The First World War had disastrous consequences for millions of Jews living in eastern Europe. The Russian civil war and the troubles elsewhere in eastern Europe were accompanied by pogroms in which many thousands found their death. By 1921 there was peace again, but whatever other benefits the new order in Poland and Rumania offered, it brought no improvement to the political, social and economic situation of Jews. The anomaly of their life did not lessen. On the contrary, it became more acute, since emigration now was far more difficult than before the war. The strong appeal of Zionism in eastern Europe in the 1920s and 1930s can be understood only against the background of pauperisation, of persecution both officially inspired and spontaneous, of general deterioration and growing despair.
The worst pogroms occurred in the Ukraine and in White Russia between 1918 and 1920. The main culprits were the nationalist Ukrainian forces under Petliura, but prominently involved were also Denikin’s volunteer army and certain Cossack regiments such as the one under Ataman Grigoriev who joined the Whites after having served with the Reds. Other private armies did their share, some of them right wing, others ‘populist’ in character. The first major pogroms took place in Zhitomir and Berdichev, old Jewish centres, whence they spread to Proskurov (where fifteen hundred Jews were killed) and neighbouring places. Altogether about fifteen thousand were killed in these attacks and many more wounded. Much Jewish property was destroyed. The number of deaths was far higher than in the prewar pogroms. Human life had become very cheap after 1914, and whereas the death of a few dozen victims in Kishinev had aroused a storm of protest in the civilised world, the murder of thousands in 1919-20 caused hardly a ripple.
With the establishment of the Soviet régime the pogroms ceased. Jews throughout the Soviet Union obtained equal rights, and anti-semitism was outlawed. Among the Bolshevik leaders there were many Jews, a fact which was exploited by the propagandists of the extreme Right. That these Bolsheviks of Jewish extraction had not the slightest interest in the fate of the community into which they had been born, by accident so to speak, that they regarded themselves as the representatives of the Russian proletariat and not of the Jewish working class, was of course ignored. Jews were prominently represented in both camps: their part among the emigrés was also much higher than in the country at large. Of those who stayed, many lost their livelihood as a result of economic and social changes, but they were helped by the Soviet government to find other, more productive employment. While Soviet Jews did not receive full recognition as a national minority, they were given their own schools, theatres, publishing houses, and, here and there, even low-level regional autonomy. Religion was persecuted, Zionism outlawed, but the physical safety of individual Jews was more or less guaranteed.
If the Soviet leaders had a long-term perspective as to the future of Russian Jewry (a problem that did not figure high among their priorities) it was based on the assumption that they would gradually become completely assimilated, lose their specific character, and generally become indistinguishable from the rest of the population. This was the tacit understanding during the early, internationalist phase of Soviet rule. Later, with Stalin’s rise to power and the gradual upsurge of (Russian) nationalism, Jews were deprived of cultural autonomy. Many leading Jewish Communists lost their positions. Once again the Jewish question became acute.*
The situation of Jews in Poland was precarious from the very beginning of the establishment of the Polish state. In spontaneous pogroms in Lvov, Vilna and other cities hundreds were killed during the interregnum of 1918-19. While they enjoyed minority protection by law, Polish nationalists had always insisted on a national state rather than a state of minorities and they were, as a rule, antisemitic. Jews were accused of being either pro-Russian or pro-German. Dignitaries of the Catholic Church maintained that Jews were fighting the Church and in general exerting an ‘evil influence’. It was the declared policy of the Endeks, and later on of Ozon, to promote Polonisation and to reduce Jewish influence in economic and political life. Jewish merchants and professional people were boycotted, a numerus clausus was introduced in the universities, and the number of Jewish lawyers and physicians was systematically reduced. There were frequent small-scale pogroms, spreading a climate of fear. The introduction of state monopolies in commodities such as tobacco deprived thousands of Jewish families of their livelihood and the institution of licence fees for hawking hit many others who could not afford to pay. As a result of these and other measures, and of the effects of the world economic crisis, Polish Jewry, never very affluent, were rapidly becoming pauperised. By the early 1930s most were no longer able to pay the (nominal) community tax. More than one-third were destitute, living on the verge of starvation and dependent on communal aid.
There were no major pogroms in Rumania, where before 1914 anti-Jewish persecution had been more blatant than in any other European country. In 1920 the Jews of Rumania too received full rights of citizenship. But, the legal position quite apart, there existed in Rumania what Zionist ideologists sometimes called an ‘objective Jewish question’. Few lived in the countryside, wheras in cities such as Czernowitz, Jassy, Radaut, Oradea-Mare, they were in the majority. To an even greater degree than in Poland they constituted the middle class, the intellectual elite. Leading banking houses, insurance companies, transport enterprises were in their hands. Many journalists and a high percentage of lawyers and physicians were Jewish. Few Rumanians considered this a natural state of affairs, and with the emergence of a native middle class the Jews were bound to suffer. At the same time the Jewish artisans of Moldavia and Bessarabia (where they constituted a majority) were facing growing competition.
A strong anti-Jewish movement, The National Christian Defence League, emerged with the declared aim of driving the Jews out of Greater Rumania. Even more extreme was the Iron Guard, a fascist organisation which saw in the Jews the main enemy of the Rumanian people. Even the more moderate Rumanian parties regarded them as unassimilable. Before the First World War, Rumanian Liberals like Bratianu, pupils of Mazzini and Garibaldi, had not hesitated to promulgate anti-Jewish laws.
There was in Rumania, as in Poland, an element of solid hatred of the Jews. While some of the governments used them as scapegoats for their own failures, antisemitism was a popular sentiment. To put the whole blame for its spread on the ruling classes would be a gross oversimplification. The social structure of the Jewish population in Poland and Rumania was such that it was bound to create tension and conflict between the minority and the host people. A substantial part of Polish Jewry was not gainfully employed and the Warsaw government felt under no obligation to provide training and work, while the Jewish communities were too poor to help. An objectively dangerous situation was further aggravated by the intense nationalism of the newly independent nations, their intolerance of minorities, and by the effects of the economic depression. Instead of improving with time, the problem became steadily more acute. Each new government seemed that bit more antisemitic than its predecessor.
The anti-Jewish measures which were adopted did not, on occasion, lack a certain originality. In Rumania, Jewish students of medicine were required to do their research only on Jewish corpses. In Lithuania, truck drivers and servants had to pass a difficult language examination to get a labour permit. In the city of Plotsk, Rabbi Shapira, the local Zadik, was sentenced to death by a Polish court and executed in 1919 for having, it was alleged, given secret light signals to the advancing Red army. The cardinal sin of the Jews was that there were too many of them. As an editor of the semi-official Gazeta Polska once wrote: ‘I like the Danes very much but if there were three million of them I would pray to God to take them away. Perhaps we would like the Jews very much if there were only fifty thousand of them in Poland.’* Forty years later there were forty thousand Jews left, but the Poles still did not like them.
The situation elsewhere in eastern Europe was less critical. In Lithuania immediately after the war the position of the Jewish minority was better than at any time before or since. They enjoyed full minority rights and there was a minister for Jewish affairs. But subsequently in Lithuania, as in Latvia, the tendency towards reducing the part of the Jews in the main branches of the national economy and in cultural life became stronger and caused great hardship. The economic situation of Hungarian and Czechoslovak Jewry was not bad on the whole, with the exception of some major islands of stark poverty (such as the Subcarpathian region). But the political status of Hungarian Jewry was in a state of uneasy balance. Some of them had taken a prominent part in the short-lived Communist régime of 1918-19. After the victory of the anti-Communist forces the community as a whole was made responsible for the actions of Bela Kun, Tibor Szamuely and their comrades.
In Austria and Germany there was no official discrimination against Jews after the First World War. Victor Adler and Julius Deutsch became cabinet ministers. In Germany, the republican constitution was written by a Jew (Hugo Preuss) and Jewish social democrats such as Hilferding and Landsberg served as members of the central government. Jews rose to prominence in almost every field and in some, such as the press and cinema, they wielded considerable influence. But if the opportunities increased, so did antisemitism. The fate of Walther Rathenau, German foreign minister in 1921-2, and a German patriot second to none, was in many ways symbolic: he was shot in a Berlin street by youthful members of a right-wing extremist group. Antisemitism, latent in Germany and Austria, received a fresh impetus during the First World War. After the economic crisis of 1921-3 had been overcome, it seemed to decline. But this eclipse was temporary and in any case more apparent than real. The writing on the wall was seen by some far-sighted observers, even in the midst of prosperity, as antisemitism spread to western Europe.
What were the reasons underlying this new outburst? After many years of peace and prosperity the general optimism of Europe had been severely shaken. To many, the war came like a bolt from the blue. Millions had died in senseless slaughter and there had been unprecedented material destruction. Many Europeans found themselves at the end of the war without means and without much hope for the future. The war was followed almost everywhere by unrest, revolution, civil war, inflation and mass unemployment. In these circumstances many looked for a clear and easily intelligible answer to their questions about the causes of these catastrophes and of the unrest in the world in general. They found an answer in documents such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the new Bible of the antisemites, a web of fantastic fabrications which, originally published in Russia well before the war, reached central and western Europe in 1919-20. Following this and similar publications, writings about a Jewish world conspiracy attracted many avid readers in England and the United States, even among politicians and otherwise sane public figures. In Britain and America the impact of the ‘hidden hand’ bogey was short-lived, but elsewhere in Europe it fell on more fertile ground and became part of the ideology underlying popular antisemitic movements. This, in briefest outline, was the situation facing European Jewry after 1918. It was in the general context of pauperisation, social unrest and growing political persecution that the Zionist movement had to re-examine its policy for the future.
Palestine during the war
The small Jewish community in Palestine suffered severely during the war. When Turkey became a belligerent Jewish leaders were subjected to systematic harassment by local Turkish officials pursuing a policy of thorough Ottomanisation. The Anglo-Palestine Bank was closed, and leading Zionists were put on trial, one of the main accusations being that they had authorised the use of National Fund stamps seven years earlier. The American Relief Committee, providing vital help to thousands of destitute persons, was dissolved by order of the local Turkish commander. All young Jews were made liable to conscription, though for the most part they were not put on active service but assigned to various labour battalions, the pariahs of the army. Many of them never returned, falling victim to disease or starvation.*
A new wave of spy trials started after the detection of a pro-allied organisation in Zikhron Ya’akov (NILI), headed by members of the Aaronson family, which gathered intelligence and transmitted it to Egypt. But for the intervention of the German government through its representatives in the Turkish capital and the local commander, General Kress von Kressenstein, the fate of Palestinian Jewry might have resembled that of the Armenians. The Turkish currency collapsed in winter 1916-17, and during the next spring, to top it all, immense swarms of locusts appeared. The entire population was enlisted to save the crops. Schools were closed and, equipped with tin vessels and sticks, the children chased the locusts away. But much damage had already been done: the year’s vegetable crop was lost, and many orange groves, too, were affected. Shortly before the arrival of the British troops, Jaffa was evacuated by order of the Turkish authorities and mass searches were carried out to apprehend deserters from the army, numbering tens of thousands, most of them Turks and Arabs but including also a certain number of Jews.
When British units entered Jerusalem on the first day of Hanukkah 1917 they were welcomed by a depleted and impoverished Jewish community. From eighty-five thousand in 1914 its numbers had fallen to fifty-six thousand, a mere 8 per cent of the total population of Palestine. Only in Jerusalem and Tiberias were they in the majority. These cities were the centres of the old, non-Zionist yishuv. The new arrivals, the Zionists, were concentrated in Tel Aviv with its six thousand inhabitants, and in Haifa, which counted then only 2,500 Jews. The biggest agricultural colonies were Petah Tiqva with three thousand inhabitants, Rishon Lezion (fifteen hundred) and Rehovot (one thousand). The other Jewish rural settlements, fifty-seven altogether, were much smaller, numbering in all about twelve thousand souls, little islands among the eight hundred-odd Arab villages.
The Jewish community recovered only slowly from the ravages of the war. By 1920 it had grown to sixty-four thousand and only in 1922 was it back to its prewar size.* It would not have been able to defend itself against any outside attack, and the arrival in 1918 of the legionnaires, the 4,500 Jewish volunteers from England and America, was a momentous event. But of these thousands of volunteers only 260 chose to settle in the country. It was only with the beginning of the immigration wave in December 1918 that a transfusion of fresh blood took place and Zionist activities showed fresh life.
The British troops entering Palestine were received by a jubilant Jewish population. The beginning of liberation, the days of the Messiah seemed at hand. But the return to normal conditions took much longer than anticipated. There was no news from the Zionist executive in London and no money. Galilee, the northern part of the country, remained in the hands of the Turks almost to the end of the war. Immediately after the arrival of the British a Provisional Committee (Va’ad Zemani) had been set up to pave the way for the establishment of a representative council of Palestinian Jewry (Asefat Hanivharim). But this body, in which there was no outstanding personality, had little authority, and even if there had been leadership little could have been achieved without financial resources. Meetings were convened, blueprints prepared, resolutions passed, but all as it were in a vacuum. The orthodox Jews, opposing women’s right to vote and the creation of a joint rabbinate, rejected the very idea of a common Jewish representative body. It was, in the words of a contemporary observer, the era of Tohu vabohu, utter confusion and anarchy.†
Palestine was administered from December 1917 to July 1920 by OETA (Occupied Enemy Territory Administration), a section of the British army. The officers established a system of direct rule, subject to the orders of the C-in-C, General Allenby. From the start there was friction between the Jewish population and the military administration. While the Zionists expected that the new masters would be above all concerned with the implementation of the Balfour Declaration, most of the British officers, in so far as they were at all aware of the obligations entered into by Whitehall, were by no means in sympathy with official policy. A few, such as Wyndham Deedes, were pro-Zionist, but most preferred the Arabs to the Jews, whose insistent demands they regarded as at best a nuisance. In their eyes their main task was to preserve the status quo, to maintain public services with the least disturbance of the existing order. Even if they had been more sympathetically inclined towards the Zionist cause it is doubtful whether they would have been able to do much to promote it. For the war continued for another year after the occupation of Jerusalem, and during that time military requirements took precedence over all other considerations. Furthermore, they had little if any experience in administrative work, and when they first encountered Arab opposition to Zionism their instinctive reaction was to refrain from any step which might further antagonise the Arabs, who after all constituted the overwhelming majority of the population.
The Balfour Declaration had expressed a general intention to facilitate the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people but it was by no means clear at first what this would mean in practical terms. When the Zionists demanded the establishment of their own military defence force, this was rejected by the local command as premature. This in turn created much bitterness among the Jews, since the British forces (as was soon to appear) proved unable or, as some asserted, unwilling to protect the Jewish population against Arab attacks. Thus disillusion set in within only a few months after the arrival of the British forces. Small incidents poisoned the atmosphere, such as the case of the senior officers who remained seated when the Hatiqva, the Jewish anthem was played at a concert. OETA refused to use Hebrew together with Arabic and English as an official language on railway tickets, tax forms, and other official documents. The Red Cross received privileges which Hadassa was denied. The Land Registry Office remained closed and there was no legal possibility of acquiring land; even private transactions in land were not permitted.
Thus Palestinian Jewry became embittered and suspicious: ‘the angels became devils in their eyes. They saw themselves the victims of a conspiracy.’* Rumours were rife that certain OETA advisers were not merely in sympathy with the Arab claim that the Balfour Declaration implied the denial of the right of self-determination, but actively encouraged the Arab protest movement. These suspicions were perhaps exaggerated, but there is no denying that most British oriental experts were in fact convinced that their government had been mistaken in allying itself with the Zionists rather than the Arabs. As for the rest, probably the majority, they simply did not want to be bothered. There was a tendency (as one observer put it) ‘to look down on the people in their care as a tiresome gaggle of Yids and Wogs’, and since the Yids were clamouring even louder than the Wogs, insisting on their rights, demanding to be treated as equals, forever complaining about British arrogance if not downright antisemitism, they got the worst of the deal. Thus an unfortunate pattern for Zionist-British relations was established even before the mandate came into force. There was little Weizmann and other British Zionists could do to smooth things over.
Weizmann left for Palestine in March 1918 and stayed there for five months. He was a member of a Zionist commission (Va’ad Hazirim) which had been dispatched on the initiative of the British government to survey the situation and prepare plans for the future. The commission included a French Jew, Professor Sylvain Levi (an anti-Zionist) and an Italian (Levi Bianchini), but the majority consisted of Weizmann’s friends and collaborators (David Eder, Joseph Cowen, Leon Simon and Israel Sieff). Weizmann had an introductory letter from Lloyd George, which, however, made little impression on Allenby, who immediately informed his guest that nothing could be done at present. Weizmann ruefully wrote that ‘the messianic hopes which we had read into the Balfour Declaration suffered a perceptible diminution when we came into contact with the hard realities of GHQ’.* Subsequently he got on reasonably well with Allenby, though the commander-in-chief probably never changed his basic view that there was no future for the Jews in Palestine.
