In eight short years helpless masses have been so well taught how human effort can accomplish great things that they have rejected the possibilities of immediate aid in favor of the task of striving for independent life. A distracted and divided people have been so well instructed in the thought that the unity of Israel is greater than all the differing religious, social, economic and political views of the individuals who make up a nation, that the Rabbis of Eastern Europe have entered in full force into the vanguard of the movement. The third clause of the program has been literally fulfilled, though much remains to be done.
Palestine has not been repeopled; the settlement of colonists has been checked rather than assisted, because the condition of settlement is governed by the preamble of the platform. Nevertheless, a new spirit has manifested itself in Palestine, as well in the minds of those who have dealt with the practical administration of the colonies, and a Zionist bank has been started in Jaffa, which is already giving an impetus to Palestinian trade. That which interests the majority who would like to weld all the details into broad achievement is contained in the fourth paragraph. "The sanction of the governments" has been gradually obtained. The German Emperor was the first to express his "benevolent attitude"; French and English ministers have listened with sympathy; the King of Italy has approved; the Pope has discussed; the Sultan of Turkey has repeatedly sent for Dr. Herzl. The negotiations were inconclusive, but since the last known phase of the Constantinople pourparlers the British and Russian governments publicly recognized Zionism; and the latter offered to assist in the Palestinian negotiations when resumed. From paper plan to this stage is a remarkable achievement in eight years, and the strongest opponent of the cause, the London Jewish Chronicle, affirmed in September, 1903, that in its opinion "the creation of a Jewish State in Palestine is now the settled policy of European statesmen, who are dealing with the near Eastern question."
Far be it from one who has abiding faith in the Jewish democracy to ascribe all these things to one man and one book. The living element in a people has forced an old thought upon a new world; and such an element, ever young in its hopes and effort, will continue to force it upon the consciousness of an ever new world, until one generation shall witness the triumph of this idea. Theodor Herzl revived and reorganized the Jewish people. This is his achievement and the message of his book. It caught its echoes from the ages that preceded its writing, and it will ring on into new born days in an ever-accumulating volume of sound; the message is—the union of Israel and Zion.
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Since the foregoing was written, Theodor Herzl, man and leader, has passed away, and this publication of his first Zionist writing becomes a tribute to his memory. His death has proved his life's work — he built beyond himself — and his demise is but a consecration and a sanctification of Zionism. The manner of the man, the life he led, all this is written elsewhere. In these pages will be found, as it were, his testament, his thought modified by the conditions of its nationalization, and, it is the thought, the hope, the regenerative idea, which is Theodor Herzl's bequest to Israel.
JACOB DE HAAS.
New York, Tammuz 25, 5664.