One of the most important texts of early Zionism. Theodor Herzl
expresses his vision of a future Jewish state. - Paperback: 80 pages
, First Published 1895
"The idea that I develop in this pamphlet is an age-old one: the
establishment of a Jewish State. ...
What matters is the driving force. What is that force? The
distress of the Jews.Who dares deny that this force exists?...
I am profoundly convinced that I am right; I do not know whether
I shall be proved right in my lifetime. The men who inaugurate
this movement will hardly live to see its glorious conclusion.
But the very inauguration will bring a lofty pride and the
happiness of inner freedom into their lives....Here it is, fellow Jews! Neither fable
nor deception! Every man may test its reality for himself,
for every man will carry over with him a portion of the
Promised Land - one in his head, another in his arms,
another in his acquired possessions.... The intellects
which we produce so superabundantly in our middle classes
will find an outlet in our first organizations, as our first
technicians, officers, professors, officials, lawyers, and
doctors; and thus the movement will continue in swift but
smooth progression.. But we must first bring enlightenment
to men's minds. The idea must make its way into the most
distant, miserable holes where our people dwell. They will
awaken from gloomy brooding, for into their lives will come
a new significance. Every man need think only of himself,
and the movement will assume vast proportions. And what
glory awaits those who fight unselfishly for the cause! ...
Let me repeat my opening words again: The Jews who wish,
will have their state. We shall live at last 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. And whatever we attempt to
accomplish there for our own welfare will have a powerful
and beneficial effect for all people. "
The idea that I develop in this pamphlet is an age-old one: the
establishment of a Jewish State.
The world echoes with outcries against the Jews, and this is
what awakens the dormant idea.
I am not inventing anything, as the reader should be constantly
aware when reading my explanations. I am inventing neither the
condition of the Jews as it developed through history, nor the
means to remedy it. The material components of the structure
which I sketch, are present in reality and within easy reach;
anyone can convince himself of that. Thus if anyone wants to
characterize this attempt to solve the Jewish question with one
word, then it should not be called a "fantasy" but at most a
At the outset I must guard my plan from being treated as a
Utopia. In doing so I am only preventing superficial observers
from possibly committing a silly blunder. After all, it would be
no disgrace to have written a philanthropic Utopia. I could
achieve an easier literary success --and, as it were, avoid all
responsibility- -if I presented my plan in the form of a novel
for readers who want to be entertained. But that would be the
kind of amiable Utopia that has been produced in such abundance
before and after Sir Thomas More. And I think the situation of
the Jews in various countries is bad enough to render such
preliminary dalliance superfluous.
To bring out the difference between my construction and a Utopia
I shall choose an interesting book of recent years, Freiland
[Freeland] by Dr. Theodor Hertzka. This is an ingenious bit of
fantasy, devised by a thoroughly modern mind schooled in the
principles of political economy, and as remote from life as the
equatorial mountain on which this dream state is located.
Freiland is a complicated piece of machinery with many cogs and
wheels which even mesh; but there is nothing to indicate to me
that it can be set in motion. And even if I were to see Freeland
associations come into being, I should regard the whole thing as
The plan before you, however, contains the utilization of a
driving force that exists in reality. In all modesty I am only
indicating the cogs and wheels of the machine that is to be
built, referring to my limitations and trusting that there will
be mechanics more competent than I for the actual construction.
What matters is the driving force. What is that force? The
distress of the Jews.
Who dares deny that this force exists? We shall deal with it in
the chapter on the causes of anti-Semitism.
We understand steam power which is generated by boiling water in
a tea-kettle and which then lifts the kettle lid. Such a
tea-kettle phenomenon are the Zionist experiments and many other
organized efforts "to combat anti-Semitism."
This force, if properly used, is powerful enough to run a great
machine and transport men and merchandise. The machine may have
whatever form one pleases.
I am profoundly convinced that I am right; I do not know whether
I shall be proved right in my lifetime. The men who inaugurate
this movement will hardly live to see its glorious conclusion.
But the very inauguration will bring a lofty pride and the
happiness of inner freedom into their lives.
