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 Ever since the Jewish people lost its national independence and sovereignty and began to live in dispersion among the nations of the earth, it has lost the opportunity and possibility of continuing the work of its national civilization and has had to be satisfied with producing cultural values only. Everything that individual Jews have achieved in the past two thousand years in the of civilization has been an enrichment of the civilization of the peoples among whom they have lived. Jews have always been prominent in commerce and industry, but there was no national Jewish commerce and no national Jewish industry, even when those who created and developed certain branches of commerce were all Jews. Their commercial and industrial activities and strengthened the other nations among whom the Jews lived, but not themselves. In many cases they have endangered and imperiled the Jewish people, because they became the of anti-Semitic weapons. The individual has profited by Jewish industrial and commercial achievements, but not the Jewish collective body. In short, all our work and energy in the domain of practical civilization has reached not the Jewish people, but other nations, and only a few have given us credit for these achievements.  
Often enough have we been blamed for them. The Dutchman is full of envy of the Jew to the present day for having the diamond cutting industry; the Turks are still angry when they remember that de Hirsch built their railroads. In Switzerland people are blaming the Jews for having monopolized the silk and watch industries; the Russians antagonize them because of their big share in the development of the petrol wells in the Caucasus and in the business in western Russia. A famous German professor, Werner Sombart, has written a voluminous book of five hundred pages in which he us for having developed , while others are accusing the Jews of having produced anti-capitalistic forces. In short, not only have the activities of individual Jews in the domain of civilization not been of profit to them as a people, but they have in too many cases served as a basis of attack.
The cause of these was our diaspora life. We had no homeland of our own. We had no national soil beneath us and no national sky above us. We were a wandering people and as such could not produce a national civilization, which involves and presupposes a static and not a dynamic order of things. But as soon as the Jews can lead a normal national life, all this, unhappy and , will change and an new order of things will arise. Not the Jewish individual, as heretofore, but the Jewish people at large, will be the agency of the Jewish genius and whatever the Jewish individual has to contribute to civilization he will contribute through the Jewish people. While his achievements in this domain will serve humanity, as heretofore, they will at the same time enrich the life of his own people and become a source of strength instead of weakness; when the Jews have an opportunity to be active for civilization as Jews, Jewish individualism, the curse of our racial life, will gradually disappear.
[12]Only a few of us realize the fact that this individualism, which finds its unpleasant expression in petty factionalism, , party quarrels and lack of discipline among the rank and file, is in the main to be ascribed to the fact that the Jews have no national civilization. If we had one, many an unpleasant phenomenon in our public life would be impossible. If the Jews had common political responsibilities, if they had all to look to the safety of their country, if they had all to look after their national economic interests, the national intellect would be more uniform and two Jews would not have three different opinions. It is the lack of a national Jewish civilization that makes the Jewish intellect queer and misshapen. The mind of a people can only be trained by its national civilization, and is by it. But since the Jews have lacked national civilization for the last two thousand years, the intellect of the nation has lost its uniformity, has become atomized and has in many cases gone astray. This has added to our inner and has driven many an idealistic Jew to despair. At the moment when the Jews begin to lead a national life on national soil and under their own sky, which give out line and color to the soul of a nation, many negative energies which are active in our life because of the effects of diaspora existence must necessarily disappear. The intellectual discipline of the nation will be re-established and the life of its soul will again assume normal proportions. There will be a Jewish public opinion in the best meaning of the term, not merely the opinion of individual Jews.
It is generally asserted that, though the Jews as such have not produced a civilization during their life in diaspora, they have produced a culture. This is sincerely believed by all Jews, by believers and disbelievers, orthodox and reform, nationalists and assimilationists. Though one lays more stress on the spiritual and the other more on the aspect of the so-called Jewish culture, the outstanding fact is, however, that the belief in the Jewish culture produced in the diaspora is general. But if it is true that culture is a superstructure of civilization and has civilization as its basis, it is hard to see how it is possible to assume for one moment that the Jews have produced anything like a culture during their diaspora life.
It is true that Jews have written books among which some are famous in world-literature. It is true that the Jews have painted good pictures. It is also true that the Jews have composed good music. But the question is often more than whether or not the Jewish genius has the material from Jewish sources and Jewish life. Are all the good books Jews have written Jewish books? Are all the good pictures Jews have painted Jewish art? And is the good music Jews have composed Jewish music? In some cases they are partly Jewish. In the overwhelming majority of cases they are not Jewish at all. Neither Spinoza nor Bergson, neither Heine nor Hoffmannsthal, are Jews in the sense that they have been inspired exclusively by Jewish and that they have drawn their inspiration from Jewish sources alone. But we can go even further and maintain that even those great Jews from Philo of Alexandria to Maimonides and from Maimonides to Herman Cohen, who were always conscious of their Judaism and who thought that they were working as Jews and that their creations were Jewish, stood much more under the spell of alien than Jewish influence, and in their work were less Jews than is generally supposed. In spite of their racial enthusiasm, their intellect was hyphenated. Philo was at least as much Greek as he was Jew, Maimonides at least as much Greek and Arab, and Cohen is at least as much German as he is Jew, if not more.
We are quick in our of those who wrote on the tombstone of Maimonides, "Heretic and Disbeliever." We are angry at the "" of Amsterdam who excommunicated Spinoza, and we are often angry at those who utter severe criticism of Herman Cohen as a Jew. But these fanatics, wrong as they may be in their methods, are not entirely wrong in their motives and ideas. They are Jews in whom strong Jewish instincts are alive and these Jews, gifted with more original instincts than the average Jew, see more quickly what is Jewish and what is not in the work of a great Jew; it is the un-Jewish in these works by which they are .
Even the Jewish religion has been largely influenced, not only by non-Jewish surroundings, but also by non-Jewish religious motives. The truth of the matter is that national Jewish culture ceased to be with the destruction of the Jewish state. From that time on, individual Jews have cultivated Jewish thoughts and Jewish feelings, but they could not prevent their thoughts and feelings from being so with and darkened by non-Jewish thoughts and feelings as to lose their original strength. Much of our so-called national literature is not organic, but consists of a number of books written by individual Jews who were only too often inspired by motives more non-Jewish than Jewish. The same is true of Jewish art, Jewish music, etc. Only when our culture touches upon our classical past or upon our national future, that is to say, when it is not influenced by the of the present, is it truly Jewish.
When the Jews return to Palestine and begin to develop a national civilization, their culture will be built up not only on the past or the future, but also on the present. It will grow with the growth of civilization and it will not be a culture of individuals who are inspired by one thought appearing in different colors as the result of various influences; it will be the culture of a nation, an organic essence produced and developed with the help of the entire nation.
This will be the consequence of a national Jewish homeland in Palestine.

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