During his stay Weizmann met Emir Faisal; details of this inconclusive meeting are given elsewhere in the present study. And, in July 1918, while the war was still in progress, he laid the cornerstone of the Hebrew university on Mount Scopus which was to be opened six years later. Since there was little else that could be done for the time being, Weizmann decided to return to London to pursue the political work in the European capitals, which had by no means been completed. The Zionist commission took over the Palestine Office in Jaffa which had been established before the war by the World Zionist Organisation. This body was in charge of all political work and served as liaison between the Jewish population and the British administration. Departments for agricultural affairs, engineering and education were established, but the commission suffered from successive changes in leadership. David Eder replaced Weizmann after his departure, and was in turn replaced by Lewin-Epstein, who was himself succeeded by two American Zionists, Friedenwald and Robert Szold. They were followed again by Eder, who was succeeded by Ussishkin, the Russian Zionist leader, who was succeeded by Kisch – all this within about three years.
Such frequent changes prevented any consistent effort, though it is doubtful whether in the uncertainties of 1918-20 much could have been achieved anyway. Relations with the British authorities deteriorated: Ronald Storrs, governor of Jeusalem district, wrote about ‘Tsar Menahem (Ussishkin)’: ‘When he was announced for an interview I braced myself to take my punishment like a man, praying only that my subordinates would keep an equal control over their tempers.’* Storrs was clearly exasperated by the Zionists, to whom he applied Dryden’s couplet: ‘God’s pampered people whom, debauch’d with ease, No King could govern and no God could please.’ In their milder moments, the Zionists would say that God had not pampered them and that Storrs, at any rate, had not tried very hard to please. It was Storrs who in 1920 had his friend Ernest Richmond appointed political secretary of the Palestine government. Richmond, as it soon appeared, was a fanatical opponent of the idea of a Jewish national home in Palestine.†
The Struggle for the Mandate
The diplomatic battle in the capitals of the world for a Jewish Palestine entered a new stage on the morning after the Balfour Declaration and lasted until the San Remo Conference (spring 1920) which decided to include the Declaration in the peace treaty with Turkey. Strictly speaking it was not until August 1924 that the Treaty of Lausanne came into force, legalising the status of Palestine as a League of Nations mandate.† But de facto the mandate came into force in July 1920 when Herbert Samuel assumed office as the first high commissioner. Many difficulties had to be overcome by the Zionist leaders: American policy hesitated between active participation in world affairs and isolationism. This introduced yet another uncertain factor into the situation, for the Balfour Declaration had not provided a clear answer with regard to the identity of the protecting power. The American King-Crane commission in 1919 reported that the Arab Muslims, the great majority of the population, were in favour of Syrian independence, and that a mandate over a united Syria, including Palestine, should be assigned to the Americans or as a second choice to Britain. This recommendation was not acted upon, but in London too there was no wholehearted support for a British mandate and the idea of an American mandate or a mandate under combined sponsorship was revived by influential circles. After lengthy deliberations the eastern committee of the war cabinet decided that a single power should be selected to administer Palestine and that it should be neither Italy nor France. Consequently the choice lay between the United States and Britain, the conclusion being that ‘while we would not object to the selection of the United States of America, yet, if the offer was made to Great Britain we ought not to decline’. This decision was based largely on considerations of imperial defence; Zionism and the Balfour Declaration played little part in it.*
The scene next moved to Paris where the peace conference opened in January 1919. On 18 January the conference approved the creation of a League of Nations under which a mandatory system was to be established. The great powers were to act as trustees for the new states which were emerging in Europe and the Near East. There was, however, an obvious contradiction between the high-minded wartime declarations against imperialist annexations and the secret treaties about the division of spheres of influence. On the whole, the eastern question figured less prominently at the peace conference than generally expected; European affairs had top priority. Decisions concerning the Near East were postponed time and time again, one important reason being British-French rivalry. London informed Paris that it wanted Palestine and Mesopotamia ‘and a good connection between them’, and that it had no designs on Syria and Lebanon. But at the same time the British supported Emir Faisal’s ambitions for an independent, united Syrian state, a scheme which was of course unacceptable to the French. Agreement between London and Paris became possible only after the British decided to drop Faisal. President Wilson demanded that the wishes of the population should be taken into account, whereas the Zionists, in the early drafts of their programmes for the peace conference, demanded majority rights for the existing Jewish community in Palestine irrespective of present numbers. The official Zionist memorandum eventually submitted was somewhat more cautious in approach.
When a Zionist delegation appeared on 27 February 1919 before the Supreme Allied Council, Weizmann was asked by Lansing, the American secretary of state what exactly was meant by the phrase ‘a Jewish national home’. Weizmann replied that for the moment an autonomous Jewish government was not wanted, but that he expected that seventy to eighty thousand Jews would emigrate to Palestine annually. Gradually a nation would emerge which would be as Jewish as the French nation was French and the British nation British. Later, when the Jews formed the large majority, they would establish such a government as would answer to the state of the development of the country and to their ideals. Sylvain Levi used the opportunity to make an anti-Zionist speech which profoundly embarrassed Weizmann and Sokolow, who had stressed all along the attachment of the Jewish people since time immemorial to Eretz Israel. But Levi’s appearance made no lasting impression on those present, nor did the Zionist cause suffer as the result of the fact that the negotiations between Faisal and Weizmann led nowhere.
Other attempts were made to torpedo Zionist policy: a cable from General Money, head of the British military administration in Palestine, advised London to drop the Balfour Declaration. The people of Palestine were opposed to the Zionist programme, he wrote, and if Britain wanted the mandate it was necessary ‘to make an authoritative announcement that the Zionist programme will not be enforced in opposition to the wishes of the majority’.* On several occasions OETA demanded that the Zionist commission should be dissolved, but Balfour and Lloyd George were not inclined to accept this advice and Generals Money and Bols were instructed to make known to all concerned that the policy of the British government had not changed. This they did, but in a half-hearted way and with so many reservations that the impression was created among the Arabs (to quote a contemporary observer, Horace Samuel) that the administration favoured a pro-Arab policy and that the cabinet in London could be deflected from its policy by the requisite amount of energy and determination.
Whatever had been decided in London, the army command in Cairo and Jerusalem was in no mood to suffer gladly any civilian intrusion. When Weizmann arrived on his second visit in 1919, General Congreve, deputising for Allenby, did not even want to permit him to land, for he had been informed that the Zionist leader was likely ‘to cause trouble’. He had never heard of Weizmann, he knew nothing about Zionism, and he cared less. The general changed his mind only when the War Office and the Foreign Office intervened.
This incident highlighted the precarious nature of the whole Zionist enterprise one year after the end of the war. There was no recognition in Jerusalem and no progress in Paris. Once the peace treaty with Germany had been signed, in June 1919, the heads of governments no longer concerned themselves with the details of the negotiations. The hardening of isolationism in America, and Anglo-French rivalry, delayed the peace settlement with Turkey. It was only towards the end of 1919 that some progress was made with regard to the future of Syria and Palestine. The French were no longer opposed in principle to the idea of a British mandate for Palestine but they did not want to be excluded altogether. They demanded a say in the arrangements for the Holy Places and opposed the incorporation of the Balfour Declaration in the terms of the mandate. Eventually, at the San Remo conference in April 1920, the French dropped their more extreme claims. A compromise formula was found which, while accepting in substance the British view, made it possible for the French to retreat without loss of face. Thus Great Britain at last became the mandatory power.
The task of drawing up the charter of the mandate was left to the mandatory power. The first draft was disappointing from the Zionist point of view because, among other things, it made no mention at all of a Jewish commonwealth. After some lobbying another draft was prepared which, while not meeting all Zionist wishes, seemed more in the spirit of the Balfour Declaration. It defined Britain’s responsibility towards building a Jewish national home but did not define what kind of national home was envisaged; nor was a Jewish commonwealth promised in so many words. On the other hand, there was no specific safeguard for the political rights of the Arabs. In fact the term ‘Arab’ did not appear in the document.
From the Arab point of view this was of course altogether unsatisfactory and it was resisted, unsuccessfully, by the Arab spokesmen. They claimed that whereas Syria and Iraq, the other mandated territories, were temporarily placed under the tutelage of the powers, to become fully independent in due course, the Palestine administration (in which the Arabs would have no say) was pledged to carry out a policy abhorrent to the majority of the population.* Of particular importance to the Zionists was article four of the mandate which stated that an ‘appropriate Jewish Agency’ should be recognised as a public body ‘for the purposes of advising and cooperating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration, to assist and take part in the development of the country.’
The mandate was said to have been ‘framed in the Jewish interest’, its primary purpose being to promote the establishment of a Jewish national home.† The Zionist leaders received it therefore with great satisfaction, as they did the appointment of Herbert Samuel, whereas the Arabs considered it a major defeat. It seemed only fitting that a Jew should be the first governor of the Holy Land and it was taken as an affirmation of the promise previously given to the Jewish people in the Balfour Declaration. But not many months were to pass before it was realised that the mandate had left some of the most important questions unanswered and that Samuel, in his attempt to be just and fair to all sections of the population, was leaning over backwards to win the confidence of the Arabs, to the detriment of the Zionist aspirations.
An indication of this trend was the publication of a White Paper in July 1922, defining the term ‘national home’. Winston Churchill, then colonial secretary, had been to Palestine and, after meeting both Arab and Jewish leaders, issued a statement which was mistakenly interpreted by some observers at the time as yet another victory for Zionism. Churchill had told Arab representatives that the British government did not intend to halt immigration, as they demanded, and that the establishment of a Jewish national centre was a good thing – good not only for the Jews, but for the British and Arabs as well.
But there was another aspect to the 1922 White Paper. While not explicitly opposing the idea of a Jewish state, it ‘redeemed the Balfour promise in depreciated currency’, to quote a contemporary British source. Its aim was to appease both the Arabs and the opposition in Westminster, made up largely of right-wing Tories. It stated that His Majesty’s government had no intention of Palestine becoming ‘as Jewish as England is English’ and that the special position of the Zionist executive did not entitle it to share in any degree in the government of the country. Immigration, moreover, was not to exceed the economic capacity of the country at the time to absorb new arrivals. Churchill promised that the mandatory government would move towards representative institutions and self-government. A legislative council with a majority of elected members was to be set up immediately, but full self-government was a long way off; ‘Our children’s children will have passed away before this is completed.’ Lastly, and almost unnoticed at the time, Transjordan was separated from Palestine and became a semi-independent state under Emir Abdullah.
The White Paper placated the opposition at home, but the Arabs were not appeased, and continued to refuse to cooperate with the mandatory authorities. A year later London went one step further and proposed the establishment of an Arab Agency analogous to the Jewish Agency. But the Arab aim was independence, an Arab state in which the Jews would be a minority without any special rights, and they therefore rejected the offer out of hand. The Zionists very reluctantly, and under considerable pressure, accepted the new policy as a basis of cooperation with the British government. Even Jabotinsky, who was a member of the Zionist executive at the time, did not dissent.
Some Zionist leaders were violently critical of Samuel as immigration was temporarily stopped in May 1921 following the Arab riots. The fact that Jews engaging in self-defence had been arrested, whereas the Arab attackers were quickly released from prison, provoked a storm of indignation. Later, the Zionists came to think more highly of the first high commissioner. After 1921 there was no major unrest, and ‘peace and order and good government’ were brought to Palestine, to quote an official Zionist statement. The first and most difficult stage in the Jewish national home was successfully completed, and the high commissioner acquitted himself ‘by common consent with dignity and distinction, carrying with him in his retirement the enduring gratitude of the Zionist Organisation’.* Samuel had had the good fortune to retire at the right moment; for Zionism, 1925 was an excellent year, a year of unprecedented immigration and of a major economic boom.
With British acceptance of the mandate and the establishment of a mandatory administration, a new chapter opens in the annals of Zionist history. Between 1918 and 1921 the future of Palestine was still wide open, decisions were not yet final. A general statement of policy had been made in 1917, but it was by no means certain how, if at all, it would be implemented. By 1921 the pattern had been set for many years to come. The process of whittling down the mandate began early on but proceeded slowly. It was still believed in London that the national aspirations of Jews and Arabs were not incompatible. The Arabs adopted a policy of non-cooperation, occasionally with some effect, but in the long run with results detrimental to their cause. The Zionist movement did reasonably well, following up its earlier political successes. It did not commit any major mistakes and it is doubtful even in retrospect whether it could have obtained any better results. The Zionists were over-optimistic about their own long-term prospects. At the time most of them believed that a long period of peaceful construction was ahead as a result of which a Jewish commonwealth would gradually come into being. They assumed that there was no particular urgency and they also overrated British willingness to stick to the terms of the mandate in face of growing Arab opposition. But the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who had figured prominently in many speeches did not materialise and this was the great source of Zionist weakness during the years to come. Could they have come if they had wanted to? In the immediate postwar period frontiers had not yet been finally drawn and the political future of the Middle East was still in the balance. There is no certainty that the Arabs would have accepted mass immigration and settlement during that interregnum. But in fact only a few thousand immigrants came, not enough to affect the balance of power inside Palestine, but more than sufficient to irritate the Arabs and arouse their fears. A massive transfer of Jews to Palestine within two or three years of the Balfour Declaration might well have failed in view of the enormous practical difficulties that would have faced such an enterprise. But there was such a chance, however small, and it was not to recur.
New tasks for Zionism
With the end of the war the world Zionist movement resumed its political work within the Jewish community. During the war its activities had largely ceased, either because they had been illegal (as in the Russian empire before the overthrow of the tsar) or because so many of its members were on military service. First off the mark were the German Zionists, who in a conference less than two months after the war discussed at great length, and in considerable if somewhat abstract detail, the future of immigration and settlement in Palestine, including even such issues as the nationalisation of the land.*
Among the main topics of discussion was the form and rate of settlement. Ruppin envisaged a yearly immigration of twenty thousand families, half of whom were to be employed in agriculture. This was the lowest of the estimates at the time and, as subsequently emerged, the most realistic. Ruppin’s main antagonist was Davis Trietsch, who had developed various highly original, sometimes splenetic colonisation schemes at the prewar Zionist congresses. For many years he continued to submit detailed programmes for mass immigration, all of them ignored by the experts or treated with disdain. In retrospect, however, Trietsch’s arguments seem weightier than most of his contemporaries were ready to acknowledge: he advocated intensive agriculture in contrast to the advice given by most other experts at the time. Moreover, in view of the lack of agricultural experience among the Jews as well as other obstacles, he insisted on the paramount importance of developing industry for the absorption of mass immigration. Whereas Ruppin and the other experts thought that an investment of £1,000-£1,500 was needed for the absorption of one family, Trietsch argued that since funds of such magnitude would never be available, they should develop cheaper methods of settlement. The weakness of Trietsch’s argument was, of course, that while industry would no doubt have absorbed more immigrants, it also involved substantial investment, and he was no more able than anyone else to point to potential donors.†
After 1918 German Zionism was no longer the force it had been in the world movement. The Berlin central office and the Copenhagen bureau ceased to function with the end of the war and the Constantinople agency also stopped its work in October 1918. In December 1917 a provisional London bureau was established under Sokolow and Chlenov, who was later replaced by Weizmann. While London thus became the centre of power, the constitutional situation was confused. It was the London office which convened the first meeting of the Action Committee in February 1919. This was followed by several other meetings and, also in London, the annual conference in July 1920 (also called ‘the little congress’). All this may not have been strictly constitutional, but someone had to take the initiative and no one seriously disputed the authority of these meetings.
The post war executive consisted at first of Weizmann, Sokolow, Jacobson, S. Sevin (all in London), and Warburg and Hantke of Berlin. In 1920 Ussishkin, Julius Simon and de Lieme were appointed to the executive. Weizmann, who was elected president of the organisation, also headed the political department together with Sokolow, who was named chairman of the executive. They were later joined for a time by Jabotinsky. The organisation department was managed first by Jacobson, later by Hantke and subsequently by Lichtheim; the Palestine department (also called the Palestine office) was headed by Julius Simon. The composition of the executive fluctuated widely in these early postwar years but it remained the supreme decision-making body, for the Action Committee, on which all local groups and parties were represented, counted more than eighty members and was much too unwieldy to be an effective instrument of policy.*
The 1920 London conference was not fully representative of the federations and trends which made up the world movement. The right-wing and religious parties were much more strongly represented than the Left. American and German Zionism had only relatively small delegations. Since it was the first major Zionist meeting for seven years it became almost automatically the battleground between the main contenders for leadership, American Zionism under Brandeis and the Europeans under Weizmann. As far as Brandeis was concerned it was not a contest for personal power, for, as a Supreme Court Justice of the United States, he was unwilling to accept any position other than that of honorary president.
