The Futility of Zionism
At a time of special “stress and storm,” such as the present, there float to the surf ace various kinds of faddists with all sorts of nostrums, all purporting to abolish the ills of present-day society. But when these parties are examined they are found to be but shields to the governing class.
One such party is the Zionist Party. This is made up of a number of Jews who, professedly, desire that Palestine should belong to the .Jews. At the commencement of the present war these gentry were loud in bewailing what they called the break-up of the Socialist movement, and proclaiming that those Jews who had put their faith in Socialism could now do nothing else than join in their work of recovering Palestine for the Jewish people. At one moment these Zionists deplore the fact that the Jew is slaying his brother Jew, at the next they slavishly and sycophantically remind the authorities how loyal and patriotic they in particular and Jews in general are.
Before examining the Zionists’ views it will be necessary to give a brief history of the Jews so as the better to judge the claims of these propagandists.
As far as can be gathered from authentic history the Jews, or rather Hebrews at this period, were a nomadic people wandering about for suitable land, amiably butchering all and sundry who came in their way. Finally they settled down to an agricultural mode of living in that portion of Asia known as Palestine. Professor Hosmer, of Washington University, says:
“The Jews originally had no special turn for trading. In the earlier days, their life, we have seen to be that of herdsmen, tillers of the soil, and handicraftsmen of the simplest sort. Their traffic was insignificant even after their return from the exile, until the Macedonian days, when mercantile intercourse with the other nations became among them a more frequent, but not by any means an all-absorbing, pursuit.”
It must not be thought that the Jews lived a kind of communal life, for we read of bitter class-enmity and struggles for political supremacy (priestcraft) especially between the Sadducees (aristocrats) and the Pharisees, made up of small merchants, lawyers, and scribes.
After a time the Jews were attacked by a large number of tribes or nations until they were practically conquered by the Romans, who at first wished to incorporate the Jews in the Roman State system. “The Emperor Nerva was as lenient to them as to the rest of his subjects; but as soon as they had attained some measure of political vitality, their turbulent and fanatical spirit broke out anew. Their last attempts to throw off the Roman yoke in Cyrene (115 A.D.), Cyprus (116), Mesopotamia (118), and in Palestine under Bar Cochba’s insurrection in 135 A.D. were defeated with enormous slaughter. The suppression of Bar Cochba’s insurrection marks the final desolation of Judea, and the dispersion of its inhabitants.” (“Chambers’ Encyclopaedia.”)
From thence the Jews emigrated to the Eastern countries of Europe, particularly Prussia, Italy, Austria, and Hungary. But it was in Poland that the Jews found a home to their liking in the peculiar ghetto style of theirs. It seems that this was because of the unsettled state of Poland itself, where dynastic feuds raged so furiously that it did not allow of a strong, centralised State, which might interfere with the wholesale influx and settlement of the Jewish people. It is since the middle and latter part of the nineteenth century, through easier transit facilities, that Jews emigrated to the Western countries, especially America, in large numbers.
A new epoch in the history of the Jews can be said to have started after the French Revolution. With Napoleon Bonaparte on the scene the Jews in France received the same political rights as other French-born people. Thence is introduced in all capitalist developed States what Zionists call the “Jewish emancipation,” i.e., granting to native-born Jews of all the privileges of the other people of the country.
Now, through the persecution of the Jews in Russia the Jewish question was much talked of, and in 1897 the first Zionist congress was held. It is from thence that the question of Zionism has been propagated among the Jews.
These Zionists say that with “emancipation” the Jews are no better off ; in fact they are (they claim) worse off, in as much as the relaxation of .restrictions tends to destroy the social and religious bonds which have hitherto knit them together.
Now let us judge these people by their own words.
One of the foremost spokesmen and leaders of the Zionist movement, Dr. Charles Weizman, shows the futility of the Zionist scheme very well in that book “Zionism and the Future.” He says : ” Half a century ago some of the more far-sighted Russian Jews began to realise the danger of disintegration through the adoption of foreign ideas and customs, and to urge the only possible remedy—the establishment of a new Jewish centre of Jewry in the old Jewish homeland under free conditions, in which Jewish life, rooted in its own soil, could develop on modern lines without losing its essential individuality.” How Judaism could develop on modern lines without losing its essence neither Dr. Weizman nor the “more far-sighted Russian Jews” could tell us.
