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The Jewish State

14 February 2017 by Efraim Roseman

Theodor Herzl publishes Der Judenstaat, The Jewish State - February 14, 1896

Theodor Herzl is considered the father of modern Zionism.

Herzl, a Viennese journalist and playwright, was the Paris correspondent for the Vienna New Free Press, in 1894, when he covered the court martial trial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a French Jewish artillery officer falsely accused of passing classified information to the Germans.

A wave of anti-Semitism erupted; the crowds shouted "Death to the Jews". Captain Dreyfus was convicted of treason. Reports of Dreyfus' possible innocence and a French army cover-up soon reached the press (He was fully exonerated in 1906).

Herzl's conclusion: If virulent anti-Semitism could take place in the cultural center of the Western world, the seat of the republic founded on equal rights for all citizens, then Jewish assimilation was an illusion. Herzl formulated the concept of a Jewish return to a national independent homeland as the only logical solution to the plight of the Jewish people. He presented his conclusions in a political pamphlet published on February 14, 1896, Der Judenstaat, The Jewish State.

Herzl believed that only "…this very idea of a State may have the requisite power to create one. The Jews have dreamt this kingly dream all through the long nights of their history. 'Next year in Jerusalem' is our age-old axiom."

The Jews who wish for a State will have it. We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own homes.

The world will be freed by our liberty, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness.

And whatever we attempt there to accomplish for our own welfare, will react powerfully and beneficially for the good of humanity."