America the True Zion of the Enlightened Jews of America. HENRY MORGENTHAU
Zionism a Gigantic Fallacy
America the True Zion of the Enlightened Jews of America. HENRY MORGENTHAU
(Former American Ambassador to Turkey)
WRONG in principle, unsound in its economics, fantastic in its pol itics, and sterile in its spiritual ideals -such is Mr. Morgenthau's condem nation of the Zionist conception of Palestine as the Jews' homeland. In an editorial note in World's Work in which this article appears an account is given of the split which has occur red between the European Zionists and those of America.
The situation arose from the arrival on this side of Dr. Weizmann the head otf the world organization of Zionists. The real control of this organization is vested in a compact body of only seven men, and it is dominated by the Jews of Europe. The American Zionists, headed by Judge Mack were expected to find the greater part of the funds of the organization, but were denied representation upon this financial committee which controlled the expenditure. Dr. Weizmann appealed to the Russian-Polish Jews to reject the annual report of the officers. When this motion to reject was carried Judge Mack and his associates resigned. He and his friends have announced that they will continue as Zionists but independently of the international organization.
Mr. Morgenthau is one of the leaders of the American Jews who reject the Zionist theory altogether.
Zionism, he contends, is the most stupendous fallacy of Jewish history. It is a retrogression into the blackest error. It is an eastern European proposal which if it were to succeed would cost the Jews of America most that they have gained of liberty, equality and fraternity.
“I was born,” says Mr. Morgenthau, “among the Jews of Germany, and by natural association with German Jews in New York, and by repeated visits to Germany, am familiar with their life and problems. As an American of fifty-five years’ residence, as a director of the Educational Alliance and of Mt. Sinai Hospital, as president of the Bronx House and the Free Synagogue for more than ten years, and as one who has traveled on speaking tours from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to New Orleans on behalf of the American Jewish Relief Committee, I am thoroughly familiar with the American Jews. As American Ambassador to Turkey, I came into daily official contact with the Jews from all parts of the Near East.
“Let us examine the pretensions of Zionism from three essential angles: Is it an economic fallacy? Is it a political fantasy? Is it a spiritual will-o’-the wisp?
“First, its economic aspect. I assert positively that it is impossible. Zionists have been working for thirty years with fanatical zeal, and backed by millions of money from philan-
thropic Jews of great wealth in France, England, Germany and America, and the total result of their operations, at the outbréak of the World War, was the movement of ten thousand Jews from other lands to the soil of Palestine. In the same period a million and a half Jews have migrated to America.
HPHE truth is that Palestine cannot support a large population in prosperity. It has a lean and niggard soil. It is a land of rocky hills, upon which,' for many centuries, a hardy people have survived only with difficulty by cultivating a few patches of soil here and there, with the olive, the fig, citrus fruits, and the grape; or have barely sustained their flocks upon the sparse native vegetation. The streams are few and small, entirely insufficient for the great irrigation systems that would be necessary for the general cultivation of the land. The underground sources of water can only be developed at a prodigious capital expense.
“A great industrial Palestine is equally unthinkable. It lacks the raw materials of coal and iron; it lacks the skill in technical processes and the experience in the arts; and, above all, it is not in the path of modern trade currents. What hope is there for Palestine, as an industrial nation, in competition with America, Great Britain and Germany, with their prodigious resources, their highly organized factories, their great mass-production, and their superb means of transportation? The notion is preposterous.
“I claim that the foregoing analysis demolishes the economic foundation of Zionism.
“What of its political foundations ? Is Zionism a political fantasy? I assert most emphatically that it is. The present British mandate over Palestine
is a recognition, by the great powers of the world, of the supreme political interest of Great Britain in that region. The notion that Great Britain would for one instant allow any form of government in Palestine, under any name whatever, that was not, in fact, an appanage of the British Crown, and subservient to the paramount interests of British world policy, is too fantastical for serious refutation.
ÍHAVE just said that it may be politic for the British Government to coddle the aspirations of the Jews. There are, however, profound reasons why this coddling will not take the form of granting to them even the name and surface appearance of a sovereign government ruling Palestine. Remember that Palestine is as much the Holy Land of the Mohammedan as it is the Holy Land of the Jew, or the Holy Land of the Christian. His shrines cluster there as thickly. They are to him as sacredly endeared. In 1914 I visited the famous caves of Macpelah, twenty miles from Jerusalem; and I never shall forget the mutterings of discontent that murmured in my ears, nor the threatening looks that confronted my eyes, from the lips and faces of the devout Mohammedans whom I there encountered. To imagine that the British Government Will sanction a scheme for a political control of Palestine which would place in the hands of the Jews the physical guardianship of these shrines of Islam, is to imagine something’ very foreign to the practical political sense of the most politically practical race on earth. They know too well how deeply they would offend their myriad Mohammedan subjects to the East .
“Exactly the same political issue of religious fanaticism applies to the question of Christian sensibilities. Any one who has seen, as in 1914 I saw at Easter-tide, the tens of thousands of devout Roman Catholics from Poland, Italy, and Spain, and the other tens of thousands of devout Greek Catholics from Russia and the East, who yearly frequent the shrines of Christianity in Palestine, and who thus consummate
a lifetime of devotion by a pilgrimage undertaken at, to them, staggering expense and physical privation; and who has observed, as I have observed, the supressed hatred of them all for both the Jew and the Mussulman; and who has noted, further, the bitter jealousies between even Protestant and Catholic, between Greek Catholic and Roman ■—-such an observer, I say, can entertain no illusions that the placing of these sacred shrines of Christian tradition in the hands of the Jews would be tolerated. A Jewish State in Palestine would inevitably arouse their passion. Instead of such a State adding new dignity and consideration to the position of the Jew the world over (as the Zionists claim it would do), I am convinced that it would concentrate, multiply, and give new venom to the hatred which he already endures in Poland and Russia, the very lands in which most of the Jews now dwell, and where their oppressions are the worst.
“The political pretensions of Zionism are fantastic. I think the foregoing paragraphs have demonstrated this.
IS Zionism a spiritual will-o'-the wisp? I assert, with all the vigor of my most profound convictions, that it is. My answer to the spiritual pretensions of Zionism is the positive answer that the solution has already been discovered—the way out has been found. The courageous Jew, the intellectually honest Jew, the forwardlooking Jew, the Jew who has been willing to fight for his rights on the spot where they were infringed, has won his battle, and has found all the glorious freedom which Zionism so unpractically describes. The brave Jews of England did not surrender their cause. The repeal of the Jewish Disabilities in 1858 gave the Jews every right enjoyed in Britain by the Christians. It made possible the splendid political career of Beaconsfield (for many years Prime Minister of Great Britain), and the brilliant experience of Sir Rufus Isaacs (now Earl Reading) who has progressed through the highest political honors of the nation as Lord Chief Justice, Ambassador to America and Viceroy of India.
“Do not forget that in this victorious struggle the Jew made no compromise whatever with his conscience. He did not abandon his racial, religious, or cultural heritage.
“The courageous and wise Jews of France and Italy have fought this same battle to this same victorious conclusion.
BUT this article will be read chiefly by Americans: such influence as it may wield will be particularly upon American minds. Need I elaborate the argument in its American setting? The facts lie upon the surface for the dullest eyes to see them. Nowhere in the world has so glorious an opportunity been offered to the Jew. Generous America has thrown wide the doors of opportunity to him. The Jew possesses no talents of the mind or spirit that cannot find here a free field for its most complete expression.”
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