Dr. Weizman, however, is wise man enough to know that by keeping the Jews shut out from the light and learning of the modern world the Jewish faith would be granted a new lease of life. But he happens to know also that it is impossible for the enlightened Jew to revert back to primitive ignorance. He says : “One effect of the political and social emancipation [social emancipation in the Zionist and capitalist sense, reader] of the Jews of the West has been to break up their solidarity. They have gained the right to participate in the lives of modern nations, not as a national or sub-national group, but as individuals. Judaism conceived as a religious system takes the place of the sense of attachment to the Jewish people and its traditions and ideals. But from the point of view of Jewish solidarity the substitute is woefully inadequate, and its inadequacy becomes more glaring from generation to generation. Hence the natural progress of the emancipated Jew is through assimilation to absorption in his environment.”
Dr. Weizman then goes on to thank anti-Semitism, and incidentally, in true bourgeois fashion, prates about loyalty and patriotism. “This process [assimilation] would proceed to its logical end even more rapidly were it not checked by anti-Semitism. The record of the emancipated Jew in loyalty to his country, in devotion to its ideals and service to its interests, is unimpeachable. None the less he is felt by the outside world something different, still an alien, and the measure of his success and prominence in the various walks of life which are thrown open to him is, broadly speaking, the measure of the dislike and distrust which he earns. Thus the phenomena of assimilation and anti-Semitism go on side by side, and the position of the emancipated Jew, though he does not realise it himself, is even more tragic than his oppressed brother.”
That may be a fine tale for the hard oppressed Galician and Polish Jews—though I doubt if even they would listen to it since the Russian Revolution—but try tell it to the Rothschilds, or Lord Reading for instance.
Dr. Weizman may remark that a good number of the younger working Jews in England are attached to his organisation. But this is solely because they are ignorant of their class position in society. Even so, he knows that his members will not be party to his scheme, for he says “emancipated Jews are for the most part unwilling to leave the countries of their adoption, materially speaking, they are sufficiently well off where they are, and it will only be a minority in whom the Jewish consciousness will be sufficiently strong to draw them back to their own people.”
To show what the wealthy Jew thinks about his faith we quote H. Sacher on Anglo-Jewry.
“It excludes Jewish nationalism from its thoughts and its outlook, and it retains in its ritual all those features which are there for no other reason than that Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. Its official view is that Judaism is only a cult and is inclined to model Jewish ecclesiastical organisation after the pattern of the Established Church. It repudiates the idea of change or reform, yet its pride is to be British ; it refuses to have a Chief Rabbi who is not by education English-speaking, and it tries to use the machinery of the British State to enforce its authority.”
Well, is not “true religion” for wage slaves ? Enough if the rich masters support it, and let us add, and play the hypocrite.
The Very Rev. Dr. Gaster, however, thinks that “no one can be a Jew who does not belong to the Jewish faith.” This idea, however, does not tally with the ideas of those Zionists who are always priding themselves about the greatness of the Jew (so great are they that nine-tenths of them pray in a language they do not understand !) even when such happens to be a Disraeli, or say even Jesus.
Our contention that the Syndicalist is a reactionary and reformer is well borne out by the chatter of Arthur D. Lewis, author of ” Syndicalism and the General Strike.” In “Zionism Problems and Views,” a book which he edits, he shows to what reactionary uses he can be put. Thus he says:
“Judaism may be thought superior to Christianity, even if you are not by religion a traditional Jew. Christianity centres round a tomb, Judaism looks forward to justice on earth. In spite of Marx’s bad opinion of the Jews, it was no accident that the founders of modem Socialism—Marx, Engels and Lassale—were all Jews. [It certainly is no accident that a Syndicalist is a Zionist freak!] Moreover, Judaism belongs to the collectivist religions, regarding a Jewish community (Israel) as the unit, and not the individual soul, as does Protestantism.”
He goes on:
“Popular Socialism proposes to reform the world by a mechanical or external change, popular Christianity proposes to reform it by individual and spiritual change alone, but the Jew thinks of the rule of God as involving the distribution of material welfare and also a change in the heart, the wicked of the earth being turned towards God. The reform of the earth must be accomplished by both external and internal changes.”
But why does he deal with “popular Socialism” ? Because it suits his purpose.
Scientists claim that internal change presupposes a revolution. Is Mr. Lewis afraid that he will scatter away those who subscribe to his twaddle, by using such an un-Godly and anti-Judaistic word as “revolution”? Socialists will gather a good idea of his understanding of Socialism from the following remark in his book on Syndicalism : “Christians cannot agree about Christianity or Socialists about Socialism.”