It was a clash between two different concepts regarding the future of the Zionist movement, but there were also divergences in style and approach. The slogan of ‘Washington against Pinsk’ under which the battle was fought was a distortion of a highly complex situation, but there certainly was a grain of truth in it. The American Zionists, who had carried the major financial burden from the beginning of the war and who had played a central part in the political struggle before and after the Balfour Declaration, were extremely critical of the political leadership in London in which, incidentally, they were not represented. Brandeis believed that with the Balfour Declaration, or at the very latest with Samuel’s appointment as high commissioner, the main political tasks of the movement had been accomplished, and that from now on energies had to be devoted to the building of Palestine.
The American Zionists opposed the establishment of a big executive office in London, feeling that the work for Palestine had to be done from Jerusalem. They favoured decentralisation and the introduction of modern business methods. American Jews, it was claimed, had greater administrative expertise than their European brethren. The Americans were critical of Ussishkin’s colonisation methods. He had introduced a new Halukka system instead of appealing to private enterprise and initiative. They were willing to exert themselves on behalf of the Zionist cause but they demanded that their contributions should be devoted only to Palestinian projects. They found it scandalous that the rich Jews of Europe, of whom there were many, were unwilling to take upon themselves a similar burden, and they thought that the Ma’aser project, according to which rich Jews were to give one-tenth of their property to the Zionist funds, was totally unrealistic. They wanted a clear division between commercial investments in Palestine and voluntary donations. They were not in favour of diaspora nationalism and refused to pay for Zionist activities outside Palestine. Brandeis, moreover, was put off by Weizmann’s behaviour; having reached agreement with him, Weizmann had acted behind his back to torpedo the agreement.* He was irritated by the proceedings of the London conference, the lack of preparation, order and purpose, the absence of any real authority, the constant speech-making. Brandeis, in brief, did not like what he saw of world Zionism. Weizmann and the European Zionists branded Brandeis’ policy ‘Zionism without Zion’. The American Zionists lacked a ‘Jewish heart’. They had never understood the basic character of political Zionism, the demand for a revolution in Jewish life. Instead, they proposed an ersatz Zionism. The Europeans argued that Palestine could not be colonised in the same way as America had been built, by private enterprise, but that a central national effort was needed. Criteria of efficiency and business management were not the only ones applicable to a movement idealistic in character. This referred, inter alia, to the American opposition to collective agricultural settlements, which they predicted would only cause further deficits in the Zionist budget.
While the London conference marked the break between Brandeis and Weizmann and their respective backers, the struggle for control of the American Zionist organisation lasted for another year and ended with the defeat of Brandeis and Mack at the Cleveland convention in June 1921. Brandeis resigned as honorary president, and together with his leading supporters, Felix Frankfurter, Stephen Wise, Nathan Strauss, Abba Hillel Silver and Julian Mack, withdrew from active work in the organisation. While Brandeis’ decision was final, most of his followers rejoined the organisation in later years.*
The Brandeis crisis had its repercussions in Europe when two members of the executive, Julius Simon and Nehemia de Lieme, resigned in January 1921 for reasons very similar to those which had led to the withdrawal of the Americans. One of the main issues at stake was the character of the Keren Hayesod (Foundation Fund) which was initiated in 1920 at the suggestion of two Russian Zionist leaders. It was to raise £25 million for colonising work. The debates about the character of this fund (whether or not the political leadership was to have a say in its management) preoccupied Zionist conferences for several years and the amount of time spent on these heated debates was often in inverse ratio to the volume of money that was actually collected. Simon and de Lieme, like the Brandeis group, believed that it would be possible to build up Palestine while keeping investment in economically unproductive expenditure (i.e. education, social assistance, etc.) to a minimum.† They wanted the money to be used mainly to promote immigration and settlement. Only 10 per cent was used at the time for immigration, whereas 30 per cent went to supporting the Jewish educational system in Palestine. Simon and de Lieme believed in a strict division of labour between the Zionist executive and the Palestinian Jewish organisations, the latter to be responsible for specific local and municipal matters, including education. Many of the suggestions they made were quite realistic and were in fact adopted in later years. At the time they were thought to be premature and were rejected by the majority. The two therefore resigned from the executive.
Much of the Brandeis faction’s criticism of the London Zionist leadership was only too justified. The east European leaders were still committed to the tradition of unending sentimental speech-making and the belief that a speech was by itself a political act. In organisational and financial matters they were amateurs, able perhaps to manage the affairs of a small-town community in Poland but quite incapable of building up a new country by modern methods. The main weakness of the Brandeis doctrine was that it would have transformed the executive into an economic committee located in Palestine with a branch in London to deal with political affairs. The Americans overrated the willingness of the British mandatory authorities to help the Zionist movement and they underestimated the extent to which Zionism in eastern Europe, a popular movement aiming at the transformation of every aspect of Jewish life, needed organisation and leadership. By de-ideologising Zionism they would have deprived it of its soul, by neglecting the Zionist organisation they would have cut down the flow of immigrants. For the east European leaders Zionism was their whole life. For Brandeis and Mack it was just one of several preoccupations, albeit an important one. For this reason, if for no other, the Brandeis faction was bound to lose the struggle for the character and future policy of the movement.
Weizmann’s victory was, however, by no means complete. Immediately after the Balfour Declaration he had been hailed as the leader of his people, a new Messiah. But at the London conference and at subsequent Zionist congresses there was growing criticism. All his mistakes, all his errors of commission and omission, were held against him, whereas his achievements were belittled, as Weizmann’s colleagues became more and more impatient with his gradualism. Weizmann argued that he was indeed a cunctator, as Jabotinsky had said, as this was the only policy that could be pursued.* He tried to induce his colleagues to be less nervous and excitable about the ups and down of British policy. He tried to explain to them, not always successfully, that without money little could be achieved (the Palestine budget of the executive in 1923 amounted to less than £400,000). Sokolow echoed him; there was not much to be done in the political field at present, the centre of gravity had moved to economics. But these admonitions were not very effective. As early as 1920 Weizmann had to threaten to resign. This, in Ussishkin’s view, would not have been a major calamity; in 1923 he declared that the whole Weizmann system had failed. The attack ended with Ussishkin’s defeat, but a substantial (and growing) segment of the Zionist movement remained in opposition to Weizmann, and only its inability to agree on an alternative leadership prevented a major crisis.
The twelfth Zionist congress, the first after the war, opened in Karlsbad on 1 September 1921, with the delegates from Poland for the first time constituting the strongest group. Mizrahi, the religious party, was the largest single faction, since the centre group, the General Zionists, had no real internal cohesion. Much of the debate was devoted to financial problems. The Brandeis group boycotted the congress but Simon and de Lieme appeared and defended their position against the majority. The congress elected a new executive, half of whose members were to reside in Israel (Ruppin, Eder, Ussishkin, Pick, Sprinzak, Rosenblatt). It ended with a stirring speech by Bialik, the greatest Hebrew poet of his generation, who said the hour of action had come, that ‘we have had too many dreams and fantasies – we want to see action’.* Once practical work got under way, Bialik predicted, the unending quarrels and theoretical disputations which had plagued Zionism would die away.
Bialik was over-optimistic, as the next congress (Karlsbad, 1923) proved. There were many complaints about the executive and many dire predictions. The Mizrahi and several General Zionists would have gladly ousted Weizmann. It was in many ways a typical congress: almost everyone argued that he and his group had been discriminated against. Blumenfeld claimed that Zionism had lost its militant character, a process which had begun before the war but had gathered momentum after 1918. Young Arlosoroff, emerging as one of the major figures in the movement, went even further, referring to the danger that Zionism would be ruined and disappear altogether.† One speaker, commenting on the announcement that 70,000 dunam had been acquired since the last congress, said that this was about the size of the estate of a single Polish landlord, and not even one of the biggest.
Yitzak Gruenbaum, the Polish Zionist leader and one of Weizmann’s main antagonists throughout the 1920s, claimed that the Jewish people could wait if conditions in Palestine were too difficult for practical work. Like Nahum Goldmann and some other ‘radical’ Zionists, he upbraided Weizmann for neglecting the movement and concentrating on Palestine. Above all, the ‘radicals’ opposed the idea of making non-Zionists members of the Jewish Agency, the constitution of which had been discussed the year before for the first time.
This issue was to bedevil quite unnecessarily the Zionist movement for seven more years. Weizmann was the main protagonist of cooperation with non-Zionists, not only (and not mainly) because the establishment of the Agency was mentioned in the mandate, but because he realised earlier and more acutely than most of his colleagues that the means for building up Palestine could not be raised by the Zionists alone. He anticipated that non-Zionists would hardly be willing to join in the enterprise unless they were given some representation on the leading bodies of the movement. The ‘radicals’ claimed that this was watering down Zionist ideology, depriving the movement of its specific national character, altogether a catastrophe. These discussions generated a good deal of heat but they were, as subsequently appeared, quite irrelevant. For the enlarged Jewish Agency, as set up in 1929, did not play the role that had been envisaged, and the primacy of the Zionist movement and its character were not in the least affected.
The role of the Agency was not the only bone of contention between Weizmann and his critics. The east European Zionists viewed with deep suspicion the activities of the English Jews with whom Weizmann had surrounded himself – Kisch, Eder, Leonard Stein – and who, during his absence from London, were in charge of the political work of the executive. These men laboured under the misfortune of not having been born in eastern Europe. They spoke no Yiddish and little if any Hebrew. They had not participated in the prewar congresses and they had not served their apprenticeship in the movement. They were, in other words unfamiliar types. How far could they be trusted? Weizmann was attacked for his ‘dictatorial tendencies’. He had not bothered, for instance, to bring a resolution adopted (unnecessarily, as he thought) by the Action Committee against the establishment of an Arab Agency to the attention of the British government. He was constantly criticised for not presenting Zionist demands to the British government with sufficient emphasis. When he asked what Ussishkin and his friends would have done in his place (Weizmann later wrote) the reply was: ‘Protest! Demand! Insist! And that seemed the ultimate wisdom to be gleaned from our critics. They seemed quite unaware that the constant repetition of protests, demands and insistence defeats its own ends, being both futile and undignified.’*
At the thirteenth congress Ruppin presented a sombre picture of the state of constructive work in Palestine: some of his colleagues had talked about one hundred thousand immigrants a year, whereas he had thought thirty thousand would be a more realistic figure. In fact a mere eight to ten thousand had come. The congress had envisaged a budget of £1,500,000, but in reality only one-third of this sum had come in and the Palestine budget had dropped to £300,000, quite insufficient to cover the expense of school and health services, let alone immigration and settlement.
At this congress three of Weizmann’s supporters (Kisch, Lipsky and van Vriesland) joined the executive. But he still bore the main burden, and in his desperate attempts to obtain money in America and elsewhere he had little help from either friend or foe. The world situation in 1923 was not conducive to obtaining loans or donations. Shortly after the congress Weizmann said in Baltimore: another such year and we are lost. There was a real danger that the Zionist congress was about to become a parliament in which endless ritual speeches were made by professional small-town dignitaries whose words bore no relation to the real situation of the Jewish people. There were no financial resources, nor was there any expansion of economic activities, and without these all the speeches about great future prospects sounded very hollow.
Parliament fell into disrepute in the 1920s in many European countries and the Zionist movement was no exception. Its congresses aroused passion and produced some oratorical highlights, but on the whole they were exercises in futility, for they were concerned largely with events and developments over which the Zionists had no control. The opposition to Weizmann was divided into Palestine-Firsters, who wanted a more radical approach by the executive vis-à-vis the British (Jabotinsky, Ussishkin), and the followers of Gruenbaum, who were mainly interested in work in the diaspora (Gegenwartsarbeit).
More and more impatience was displayed both by the leadership and the opposition as the financial plight thwarted activities everywhere. When Keren Hayesod had been founded, it was announced the £25 million would be collected in five years. In fact it took six years to collect a mere £3 million. Little could be achieved with such paltry sums. The Zionist organisation had been over-spending for years and by 1927 its deficit was £30-£40,000. This could not be called a staggering sum in absolute terms, for a movement trying to build a new country. But by Zionist standards the debt was enormous and it proved impossible for a long time to find anyone to cover this deficit; countless sessions had to be devoted to meeting this emergency. To provide another example: Hadassa, the American Women’s Zionist Organisation, was very active in raising money on condition that it could retain annually for its own projects £110,000, about 20 per cent of the total Zionist budget at the time. This issue, too, was debated countless times by the American Zionist Federation and the World Zionist Congress.
The Zionists had been unable to enlist the help of wealthy Jews before the war and Professor Weizmann was not much more successful than Dr Herzl in bringing about a radical change. It was all the more galling since other institutions seemed more successful in getting the money they needed. When in the middle 1920s the Soviet government approached American Jewry to contribute to its Crimean settlement scheme, it got a friendlier reception than the Zionists. And when, in the 1930s, the Nazi government imposed a ‘fine’ of £80 million on German Jewry, it collected the money in no time. A fraction of this sum would have sufficed to build Palestine in the 1920s.
The fourteenth Zionist congress (Vienna 1925) was in many ways a repeat performance of the previous ones. The right-wing General Zionists attacked the Socialist settlers for leading a semi-parasitic existence, being supported by the movement. Ben Gurion and his comrades maintained on the other hand that since there was only one Jewish farmer for every forty-two Jewish residents of Palestine, the agricultural sector had clearly to be strengthened. Gruenbaum again charged Weizmann with destroying the Zionist movement, whereupon Weizmann angrily answered: ‘I have never retreated from full-blooded Zionism. I am a Jewish statesman and you are an assimilatory Jew.’ In a long and brilliantly delivered speech Jabotinsky attacked the executive for having failed all along the line. Weizmann in his answer paid tribute to Jabotinsky’s rhetorical skill, but claimed that his arguments were based on the assumption that twice two makes five; Jabotinsky’s whole colonisation philosophy rested on the belief that instead of paying for the purchase of land, the Zionist movement should insist on getting it free from the mandatory government. Such a policy might work, Weizmann said, in an empty country like Rhodesia but it was unrealistic when applied to Palestine.
Two years later, at the fifteenth congress in Basle, Jabotinsky made another long and closely reasoned speech, fairly moderate in tone, in which he referred to the Greek precedent: why was it that the Greek government had succeeded in resettling one and a half million Greeks from Turkey with an investment of a mere £15 million? Why did the Zionist executive claim it needed much more money for a considerably smaller number of immigrants? Weizmann had no difficulty in refuting the argument: the settlers had received land free of charge and the Greek government had also put at their disposal seventy thousand houses – Greece and Palestine simply could not be compared.* There was no great highroad leading to the building of Palestine, no miracles were likely to happen. Only patient work would develop the country. The Basle congress witnessed another clash between Right and Left, another Gruenbaum attack on Weizmann. Weizmann somewhat unkindly suggested that Gruenbaum could have saved time by asking the delegates to reread the speech he had made two years earlier.
The only major change concerned the composition of the executive:
But these changes did not greatly affect the policy of the executive. Of the members of the 1925 executive Lipsky had to be in the United States throughout most of the year in his capacity as head of the American Zionist Organisation. The members residing in Palestine were associated with specific functions (Ruppin was in charge of colonisation, Sprinzak of labour relations, etc.). The political work was done by Weizmann and Sokolow and their assistants in London. Leonard Stein acted as secretary of the political department. He was replaced in 1929 by Professor Lewis Namier.
It would be tedious to provide a detailed account of the proceedings of the Zionist congresses in 1925, 1927 and 1929. The basic issues were few, the freedom of manœuvre of the movement limited, the speeches usually variations on the same theme. The executive was constantly admonished by its critics to take a tougher line with the British, to collect more money, not to squander its funds, and not to discriminate against anyone. The executive on its part issued slogans which were no less platitudinous, such as ‘Consolidation’ or ‘Concentration of all forces’. The establishment of a Zionist office in Geneva was one of the few innovations. It was headed by Victor Jacobson, who was to maintain liaison with the League of Nations mandates commission to which the Palestinian government had to present yearly reports. While Jacobson and his assistants did some useful lobbying, they could not, as some Zionists fondly imagined, play off Geneva against Jerusalem and London, or vice versa. The Zionist Organisation was not acting from a position of strength. Moreover, some members of the mandates commission, such as its president, the Italian Marquis Theodoli, were bitterly anti-Zionist. The executive was represented in Jerusalem by Colonel Kisch, who was replaced by Arlosoroff in 1931. When Arlosoroff was murdered in 1933, his former assistant Moshe Shertok took over.
