|Barbara Tuchman, Historian|
"Here's a book you should read", the Vice-President told the President, handing him a copy of Barbara Tuchman's Bible and Sword .... Mr. Mondale had read the book the night before and 'found it fascinating'". The New York Times
BIBLE AND SWORD, Barbara Tuchman, CHAPTER XVI, HERZL AND CHAMBERLAIN: The First Territorial Offer
Suddenly, explosively, in the year 1896, a voice cracked out like a pistol shot: "I shall now put the question in the briefest possible form: Are we to 'get out' and where to? "Or may we yet remain? And how long?
Theodore Herzl, a Viennese journalist, quickly supplied the answer to his own rhetorical question. He stated that the Jews were a nation, must organize and behave as a nation, and must acquire the physical attributes of a nation: land and sovereignty. He cut through fifty hears of verbiage in one word: statehood. His pamphlet was entitled Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State). A vast hedge of polemics known as the Jewish Question had in the preceding decades risen around the actual sufferers from anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe. Herzl crashed through the hedge on his opening page: "Everything depends on our propelling force. And what is that force? The misery of the Jews". And he announced the remedy: "The Jewish state is essential to the world. It will therefore be created.
...Let sovereignty be granted to us over a portion of the globe large enough to satisfy the rightful requirements of a nation: the rest we shall manage for ourselves".
Within eighteen months of the publication of Der Judenstaat Herzl, unknown till then in the Jewish world, had organized and convened the first Zionist Congress. Meeting biennially thereafter, it was to act as the organ of the state until statehood was accomplished fifty years later. With Herzl as president the first Congress of two hundred delegates from fifteen countries met at Basle in 1897 and launced, as was said, "the vessel of the Jewish state upon its way".
Herzl was thirty-six when he wrote the Judenstaat. In eight years he was dead, burned out by the superhuman effort to wrest his people out of subjection into freedom. Though warned of a weak heart, he could not rest. The baying hound was running down its victims.
... Herzl was no Moses in the sense of being a formative influence on mankind. He was, so to speak, half a Moses --- the Exodus half, not the Ten Commandments half.
... It was often said of Herzl that if he had known the Jews better he would never have had the courage for the task he set himself. Ussishkin, an opponent, once said that Herzl was fitted to lead Zionism because he knew neither the Jews, Palestine, nor Turkey, and added: "His eyes must not be opened; then his faith will be great".
... Here it is not necessary to go into the internal history of Zionism. Its goal was stated by the first Congress under a four-point declaration of principles known thereafter as the Basle Program. "The aim of Zionism", it proclaimed, "is to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law".
... He began to realize that Zionism had to become "a movement of the poor" and find its support in the unemancipated Eastern Jews who "were not tortured by the idea of assimilation". He neither knew nor understood them, but he recognized that if he were to lead it would have to be at the head of an army of "beggars and cranks".
Yet he could not get over his fondness for the "portals of royalty" or the belief that he could somehow bring down the state as a gift from above through frock-coated interviews with diplomats, bankers, and prime ministers. A fictional portrait that almost seems to have anticipated Herzl is the exuberant Pinchas in Zangwills' Children of the Ghetto.
CHAPTER XVII, CULMINATION: The Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate
1. Mr. Balfour and Doctor Weizmann
Palestine's fatal geography made it inevitable that Britain would take it over when the Turkish Empire should break up. The unrolling of history from the time when British gunboats shelled Napoleon out of Syria to the time when Lord Salisbury posed the alternative of "taking the country for ourselves" was leading, as we have seen, directly to this conclusion. But that Britain should at the same time reopen the old land to settlement by its ancient proprietors added a new twist to the usual method of annexation.
... Back in the early days of his study of Zionism Balfour was faced with the antipathy of the Jews of his own acquaintance, who were, almost to a man, frigidly anti-Zionist. Never himself having felt insecure, never having known any challenge or possibility of challenge to his own social position, Balfour was unable to understand what upset them so. He questioned Lady Constance, who was visiting Whittingame again in 1911. "A.J.B. is hugely interested in all Jewish questions,\", she wrote to her sister. "He asked a great deal about Claude [Montefiore; the intellectual leader of the assimilationist group in London]-- his books, his attitude, his influence. He wanted me to tell him how C. stood with the Community and how his writings affected the Jewish question". Regrettably, Lady Constance adds, A.J.B. "gets a good deal of information from Natty, naturally very one-sided". The reference is to her cousin Nathaniel, first Lord Rothschild, who, since his contact with Herzl, had become too favorable to the cause, at least in the opinion of the lesser, or intermarrying \, Rothschilds. Natty's son was later to be the recipient of the Balfour Declaration.