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HOME > Classical Novels > On the Eve of Redemption > WHAT IS THE JEWISH MISSION?
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 In view of the rise of Jewish nationalism during the last decade, especially during the war, it is understandable why the fancy of the Jewish masses should be directed to the future of the Jewish State in Palestine and that quite questions as to the form and character of the Jewish State should be asked.  
There are no prophets nowadays. No serious-minded man would even dare to anticipate the development of many generations and attempt to foresee the character of the time which is deeply enshrouded in the of the future. Sociology has not yet discovered laws with the help of which one can predict future material happenings. Nevertheless, serious-minded Jews, especially nationalists, should give a thought to the question of possible future developments and should ask themselves in which direction they have to go.
An unequivocal answer to this question will help to clarify matters and will deprive the enemy of many of the weapons which he is always ready to use against us.
When Theodor Herzl appeared before the Zionist Congress in 1906 with his famous Uganda proposition, the Jewish people was amazed. How could a man like Theodor Herzl, whose love for Palestine was beyond doubt, propose to the Jews to settle in East Africa, on a stretch of territory not only outside the pale of Jewish traditions but even outside the pale of civilization? If it had been a question only of enabling the then badly Russian Jews to emigrate to other countries where they could live in relative freedom and happiness, were there not plenty of countries where the Jews could find a refuge? These and similar questions were raised after Herzl brought the Uganda proposal. But those who were on intimate terms with the great leader later explained this strange mood.
It was in 1903 that von Plehve began his policy of pogroms, and from 1903 to 1906 hundreds of pogroms were perpetrated against the Jews in Russia and Poland. Theodor Herzl, who witnessed the development of the Dreyfus affair and who had some experience with western European anti-Semitism, knew well the against the Jews everywhere, but he could not imagine that a State, forming a member of the family of nations, should in the twentieth century resort to such barbarities as pogroms, in order to carry out its anti-Semitic policy. Man of delicate and fine feelings as he was, he became so disgusted with the situation and so downhearted on account of these pogroms that, in a moment of despair, he said to himself, "We would rather live among the Hottentots and other in Africa than among the civilized Christian nations in Europe." The entire Uganda proposition can be understood as an expression of disgust with European civilization on the part of our great Jewish statesman and artist. In short, Uganda was a loud protest against Christian civilization and Christian political methods.
In a degree Zionism, also, is partly a protest against European Christian civilization, which is an inheritance of ancient Rome. We want to go back to Palestine not only because we want to live a national life of our own there, but also because we are by European civilization and because we do not believe in a civilization that leads to the murder and of entire nations and the of horror and might. We are disgusted with this civilization because we do not believe that "might is right," because we do not believe in the political heritage of ancient Rome.
We cannot say whether or not every nationalistic Jew is conscious of this fact, but the historian who does not believe in the inheritance of Rome will certainly ascribe the of Jewish nationalism not only to the national memories of the Jews, but also to the difference between Jewish and Roman political ideas and ideals and to the difference in the concept of life of the Jew and those who live on the political inheritance of ancient Rome. We, for one, firmly believe that Zionism, in spite of its political aspects, has the consciousness of the Jewish nation as its basis and as its driving power; Zionism is thus to our mind not only a political, but also an ethical movement—or even a revolutionary movement, in the sense that the Jewish people revolts against a system of civilization from which not only entire humanity has suffered, but from which it has[146] suffered most. Now, since Zionism is also an ethical movement, one can easily see to what its should lead.
Though the Jewish people lived in a Europe dominated by Roman ideas for two thousand years, it did not become an of the Roman school of thought. We have remained Jews, still cherishing Jewish ideals of justice and , and we mean to go back to Palestine not as "Europeans," but as Jews pure and............
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