The Jewish Agency
The constituent meeting of the council of the Jewish Agency opened on 11 August 1929, after years of effort against stubborn resistance from various quarters. When Weizmann was given the floor, the entire audience rose in tumultuous acclaim. He had achieved the seemingly impossible: ‘By his patience, foresight, persuasiveness and skill he had created an unprecedented unity in Israel. It was the hour of his triumph.’*
Since the early 1920s Weizmann had systematically tried to enlist the help of non-Zionists, especially in the United States. His main partner in this enterprise was Louis Marshall, head of the American Jewish Committee, whom he had first met at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Weizmann was greatly impressed by Marshall’s forceful personality, his devotion to Jewish matters, and his wisdom. Marshall, an assimilated Jew born in upstate New York, had studied Yiddish in order to be able to follow Jewish affairs. Among Zionists the main objection to cooperation with men like Marshall (or Felix Warburg, the banker) was that they had not been democratically elected and did not represent American Jewry, only its upper crust. They feared that the millionaires would gain a decisive influence on the policy of the movement. If they wanted to cooperate, Weizmann’s critics argued, the doors of the Zionist organisation were open to them.† But this was precisely what they refused to do, for with all their sympathy for the work done in Palestine, they regarded the Zionists as doctrinaires, more interested in Jewish nationalism than in saving Jewish lives. Moreover, it had always been Weizmann’s intention to establish a Jewish Agency as a representative of the entire Jewish people; a resolution to this effect had been passed by the Action Committee in 1922.
Weizmann and Marshall convened their first conference in February 1924, bringing together American Jews outside the Zionist movement who were willing to help work in Palestine. There were further conferences in 1925 and 1928: a Palestine Economic Corporation was established and a commission of economic experts set up to prepare a report on development. It was agreed in principle that the non-Zionists should get half of the seats on the council of the Jewish Agency. The 1925 Zionist congress accepted this stipulation but insisted that all land acquired must be held as public property, that colonisation must be based on Jewish labour, and that the Hebrew language and culture must be promoted. It took three more years before the Action Committee in December 1928 endorsed the agreement by a vote of thirty-nine against five (two revisionists, two radical General Zionists and Stephen Wise). The sixteenth congress, the year after, gave its approval by a majority of 231 to 30.
The tug of war continued, however, with leading figures in the movement, such as Ussishkin, among the doubters. But there was also resistance from non-Zionist bodies. In Britain, for instance, the leading Jewish organisations refused to cooperate with the Zionists. But once the American Jewish leaders had given their blessing to the enterprise the road was clear. Together with Leon Blum, Albert Einstein and Herbert Samuel, Louis Marshall, Felix Warburg, Cyrus Adler and Lee K. Krankel, Weizmann appeared on the platform of the foundation meeting of the Jewish Agency. The president of the Zionist movement was to be ex officio president of the Jewish Agency; its main office was to be in Jerusalem, with a branch in London. Its constitution provided for a general council of about two hundred members, an administrative committee of forty, and an executive of eight.
It was a memorable occasion, Weizmann’s most important achievement since the Balfour Declaration. After the meeting he had a long talk with Marshall and Warburg, who assured him that his financial troubles were over and that he would no longer have to travel up and down the United States to make emergency appeals to save his movement from bankruptcy. At long last it had been put on a broad and solid foundation. A few days after the conference Louis Marshall died. With the Wall Street crash the great depression set in, and from Palestine there came news of the most serious riots in the history of the mandate. The disturbances caused a change for the worse in British policy towards Zionism, and this in turn brought about Weizmann’s resignation from the presidency. Within a few weeks of the establishment of the Jewish Agency the Zionist movement faced one of the most serious crises in its history.
At this turn in its fortunes it is useful to identify the leading trend within Zionism during the 1920s and the men who acted as their spokesmen. Weizmann, of course, dominated the scene, as no other leader had done since Herzl. Before the First World War he was virtually unknown outside the ranks of Russian Zionism. Born in 1874 in Motol, near the border between White Russia, Lithuania and Poland, the son of a small timber merchant, he studied chemistry in Berlin and Switzerland and settled in England in 1904. He had attended a number of Zionist congresses, but though he played a certain role in the opposition to the Uganda scheme and later on in the drive to overthrow Wolffsohn, he was certainly not among the leading figures of the movement. An observer at the Vienna congress (1913) described him as a ‘listless young man’. It was a mistaken impression, for boundless energy in the service of Zionism was certainly one of Weizmann’s outstanding characteristics. In contrast to most of his colleagues he was a great admirer of Britain, convinced of the identity of British and Zionist interests in the Near East, and from his early days in England he tried to make converts to his idea. He was not uncritical of English life. Soon after he had settled in Manchester he wrote to a friend about the social contradictions in the life around him, the stupidity in all walks of life, the terrible and cruel materialism, the outward glamour covering the ugliness within. But nothing shook his confidence in Britain as the one big power willing and able to help the Zionist dream come true. Weizmann played the most important part in paving the way for the Balfour Declaration and in the subsequent negotiations over the mandate. True, he tended to belittle the part played by others in these events (Aron Aaronson’s was by no means inconsiderable), but there is no doubt that he was the main architect of what has been called ‘the greatest act of diplomatic statesmanship of the First World War’: ‘If there was Jewish unity in the critical years between 1917 and 1920 it was mainly the result of Weizmann’s energy, patience, psychological insight and complete knowledge of all the various aspects of European Jewry.’*
Recognition inside the Jewish camp came only slowly. The Russian Zionists thought him a lightweight and the Americans were critical from the very beginning of what they regarded as a one-sided orientation towards Britain. Weizmann’s most faithful supporters came from the younger generation of British Zionists and later on also from the Germans. His own colleagues, the east Europeans, always regarded him with more than a little suspicion. Accustomed to collective leadership, they frequently charged him with dictatorial ambitions. It has been said that he was indifferent to praise and blame,* but this judgment was not shared by some of his closest confidants. Harry Sacher, writing to Leon Simon in January 1919, complained about Weizmann’s vanity, that he, Weizmann, was absolutely certain in his own judgment and Ahad Ha’am was the only one whom he was willing to consult from time to time.†
Weizmann had negotiated with the British and the Americans during the war without formal authorisation by the Zionist organisation. He was co-opted on to the executive only in 1918 following Chlenov’s death. But even after that, much to his chagrin, he had to share responsibility with Sokolow, and he was elected president of the World Zionist Organisation only at the London conference in 1920.‡ From the beginning there were strong misgivings about his leadership among some of those who elected him. When he concluded his survey of activities in 1920 with the cry: ‘This is what we have done, Jewish people. What have you done?’ it struck some of his listeners as both unjust and pretentious. Weizmann was certain that there was no short cut to a Jewish Palestine, that he had ‘daily to convince the British that the implementation of the Balfour Declaration was both in the British interest and a moral necessity’.§ In his report to the Karlsbad congress in 1923 he said: ‘I am not ashamed to say I have no success to produce. After the mandate there will be no political successes for years. Those political successes which you want you will have to gain by your own work in the Emeq, in the marshes and the hills, not in the offices of Downing Street.’ Convinced that the most the Zionists could gain was freedom of action for their practical work, he became increasingly impatient with those who accused him of minimalism (if not defeatism), who thought that vociferous appeals and loud protests would induce the British government to mend its ways. Weizmann always ridiculed this approach. At the 1931 congress he noted that the walls of Jericho had fallen at the blowing of trumpets, ‘but I have never heard of walls having been erected by such means’.
The ambivalence of the Zionist movement towards Weizmann’s leadership became even more pronounced as relations with Britain worsened. He was, as Robert Weltsch wrote (and as Weizmann’s critics reluctantly admitted) the only Zionist leader who could meet British ministers on an equal footing. There was no one who could speak so courageously and effectively on behalf of the Jewish cause. ‘His extraordinary powers of mind and his ready wit made him a formidable controversalist; the moral weight and the magic power of his personality made him succeed where lesser men could not even get a hearing.’* But his Zionist patriotism was increasingly doubted and he was even accused of treason when he refused to act as spokesman for the extremist demands which were gaining ground in the Zionist movement. This widening gulf eventually led to his downfall in 1931. He returned to the leadership only four years later at a time of supreme crisis.
About the tremendous impact of Weizmann’s personality there is general agreement. A non-Jewish observer once wrote that his persuasiveness was irresistible, even frightening. He was always more successful with the Jewish masses (and incidentally with non-Jews) than with his own colleagues among the Zionist leadership. The strength of his personality has been described in a moving tribute by Isaiah Berlin:
He was one of those human beings who … stood near the consciousness of his people and not on its periphery; his ideas and his feelings were, as it were, naturally attuned to the often unspoken, but always central hopes, fears, modes of feeling of the vast majority of the Jewish masses with which he felt himself all his life in deep and complete natural sympathy. His genius largely consisted in making articulate and finding avenues for the realisation of these aspirations and longings. … He was a man of immense natural authority, dignity and strength. He was calm, paternal, imperturbable, certain of himself. He never drifted with the current. He was always in control. He accepted full responsibility. He was indifferent to praise and blame. He possessed tact and charm to a degree exceeded by no statesman of modern days. But what held the Jewish masses to him until the very last phase of his long life, was not the possession of these qualities alone, dazzling as they were, but the fact that although outwardly he had become an eminent western scientist (which made him financially and therefore politically independent), and mingled easily with the remote and unapproachable masters of the western world, his fundamental personality and outlook remained unchanged. His language, his images, his turns of phrase were rooted in Jewish tradition and piety and learning. His tastes, his physical movements, the manner in which he walked and stood, got up and sat down, his gestures, the features of his exceedingly expressive face and above all his tone of voice, the accent, the inflexion, the extraordinary variety of his humour, were identical with theirs – were their own.*
Yet the picture of the greatest Jewish statesman of his age would be incomplete without mentioning, at least in passing, some of his shortcomings and weaknesses. His political views were those of a democratic nationalist, not unlike Masaryk’s. He had absorbed them instinctively and remained always, first and foremost, an empiricist. Once shaped, his political views changed little if at all over the years. He read few books and had few interests outside Zionist politics and chemistry. Like Herzl he was no original political thinker. He was at least partly unaware of the great and mostly negative changes that were taking place in the 1920s and 1930s. He had easily found a common language, with Balfour and Lloyd George and men of their generation, but communication with their successors became increasingly difficult. His democratic humanism was out of tune with the new Zeitgeist and the new Realpolitik, out of tune with an increasingly violent world in which humanism and moral necessities counted for little and physical power was almost the only criterion. In these changed conditions Weizmann’s effectiveness as a political leader was bound to diminish.
His attitude to his own people, to the Zionist movement, even to his closest collaborators, was highly contradictory and often ambivalent. He never failed to stress that he was a man of the people: ‘If I have achieved anything, it is precisely because I am not a diplomat. If you want to hurt me, call me a diplomat.’† ‘Herzl came from the west,’ he said on another occasion, ‘and used western concepts and ideas. I unfortunately hail from Lithuania. I know the Jewish people only too well, and it knows me even better. And therefore I lack the wings which were given to Herzl. … Had Herzl been to a cheder, the Jewish people would never have followed him.’‡ But the common touch was blended with elements of a Nietzschean contempt for the masses. He was fully aware of the weaknesses of the Jewish people, the unwillingness of the rich Jews of Europe and America to contribute financially and of the Jewish masses to emigrate to Palestine. The lack of gratitude often shown him only strengthened such feelings. On occasion he seems to have despaired of ever convincing his movement that an all-out effort of the whole people was needed to make the Zionist dream come true. His attitude to his contemporaries in the Zionist leadership was, with a few exceptions, one of barely veiled contempt. Like Ben Gurion after him, he got along well with the younger generation, which looked up to him, but he found it exceedingly difficult to work with others as equals. ‘He was never happy as a colleague,’ Harry Sacher wrote. ‘He disliked seeking counsel and he had no gift for reporting.’* He was a moody man and could turn his great charm on and off abruptly. More than once he used people only to discard them when he no longer needed them and was guilty of acts of gross disloyalty to some of his closest confidants. He hardly ever expected gratitude from others and only infrequently showed it himself. But the qualities which make a popular leader and a great statesman (one, to quote Berlin again, whose active intervention makes what seemed highly improbable in fact happen) are not exactly those of a saint. For someone active in politics throughout his life, his weaknesses were surprisingly few and his sins venial.
Other Zionist leaders
One of the earliest challenges to Weizmann’s rule was made by Menahem Ussishkin, who had been a leader in Russian Zionism when Weizmann was still a student. Born near Mohilev in 1863, the son of a wealthy Hassidic merchant, he got his training as an engineer (a profession he never practised) in Moscow. A central figure among the Lovers of Zion, he spent his honeymoon in Palestine at a time (1891) when it was unfashionable, to put it mildly, to do so.† A heavy-set man with massive shoulders and blue eyes, he had the reputation of being unbending and hard as nails. There was indeed such a streak in his character, but there is reason to believe that he deliberately cultivated the image of the tough, forbidding man, and that behind this façade there was a romantic, dreaming of the redemption of the soil of Palestine. His political ambitions were bound to remain unfulfilled. He had his enthusiastic followers among the Russians but was temperamentally quite unsuited to lead the Zionist movement, which wanted not a dictator at the helm but a master in the art of gentle persuasion. He had the nature of a tsar (one contemporary wrote), his opinions were issued in the form of edicts. He was dead sure that he was always right and no one could be as right as he. It was not only his lack of linguistic ability which debarred him from the heights of Zionist diplomacy.
After having settled in Palestine, Ussishkin was made director of the Keren Hayesod. He was instrumental in buying lands which later became key areas in Jewish agricultural settlement (Yesreel valley, the Beisan valley, Emeq Hefer). While a man of the Right in his political philosophy, he warmly supported the Socialist pioneers in their endeavours even when these ran counter to his own beliefs, for settling on the land remained for him the ultimate test of commitment to the Zionist idea. He had absorbed the Russian Populists’ belief in the unity of theory and action and had nothing but contempt for the diaspora Zionists who saw their own future in Europe rather than in Palestine. Ussishkin died in Jerusalem, the city he loved most, during the Second World War, his prejudices and passions and intellect undimmed; with all his foibles, a man widely respected, a pillar of strength of the Zionist movement.
Nahum Sokolow shared the leadership of the Zionist movement with Weizmann after 1917. He too had played a notable part in the events leading up to the Balfour Declaration. Sokolow was more widely educated than Weizmann but lacked the popular touch, the charisma and the toughness of the born leader. He was perhaps the most accomplished Zionist diplomat but he did not have the vision, the grand design of the great statesman. He was tolerant, sympathetic and generous in his appreciation of others, and modest in his appreciation of himself,* though he did not lack political ambition, as appeared at the Zionist congress of 1931 which deposed Weizmann and made him the leader of the movement. He was a handsome man, distinguished in manner, eloquent, witty and remarkably well read. But he lacked the demonic streak and the passion which was part of Weizmann’s character. He was too much the intellectual to become the man of action, too courteous, too indecisive on important political issues. He was not a strong man and did not even try to give the impression of being one. Sokolow was reluctant to make enemies; he was not hard enough to be the leader of a popular dynamic movement. He became an elder statesman comparatively early in life, and was very much in demand as chairman and mediator. But he was not the man to provide leadership at a time of crisis.
Leo Motzkin, born in Lithuania, played an important role in the early period of the Zionist movement. He had been Weizmann’s mentor in the Berlin days and later on presided over many Zionist congresses. Like Sokolow, he was a man of the centre, an excellent chairman, but he did not carry much weight in the inner councils of the movement. He lacked discipline and purpose and there was, again in the words of a contemporary, something unfinished about most of Motzkin’s actions. He was said to be a gifted mathematician, but unlike Weizmann he did not finish his studies. He became an expert on the situation of Jews in Russia, and later on in other parts of the world. The compilation of documents he published on these topics was of considerable value, but there is little of his own writing.* In later years his main interest was diaspora politics - the World Jewish Congress was his brainchild, though he did not live to see it born (he died in 1934). He lacked the single-mindedness of Ussishkin or Weizmann. Perhaps he enjoyed life more than they did. He certainly came to love Paris, its boulevards, restaurants and cafés:
There he could meet Jews of all lands. If you sat at the Café de la Paix any afternoon, you would see a panorama of Jewish life pass by…. He spent more time drinking tea than at his desk. He loved good company and was a good listener. He read heavy literature and nothing light or easy ever crossed his eyes. He never seemed to have time for home life and could be relied on to pack a grip and at a moment’s notice go to London or Vienna or New York - wherever a Jewish cause beckoned. He disliked quarrels and partnerships.†
He was knowledgeable and decent, but not cut out to be a leader of men.
