Those who have known
Could it be true that policy was made in Dr. Herzl's office, not in the Ballhausplatz? Had a Jew from
Herzl asserted that the Dreyfus case had convinced him of the reality of “antisemitism.” The term was then of fairly recent coinage, though Dr. Kastein seeks to show that the state of mind denoted by it is immemorial by saying “it has existed from the time that Judaism came into contact with other peoples in something more than neighbourly hostility.” (By this definition resistance in war is “antisemitism,” and the “neighbours” in the tribal warfare of antique times, to which he refers, were themselves Semites. However, the words “contact exceeding neighbourly hostility” offer a good example of Zionist pilpulism.)
Anyway, Dr. Herzl stated that “the Dreyfus process made me a Zionist,” and the words are as empty as Mr. Lloyd George's later ones, “Acetone converted me to Zionism” (which were demonstrably untrue). The Dreyfus case gave the Jews complete proof of the validity of emancipation and of the impartiality of justice under it. Never was one man defended so publicly by so many or so fully vindicated. Today whole nations, east of
Nevertheless Dr. Herzl demanded that “the sovereignty be granted us over a portion of the globe large enough to satisfy the rightful requirements of a nation” (he specified no particular territory and did not especially lean towards
Consequently, in March 1897, Jews “all over the world” were invited to send delegates to a “Zionist congress,” a counter-Sanhedrin, at
When Herzl's congress met most of the 197 delegates came from
Nevertheless, the proposal, for what it was worth in those circumstances, was at last on the table of international affairs. The congress was in fact a Sanhedrin summoned to cancel the avowals made by the Napoleonic Sanhedrin eighty years before. That Sanhedrin repudiated separate nationhood and any ambition to form a Jewish state; this one proclaimed separate nationhood and the ambition of statehood. Looking back fifty years later, Rabbi Elmer Berger observed, “Here was the wedge of Jewish nationalism, to be driven between Jews and other human beings. Here was the permanent mould of ghettoism into which Jewish life in the unemancipated nations was to remain compressed so that the self-generating processes of emancipation and integration could not come into play.”
The Napoleonic Sanhedrin had a basic flaw, now revealed, of which Napoleon may well have been unaware. It represented the Western Jews, and Napoleon cannot reasonably be expected to have known of the strength of the compact, Talmudic-ruled mass of Jews in
Dr. Herzl found himself face to face with his masters and with the conspiracy, which through him was about to enter the West. He had declared war on emancipation and, like many successors, was unaware of the nature of the force he had released. He was soon left behind, a bugler whose task was done, while the real “managers” took over.
He had forged the instrument which they were to use in their onslaught on the West. Dr. Weizmann, who became the real leader, clearly sees that: “It was Dr. Herzl's enduring contribution to Zionism to have created one central parliamentary authority for Zionism … This was the first time in the exilic history of Jewry that a great government had officially negotiated with the elected representatives of the Jewish people. The identity, the legal personality of the Jewish people, had been re-established.”
Dr. Weizmann presumably smiled to himself when he included the words “parliamentary” and “elected.” The middle sentence contains the great fact. The Jews who met at Basel, shunned by the majority of Western Jews, and its declarations, could only be lent authority by one event, which at that time seemed unimaginable; namely, their recognition by a Great Power. This inconceivable thing happened a few years later when the British Government offered Dr. Herzl
Thus ended the century of emancipation, which began with such bright prospect of common involvement, and the prescient words of Mr. Houston Stewart Chamberlain (written just before Dr. Herzl's congress met at
With the formation of the World Zionist Organization, which the great governments of the West were to treat, in effect, as an authority superior to themselves, the burning subject began to mould the entire shape of events. That it affected “the future of the world” is plainly seen in 1956, when this book is concluded; from the start of that year the political leaders of the remaining great powers of the West, Britain and America, observed in tones of sad surprise that the next world war might at any time break out in the place where they had set up “the Jewish State,” and they hastened to and fro across the ocean in the effort to concert some way of preventing that consummation.
[††] Strong resemblances occur in contemporary descriptions of Mr. Roosevelt, whom Mr. House also believed that he chose as a “figurehead.” Mr. Robert E. Sherwood says with emphasis that Mr. Roosevelt was ever haunted “by the ghost of Wilson,” When Mr, Roosevelt had been president two years his party manager, Mr. James Farley, wrote, “The President looked bad … face drawn and his reactions slow” (1935), and two years later he was “shocked at the President's appearance” (1937). In 1943 Madame Chiang Kai-shek was “shocked by the President's looks”; in 1944, says Mr. Merriman Smith, “he looked older than I have ever seen him and he made an irrelevant speech,” and Mr. John T. Flynn says the President's pictures “shocked the nation.” In 1945 Miss Frances Perkins, a member of his cabinet, emerged from his office saying, “I can't stand it, the President looks horrible.”
[‡‡] In the sequel to all this Sir Edward Carson, who had unwittingly helped Mr. Lloyd George into the premiership, resigned from the government and told the editor of The Times that it was but Mr. Lloyd George's mouthpiece, the Morning Post being the truly independent paper. Mr. Gwynne told Colonel Repington that the government wished to destroy the Morning Post “as it is one of the few independent papers left.” Before the Second War came it ‘was “destroyed,” as already related. After that only one weekly publication survived in