To protect my plan from the suspicion that it is a Utopia, I
shall use picturesque details in my description but sparingly.
As it is, I suspect that unthinking scoffers will attempt to
invalidate the whole idea by distorting my outline. A generally
intelligent Jew to whom I presented the matter said that details
of the future presented as reality were the hallmark of a
Utopia. This is a fallacy. Every minister of finance uses future
figures in his budgetary estimate - not just figures derived
from the average of previous years and the past revenues of
other states, but also figures for which there is no precedent
for example, when a new tax is instituted. Only those who have
never looked at a budget will be unaware of this. Will this
cause anyone to regard a draft of a fiscal law as Utopian, even
if he knows that it will never be possible to stick to the
estimate very closely?
But I expect even more of my readers. I ask the educated readers
whom I am addressing to rethink and revise many old notions. And
I am particularly imposing upon the Jewish leaders, those who
have actively striven for a solution of the Jewish Question, to
the extent of asking them to look upon their previous efforts as
misguided and ineffectual.
In presenting my idea I face a danger. If I describe all those
things of the future with restraint, it will seem as though even
I do not believe that they are possible. If, on the other hand,
I predict their realization unreservedly, everything may look
like a figment of my imagination.
Therefore I say clearly and emphatically: I do believe that my
scheme can be put into practice, even though I do not presume to
have found the final form the idea will take. The Jewish State
is something the world needs, and consequently it will come into
If this idea were only to be pursued by one person, it would be
a rather foolish quest; but if many Jews agree to work on it
simultaneously, it is entirely reasonable, and carrying it out
will present no major obstacles. The idea depends only on the
number of its adherents. Perhaps our ambitious young people, to
whom every road is even now blocked and for whom the Jewish
State reveals bright prospects of honor, freedom, arid
happiness, will see to it that this idea is disseminated.
With the publication of this pamphlet I consider my task as
completed. I shall have something further to say only if attacks
from estimable opponents force me to do so, or if it becomes
necessary to refute unforeseen objections and eliminate errors.
Is what I am saying not yet true? Am I ahead of my time? Are the
sufferings of the Jews still not great enough? We shall see.
So it depends on the Jews themselves whether this political
pamphlet is, for the time being, only a political novel. If the
present generation is still too obtuse, another, better, more
advanced generation will come along. Those Jews who want a state
of their own will have one, and deservedly so.
It is astonishing how little insight into the science of
economics many men who move in the midst of active life possess.
Thus, even Jews faithfully repeat the cry of the anti-Semites:
"We depend for sustenance on the nations who are our hosts, and
if we had no hosts to support us we should die of starvation."
This is a point that shows how unjust accusations may weaken our
self-knowledge. But what are the true grounds for this statement
concerning the nations that act as "hosts"? Where it is not
based on limited physiocratic views it is founded on the
childish error that commodities pass from hand to hand in
continuous rotation. We need not wake from long slumber, like
Rip van Winkle, to realize that the world is considerably
altered by the production of new commodities. The technical
progress made during this wonderful era enables even a man of
most limited intelligence to note with his short-sighted eyes
the appearance of new commodities all around him. The spirit of
enterprise has created them.
Labor without enterprise is the stationary labor of ancient
days; and typical of it is the work of the peasant farmer, who
stands now just where his ancestors stood a thousand years ago.
All our material welfare has been created by men of enterprise.
I feel almost ashamed of writing down such a trite remark. Even
if we were a nation of entrepreneurs--such as absurdly
exaggerated accounts make us out to be--we should not require
another nation to live on. We do not depend on the circulation
of old commodities, because we produce new ones.
The world has slaves with extraordinary work capacity, whose
appearance has been fatal to the production of handmade goods:
these slaves are the machines. It is true that workmen are
required to set machinery in motion; but for this we have men in
plenty, in super-abundance. Only those who are ignorant of the
conditions of Jews in many countries of Eastern Europe would
venture to assert that Jews are either unfit or unwilling to
perform manual labor.
