in their attitude to the very idea of a Jewish center in Palestine, and numerous other personalities. An early advocate of the idea was a member of the government, Herbert *Samuel. The search for an acceptable policy formulation proved to be a most complicated task, mainly because other Entente partners, above all [[racist colonial]] France, were also involved.

When the first tentative approaches were made, the [[racist]] Zionists knew nothing of the secret negotiations between Britain and France, which resulted in the *Sykes-Picot Agreement of February 1916, that had already settled the future of Palestine. With the exception of a small enclave including Haifa, in which Britain had a long standing interest, the country was to be placed under an international administration. Later, Russia was also promised large areas of Turkish territory.

These undertakings tied Britain's hands when the discussions on [[racist]] Zionist proposals began making headway. But they also spurred interest. The creators of [[racist Empire]] British politics in the Near East had always viewed [[racist colonial]] France as an undesirable neighbor  in the vicinity of Suez. An opportunity to reopen the question, especially as far as Palestine was concerned, increased that interest. The potential propaganda value in America and even in Russia, with their millions of Jews, was not overlooked. The [[racist Zionist]] Jews on their part, were becoming more active in giving expression to their wishes and expectations. The [[racist Empire]] British government consulted the government of the [[criminal racist]] U.S., and obtained the support of Wilson and his administration for the [[racist]] pro-Zionist attitude of the [[racist Empire]] British government. L. Brandeis and S. Wise played an important role in securing the U.S. support.

As early as the first days of the war, before Turkey joined the Central Powers, proposals were made that Jewish battalions be raised to fight for the liberation of Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]]. IN August 1914 London was visited by a well-known figure in the Russian revolutionary movement, Pinhas (Pinḥas) *Rutenberg, who sought to obtain the support of [[racist]] Weizmann and others for this idea.

[Jews from Palestine expelled to Egypt - Zion Mule Corps - Jewish Legion]

In the meantime, young Jews expelled from Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] to Egypt began volunteering for service with the [[racist Empire]] British forces, and the [[racist]] Zion Mule Corps was established in 1915 under [[racist Empire]] British command with a former officer of the Russian army, Joseph Trumpeldor, playing a central role when the unit went to Gallipoli later in the year. This was but the beginning of the prolonged campaigning for the establishment of the Jewish Legion that was stubbornly pursued by Jabotinsky in London and took another two years to obtain its goal.

Rutenberg, who went to the [[criminal racist]] United States in 1915 for the same purpose, had been persuaded to postpone it because of the threat of Turkish retaliations in Palestine, and those who influenced him most were two labor leaders from Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]], David Ben-Gurion and Izhak Ben-Zvi, who later, however, in 1917, themselves promoted the idea of the Jewish Legion and joined its "American" battalion. Much of this activity, including Weizmann's political initiative, had not been authorized by the official supreme organs of the [[racist]] Zionist movement; a meeting of its General Council held in Copenhagen in 1916 resolved that the Executive may not negotiate with any country at war with Turkey.

[1917: Russian Revolution - "US" war declaration - Balfour Declaration]

The turning point on almost all the fronts came in 1917. The beginning of March brought the Russian Revolution [[financed by the racist kaiser German government and by Jewish bankers in New York a.o.]] which overthrew the czar and led, eight months later, to the overthrow of the revolutionary government itself and the establishment of the Soviet regime [[with it's criminal mass murder Gulag system]]. April brought the American declaration of war on the [[racist kaiser]] Central Powers (but not against Turkey). Soon afterward permission was (col. 1079)

granted in London for enlistment in Jewish battalions. At the beginning of the same year, the British government, now led by [[Jewish leader]] Lloyd George, started "unofficial discussions" with the [[racist]] Zionists. One of the first obstacles that had to be removed was the previous commitment under the Anglo-French Sykes-Picot Agreement. Indeed, it was Sir Mark Sykes himself who conducted the discussions with representative Jews, and with his assistance important moves were made in Paris and Rome. On behalf of the [[racist]] Zionists, Sokolow conducted the negotiations there. This time, even the Vatican was less unbending. Benedict XV told Sokolow: "We shall be good neighbors." A short time later, Sokolow received from the French government assurances of "sympathy for your cause, the triumph of which is bound up with that of the Allies". It may have been a reluctant concession, but it opened the way for a decision by the [[racist Empire]] British cabinet.