Lest the reader may be misled into thinking that the Zionists are altogether dreamers I would like to point out that they are, on the contrary, very practical people, as witness the schemes they already have working in Palestine. Listen to S. Tolkowsky and Professor R. Gotteil of Jaffa :
“Colonists already settled who need money either for continuing their labours or for enlarging their holdings can obtain loans from the Anglo-Palestine Company [smells more English than Palestine], but the rate of interest which this bank must levy for its loans is a burden less easily borne by agriculture than by commerce.”
“The question of manual labour in these rural colonies has also received close attention. The Colonisation Society ‘Esra’ contributes towards lightening the existence of the Jewish agricultural labourer by building cheap and comfortable homes for the families and ‘workmen’s homes’ for the bachelors.”
“In 191.1 the Vine Growers’ Association of Rishon-le-Zion and ZicViron-Jacob were able to pay off nearly half a million francs of their indebtedness to Baron Edmund de Rothschild.”
So run to Palestine, good, faithful Jews to work like the very devil for the Anglo-Palestine Company and Baron de Rothschild. Care not, for you are in the Holy Land of your fathers, where, if you do happen to fall dead from hunger, overwork, or disease, your bodies will b« consecrated in holy soil. Could mortal Jew wish for anything grander !
And how are these Zionists to procure Palestine ? Let Dr. Weizman answer :
“It will support its claim by no armed force, for though Jews shed their blood for every belligerent country, there is no Jewish army. Their appeal will be based on right and justice alone.”
Justice.’ One has painfully become acquainted with the uses that word can be put to. Although these Zionists do not intend to organise an army, in Carsonic fashion, they see that it is to the strongest force that homage and appeal for “justice ” should be addressed. For when they were offered Palestine for the purpose of developing it, by the Turkish authorities, they refused it, since they were afraid of the jealousy or force of the other powers. But now we have a statement from the leader of the English section of Zionists (H. Sacher, “Daily News,” June 5th, 1917) :
“Dr. Weizman, President of the English Zionist Federation, has publicly announced that the British Government stands for a Jewish Palestine, and that the head of the Catholic Church contemplates a Jewish Palestine with the utmost benevolence.”
If it is only the British Government which says so—the champions of small nationalities, the Dutch of South Africa, the Greeks, or the Irish, for instance – then justice must be on the side of the Zionists. But fancy a Zionist asking the views of the “piggish” Catholic head !
These fanatics are too dense and reactionary to see that the old Jewish social organisation is a thing of the past. As well might we talk of revivifying the gens of old. They have disappeared because society has advanced beyond them, and it is inconceivable that they can ever come again in the history of this present planet. With a new mode of producing wealth, new ideas and customs spring up, necessarily in conformity with the new economic demands of society. If Palestine would become a centre of thriving industry, instead of as now a mere centre for philanthropic and religious activities, then the customs and ideas there will conform to the mode of production that prevails in general in capitalist society.
It cannot be otherwise. If the Jews are to produce for a world market they will have to adopt all means and practices for producing cheaply, that we know the modern manufacturer must do.
Hence the same problems and evils must and will arise in Palestine that arise elsewhere where production is carried on for profit. Wage slavery, with all its attendant horrors, alone can be the corner-stone of a thriving and prosperous Jewish Palestine, as these terms are understood to-day, and from this there is no escape under the present system.
No, it is not this or that scheme of a few charlatans or pious dreamers that will solve the problem ; it is the universal application of the principles of Socialism, by which those who produce the wealth of society shall enjoy it, that the present-day society with its festering sores will be removed. Then, and only then, can humanity, as a whole, claim the world to its own.
Therefore the cause of Socialism is and must be universal. So long as you are living in a society that forces you to be a wage slave, you must, if you wish to be free, join hands with your fellow workers of all countries in the task of securing “the world for the workers,” not Palestine for the Jews. It is in the interest of your masters that you should be divided by national and religious barriers, or side-tracked by reactionary schemes like the one we have had under review, which they are ever fostering and foisting upon you, so that you should not be able to think of occupying yourselves with the mission of freeing yourselves of capitalistic bondage.
It is up to you, then, to study your class position in society, which is cosmopolitan and anti-religious in character. For it is only by so doing that you will become free in the truest sense of the term.