But I do not wish to take up the cudgels for the Jews in this
pamphlet. It would be useless. Everything rational and
everything sentimental that can possibly be said in their
defense has been said already. If one's hearers are incapable of
comprehending them, one is a preacher in a desert. And if one's
hearers are broad and high-minded enough to have grasped them
already, then the sermon is superfluous. I believe in the ascent
of man to higher and yet higher grades of civilization; but I
consider this ascent to be desperately slow. Were we to wait
until average humanity had become as charitably inclined as was
Lessing when he wrote "Nathan the Wise," we should wait beyond
our day, beyond the days of our children, of our grandchildren,
and of our great-grandchildren. But the world's spirit comes to
our aid in another way.
This century has given the world a wonderful renaissance by
means of its technical achievements; but at the same time its
miraculous improvements have not been employed in the service of
humanity. Distance has ceased to be an obstacle, yet we complain
of insufficient space. Our great steamships carry us swiftly and
surely over hitherto unvisited seas. Our railways carry us
safely into a mountain-world hitherto tremblingly scaled on
foot. Events occurring in countries undiscovered when Europe
confined the Jews in Ghettos are known to us in the course of an
hour. Hence the misery of the Jews is an anachronism -- not
because there was a period of enlightenment one hundred years
ago, for that enlightenment reached in reality only the choicest
I believe that electric light was not invented for the purpose
of illuminating the drawing-rooms of a few snobs, but rather for
the purpose of throwing light on some of the dark problems of
humanity. One of these problems, and not the least of them, is
the Jewish question. In solving it we are working not only for
ourselves, but also for many other over-burdened and oppressed
The Jewish question still exists. It would be foolish to deny
it. It is a remnant of the Middle Ages, which civilized nations
do not even yet seem able to shake off, try as they will. They
certainly showed a generous desire to do so when they
emancipated us. The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live in
perceptible numbers. Where it does not exist, it is carried by
Jews in the course of their migrations. We naturally move to
those places where we are not persecuted, and there our presence
produces persecution. This is the case in every country, and
will remain so, even in those highly civilized--for instance,
France--until the Jewish question finds a solution on a
political basis. The unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds
of anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it
I believe that I understand anti-Semitism, which is really a
highly complex movement. I consider it from a Jewish standpoint,
yet without fear or hatred. I believe that I can see what
elements there are in it of vulgar sport, of common trade
jealousy, of inherited prejudice, of religious intolerance, and
also of pretended self-defense. I think the Jewish question is
no more a religious than a social one, notwithstanding that it
sometimes takes these and other forms. It is a national
question, which can only be solved by making it a political
world-question to be discussed and settled by the civilized
nations of the world in council.
We are a people - one people.
We have honestly endeavored everywhere to merge ourselves in the
social life of surrounding communities and to preserve the faith
of our fathers. We are not permitted to do so. In vain are we
loyal patriots, our loyalty in some places running to extremes;
in vain do we make the same sacrifices of life and property as
our fellow-citizens; in vain do we strive to increase the fame
of our native land in science and art, or her wealth by trade
and commerce. In countries where we have lived for centuries we
are still cried down as strangers. and often by those whose
ancestors were not yet domiciled in the land where Jews had
already had experience of suffering. The majority may decide
which are the strangers; for this, as indeed every point which
arises in the relations between nations, is a question of might.
I do not here surrender any portion of our prescriptive right,
when I make this statement merely in my own name as an
individual. In the world as it now is and for an indefinite
period will probably remain, might precedes right. It is
useless, therefore, for us to be loyal patriots, as were the
Huguenots who were forced to emigrate. If we could only be left
in peace. . . .
But I think we shall not be left in peace.
Oppression and persecution cannot exterminate us. No nation on
earth has survived such struggles and sufferings as we have gone
through. Jew-baiting has merely stripped off our weaklings; the
strong among us were invariably true to their race when
persecution broke out against them. This attitude was most
clearly apparent in the period immediately following the
emancipation of the Jews. Those Jews who were advanced
intellectually and materially entirely lost the feeling of
belonging to their race. Wherever our political well-being has
lasted for any length of time, we have assimilated with our
surroundings. I think this is not discreditable. Hence, the
statesman who would wish to see a Jewish strain in his nation
would have to provide for the duration of our political
well-being; and even a Bismarck could not do that.
