The idea which I have developed in this pamphlet is a very old one: the restoration of the Jewish State.
The earth resounds with outcries against the Jews, and these outcries have awakened the slumbering idea.
I wish it to be clearly understood from the outset that no portion of my argument is based on a new discovery. I have discovered neither the historic condition of the Jews nor the means to improve it. In fact, every man will see for himself that the materials of the structure I am designing are not only in existence, but actually ready to hand. If, therefore, this attempt to solve the Jewish Question is to be designated by a single word, let it be called a "combination," certainly not a "phantasy."
I must, in the first place, guard my scheme from being treated as Utopian by superficial critics who might commit this error of judgment if I did not warn them. I should obviously have done nothing to be ashamed of, if I had described a Utopia on philanthropic lines; and I should also, in all probability, have obtained literary success more easily if I had set forth my plan in the irresponsible guise of a romantic tale. But this Utopia is far less attractive than any one of those portrayed by Sir Thomas More and his numerous forerunners and successors. And I believe that the situation of the Jews in many countries is grave enough to make preliminary trifling superfluous.
An interesting book—"Freiland," by Dr. Theodor Hertzka—which appeared a few years ago, may serve to mark the distinction I draw between my conception and a Utopian one. His is the ingenious invention of a modern mind thoroughly schooled in the principles of political economy, and is as remote from actuality as the Equatorial mountain on which his dream State lies. "Freiland" is a complicated piece of mechanism with numerous cogged wheels catching into each other; but there is nothing to prove that they can be set in motion. Even supposing "Freiland societies" were to come into existence, I should look on the whole thing as a joke.
The scheme in question, on the other hand, includes the employment of an existent propelling force. In consideration of my own inadequacy, I shall content myself with indicating the cogs and wheels of the machine to be constructed, and shall rely on more skilled mechanics than myself to put them together.
Everything depends on our propelling force. And what is our propelling force? The misery of the Jews.
Who would venture to deny its existence? We shall discuss it fully in the chapter on the causes of Anti-Semitism.
- He subsequently did so in "Altneuland."