Of all the leading figures in the movement Jabotinsky was the most colourful, but he was in opposition from the early 1920s onward and had little influence on official Zionist policy. His political career has been described elsewhere in the present study. The members of Weizmann’s entourage were specialists, not all-round men like himself; they did not play a central role in internal Zionist politics even when they were members of the executive. Kisch, Eder, Harry Sacher, even Professor Brodetsky were half Jews, half Englishmen in the eyes of the east Europeans; their speeches were not always understood. As they did not share the east European cultural tradition they never felt themselves completely at home in the folksy atmosphere of the Zionist congresses. Jabotinsky apart, the revisionists had no outstanding personality. Robert Stricker, who supported him in the 1920s, had no following and influence outside Vienna. Like Lichtheim he did not stay long with the revisionists.
The labour movement was represented in the leadership by Kaplanski, who was not well known in Palestine, for he settled in Haifa only in later years when he became head of the technical university there. Ben Gurion, Sprinzak, Remes, Ben Zvi, Katznelson made their appearance at the Zionist congresses in the 1920s but their speeches caused barely a ripple. They were still largely preoccupied with their own specific problems, and even the rhetoric of Berl Katznelson did not go down too well. The great prodigy of the Left was Victor (Chaim) Arlosoroff, born in Romny in the Ukraine, educated in Berlin, who entered Zionist politics at the twelfth congress and, in 1924, at the age of twenty-five, became a member of the Action Committee.
Arlosoroff was a man of remarkable gifts, combining Weizmann’s tact, political instinct and intuition with outstanding organisational and oratorical talent. He was the best speaker in the movement, less flamboyant but more persuasive than Jabotinsky. He understood more about economics and sociology than any other Zionist leader, and was in fact a rare combination of the intellectual and the man of action. Politically he belonged to the Hapoel Hatzair and was one of the main architects of the merger with Ahdut Avoda out of which Mapai was born in 1930. He developed his own brand of Socialist doctrine (Volkssozialismus) but was the least doctrinaire of men, always ready to modify his views in the light of new developments and experiences.* Early on he was asked to take on diplomatic missions on behalf of the executive - to Geneva, London and the United States. It was more than somewhat ironical that after Weizmann’s fall he, a self-confessed extreme Weizmannite, was elected to be his successor as the foreign minister of the movement.
The political constellation when Arlosoroff took over was anything but auspicious: the movement faced financial bankruptcy. Sir John Chancellor, the high commissioner in Palestine, was not exactly a supporter of the Zionist cause. The London government was moving further away from the spirit and letter of the Balfour Declaration. The differences within the movement were steadily growing. Even some among the newly elected executive would not have been unduly distressed had Arlosoroff failed in his efforts. In this difficult situation he showed an enormous capacity for work, infinite patience, and a desire to make friends with Englishmen and Arabs alike despite constant discouragement from all sides. Above all he wanted to give a fresh impetus to Zionist work. As the year 1932 drew to a close there were signs of a slow improvement, but Arlosoroff did not live to see the turn of the tide. On the evening of 16 June 1933, he was shot while walking on the Tel Aviv beach. The identity of his killers has not been established to this day and the exact circumstances have remained a matter of controversy ever since. Members of a group of extreme revisionists were widely suspected of the crime, but there was insufficient proof and they were acquitted after a trial which caused a deep split in the Jewish community.
Among Weizmann’s supporters in Germany Kurt Blumenfeld was one of the most influential. A most effective speaker, he was even more persuasive in a small circle and succeeded in gaining the support or many leading non-Zionists, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, for the colonising work in Palestine. Robert Weltsch, born in Prague, was the editor of the most influential Zionist organ of the period in any language, the Jüdische Rundschau, and, incidentally, wrote many of Weizmann’s speeches. The Rundschau was often criticised for its ultra-Weizmannism (on the Arab problem, the question of the Jewish state) but no one disputed its high cultural level. It enjoyed great authority and had a marked educational impact far beyond the borders of Germany. Nahum Goldmann, born in eastern Europe, and educated in Germany, began to take a leading part in Zionist politics at an early age. He belonged to the radical Zionists who opposed Weizmann, but his main interest, like Motzkin’s and Gruenbaum’s, was diaspora politics rather than Palestine. Not quite of Arlosoroff’s calibre, he was an excellent speaker and an accomplished diplomat. He attained a leading position in the movement only in the 1930s.
Among Weizmann’s supporters in America Louis Lipsky was the most gifted and prominent. A man of considerable intellectual and artistic talents, he was at the same time an excellent organiser and the educator of two generations of American Zionists. He became general secretary of the American Zionist Federation early on and assumed its leadership after the defeat of the Brandeis-Mack faction. American Zionism had other outstanding leaders, such as Rabbi Stephen Wise, a formidable orator, who had, however, many interests outside Zionism: every humanitarian cause found a warm supporter in this radical democrat. There was Abba Hillel Silver, another fiery orator, also a rabbi and an early Zionist, who assumed a leading role in the 1940s. Jacob de Haas, born in England, who had won over Brandeis for the Zionist cause, was prominent at one time but dropped out after Brandeis’ resignation. Few American Zionist leaders except Henrietta Szold made Zionism their only cause, and none of them with the exception of Henrietta Szold, Magnes and, in later years, Israel Goldstein, made Jerusalem their home.
This list of prominent Zionists is not only incomplete; it is to a certain extent misleading. The most accomplished orators, the leaders most in the limelight, were not necessarily those who constituted the backbone of the movement. Some of the leading ideologists of the earlier period, such as Idelson, Jacob Klatzkin or Pasmanik, now forgotten, exerted considerable influence at the time even if their ideas were often disputed. Arthur Ruppin, whose place in the history of Zionism has been mentioned, was for many years the executive’s expert on all questions concerned with Jewish settlement. In the accounts of the dramatic debates and the memorable decisions his name does not often appear. He was the protagonist of practical work, doing his job inconspicuously with rare devotion, never in the limelight if he could help it. Yet in retrospect the importance of his work has no equal in the annals of Zionism. There were other such men, the unsung heroes of the movement, without whom Zionism would have remained a debating society, a parliament without a country, intriguing no doubt but of no practical consequence.
The World Zionist Organisation was composed both of separate unions (such as Mizrahi and labour Zionism), and of national federations, whose members subscribed to the Basle programme but were not bound by party discipline. Before the Second World War there were fifty such freelance federations and their members were by definition General Zionists. Thus General Zionism was the first party to exist but the last to get organised. It was the main stream, the movement itself was general Zionist. The term ‘General Zionism’ was adopted only in 1907 after the appearance on the scene of other parties within the movement.*General Zionism was amorphous, ‘a compound of many views, but not an ideological identity’.* As there were no permanent ties between the national federations they came to the congresses strong in numbers but divided and without a clear programme of action. At the twelfth (Karlsbad) congress they represented 73 per cent of the total, but suffered a decline when both the Right and the Left became much stronger. In 1923-5 their share was 50-60 per cent; in 1931 they were reduced to a mere 36 per cent, split, moreover, three different ways. Attempts to bring the three factions together at the first World General Zionist Conference (Basle, 1931) were only partly successful. Nor was the attempt to provide a specific General Zionist philosophy very convincing. Robert Weltsch claimed that General Zionism was not just equidistant between Left and Right, between capitalism and Socialism, between religious orthodoxy and atheism, between militarism and pacifism, between an aggressive and a sober realistic policy; it was not just a policy of passive compromise, the desire to choose the line of least resistance, but a positive, deliberate, conscious decision in favour of the centre and the unity of the movement.† Such motives may have induced Robert Weltsch and some of his intellectual friends to back General Zionism, but most of its leaders and supporters were attracted to it precisely because it was not a movement of extremes.
General Zionism was plagued by internal dissension. In 1923 the ‘Democratic Zionists’ broke away and established a faction in opposition to Weizmann. They rejected, inter alia, the idea of an enlarged Jewish Agency and they also claimed that Weizmann did not pay sufficient attention to the necessity of strengthening Zionist organisations in the diaspora. Moreover, he was said to be too pro-British in his foreign policy.‡ The main spokesman of this faction was Y. Yruenbaum, whose Polish group (Al Hamishmar) constituted the nucleus of the opposition. It was supported by Nahum Goldmann and some of his Berlin friends, a Rumanian group (Renasterea), and several small factions in Austria and Czechoslovakia. In 1927 the opposition was renamed ‘Radical Zionism’. In its programme it tried to outflank the Weizmannites from both the Left and the Right. In contrast to Weizmann, it emphasised the importance of attaining a Jewish majority in Palestine and a Jewish state as the final aim of Zionism. At the same time it stressed the need of democratic Jewish life in the diaspora, a reference, presumably, to Weizmann’s ‘dictatorship’. While most Jews were sympathetic to the idea of building up Palestine, they had not yet been won over to Zionism, and to achieve this was, according to the Radicals, one of the most urgent assignments of the movement. In brief, they asked for a more militant and dynamic policy without, however, always being able to specify in detail what policies they would have pursued that differed essentially from Weizmann’s. Some of their demands, moreover, were mutually exclusive.*
Radical Zionism, like General Zionism, was a trend rather than a political party. Its early manifestos were signed not only by Gruenbaum and Goldmann but also by Jabotinsky, Schechtman, Stricker and other revisionists who soon established their own organisation. The Radical Zionists had at no stage the support of a sizable section of the movement. They polled 6 per cent of the total at the elections in 1927 but two years later their share dropped to 4 per cent. Subsequently Gruenbaum, Goldmann and most of their supporters returned to the fold of General Zionism, constituting, together with German, British and American leaders, the ‘A’ stream, in contrast to the rival ‘B’ faction headed by Ussishkin, Mossinson, Bograshow, Schwarzbart, Rottenstreich, Schmorak, Suprasky and F. Fernstein. At the 1935 congress, the former had eighty-one representatives, the latter forty-seven.
All General Zionists agreed that the national interest should always take precedence over party interests. But since the two wings differed both in their definition of national interest and in their attitude towards Weizmann’s foreign policy, as well as in their approach to social and economic issues, such verbal agreement was not sufficient to restore unity for any length of time. The ‘A’ faction favoured fairly close collaboration with labour Zionism and advocated the inclusion of General Zionist workers in the Histadrut framework, whereas the ‘B’ faction (the ‘World Union’) gravitated towards the Right, preferring the establishment of a separate union outside the Socialist-dominated Histadrut. The ‘B’ faction came out in favour of a Jewish state as early as 1931, whereas the Weizmannites opposed it as premature at the time. The former wanted to transform General Zionism into a political party whose decisions were binding on all its members, whereas the latter preferred a loose confederation. After the split of 1935 most General Zionists joined group ‘A’, which had 143 delegates at the last prewar Zionist congress, whereas ‘B’ was represented by only twenty-eight members. After the war, in December 1946, a new world confederation of General Zionists came into being, but the rivalry continued and in the first parliamentary elections in the state of Israel the General Zionists split into no fewer than seven lists. Eventually most of the members of the ‘A’ faction joined the Progressive Party, whereas the members of ‘B’ established a General Zionist Party which eventually united with the revisionists (Herut). Outside Israel, American leaders such as Abba Hillel Silver, and later Israel Goldstein, were prominent in General Zionism, as far as it continued to exist.
The emergence of labour Zionism and of revisionism, and their subsequent fortunes, are discussed elsewhere in the present study. Religious Zionism, as represented by the Mizrahi, was less important, but no survey of the Zionist movement would be complete which ignored the part played by this, one of the oldest factions within the Jewish national movement.
Orthodox Zionists trace their roots to Ramban, the medieval sage, who according to tradition found only two Jews in Jerusalem when he arrived there some 650 years ago, and thereupon decided to work for the strengthening of Jewish settlement in Palestine. They see their precursors in Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov in the eighteenth century, and in Rabbis Kalischer and Gutmacher (a leading Kabbalist) in the nineteenth, in whose thought the rebuilding of Palestine figured very prominently. Among the Lovers of Zion there were several distinguished rabbis, such as Eliasberg and Mohilever, but the organisation of orthodox Jewry, Mizrahi, came into being only some years after Herzl had given fresh impetus to Zionism. The moving spirit behind the Vilna convention (1902) and the founder of Mizrahi was Isaac Jacob Raines, rabbi of Lida, a ‘Litvak’ who in the words of his biographer knew no language but Hebrew, had no general education, but ‘was a man of much wisdom and knowledge, a Talmudic sage, a genius, a preacher of the rarest type, who blazed a trail in Aggadic literature’.* Raines had sympathised with the Lovers of Zion, but decided after much reflection to join Herzlian Zionism. Having pondered and rejected the arguments against Zionism by the ultra-orthodox rabbis, he reached the conclusion that whoever concluded that the Zionist ideal had any connection with free thought was liable to suspicion himself as a desecrator of things holy.*
At the Vilna conference, and at a subsequent meeting in Minsk, there was no agreement between those who argued that the Mizrahi should act as a watchdog within the Zionist movement, i.e. prevent it from falling into the hands of the ‘freethinkers’, and those who maintained that a purely negative approach would be ineffective in the long run and that Mizrahi should therefore engage in constructive work as well, such as education and settlement. These were differences of tactics rather than principle. Mizrahi members have always agreed that the basic aim of the organisation was to ‘capture the Zionist institutions’ and create a religious majority among the Jews of Palestine. † The constructivists gained the upper hand and it was decided that Mizrahi should collect the funds needed to establish a modern yeshiva in Lida, a school in Tel Aviv and a teachers’ seminary in Jerusalem. The seat of the Mizrahi executive was transferred from Lida to Frankfurt and later to Hamburg-Altona, in view of the difficulties facing the movement in tsarist Russia.
At first little was done. Mizrahi was then a loose federation of local groups united in their religious and national beliefs and in their wish to act as a pressure group against the ‘democratic faction’ (Sokolow, Weizmann, Motzkin) which wanted the movement to engage in cultural and educational activities as well as in political and colonising work. Since educational work by the non-orthodox was a priori unacceptable to Mizrahi, a crisis occurred when it was finally decided at the tenth Zionist congress to accept the programme of the ‘democratic faction’. The more rigid orthodox elements, especially those in Germany and Hungary, decided to leave the Zionist movement, but the great majority stayed within it.‡
Throughout its history Mizrahi has been plagued by dissension between those who regard themselves first and foremost as Zionists and the others who put orthodoxy above Zionism. Mizrahi ideology is a compromise between two extremes: it rejects Zionism as a purely secular movement, claiming that the spiritual and moral values of Europe have only limited value, that the Jewish nation without religion is a body without a soul, that religion and nation constitute an indissoluble unity.* Religion, in other words, must be the core of Zionism, and the religious tradition has again to become the law of the Land of Israel. Yet, in contrast to Agudat Israel, Mizrahi has always argued that religious faith without the national spirit was only ‘half Judaism’, and has insisted, again in contrast to the ultra-orthodox, that the Hebrew language must be the language of both spiritual and daily life. The Antwerp congress (1926) put the ideology into one brief formula: ‘The Mizrahi is a Zionist, national and religious federation striving to build the national home of the Jewish people in Palestine in accordance with the written and traditional laws.’
Two of the younger and most active leaders, Rabbis Meir Berlin and Y.Y. Yishman, were in America during the First World War and helped to build up the organisation there. 1922 was a milestone in the history of the movement: the seat of the executive was transferred to Jerusalem and Hapoel Hamizrahi, the workers section, was founded. During its early phase the movement had been dominated by rabbis, but gradually lay members gained a larger share in the leadership. One of them, Professor Hermann Pick, became the first Mizrahi representative on the Zionist executive. Special emphasis was put during the 1920s and 1930s on educational activities both in Palestine and in eastern Europe. A women’s group was started and its youth section gained many adherents. In Palestine the Mizrahi established its own bank as well as a building workers cooperative. Later, with the arrival of the first members of Hapoel Hamizrahi, several kibbutzim and suburban settlements, such as Sanhedria in Jerusalem, were founded. The ten kibbutzim of Hapoel Hamizrahi had in 1967 about four thousand members.