For old prejudices against us still lie deep in the hearts of
the people. For proof of these, we need only listen to the
common people where they speak with frankness and simplicity:
proverbs and fairy-tales are both anti-Semitic. A nation is
everywhere a great child, which can certainly be educated; but
its education would, even in most favorable circumstances,
occupy such a vast amount of time that we could, as already
mentioned, solve our own problems by other means long before the
process was accomplished.
Assimilation--by which I understood not only external conformity
in dress, habits, customs, and language, but also identity of
feeling and manner--assimilation of Jews could be effected only
by intermarriage. But the need for mixed marriages would have to
be felt by the majority; their mere recognition by law would
certainly not suffice.
The Hungarian Liberals, who have just given legal sanction to
mixed marriages, have made a remarkable mistake which one of the
earliest cases clearly illustrates; a baptized Jew married a
Jewish lady. At the same time the struggle to obtain the present
form of marriage accentuated distinctions between Jews and
Christians, thus hindering rather than aiding the fusion of
Those who really wished to see the Jews disappear through
intermixture with other nations, can only hope to see it come
about in one way. The Jews must previously acquire economic
power sufficiently great to overcome the old social prejudice
against them. An example is provided by the aristocracy, among
which the greatest proportion of intermarriage occurs.
The old nobility has itself refurbished with Jewish money,
and in the process Jewish families are absorbed. But what form
would this phenomenon assume in the middle classes, where (the
Jews being a bourgeois people) the Jewish question is mainly
concentrated? A previous acquisition of power could be
synonymous with that economic supremacy which Jews are already
erroneously declared to possess.
And if the power they now possess creates rage and
indignation among the anti-Semites, what outbreaks would such an
increase of power create? Hence the first step towards
absorption will never be taken, because this step would involve
the subjection of the majority to a hitherto scorned minority,
possessing neither military nor administrative power of its own.
I think, therefore, that the absorption of Jews by means of
their prosperity is unlikely to occur. In countries which now
are anti-Semitic my view will be approved. In others, where Jews
now feel comfortable, it will probably be violently disputed by
them. My happier coreligionists will not believe me until
Jew-baiting teaches them the truth; for the longer anti-Semitism
lies in abeyance the more fiercely will it break out. The
infiltration of immigrating Jews, attracted to a land by
apparent security, and the ascent in the social scale of native
Jews, combine powerfully to bring about a revolution. Nothing is
plainer than this rational conclusion.
Because I have drawn this conclusion with complete indifference
to everything but the quest of truth, I shall probably be
contradicted and opposed by Jews who are in easy circumstances.
The claims of those who feel that their private interests are
endangered can safely be ignored, for the concerns of the poor
and oppressed are of greater importance. But I wish from the
outset to prevent any misconception from arising, particularly
the mistaken notion that my project, if realized, would in any
way injure property now held by Jews. I shall therefore explain
everything connected with rights of property very fully.
Whereas, if my plan never becomes anything more than a piece of
literature, things will merely remain as they are. It might more
reasonably be objected that I am giving a handle to
anti-Semitism when I say we are a people--one people; that I am
hindering the assimilation of Jews where it is about to be
consummated, and endangering it where it is an accomplished
fact, insofar as it is possible for a solitary writer to hinder,
or endanger anything. This objection will be especially brought
forward in France. It will probably also be made in other
countries, but I shall answer only the French Jews beforehand,
because these afford the most striking example of my point.
However much I may worship personality--powerful individual
personality in statesmen, inventors, artists, philosophers, or
leaders, as well as the collective personality of a historic
group of human beings, which we call a nation--however much I
may worship personality, I do not regret its disappearance.
Whoever can, will, and must perish, let him perish. But the
distinctive nationality of Jews neither can, will, nor must be
destroyed. It cannot be destroyed, because external enemies
consolidate it. It will not be destroyed; this is shown during
two thousand years of appalling suffering. It must not be
destroyed, and that, as a descendant of numberless Jews who
refused to despair, I am trying once more to prove in this
pamphlet. Whole branches of Judaism may wither and fall, but the
trunk will remain.
