Page:A Jewish State 1917.djvu/14

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AUTHOR'S PREFACE

Everybody is familiar with the phenomenon of steam-power, generated by boiling water, lifting the kettle-lid. Such tea-kettle phenomenon are the attempts of Zionists and of kindred associations to check Anti-Semitism.

Now I believe that this power, if rightly employed, is powerful enough to propel a large engine and to despatch passengers and goods; the engine having whatever form men may choose to give it.

I am absolutely convinced that I am right—though I doubt whether I shall live to see myself proved to be so. Those who are the first to inaugurate this movement will scarcely live to see its glorious close. But the inauguration of it is enough to give them self-respect and the joy of freedom of soul.

I shall not be lavish in artistically elaborated descriptions of my project, for fear of incurring the suspicion of painting a Utopia. I anticipate, in any case, that thoughtless scoffers will caricature my sketch and thus try to weaken its effect. A Jew, intelligent in other respects, to whom I explained my plan, was of opinion that "a Utopia was a project whose future details were represented as already extant." This is a fallacy. Every Chancellor of the Exchequer calculates in his estimate with suppositious figures, and not only with such as are based on the average returns of past years, or on previous revenues in other States, but sometimes with figures for which there is no precedent whatever; as, for example, in instituting a new tax. Everybody who studies a Budget knows that this is the case. But even if it were known that the estimate would not be rigidly adhered to, would the new system of administration be therefore considered Utopian?

But I am forming greater expectations of my readers. I ask the cultivated men whom I am addressing to set many preconceived ideas entirely aside. I shall even go so far as to ask those Jews who have most earnestly tried to solve the Jewish Question, to look upon their previous attempts as mistaken and futile.

I must guard against a danger in setting forth my idea. If I describe future circumstances with too much caution, I shall appear to doubt of their possibility. If, on the other hand, I announce their realization with too much assurance, I shall appear to be describing a chimera.

I will therefore clearly and emphatically state that I believe in the practical outcome of my scheme, though without professing to have discovered the shape it may ultimately take. The Jewish State is essential to the world; it will therefore be created.

The plan would, of course, seem absurd if a single individual attempted to work it; but if worked by a number of Jews in co-operation, it would appear perfectly rational, and its accomplishment would present no insurmountable difficulties. The idea depends only on the number of its supporters. Perhaps those ambitious young men, to whom every road of progress is now closed, seeing in this Jewish State a bright prospect of freedom, happiness, and honors opening to them, will ensure the propagation of the idea.

I feel that with the publication of this pamphlet my task is done. I shall not again take up the pen, unless the attacks of noteworthy antagonists drive me to do so, or it becomes necessary to meet unforeseen objections and to remove errors.

Am I stating what is not yet the case? Am I before my time? Are the sufferings of the Jews not yet grave enough? We shall see.

Now it depends on the Jews to make of this either a political pamphlet or a political romance. If the present generation is too dull to understand it rightly, a future, a finer, and a better generation will arise to understand it. The Jews wish for a State—they shall have it, and they shall earn it for themselves.