Backdrop to Tragedy: The Struggle for Palestine

By William R. Polk; David M. Stamler et al. | Go to book overview

its national soil could it develop freely; the stress, however, had to be placed on Palestine as a spiritual center and not as a political entity. While in his view the fund-raising and settlement activities of the Odessa committee of the Hoveve Zion were essential bases, it was a slow but steady development that was the keynote of his "cultural Zionism": the full realization of the national ideal had to be conceived in terms of the fulfillment of the spiritual center.


3. THE BIRTH OF POLITICAL ZIONISM

In 1897, in the same year that the Reform Rabbis of America formulated their anti-Zionist resolution, there was held in Basle the First Zionist Congress; its president was a man named Theodore Herzl.

Born in Budapest in 1860 into a comfortable and assimilated background, Herzl, after receiving his law degree from the University of Vienna, decided upon a literary career and in 1891 was posted to Paris as the correspondent of the Neue Freie Presse, at that time perhaps the most influential paper in Europe. In this capacity Herzl attended the trial of Dreyfus and the ceremony at which he was ignominiously dismissed by the army and exiled to Devil's Island. Though actively aware of the strength of contemporary anti-Semitism, Herzl was nonetheless profoundly shocked at the cries of "Death to the Jews" which resounded through the parade ground during Dreyfus's public degradation. Although Herzl himself stated in 1899 that the Dreyfus affair had made him a Zionist, it appears that he was overstating the case. While Herzl had no doubt realized that the pressure of the anti-Dreyfus charges was due largely to the fact that Dreyfus was a Jew, it was not until he had written Der Judenstaat--the manuscript of which was not completed until January 1896--that the real anti-Semitic overtones of the Dreyfus case became apparent to Herzl.1

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1
Dreyfus was arrested on October 15, 1894, and on January 5, 1895, was publicly degraded at the Ecole Militaire in Paris. It was not until well into the following year, after the completion of the manuscript of DerJudenstaat, that the use made of anti-Semitic feelings became clear. In his diaries of the period in 1895 when he deals with the birth of the Zionist idea in his mind, Herzl makes no mention of Dreyfus at all.

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Backdrop to Tragedy: The Struggle for Palestine
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vi
  • Maps viii
  • Tables ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Important Dates in the History of Palestine xiii
  • Part 1 - THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1
  • 1 - Out of the Past 3
  • 2 - The Coming of Islam 8
  • 3 - The Crusades 22
  • 4 - The Ottoman Empire 29
  • 5 - The Great Powers in the Middle East 34
  • 6 - The Sick Man of Europe 47
  • 7 - The First World War and Its Spore 55
  • 8 - Emir Feisal and Dr. Weizmann 64
  • 9 - Establishment of the Mandate 70
  • 11 - The Wisdom of Solomon 94
  • 12 - From War to War 106
  • 13 - Inquiries, Reports, and Plans 110
  • 14 - The Mandate's Last Bitter Days 126
  • Part II - JEWISH INTERESTS IN PALESTINE 131
  • 1 - The Age-Old Longing 133
  • 2 - The European Background 139
  • 3 - The Birth of Political Zionism 148
  • 4 - The Land of Promises 159
  • 5 - Internal Conflicts 170
  • 6 - The Seeds of Conflict 175
  • 7 - The War and the Biltmore Program 179
  • 8 - Anglo-American Reactions 185
  • 9 - Postwar and Economic 187
  • 10 - A United Nations Solution: the State is Born 194
  • 11 - East and West 197
  • 12 - Politics in Israel 205
  • 13 - Religion and the State 219
  • Part III - THE ARABS AND PALESTINE 223
  • 1 - "The Existing Non-Jewish Communities" 225
  • 2 - The Arab Gentry 241
  • 3 - The Arab Element in Arabism 246
  • 4 - Modern Arab Nationalism 254
  • 5 - The Reaction to Zionism 265
  • 6 - Pan-Arabism 273
  • 7 - War, Refugees, and Humiliation 286
  • Part IV - THE ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK OF THE PALESTINE PROBLEM 305
  • 1 - Introduction 307
  • 2 - The Mandate Period 309
  • 3 - The Land and Its People 312
  • 4 - Immigration and Land 324
  • 5 - Land and Capital 329
  • 6 - Economics of the Refugee Problem 336
  • 7 - The Economy of Israel 342
  • 8 - Economic Relations Between Israel and the Arabs 352
  • Part V - CONCLUSION 365
  • Conclusion 367
  • SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 375
  • Index 387
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