Hence, if all or any of the French Jews protest against this
scheme on account of their own "assimilation," my answer is
simple: The whole thing does not concern them at all. They are
Jewish Frenchmen, well and good! This is a private affair for
the Jews alone. The movement towards the organization of the
State that I am proposing would, not of course, harm Jewish
Frenchmen, just as it would not harm the "assimilated" of other
countries. It would, on the contrary, be distinctly to their
advantage. For they would no longer be disturbed in their
"chromatic function," as Darwin puts it, but would be able to
assimilate in peace, because the present anti-Semitism would
have been stopped for ever.
They would certainly be credited with being assimilated to
the very depths of their souls, if they stayed where they were
after the new Jewish State, with its superior institutions, had
become a reality. The "assimilated" would profit even more than
Christian citizens by the departure of faithful Jews; for they
would be rid of the disquieting, incalculable, and unavoidable
rivalry of a Jewish proletariat, driven by poverty and political
pressure from place to place, from land to land. This floating
proletariat would become stationary.
Many Christian citizens--whom we call anti-Semites-- now
offer determined resistance to the immigration of foreign Jews.
Jewish citizens cannot do this, although it affects them far
more directly; for they are first to feel the pressure of
competition with individuals in similar branches of industry,
who, in addition, either introduce anti-Semitism where it does
not exist, or intensify it where it does. The "assimilated" give
expression to this secret grievance in "philanthropic"
undertakings. They organize emigration societies for wandering
Jews. There is a reverse side of the picture which would be
comic, if it did not affect human beings. For some of these
charitable institutions are created not for, but against,
persecuted Jews; they are created to dispatch these poor
creatures just as fast and far as possible. And thus, many an
apparent friend of the Jews turns out, on careful inspection, to
be nothing more than an anti-Semite of Jewish origin, disguised
as a philanthropist.
But the attempts at colonization made even by really benevolent
men, interesting attempts though they were, have so far been
unsuccessful. I do not think that this or that man took up the
matter merely as an amusement, that they engaged in the
emigration of poor Jews as one indulges in the racing of horses.
The matter was too grave and tragic for such treatment. These
attempts were interesting, in that they represented on a small
scale the practical fore-runners of the idea of a Jewish State.
They were even useful, for out of their mistakes may be gathered
experience for carrying the idea out successfully on a larger
They have, of course, done harm also. The transportation of
anti-Semitism to new districts, which is the inevitable
consequence of such artificial infiltration, seems to me to be
the least of these evils. Far worse, is the circumstance that
unsatisfactory outcomes caused Jews themselves to doubt doubts
in the Jewish mind on the usefulness of Jewish human material.
Reasonable men may overcome these doubts by the following simple
argument: What is impractical or impossible to accomplish in a
small enterprise, need not necessarily be so on a larger one. A
small enterprise may result in loss under the same conditions
which would make a large one pay. A stream cannot even be
navigated by a boat; the river into which it flows carries
stately iron vessels.
No human being is wealthy or powerful enough to transplant a
nation from one habitation to another. An idea alone can achieve
that and this idea of a State may have the requisite power to do
so. The Jews have dreamt this kingly dream all through the long
nights of their history. "Next year in Jerusalem" is our old
phrase. It is now a question of showing that the dream can be
converted into a living reality.
For this, many old, outgrown, confused and limited notions must
first be entirely erased from the minds of men. Dull brains
might, for instance, imagine that this exodus would be from
civilized regions into the desert. That is not the case. It will
be carried out in the midst of civilization. We shall not revert
to a lower stage; we shall rise to a higher one. We shall not
dwell in mud huts; we shall build new more beautiful and more
modern houses, and possess them in safety. We shall not lose our
acquired possessions; we shall realize them. We shall surrender
our hard-earned rights only for better ones. We shall not
sacrifice our beloved customs; we shall find them again. We
shall nor leave our old home before the new one is prepared for
us. Those only will depart who are sure thereby to improve their
position; those who are now desperate will go first; after them
the poor; next the prosperous, and, last of all the wealthy.