In Zionist politics the Mizrahi at first supported Weizmann but later turned against him to join the right-wing opposition against the labour parties. It was basically a middle class party and therefore opposed the takeover of the Zionist executive in 1931 by the Left. These policies caused dissension. The orthodox workers’ section, which subsequently joined the Histadrut, opposed this turn to the Right. It advocated ‘Jewish Socialism’, claiming that Socialism need not necessarily be materialist and atheist in character; that, on the contrary, Socialism based on the concepts of social justice as presented in the Bible was both legitimate and desirable. The Mizrahi leadership was not at first greatly impressed by these dissenting voices. On the contrary, its failure to influence Palestinian and Zionist politics in the spirit of Jewish orthodoxy caused a further hardening of its attitude.
At the Cracow conference in 1933 Mizrahi decided to intensify its struggle against the non-orthodox, both in the Zionist movement and in the elected institutions of Palestinian Jewry.* This caused further friction in its ranks. The German Mizrahi left the world federation in 1931 (partly in protest against the anti-Weizmann line), and there was resistance to the new course in Britain, Austria and Switzerland as well as in Palestine. Hapoel Hamizrahi claimed, not without good reason, that by pursuing narrow class interests the movement would cut itself off from the very masses it wanted to influence in the spirit of Jewish traditions. Unity was restored after several years of dispute, but the Hapoel Hamizrahi emerged from the conflict greatly strengthened and more independent in its outlook and policy.
Zionism was a movement supported predominantly by the young generation when it first appeared on the European scene, and youth movements have played an important role in its history ever since. The Bilu consisted of boys and girls in their late teens and early twenties, and those who came to Palestine with the second and third immigration wave were mostly of this age. The early supporters of Zionism in central and western Europe were students who met in corporations such as Kadima in Vienna; another Kadima was founded in London in 1887, well before Herzl’s time. Similar groups were founded in Breslau in 1886, in Heidelberg (Badenia) in 1890, in Berlin in 1892 (Jung Israel), in Czernowitz (Hasmonea) and in several other universities. It was one form taken by the reaction against the emerging antisemitic movement which had its bastions in the universities. Some of these groups saw their main task in cultural work among their members, others put the stress on physical prowess. It was not uncommon for them to provoke duels with antisemitic students in order to demonstrate to themselves and and others that Jews were not cowards. These student corporations accepted political Zionism only gradually, but once they did so they became the backbone of the movement in Germany and Austria and in later years provided its leadership.
In 1913-14 Zionist students in Germany organised group excursions to Palestine. On the very eve of the First World War the local associations merged into the KJV, the central organisation (Kartell Jüdischer Verbindungen) which was to play an important part in central European Zionism after 1918. While the students movement pre-dated political Zionism, the idea of promoting physical education was first mooted at the second Zionist congress by Max Nordau and Professor Mandelstam. It was given further impetus at the fifth congress, when Nordau coined the phrase Muskel Judentum (muscle Jewry). Bar Kochba, the first big Jewish sports club, was founded in 1898 in Berlin. The movement rapidly spread to other countries and at the sixth congress it was decided to form an international federation of Zionist sports clubs. In 1921, at the Karlsbad congress, this became the Maccabi World Organisation, which in 1930 had about forty thousand members in twenty-four countries. In 1932 the first Jewish Olympic Games (the Maccabia) took place in Tel Aviv. Some of these clubs attained a considerable reputation particularly in athletics and boxing (Germany), and swimming, skiing and athletics (Austria and Czechoslovakia). Many boys and girls came to Zionism through these clubs. It would be a mistake to assume that the whole Zionist movement graduated from intense ideological discussions, and the study of Borokhov and Buber. The great emphasis put on physical education, traditionally neglected among the Jewish communities, was part of the Zionist campaign to normalise Jewish life, and it may have been influenced by the Czech Sokols.
An independent Jewish youth movement, free from control by adults, developing its own specific youth culture, came into being in 1912-13 with the establishment of the Blau Weiss in Breslau and Berlin. The impact of the German youth movement, the Wandervogel, was considerable: Blau Weiss adopted the same organisational forms. Its members sang the same songs and went on hiking and camping trips. It was permeated by the same neo-romantic mood, the protest against vulgar materialism and the artificial conventions of society, by the desire to return to a more natural, sincere, spontaneous life. What prevented the integration of young Jews in the German Wandervogel was partly the emergence of antisemitic tendencies in a movement which originally had been non-political: some German groups introduced a numerus clausus, other refused to accept Jews altogether, and in 1913 there was a country-wide discussion on whether Jews could and should be members.* Moreover, assimilated as most German Jews were, many of them felt they could have no place in a movement which drew so much of its inspiration from the mystic folk spirit so frequently invoked, in which elements of Teutomania and Christianity were so deeply ingrained.
When war broke out, the members of the Jewish youth movements in Germany and Austria volunteered for the army. But if the experience of the war drove so many of their German contemporaries towards an exalted German patriotism, many young Jews discovered that whatever their legal status they were not regarded as fully fledged Germans by their fellow soldiers and officers. Some rediscovered their Jewish identity as a result of their first contact with east European Jewry. Blau Weiss, which had sympathised with Zionism from the beginning, was fully converted to it during the war, even though the internal disputes about ‘what is Jewish’ continued. With all its Zionist commitment, the movement was deeply immersed in German culture. One of its leaders confessed that his ‘dreams ripened under northern firs’, not under oriental palms. Others admitted that the good old German songs appealed to them more than the artificial Hebrew ones, whose meaning they did not understand. At a youth meeting in Berlin in October 1918 one of the spokesmen of the Blau Weiss declared that Zionism had to be liberated from the dead weight of tradition, and that a national revival did not necessarily entail the indiscriminate adoption of outworn religious dogmas and cultural beliefs.*
Such heretical views aroused a storm of indignation, but indignation alone did not answer the questions about the Jewish content: the German youth movement continued to serve as the organisational pattern and the ideological inspiration for Zionist youth. In one decisive respect, however, Zionist youth went far beyond the Wandervogel: at the Prünn meeting of the Blau Weiss in 1922 a resolution was adopted committing its members to emigrate to Palestine and to work and live there together. It had been the great weakness of the German youth movement that despite all the solemn declarations of personal commitment it had always been a transit camp: most of its members dropped out once they graduated from high school.
The Jewish youth movement wanted to succeed where its German contemporary had failed, to establish a Lebensbund, not a summer camp but a life community. The first Blau Weiss members went to Palestine in 1921-2, others followed in 1923 and 1924 and established a small agricultural settlement and also a workshop in the city. These attempts failed, partly because the members had been insufficiently prepared for working life in Palestine and partly because of the economic crisis of 1925-6. Blau Weiss ceased to exist in 1927, but this was by no means the end of the Zionist youth movement in Germany; many of its members eventually found their way to Palestine.
During the 1920s and the early 1930s several more Zionist youth movements came into being (JJWB, Brit Haolim, Kadima, Habonim, Werkleute). Some of them subsequently established their own kibbutzim in Palestine (the Werkleute in Hazorea) while members of others (such as the religious Bachad) joined either collective or cooperative settlements. From an ideological point of view these groups, with their unending disputes about cultural and political issues, were a fascinating, ever-changing amalgam of Socialist or, at any rate, anti-capitalist elements (with Marx and Gustav Landauer as the strongest influences), cultural Zionism (Buber), the German youth movement, and to a growing degree haluziut, the idea of commitment to a working life in Palestine. Not all of those who committed themselves to a life in a kibbutz joined one in the end, and of those who did join, not all remained. Eventually, however, a higher percentage of German Jews went into agriculture than of immigrants from any other country.
The victory of Nazism gave a fresh impetus to the Zionist youth movement. The membership of Hehalutz, founded in Germany in the early 1920s on the initiative of, among others, Arlosoroff, rose to fifteen thousand after 1933, of whom seven thousand went to Palestine within the next three years, most of them joining existing kibbutzim. Of the younger members, those aged sixteen or less, several thousand reached Palestine with Youth Aliya, an enterprise directed by Henrietta Szold, the veteran American Zionist leader. They were absorbed in children’s villages (such as Ben Shemen) and kibbutzim, where in a two-year training course they were taught the essentials of agriculture, learnt Hebrew, and received a general education of sorts.
The impact of the German youth movement was not limited to the German-speaking countries of central Europe. It exerted a powerful influence on eastern Europe as well. Hashomer Hatzair, of which mention has already been made, came into being as a youth movement subscribing to the principles of scouting.* Its cradle was in Galicia. During the war years some of its leaders came into contact with members of the German and Austrian Jewish youth movements and the pioneers of a new, free education (S. Sernfeld). Their vanguard reached Palestine in 1920-1. Like the Blau Weiss, they were not yet by any means convinced Zionists. Nietzschean ideas about the fulfilment of the individual played a central role in their Weltanschauung. Later, the movement spread from Galicia to Poland, Rumania, Lithuania and many other countries.
By 1930 Hashomer Hatzair counted thirty-four thousand members and was by far the strongest youth movement. It had also become unequivocally Zionist and radically Socialist in character and subscribed to the idea of kibbutz life. Not all its members stood the test: many dropped out for personal reasons, others because they no longer accepted the ideological orientation of the movement. Left-wing critics claimed that there could be no synthesis between the aims of Zionism and revolutionary Socialism. They saw a ‘tragic conflict’ between the two, and in view of the overriding importance of world revolution they opted for Communism, or in some cases for Trotskyism. The right wing (mainly in Latvia and Czechoslovakia), on the other hand, maintained that there was already too much politics in their movement. The secession took place at the third world conference of Hashomer Hatzair in 1930. Most members of this group found their way into Mapai.
On the eve of the Second World War the Hashomer Hatzair world movement counted about seventy thousand members. During the war, those in the occupied countries of east Europe, like members of other Zionist youth movements, played a leading part in the resistance to Nazism. Many died. Of the few who survived most went to Israel after the war. The main Jewish communities in Europe had ceased to exist, and with them their youth movements, but branches of Hashomer Hatzair (like Habonim and the religious youth movements) continued operating in western Europe and the Americas, as well as in North and South Africa, Australia and, in fact, in most Jewish communities throughout the world.
Hashomer Hatzair was for many years the strongest youth movement, but it did not have the field to itself, even on the Left, not to speak of the revisionist Betar, of which mention has been made already. In 1923-4 Gordonia was founded in Poland, a youth movement inclined broadly speaking towards the Zionist Left. It was strongly influenced by the thought of A.A. Aordon and by the German youth movement, but in contrast to Hashomer Hatzair it subscribed to humanitarian Socialism rather than Marxism.* It orientated itself towards life in the kvutza, though in its early days it did not preclude other forms of agricultural settlement in Palestine. In the 1930s Gordonia merged with Makkabi Hatzair; it had its main bases in eastern Europe. In 1929 the first members of Gordonia arrived in Palestine and started a collective settlement.
In addition to those mentioned, dozens of Zionist youth movements came into being between the two world wars, and a few of them continued to exist after 1945. In Poland there was Dror-Freihait; in the United States Young Judaea, and later on Avuka, a student association with branches in more than twenty universities. Habonim developed in the early 1930s in London’s East End and spread to other English-speaking countries, Sweden and Holland. Over the years its members helped to establish four kibbutzim (Kfar Blum, Kfar Hanassi, Amiad and Beth Ha’emeq). In 1951 a world federation of Habonim was established with its headquarters in Tel Aviv.
Some of these movements were shortlived. Their ideological discussions, like those of other youth groups, make in retrospect curious reading. But, like other youth movements, they should not be measured by the degree of their political sophistication. The issue that really mattered was the common experience and identity shared by the members, and seen in this context these movements played an important role in the history of Zionism. Among the present leaders of the state of Israel there are few, if any, who did not at one time belong to one of them.
At a time when family ties were loosening, when protest against school and other forms of authority was spreading, these youth movements provided new ideals and values, the promise of both national revival and a new and better way of life. In common activities, such as discussions, seminars, sports meetings, camping and excursions, a spirit of community was developed. The members were taught Hebrew and the essentials of Jewish history and culture. They regarded life in Palestine, and specifically in the collective settlements, not just as part of the solution of the Jewish question, long overdue, but as the most desirable way of life for idealistic young men and women. In this respect the Zionist youth movement differed from all other youth movements of the day, which in the European dictatorships simply served as a reserve army to replenish the ranks of the state party, or, as in the democracies, failed to carry the idea of a live community beyond the dreams of adolescence.
Years of crisis
The 1920s were on the whole an uneventful period in the history of mandatory Palestine. The over-optimistic expectations of the Zionists had been buried and there was resentment about the lack of assistance given by the British administration. But was it really the fault of the British, as Weizmann asked the Zionist congress, if the Zionists had bought only one million dunams of land rather than two, and if consequently their position was relatively weak? It was not, after all, surprising if the mandatory authorities were reluctant to aid the Zionists in building their national home as envisaged in the Balfour Declaration: the officials felt that there was an inherent contradiction in the task imposed on them. They realised that whatever they did they were bound to provoke either Arab or Jewish protest, and they therefore drew the conclusion, not unnaturally, that the less they did the better.
Samuel, the first high commissioner, was replaced by Field Marshall Plumer, after whom Chancellor was appointed. The Zionists were suspicious of Plumer. They had hoped that a Jew would again be made high commissioner, and feared that a professional soldier would have little understanding, let alone sympathy, for the Zionist cause. These fears were somewhat exaggerated. Plumer declared that he had no policy of his own but was simply following instructions from London.* The Jewish leaders were impressed by his firmness in dealing with Arab threats. When leaders of an Arab delegation told him that unless some Jewish parade was banned they could not be responsible for the maintenance of public order in Jerusalem, the high commissioner told his visitors that he did not expect them to do anything of the kind, since the preservation of law and order was his job. Relations between the Zionists and Chancellor were much cooler. In fact Chancellor was cordially disliked. He enjoyed neither the reputation of a statesman nor the prestige of a military leader. It was, moreover, during his term of office that the riots of 1929 took place, which were to put Anglo-Zionist relations to a severe test.
The chain of events in which 133 Jews were killed and several hundred wounded is described elsewhere in the present study. Soon after the end of the disturbances Lord Passfield (Sidney Webb), colonial secretary in the Labour government, appointed a commission of enquiry to investigate the immediate causes of the riots. The commission went to Palestine at the end of October, stayed there until late December, and published its findings, known as the Shaw Report, in March 1930.* While putting the responsibility for the bloodshed squarely on the Arabs, it stressed that the fundamental cause was Arab animosity towards the Jews, consequent upon the disappointment of their national aspirations and the fears for their economic future. Specifically, the report mentioned Arab fears that as a result of Jewish immigration and land purchase they would be deprived of their livelihood and in time pass under the domination of the Jews. Arabs had been evicted from their holdings and as a result a landless and discontented class had been created. The crisis of 1927-8, the report claimed, was due to the fact that during the previous years immigration had exceeded the country’s absorptive capacity, a mistake that should not be repeated.
The Shaw Commission noted that the Arabs were disappointed because no progress had been made towards self-government and resented the fact that unlike the Jews (who had the Jewish Agency), they had no direct channel to the government. Above all, the commission suggested that His Majesty’s government should issue a clear statement of the policy it intended to pursue. These guidelines were to contain a definition, in clear and positive terms, of the meaning attached to the passages in the mandate providing safeguards for the rights of the Arabs. While the Zionists argued that the Palestine government had shown lack of sympathy towards the Jewish national home, and thus created conditions favourable to an Arab attack, the commission absolved the government of guilt, stressing that the Jews failed to appreciate the dual nature of its responsibility and that they had shown (like the Arabs) ‘little capacity for compromise’.
The Shaw Report was received by the Arabs with jubilation, whereas the Jews were outraged.† The Zionists had suspected from the outset that the commission would exceed its assignment to deal with the immediate causes of the disturbances, and their worst fears had come true. Their reaction was summarised by Sokolow, in his speech at the Zionist congress in 1931, when he quoted the Jew in Kishinev who had said: ‘God protect me from commissions - from pogroms I can protect myself.’
The Jewish Agency answered the report in a detailed memorandum. Lord Passfield, presumably to gain time for working out his own policy, countered by appointing Sir John Hope Simpson, a retired Indian civil servant, to prepare a further report on economic conditions in Palestine. This was delivered in August 1930 and dealt a further blow to Zionist hopes, for it stated that with the given methods of cultivation no land was available for agricultural settlement by new immigrants, with the exception of the undeveloped land already held by the Jewish Agency.* Regarding future immigration, the report stated that with comprehensive development there would be room for not less than twenty thousand families of settlers from outside. Hope Simpson was doubtful about the prospects of industrialisation. His report was attacked by the Zionists as based on insufficient evidence. He certainly greatly underestimated the cultivable land area available, as the spectacular agricultural development of Palestine since 1930 has shown.