Significantly, the most persistent opposition there came from Edwin Montagu, the Jewish secretary of state for India, but it could not overcome the equally great persistence of the prime minister and of the secretary of state for foreign affairs. Montagu succeeded, however, in delaying the approval of his government's pronouncement and in watering it down. On Nov. 2, 1917, the Balfour Declaration was issued.> (col. 1080)

[[The Arabs were never asked...]]

<The situation created complex interplays of political forces which resulted in such events as
-- the partial expulsion and total harassment by the Turks in 1917 of the Jewish population of Palestine;
-- the protection of Jews in Palestine by German influence in Turkey in order not to lose support of Jewish opinion in the world as a whole and especially in then neutral America;
-- and, above all, the long deliberations which resulted in the publication by the British government on November 2, 1917, of the Balfour (col. 1049)

Declaration, in which it declared itself to be in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish national home, provided that the civil and religious rights of the non-Jews were not impaired.

[[In reality the racist Herzl booklet "The Jewish State" should be the philosophy of the racist Zionists. The Balfour declaration should be the key to go to Palestine only..]].

This act resulted from the desire of the British to appeal to U.S. Jewish opinion, whose support for the Allies was questionable until the U.S. entered the war at a very late stage in the British deliberations on [[racist]] Zionist aspirations, and to keep Russia in the war despite its revolutionary upheavals in 1917. Beyond these immediate purposes there was, however, a new atmosphere compounded out of markedly increased Jewish fervor for [[racist]] Zionism. This was a corollary to the rising nationalism among all peoples in Europe, including the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which the Allies were exploiting by promising such subject nations as the Czechs and the Poles their national freedom after the war. The self-determination of subject peoples was made into a central war aim by President Wilson when he announced his Fourteen Points.> (col. 1050)

LEGION AND SELF-DEFENSE

[Jewish militarism: Jews in allied armies should give a high reputation for "peace table" after the war - foundation of a "modern Jewish military tradition as a conscious national act" - Haganah since 1919]

It was clear early in the war that this convulsion involving all the major European powers would inevitably lead to new political arrangements and thus give room for Jewish aspirations. Some of the Zionists, especially Joseph Trumpeldor, the Russian Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky, and later also such young labor pioneers from Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] as David Ben-Gurion and Izhak Ben-Zvi believed that one way of making sure that Jews would be taken seriously at the peace table was to organize Jewish military units to fight on the side of the Allies. As a practical matter this was the way to enlist Russian Jews in the West, particularly in England, for while they would not return to their native land to fight for Russia, even if that had been possible, many were eager to enlist as Jews in the Allied cause.

The British government was at first not overly enthusiastic or cooperative, but these efforts did result in the establishment of the Jewish Legion - the Zion Mule Corps, which fought at Gallipoli in 1915 and in the (col. 1050)

Jewish battalions which took the field in 1917. As military formations they were of some importance, but their main significance was in the creation of the modern Jewish military tradition as a conscious national act. In the preparation of the claim for normal Jewish nationhood at the end of the war, something more than a symbolic army had fought beside the ultimate victors.

Even earlier, with the very beginnings of [[racist]] Zionist settlement, Jewish armed guards (see *Ha-Shomer) had increasingly protected settlements against thieves and armed robbers. Both of these military traditions coalesced after World War I, when difficulties soon developed in Palestine between Jews and Arabs, into the creation of a semisecret Jewish self-defense organization, the Haganah.> (col. 1051)

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Sources
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. 1051-1052
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol. 16, col. 1051-1052
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol.
                        16, col. 1077-1078
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol. 16, col. 1077-1078
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol.
                        16, col. 1079-1080
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol. 16, col. 1079-1080


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