Those who go in advance will raise themselves to a higher grade,
equal to those whose representatives will shortly follow. Thus
the exodus will be at the same time an ascent of the class.
The departure of the Jews will involve no economic disturbances,
no crises, no persecutions; in fact, the countries they abandon
will revive to a new period of prosperity. There will be an
inner migration of Christian citizens into the positions vacated
by Jews. The outgoing current will be gradual, without any
disturbance, and its initial movement will put an end to
anti-Semitism. The Jews will leave as honored friends, and if
some of them return, they will receive the same favorable
welcome and treatment at the hands of civilized nations as is
accorded to all foreign visitors. Their exodus will have no
resemblance to a flight, for it will be a well-regulated
movement under control of public opinion. The movement will not
only be inaugurated with absolute conformity to law, but it
cannot even be carried out without the friendly cooperation of
interested Governments, who would derive considerable benefits
Security for the integrity of the idea and the vigor of its
execution will be found in the creation of a corporate body, or
corporation. This corporation will be called "The Society of
Jews." In addition to it there will be a Jewish company, an
economically productive body.
An individual who attempted even to undertake this huge task
alone would be either an impostor or a madman. The personal
character of the members of the corporation will guarantee its
integrity, and the adequate force Company [legal person] will be
provided by its capital.
These prefatory remarks are merely intended as a hasty reply to
the mass of objections which the very words "Jewish State" are
certain to arouse. Henceforth we shall proceed more slowly to
meet further objections and to explain in detail what has been
as yet only indicated; and we shall try in the interests of this
pamphlet to avoid making it a dull exposition. Short aphoristic
chapters will therefore best answer the purpose.
If I wish to substitute a new building for an old one, I must
demolish before I construct. I shall therefore keep to this
natural sequence. In the first and general part I shall explain
my ideas, remove all prejudices, determine essential political
and economic conditions, and develop the plan.
In the central part, which is divided into three principal
sections, I shall describe its execution. These three sections
are: The Jewish Company, Local Groups, and the Society of Jews.
The Society is to be created first, the Company last; but in
this exposition the reverse order is preferable, because it is
the financial soundness of the enterprise which will chiefly be
called into question, and doubts on this score must be removed
In the conclusion, I shall try to meet every further objection
that could possibly be made. My Jewish readers will, I hope,
follow me patiently to the end. Some will naturally make their
objections in an order of succession other than that chosen for
their refutation. But whoever finds his doubts dispelled should
give allegiance to the cause.
Although I speak of 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 whom we need are at our
command--the youth, who irresistibly draw on the old, carry them
forward on strong arms, and transform rational motives into
How much has been left unexplained, how many defects, how many
harmful superficialities, and how many useless repetitions there
are in this pamphlet, which I have thought over so long and so
But a fair-minded reader, who has sufficient understanding to
grasp the spirit of my words, will not be repelled by these
defects. He will rather be inspired by them to cooperate with
his intelligence and energy in a work which is not one man's
task alone, and to improve it.
Haven't I explained obvious things and overlooked important
I have tried to meet certain objections; but I know that many
more will be made, based on high grounds and low.
To the first class of objections belongs the remark that the
Jews are not the only people in the world who are in a condition
of distress. Here I would reply that we may as well begin by
removing a little of this misery, even if it should at first be
no more than our own.
It might further be said that we ought not to create new
distinctions between people; we ought not to raise fresh
barriers, we should rather make the old disappear. But men who
think in this way are amiable visionaries; and the idea of a
native land will still flourish when the dust of their bones
will have vanished tracelessly in the winds. Universal
brotherhood is not even a beautiful dream. Antagonism is
essential to man's greatest efforts. But the Jews, once settled
in their own state, would probably have no more enemies. As for
those who remain behind, since prosperity enfeebles and causes
them to diminish, they would soon disappear altogether. I think
the Jews will always have sufficient enemies, such as every
nation has. But once fixed in their own land, it will no longer
be possible for them to scatter all over the world. The Diaspora
cannot be reborn, unless the civilization of the whole earth
should collapse; and such a consummation could be feared by none
but foolish men. Our present civilization possesses weapons
powerful enough for its self-defense.