The report was published in London on 20 October 1930, at the same time as the British government issued its statement of policy, the Passfield White Paper. This stated at some length that Britain’s obligations to Jews and Arabs were of equal weight and that the Jewish Agency had no special political position.† While it was not said in so many words, the general impression created by the White Paper was that the building of the Jewish national home had more or less ended as far as Britain was concerned; its continued growth was to depend on Arab consent. The Zionist executive, with rare understatement, said the White Paper was a reinterpretation of the mandate in a manner highly prejudicial to Jewish interests, that it retreated not only from the Churchill statement of 1922 (which had itself been a retreat from the mandate), but that it did not even accept the positive recommendations for economic development contained in the Hope Simpson Report.‡ The White Paper, as Weizmann later wrote, was intended ‘to make our work in Palestine impossible’.
The publication of Lord Passfield’s statement of policy provoked intense indignation throughout the Jewish world. Weizmann tendered his resignation from the Jewish Agency, as did Felix Warburg and Lord Melchett. For the first time the Jewish leaders had not been kept informed of London’s plans, and while it was known that Passfield was totally out of sympathy with Zionism, they had thought that there was at least a certain measure of goodwill among some of his colleagues. The one member of the Shaw Commission to make strong reservations as to its conclusions had been Henry Snell, a Labour MP, but there were also protests from many other quarters. When the White Paper was discussed in Parliament on 18 November, Passfield found the going rough. Conservative and Liberal spokesmen attacked it as a breach of trust and contract. Inside the Labour Party too there was a good deal of uneasiness about its provisions. Passfield beat a tactical retreat, admitting to doubts about certain passages. He assured Weizmann that the Zionists had misunderstood the Paper, but at the same time he continued to resist their essential demands (e.g. mass immigration); he was the ‘head and fount of the opposition to our demands’ (Weizmann). Under pressure from all sides, the government decided to modify its policy. It could not, for obvious reasons, withdraw the White Paper but the bureaucrats knew a way out of the dilemma: just as the White Paper had been an interpretation of the Churchill declaration of 1922, it was decided to issue a new document to serve as an authoritative interpretation of the Passfield White Paper. A committee composed of members of the government and representatives of the Jewish Agency, after lengthy deliberations, reached agreement on essential points, and made the outcome public in the form of a letter from Ramsay MacDonald to Weizmann. Disavowing any injurious allegations against the Jewish people, the prime minister reaffirmed the intention of his government to fulfil the terms of the mandate and acknowledged that it had made an undertaking not only to the Jews living in Palestine but to the Jewish people as a whole. There was no intention to freeze existing conditions. As far as immigration was concerned there was no desire to depart from the Churchill White Paper. The criteria applied to establish the absorptive capacity of the country were to be purely economic, not political in character.
The Passfield White Paper was an unsuccessful attempt to reverse the policy initiated by Balfour and Lloyd George. It failed, and the positive change in the attitude of the British government enabled the Zionists, to quote Weizmann again, to make the magnificent gains of the 1930s. But it was a warning sign inasmuch as it showed the Arabs that there were forces in Britain only too willing to yield to Arab pressure. If they had failed for the time being to press home their case, perhaps a renewal of violence on a bigger scale at some future date would be more successful? The restrictions on immigration and land purchase proposed by Passfield were embodied in the White Paper of 1939 which finally repudiated the policy of Balfour and Lloyd George.*
The MacDonald letter provided a respite of seven years, but this at a critical period in Jewish history, and it enabled hundreds of thousands of refugees to find a new home. Many Zionist leaders rebuked Weizmann for having accepted a mere letter from the prime minister instead of a formal reversal of policy, and wanted to reject it as a basis for continued collaboration with Britain. But it was not the form of the answer that mattered but its substance, and Weizmann, the pragmatist, was absolutely right when he concentrated on the essential achievement and ignored the form.
The MacDonald letter was to remain Weizmann’s last major political success for years. His position inside the Zionist movements had progressively weakened. Having resigned from the executive in October 1930, he was asked by his colleagues to carry on as its chairman to the next congress. But even some of his friends advised him not to put forward his candidature again. He was too strongly identified with the collaboration-with-Britain-at-any-price school, and as the difficulties with the mandatory power increased he became the chief target of the opposition. Even among the General Zionists, support for him fell to some twenty-five out of eighty-four delegates at the 1931 congress - the British, German, Czech and a few Americans of the Lipsky-Fishman faction. Weizmann, however, had the support of Palestinian labour. In a speech in Nahalal in March 1931 he declared ‘my fate is connected with yours’. He complained bitterly about the mounting wave of attacks, the speeches and articles which referred to him as a traitor.* He did not really want to resign, but his fighting spirit was petering out a little after more than twelve years of serving as chief ambassador, propagandist and tax collector.
It was in this atmosphere of mounting tension and mutual recriminations that the seventeenth Zionist congress opened in Basle on 30 June 1931. The revisionists had decided to use the opportunity to press for a definition of the final aim, the Endziel, of Zionism. They claimed that there had been too much loose talk about parity between Jews and Arabs, even about a bi-national Palestine, that this defeatist line was clearly incompatible with political Zionism as preached by Herzl and Nordau. They insisted that the time had come for a showdown, a radical reorientation of policy.
The meeting was opened by Sokolow, who called it ‘a congress of realism’. He apparently saw no contradiction between this statement and the declaration later on in his speech that there was no connection between the Arab riots of 1929 and the Balfour Declaration: the disturbances had been caused by religious fantacism. Weizmann, speaking after him, retraced the recent history of Zionism: he discussed the origins and motives of the Balfour Declaration and the various interpretations that had been put on it since.* He referred to the exaggerated expectations prevalent at the time and then surveyed the factors which had impeded the building of the national home - the greater influence of pro-Arab circles on the one hand, and on the other the impoverishment of east European Jewry and the loss to the Zionist movement of Russian Jewry. His own policy had been to steer a middle course between those who believed that after the Balfour Declaration there was no longer any need for political activity, and the other extreme which wanted to engage only in politics. Critics had talked with contempt about the old Lovers of Zion approach: yet another dunam, yet another few trees, another cow, another goat, and two more houses in Hadera. But ‘if there is another way of building a house, save brick by brick, I don’t know it,’ Weizmann said. ‘If there is another way of building a country save dunam by dunam, man by man, and farmstead by farmstead - again I do not know it. One man may follow another, one dunam may be added to another, after a long interval or after a short one - that is a question of degree and determined not by politics alone.’
It was an impressive speech, but it left many of his critics unconvinced. They had heard it too often and they wanted a change of leadership. Jabotinsky argued that economic achievements were not sufficient to create political positions of strength. The MacDonald letter was not satisfactory as a basis of cooperation with the mandatory power because it accorded the Arabs the right of veto against any measure in carrying out the mandate. It was not enough to aim at Jewish preponderance in Palestine at some unspecified future date. To clarify its position the movement had to declare that it aimed at a Jewish majority on both sides of the Jordan, a Jewish state. It was not Britain’s fault alone if there had been a retreat from the spirit of the Balfour Declaration. It was the fault of the Zionist movement, or at any rate of its leadership, which had assured the British that the political situation was satisfactory.
Jabotinsky put the worst possible interpretation on the MacDonald letter, but on the whole his speech was statesmanlike, free of personal attacks. Other speakers were less restrained: Gruenbaum, while praising Weizmann’s social and economic policies, sharply denounced his conduct of foreign affairs. His minimalism had been justified in the early years after the Declaration, when it had been necessary to avoid conflicts. But now his system had outlived its usefulness, it had died in 1929. There was no longer any confidence in England. Farbstein (representing Mizrahi) demanded Weizmann’s resignation because in a speech at the Action Committee meeting the year before he had abandoned the demand for a Jewish majority.
The sharpest attack came from Rabbi Stephen Wise, who had many sterling qualities but lacked political instinct and foresight: you have sat too long at English feasts, Wise called out, apostrophising Weizmann.* Only men who believed in their cause could talk to the British, but not a leadership which said in fact: you are big and we are small, you are omnipotent and we are nothing. There were more bitter attacks from revisionists: U.U. Urinberg, the poet, announced that life in Palestine had become ‘hell’, and Stricker said that the Zionist movement had to be guided either by the spirit of Herzl or the spirit of Weizmann - there could be no compromise.
Ben Gurion and Arlosoroff led the counter-attack. The former criticised the revisionists for their ‘easy Zionism’, the slogan-mongering and the demagogy, making the leadership responsible for each and every setback. The revisionists had declared in effect that ‘we shall create a Jewish majority on both sides of the Jordan, if you give us a majority at the congress’. Naïve young men in Poland might be taken in by such words, but not anyone familiar with Palestinian realities. Arlosoroff charged Weizmann’s critics with lack of political realism. They were apparently not aware that Zionism had been for several years in a not-too-splendid isolation, that the world political situation had deteriorated sharply. At the end of the debate, the most dramatic since the days of the Uganda controversy, it appeared that the movement was more or less evenly divided into supporters and opponents of Weizmann’s policy.
In this precarious situation Weizmann unwisely decided to give an interview to a correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in which he said that he had no sympathy and understanding for the slogan of a Jewish majority in Palestine, which would only be interpreted by the outside world as the wish to expel the Arabs. Even Arlosoroff called this interview politically harmful. A personal statement by Weizmann was of no great help. The damage had been done. Nahum Goldmann, who as a radical Zionist leader had long been among those aiming at Weizmann’s overthrow, acted as spokesman of the political commission and decided to make the most of Weizmann’s mistake. He said he regarded Weizmann’s interview as a ‘declaration of war’ against the Zionist movement and demanded a vote of confidence, which Weizmann lost by 106 against 123 votes.
It was a well-timed manœuvre, the only way in effect to defeat Weizmann, for as it soon appeared, the majority which had rejected the old leader was sharply divided about his successor. The revisionist proposal to define once and for all the final aim of Zionism was heavily defeated and the new executive, elected against revisionist opposition (Sokolow, Arlosoroff, Brodetsky, Farbstein, Locker, Neumann), represented in its majority Weizmannism without Weizmann. It may have been the feeling of Weizmann’s opponents (as he later wrote) that Sokolow’s pliability would make it easier for them to give the movement the direction they had in mind. If so, they were mistaken, for Jabotinsky was not given his chance. Nahum Goldmann, ironically enough, who had helped to bring down Weizmann, many years later found himself in a position not dissimilar to that of Weizmann in 1931: he was removed from the leadership of the movement because of his advocacy of ‘gradualism’ and ‘minimalism’.
The 1931 congress seemed to most participants a great turning point in Zionist history. This was a misjudgment, for its policy underwent no substantial change, and Weizmann returned to the leadership four years later. To attribute decisive historical importance to conflicts within Zionism betrayed a lack of perspective. The real turning point was of course 1933, and it came as a result of events over which the movement had not the slightest control.
The new executive took over at an inauspicious moment. True, relations with the mandatory power had somewhat improved following the publication of the MacDonald letter, and this was the prerequisite for any constructive work in Palestine. But the Zionist world organisation was financially weaker than ever before. The head of the political department complained that facing tremendous tasks, there was less money for his work than there had been ten years earlier. From America he received, like Weizmann before him, much advice but little money. The number of new immigrants in 1931 totalled 4,075, less than in any year after the First World War except 1927-8. The new high commissioner, General Sir Arthur Wauchope, was well-disposed towards Zionism but firm in his belief that the gradual introduction of a parliamentary system, a Constituent Assembly, was overdue. This would have been a catastrophe for the Zionists since it would have made immigration and settlement dependent on the goodwill of the Arab majority. The danger was averted only because of the stubborn demands of the Arab leaders, who insisted on a total ban on immigration and land sales as a condition for their collaboration in any political scheme.
The executive in London carried on very much as before. Sokolow was received that year by King Fuad of Egypt, President Lebrun of France, Mussolini, de Valera, the vice president of the United States, and even Mahatma Gandhi, from whom he received ‘a satisfactory declaration’.*(Seven years later, after the November pogroms in Germany, Gandhi wrote to Martin Buber that the German Jews were in duty bound to stay in Germany and practise satyagraha, passive resistance, rather than emigrate to Palestine.) What was the outcome of these and other diplomatic activities? The more far-sighted Zionist leaders such as Arlosoroff, now in charge of the political department, were near despair. Arlosoroff met Arab leaders on various occasions, but soon realised that there was no real hope for agreement. He had long personal exchanges with the high commissioner, whom he persuaded to read Pinsker’s Autoemanzipation. (Sir Arthur was impressed but said that there was no antisemitism in Britain.) Arlosoroff bitterly denounced the ‘empty phrases’ of the revisionists about a colonisatory régime to be introduced in Palestine. They wanted the British to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for them while looking for political support in Paris, Rome and Warsaw.† At the same time, scanning the political horizon, he reached conclusions which were not that dissimilar from the revisionist conception. He wrote to Weizmann in June 1932 that it might well appear one day that the Zionist analysis of the Jewish question had been correct but that it was unable to achieve its aim. Everywhere there was a return to the time-honoured Jewish fatalism, to Micawberish expectations that something would turn up. But evolutionary Zionism was of limited use only: it could neither excite enthusiasm nor raise money. Arlosoroff was anything but optimistic. He anticipated a new world war ‘within the next five to ten years’. The question of relations with the Arabs was no nearer a solution: ‘Perhaps we have to stumble along the road without knowing exactly where we are heading.’ He did not rule out the possibility of a (temporary) revolutionary dictatorship to prevent Arab domination, even if this was ‘dangerously close to certain popular notions’.*
In 1932 the economic situation in Palestine improved, the number of immigrants being twice that of the year before. In 1933 thirty thousand came, the highest figure ever, and their arrival stimulated a minor boom. But while the Jewish position in Palestine became stronger, it deteriorated dramatically in central Europe. Zionists had always warned their co-religionists against any facile belief in the allegedly inevitable progress of tolerance and liberalism. But even the most pessimistic among them were not prepared for what was to come. When Weizmann said in November 1932 that Palestine would have to be built up on the ruins of diaspora Jewry,† he no doubt envisaged economic ruin, not physical destruction.
In Frankfurt in December 1932, the German Zionist Federation convened for its last meeting before Hitler came to power. Its chairman, Kurt Blumenfeld, had played Cassandra for a long time. By 1932 he had reached the conclusion that the German Jews would soon be reduced to second-class citizenship. Weizmann warned him not to jeopardise the situation of German Jews by such dire predictions, and it was decided that there should be two political addresses at Frankfurt, the second to counter-balance Blumenfeld’s ‘ultra-pessimistic’ views. Nahum Goldmann, hot-foot from Geneva and familiar with the mood of the world’s governments and statesmen, assured his listeners that France and England would never permit a government headed by Hitler to come to power, that Russia regarded the Nazis as their mortal enemy and would not look on passively, that, in other words, there was no cause for alarm.‡ Three months later Hitler was chancellor and after a few more weeks Germany had become a fully fledged dictatorship.
Jewish reaction was at first one of concern, but there was not yet any feeling of real urgency. It was believed that Hitler, after all, would not antagonise the outside world by carrying out his insane political programme. It was one thing to be the leader of an extremist political movement, another to be head of a government. Surely his newly acquired responsibilities would compel him to curb the more fanatical antisemites among his followers? By April, after the anti-Jewish boycott and the establishment of the first concentration camps, there was no longer room for illusions. The era of emancipation and equal rights was over for the Jews, the central organ of German Zionism wrote.*
Zionists had always been a relatively small minority within the Jewish community in Germany. After Hitler’s rise to power their influence among German Jewry grew by leaps and bounds. Suddenly there was great interest in all things Palestinian. Many hundreds came to Zionist meetings which had been attended in the past by a few dozen, the circulation of Zionist newspapers rose, Hebrew classes opened everywhere.† The process, to be sure, was not confined to Germany and, strictly speaking, it had begun even before January 1933. In late 1932 the Zionists had emerged for the first time as the strongest party in the Vienna Jewish community elections. The German crisis had its repercussions all over Europe; Jewish communities everywhere sensed the danger.
