A Jewish State (1917 translation)/Conclusion
How much has been left unexplained, how many defects, how many regrettable signs of carelessness, how many useless repetitions, in the pamphlet which I have so long considered and so carefully revised!
But a fair-minded reader, who has sufficient understanding to grasp the spirit of my words, will not be repelled by these defects. He will rather be roused thereby to devote his intelligence and energy to the improvement of a work which is not one man's task alone.
Have I not explained obvious things and overlooked important considerations?
I have tried to meet certain objections; but I know that many more will be made, based on high grounds and low.
To the first class of objections belongs the remark, that the Jews are not the only people in the world who are in a condition of distress. Here I would reply that we may as well begin by removing some of this misery, even it it should at first be no more than our own.
It might further be said that we ought not to create distinctions between people; we ought not to raise fresh barriers; we should rather make the old disappear. But men who think in this way are amiable visionaries; and the idea of a native land will still flourish when the dust of their bones will have vanished tracelessly in the winds. Universal brotherhood is not even a beautiful dream. Antagonism is essential to man's greatest efforts.
But the Jews, once settled in their own State, would probably have no more enemies, and since prosperity enfeebles and causes them to diminish, they would soon disappear altogether. I think the Jews will always have sufficient enemies, much as every other nation has. But once fixed on their own land, it will no longer be possible for them to scatter all over the world. The diaspora cannot take place again, unless the civilization of the whole earth is destroyed; and such a consummation could be feared by none but foolish men. Our present civilization possesses weapons powerful enough for its self-defence.
Innumerable objections will be based on low grounds, for there are more low men than noble in this world. I have tried to remove some of these narrow-minded notions; and whoever is willing to fall in behind our white flag with its seven golden stars must assist in this campaign of enlightenment. Perhaps we shall have to fight first of all against many an evil-disposed, narrow-hearted, short-sighted member of our own race.
Again, people will say that I am furnishing the Anti-Semites with weapons. Why so? Because I admit the truth? Because I do not maintain that there are none but excellent men amongst us?
Again, people will say that I am showing our enemies the way to injure us. This I absolutely dispute. My proposal could only be carried out with the free consent of a majority of Jews. Individuals or even powerful bodies of Jews might be attacked, but Governments will take no action against the collective nation. The equal rights of Jews before the law cannot be withdrawn where they have once been conceded; for the first attempt at withdrawal would immediately drive all Jews, rich and poor alike, into the ranks of the revolutionary party. The first official violation of Jewish liberties invariably brings about an economic crisis. Therefore no weapons can be effectually used against us, because these cut the hands that wield them. Meantime hatred grows apace. The rich do not feel it much, but our poor do. Let us ask our poor, who have been more severely persecuted since the last renewal of Anti-Semitism than ever before.
Our prosperous men may say that the pressure is not yet severe enough to justify emigration, and that every forcible expulsion shows how unwilling our people are to depart. True, because they do not know where to go; because they only pass from one trouble into another. But we are showing them the way to the Promised Land; and the splendid force of enthusiasm must fight against the terrible force of habit.
Persecutions are no longer so malignant as they were in the Middle Ages. True, but our sensitiveness has increased, so that we feel no diminution in our sufferings; endless persecution has overstrained our nerves.
Will people say, again, that our enterprise is hopeless, because even if we obtained the land with supremacy over it, the poor only would go with us? It is precisely the poorest whom we need at first. Only desperadoes make good conquerors.
Will some one say. Were it feasible, it would have been done long ago?
It has never yet been possible; now it is possible. A hundred, or even fifty years ago, it would have been nothing more than a dream. Today it may become a reality. Our rich, who have a pleasurable acquaintance with all our technical acquisitions, know full well how much money can do. And thus it will be: just the poor and simple, who do not know what power man already exercises over the forces of nature, just these will have firmest faith in the new message; for these have never lost their hope of the Promised Land.
Here it is, fellow-Jews! Neither fable nor fraud! Every man may test its reality for himself, for every man will carry with him a portion of the Promised Land—one in his head, another in his arms, another in his acquired possessions.
Now all this may appear to be an interminably long affair. Even under favorable circumstances many years might elapse before the commencement of the foundation of the State. Meantime, Jews in a hundred different places would suffer insults, mortification, abuse, blows, depredation and death. Not so, the initial steps towards the execution of the plan would stop Anti-Semitism at once and for ever. Ours is a treaty of peace.
The news of the formation of our Jewish Company will be carried in a single day to the remotest ends of the earth by the lightning speed of our telegraph wires.
And immediate relief will ensue. The mediocre intellects which we produce so superabundantly in our middle classes will find an outlet in our first organizations, as our first scientists, officers, professors, officials, lawyers, and doctors, and thus the movement will continue in swift but smooth progression.
Prayers will be offered up for the success of our work in temples and in churches also; for it will bring ease from a burden which has long weighed on all men.
But we must first bring enlightenment to men's minds. The idea must make its way into the most distant, miserable holes where our people dwell. They will awaken from gloomy brooding, for into their lives will come a new significance. If every man thinks only of himself, what vast proportions the movements will assume!
And what glory awaits those who fight unselfishly for the cause!
Therefore I believe that a wonderous generation of Jews will spring into existence. The Maccabaeans will rise again.
Let me repeat once more my opening words: The Jews wish to have a State, and they shall have one.
We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own home.
The world will be freed by our liberty, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness.
And whatever we attempt there to accomplish for our own welfare will react with beneficent force for the good of humanity.