Innumerable objections will be based on low grounds, for there
are more low men than noble in this world. I have tried to
remove some of these narrow-minded notions; and whoever is
willing to fall in behind our white flag with its seven stars,
must assist in this campaign of enlightenment. Perhaps we shall
have to fight first of all against many an evil-disposed,
narrow-hearted, short-sighted member of our own race.
Again, people will say that I am furnishing the anti-Semites
with weapons. Why so? Because I admit the truth? Because I do
not maintain that there are none but excellent men amongst us?
Won't people say that I am showing our enemies how to injure us?
This I absolutely dispute. My proposal could only be carried out
with the free consent of a majority of Jews. Action may be taken
against individuals or even against groups of the most powerful
Jews, but governments will never take action against all Jews.
The equal rights of the Jew before the law cannot be withdrawn
where they have once been conceded; for the first attempt at
withdrawal would immediately drive all Jews, rich and poor
alike, into the ranks of revolutionary parties. The beginning of
any official acts of injustice against the Jews invariably
brings about economic crises. Therefore, no weapons can be
effectively used against us, because these injure the hands that
wield them. Meantime hatred grows apace. The rich do not feel it
much, but our poor do. Let us ask our poor, who have been more
severely proletarized since the last removal of anti-Semitism
than ever before.
Some of our prosperous men may say that the pressure is not yet
severe enough to justify emigration, and that every forcible
expulsion shows how unwilling our people are to depart. True,
because they do not know where to go; because they only pass
from one trouble into another. But we are showing them the way
to the Promised Land; and the splendid force of enthusiasm must
fight against the terrible force of habit.
Persecutions are no longer so malignant as they were in the
Middle Ages? True, but our sensitivity has increased, so that we
feel no diminution in our sufferings; prolonged persecution has
over-sensitized our nerves.
Will people say, again, that our enterprise is hopeless, because
even if we obtained the land with supremacy over it, the poor
only would go with us? It is precisely the poorest whom we need
at first. Only the desperate make good conquerors.
Will some one say: Were it feasible it would have been done long
It has never yet been possible; now it is possible. A hundred or
even fifty years ago it would have been nothing more than a
dream. Today it may become a reality. Our rich, who have a
pleasurable acquaintance with all our technical achievements,
know full well how much money can do. And thus it will be: just
the poor and simple, who do not know what power man already
exercises over the forces of nature; just these will have the
firmest faith in the new message. For these have never lost
their hope of the Promised Land.
Here it is, fellow Jews! Neither fable nor deception! Every man
may test its reality for himself, for every man will carry over
with him a portion of the Promised Land -- one in his head,
another in his arms, another in his acquired possessions.
Now, all this may appear to be an interminably long affair. Even
in the most favorable circumstances, many years might elapse
before the commencement of the foundation of the State. In the
meantime, Jews in a thousand different places would suffer
insults, mortifications, abuse, blows, depredation, and death.
No; if we only begin to carry out the plans, anti-Semitism would
stop at once and for ever. For it is the conclusion of peace.
The news of the formation of our Jewish Company will be carried
in a single day to the remotest ends of the earth by the
lightning speed of our telegraph wires.
And immediate relief will ensue. The intellects which we produce
so superabundantly in our middle classes will find an outlet in
our first organizations, as our first technicians, officers,
professors, officials, lawyers, and doctors; and thus the
movement will continue in swift but smooth progression.
Prayers will be offered up for the success of our work in
synagogues and in churches also; for it will bring relief from
an old burden, which all have suffered.
But we must first bring enlightenment to men's minds. The idea
must make its way into the most distant, miserable holes where
our people dwell. They will awaken from gloomy brooding, for
into their lives will come a new significance. Every man need
think only of himself, and the movement will assume vast
And what glory awaits those who fight unselfishly for the cause!
Therefore I believe that a wondrous generation of Jews will grow
from the earth. The Maccabeans will rise again.
Let me repeat my opening words again: The Jews who wish, will
have their state. We shall live at last 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. And whatever we attempt to accomplish there for our
own welfare will have a powerful and beneficial effect for all