The spread of Zionism annoyed its Jewish critics, some of whom went so far as to assert that Nazism and Zionism were working hand in glove. Was it not true that Zionist slogans about the unity of the Jewish people, their insistence on the naturalness and inevitability of antisemitism, was grist to the mill of Nazi propaganda, and that the Nazi leaders in their speeches and writings quoted Zionist sources from time to time to prove that Jews were different, that they could not be assimilated? One of these critics wrote many years later: ‘Did the Zionist programme and philosophy contribute decisively to the enormous catastrophe of the extermination of six million Jews by the Nazis, by popularising the judgment that the Jews were forever aliens in Europe? With the knowledge presently at our disposal, it is impossible to answer this question.’‡
Some Zionists used the opportunity to remind their liberal, orthodox and Communist critics how wrong they had been in their assessment of the situation of German Jewry. There was occasionally too much we-told-you-so talk about the bankruptcy of liberalism, but the imputation of cooperation or collusion with the Nazis is pernicious nonsense. No Jewish Molotov was ever dined and wined in Berlin. If the Nazis in their propaganda sometimes quoted Zionist spokesmen, they quoted equally often Jews of different political persuasion to prove whatever point they wanted to make.
Zionists did not enjoy a special relationship in Nazi Germany. Their leaders and press were subject to the same restrictions and persecution as the others. German Zionists were not permitted, for instance, to appear at the Zionist congress of 1933. The Nazis did on occasion encourage efforts to expedite emigration to Palestine, but similar facilities were given to non-Zionist institutions aiding emigration to other parts of the world. Zionism, as far as the Nazis were concerned, was part of the Jewish world conspiracy against the Aryans, different from but not preferable to liberalism or Bolshevism, a sworn enemy of the German people. There was in fact among the Nazi leaders one school of thought - Hitler seems at times to have leaned towards it - arguing that it was preferable to retain the German Jews as hostages rather than let them emigrate.
The World Zionist Organisation, like other Jewish bodies outside Germany, faced great difficulties in their relations with the Third Reich. They protested, of course, against the deprivation of rights of German Jews. Sokolow in his opening speech at the eighteenth Zionist congress in Prague (21 August-4 September 1933) said: ‘It is dangerous to talk, but even more dangerous to be silent.’* A resolution passed by the congress appealed to the civilised world to help the Jewish people in its struggle to regain human rights in Germany. But these and similar proclamations hardly ever called for specific action. Individual Zionist leaders such as Rabbi Wise were in the forefront of the organisation of the boycott of German goods in 1933 and other anti-Nazi initiatives. Yet the movement as such had to act with restraint, for more than half a million German Jews were hostages in the hands of the Nazis, who could immediately retaliate against any hostile move by Jewish bodies outside Germany. Furthermore, there had to be some contact with the German authorities in connection with emigration. All this limited the freedom of speech and action of world Jewry in the struggle against Nazi Germany.
‘Never have we felt so clearly and so cruelly the precariousness of our diaspora existence,’ Sokolow said in his opening speech at the Prague congress. It would have been impossible to envisage such a development twenty, even five years earlier. Never had Zionism been proved so necessary. There was applause from the galleries at this point but Sokolow brushed it aside: ‘I wish you had applauded thirty years ago.’ Following him, Ruppin talked about the emergency plans to help Germany Jewry. The best protest against the anti-Jewish policy of the Nazis, he said, was to save the Jews. He predicted that about two hundred thousand, almost half the total, would lose their economic employment. Palestine would be able to absorb between one-quarter and one-half of that number within the next five to ten years. This prediction was to come true: half the Jews of Germany succeeded in leaving the country up to the outbreak of war and many of them went to Palestine. But there were only six years left, not ten, before the doors closed, and by 1938-9, after the annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia, hundred of thousands more were in mortal danger.
Ruppin referred briefly to the activities of Sam Cohen, the manager of a Palestinian citrus company who had in 1933 signed an agreement with the German Ministry of Economics providing for the transfer to Palestine of one million marks of agricultural equipment to be purchased in Germany and sold in Palestine.* This was the forerunner of a much more ambitious transfer (Ha’avara) agreement, between the Zionist movement (acting through a Palestinian bank) and the Germans. This agreement was bitterly attacked by Jewish circles, both within the movement and outside, which regarded it as a betrayal, sabotaging the efforts to boycott German exports. The accusation was true to the extent that the Nazi government agreed to the transfer precisely in order ‘to make a breach in the wall of the anti-German boycott’, as one of its minor officials wrote at the time.†
Those who favoured the agreement assumed, however, that the boycott, lacking support outside Jewish circles, would in any case be short-lived. Neither the western powers nor the Soviet Union considered for a moment reducing or breaking off trade relations with Germany. On the other hand, there was a chance that the agreement would make the settlement of thousands of Jews possible, and would strengthen the Jewish position in Palestine and thus its absorptive capacity. The Nazis subsequently realised that the transfer agreement was helping to develop Jewish industry in Palestine and thus fostering the aspirations towards a Jewish state (the words were Eichmann’s in an inter-office memo). This, needless to say, was highly undesirable, for it was Nazi policy to keep the Jews dispersed all over the world rather than promote the establishment of even a minute state.‡ Accordingly Berlin decided to phase out the transfer agreement. The sum involved had been thirty-seven million marks in 1937; it was reduced to nineteen million in 1938 and to eight million in 1939.
Hitler’s seizure of power was the moment of truth for the Zionist movement. How little had they achieved in more than three decades! The leitmotif of failure, even impotence, recurred frequently in the speeches at the Prague congress: we have failed among the Jews, we have not taken the lead in getting help for German Jewry, we have not won over the Jewish masses to the Zionist idea.* The movement was still weak by any standards: of four million American Jews, a mere eighty-eight thousand had voted in the elections for the Prague congress and the membership of the American Zionist Federation had in fact declined since the late 1920s. In Rumania a mere forty thousand had voted, in Hungary only five thousand out of a Jewish community of half a million.
The movement was not only small, it was internally divided. The revisionists were about to secede and the other parties were also at loggerheads. The congress was a faithful picture of internal disunity. The Mizrahi spokesman complained of the desecration of the Sabbath in Palestine and elsewhere and also that it was not represented in the Zionist apparatus. Ussishkin reported that in the last twenty months a mere 44,000 dunam had been bought, an area insufficient even for the settlement of a tiny part of the new immigrants. But the Zionist Organisation had no money; the Palestine budget adopted by the congress - £175,000 - was the lowest ever. Gluska, speaking for the Yemenites, complained that the members of his community were still second-class citizens in Palestine, like non-Aryans in Germany (a somewhat far-fetched comparison). The Right argued that discrimination against private enterprise continued. The labour speakers countered by drawing attention to the abysmally low wages of Jewish workers in Tel Aviv and Haifa. Even Motzkin in his closing address admitted that the eighteenth congress had not been a success.
The congress decided to set up a central office for the settlement of German Jews in Palestine under the direction of Weizmann, who at the time was out of office and had not even attended the congress. Weizmann recalled how, as a young man studying in Berlin, he had gone to the central railway station to see the Russian emigrants, to exchange a few words with them in their language. He remembered how they were received kindly, but somewhat patronisingly, by the committees of German Jewry, guided from the frontier to the ports, and given a send off: ‘I did not think then that a similar fate would befall the solid and powerful German Jewry, that they in turn would be driven from their homes.’*
The Zionist movement was weak and disunited, and yet it was bound to become the leader in the struggle to help the ever-growing number of European Jews facing persecution, economic ruin, and ultimately physical destruction. The extent of the catastrophe exceeded their worst fears, while the readiness of others to help was most disappointing. When Ruppin spoke of Jewish emigration from Germany, he took it for granted that the countries of western Europe as well as the United States would be willing to absorb tens of thousands. The number involved was after all small by absolute standards and it seemed obvious that the newcomers with their many skills and talents would make a notable contribution wherever they were allowed to settle.
He could not have been more mistaken. Not a single country, great or small, showed any enthusiasm to receive Jews. There were, to be sure, many arguments against extending shelter to Jewish refugees. There was still high unemployment everywhere, the effects of the depression had not yet been overcome. There were political and psychological obstacles. But the Jews from central Europe unfortunately could not wait until the economic situation improved and the less enlightened members of non-Jewish society had overcome their fear of competition or their prejudices. It was in this emergency that Palestine, however small and undeveloped, became the haven for more Jews than were admitted to all other countries.
* For a brief general survey of the situation of eastern European Jewry, see O. Janowsky, People at Bay, London, 1938, and the writings of J. Jestschinsky on the economic and social aspects. On the history of Soviet Jewry, Solomon Schwarz’ study is still the standard work, but the symposium edited by Lionel Kochan is a valuable addition (see bibliography).
* Quoted in Harry M. Mabinowicz, The Legacy of Polish Jewry 1919-39, New York, 1965, p. 74.
* Palestine during the War, being a record of the preservation of the Jewish settlements in Palestine. Zionist Organisation, London, 1921, p. 31.
* Sefer toldot hahagana, part 2, p. 550.
† Medzini, loc. cit., p. 61 et seq.
* Sykes, Crossroads to Israel, p. 38. On OETA, see also Storrs Orientations; Horace B. Bamuel, Unholy Memoirs of the Holy Land; Redcliffe N. Nalaman, Palestine Reclaimed; Ashbee, Palestine Notebook; Graves, Palestine, the Land of Three Faiths.
* Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 218.
* Storrs, Orientations, p. 489.
† E. Eedourie, ‘Sir Herbert Samuel and the Government of Palestine’, Middle Eastern Studies, January 1969, p. 53.
† Paul L. Lanna, British Policy in Palestine, Washington, 1942, p. 60.
* L. Ltein, The Balfour Declaration, p. 610.
* Ibid., p. 645.
* Hanna, British Policy in Palestine, p. 59; on the development of the mandate, see also J. Jtoyanovsky, The Mandate for Palestine, New York, 1928: F. Friedmann, Das Palaestinamandat, Prague, 1936; Quincy Wright, Mandates under the League of Nation, Chicago, 1930; N. Nentwich, The Mandates System, London, 1930.
† Loc. cit., p. 67.
* Report of the Executive to the XIV Zionist Congress, quoted in Palestine (Esco Foundation), New Haven, 1947, I, p. 291.
* Protokoll des XV Delegiertentages, Berlin, 1919, p. 53.
† See Trietsch’s periodical Volk und Land, 1920, and his programmatic article against the official settlement policy in Jüdische Rundschau, 30 August 1921.
* On the organisational reshuffles, see Reports of the Executive of the Zionist Organisation to the XII Zionist Congress, III, London, 1921.
* A pro-Brandeis account of the disputes is J. de Haas, Louis Brandeis, New York, 1929; see also Brandeis’ interview with Der Tog, 10 January 1921.
* Louis Lipsky, Thirty Years of American Zionism, New York, 1929, p. 78.
† See XII Zionistenkongress …, vol. 2, p. 215 et seq.
* Jüdische Rundschau, 2 February 1923.
* Protokoll des XII Zionisten Kongresses, Berlin, 1922, p. 735.
† Protokoll des XIII Zionisten Kongresses, London, 1924, pp. 249-93.
* Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 327.
* Protokoll des XV Zionisten Kongresses, London, 1927, p. 206 et seq.
* Morris Rothenberg, in M. Meisgal (ed.), Chaim Weizmann, New York, 1944, p. 223.
† Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 306.
* Charles Webster, The Art and Practice of Diplomacy, London, 1961, p. 114.
* Isaiah Berlin, Chaim Weizmann, London, 1958, p. 27.
† Quoted in Israel Kolatt, Manhiguto shel Chaim Weizmann, Jerusalem, 1970, pp. 26-7.
§ R. Reltsch, in M.M. Meisgal and Joel Carmichael (eds.), Chaim Weizmann, London, 1962, p. 188.
* R. Reltsch, in Jewish Social Studies, vol. 13, no. 3, p. 127.
* Berlin, Chaim Weizmann, pp. 25-8.
† Ha’aretz, 15 December 1919; quoted in Kolatt, Manhiguto shel Chaim Weizmann.
‡ Speech in Czernowitz, December 1927, quoted in Chaim Weizmann, Reden und Aufsaetze, Tel Aviv, 1937, p. 185.
* Sacher, Zionist Portraits, p. 10.
† For further biographical details, see J. Jlausner, Menahem Ussishkin, Jerusalem, 1942.
* Sacher, Zionist Portraits, p. 36.
* Some of his writings were published posthumously: A. Aein (ed.), Sefer Motzkin, Jerusalem, 1938.
† Louis Lipsky, A Gallery of Zionist Profiles, pp. 90-1.
* His writings and speeches were published posthumously in six volumes in Tel Aviv in 1934. There is a one-volume German selection of his writings: Chaim Arlosoroff, Leben und Werk, Berlin, 1936.
* I. Schwarzbart, in F. Fross and B.B. Blavianos (eds.), Struggle for Tomorrow, New York, 1954, p. 27.
* Ibid., p. 28. See also N. Noldenberg, General Zionism, London, 1937; I. Ioldstein, General Zionist Program, New York, 1947; Moshe Kleinman, Hazionim Haklalim, Jerusalem, 1945.
† Felix Weltsch, in Parteien im Zionismus, Prague, 1936, pp. 10-12.
‡ Zu den Hauptfragen des 14 Zionistenkongresses (Flugschrift Nr. I der Konferenzgemeinschaft radikaler Zionisten), n.p., n.d., passim; and Probleme des 14 Zionistenkongresses, n.p., n.d., passim.
* Das Programm der Vereinigten Radikalen Zionisten, n.p., n.d.
* Rabbi Judah L. Lishman, The History of the Mizrahi Movement, New York, 1928, p. 49.
* Quoted in Sefer Mizrahi, Jerusalem, 1946, p. 53.
† Sh.Z. Zhragai, Chason Vehagshama, London, 1945, p. 17.
‡ Meir Berlin, Mevolozhin ad Yerushalayim, Tel Aviv, 1940, vol. 2, p. 55; on the history of the Mizrahi, see also S.S. Seldman, Brief Survey of the Mizrahi Movement, London.
* Berthold Lewkowitz, Der Weg des Misrachi, Vienna, 1936, p. 9.
* Moshe Ostrovski, Toldot Hamizrahi beeretz Israel, Jerusalem, 1943, pp. 132 et seq.
* Walter Laqueur, ‘The German Youth Movement and the Jewish Question’, Leo Baeck Year Book, 1961, p. 199.
* For the history of the Blau Weiss and other Zionist Youth movements, see Hermann Meier-Cronemeyer, ‘Jüdische Jugendbewegung’, in Germania Judaica (2 vols.), 1969. See also the unpublished doctoral dissertation by Haim Shatzker, Tnuat Hanoar hayehudit beGermania beshanim 1900-33, Jerusalem, 1969. On the difficulties facing the historian of youth movements, W. Waqueur, ‘The Archaeology of Youth’, in Out of the Ruins of Europe, New York, 1971.
* Sefer Hashomer Hatzair, Merhavia, 1956, vol. I, p. 24 et seq.
* Pinhas Lubianiker, Yesodot, Tel Aviv, 1941, p. 10.
* Christopher Sykes, Crossroads to Israel, p. 105 et seq.
* Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers, 1930, Cmd. 3530.
† Hanna, British Policy in Palestine, p. 53.
* Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers, 1930, Cmd. 3686, p. 141.
† Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers, 1930, Cmd. 3692.
‡ Leonard Stein, The Palestine White Paper of October 1930, London, 1930, p. 31 et seq.
* Esco Foundation, Palestine, vol. 2, p. 660.
* Jüdische Rundschau, 27 March 1931.
* Stenographisches Protokoll der Verhandlungen des XVII Zionisten Kongresses, London, 1931, p. 55 et seq.
* Ibid., p. 230.
* Bericht der Executive an den XVIII Zionisten Kongress, London, 1933, p. 206.
† C. Arlosoroff, Yoman Yerushalayim, Tel Aviv, 1948, p. 342.
* Ibid., p. 333.
† Jüdische Rundschau, 29 November 1932.
‡ Blumenfeld, Erlebte Judenfrage, p. 196.
* Jüdische Rundschau, 13 April 1933.
† Ibid., 28 March 1933.
‡ J.J. Jgus, The Meaning of Jewish History, New York, 1963, vol. 2, p. 447.
* Stenographisches Protokoll der Verhandlungen des XVIII Zionisten Kongresses in Prag, 1934, p.20.
* David Yisraeli, ‘The Third Reich and the Transfer Agreement’, Journal of Contemporary History, April 1971.
‡ Documents on German Foreign Policy, series C, vol 5, no. 664.
* Stenographisches Protokoll, speeches by Rubashov (Shazar), p. 258; Goldmann, p. 272.
* Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 359.