Theodor Herzl, born Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl

Theodor
Herzl, born Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl
1860
1904

Austrian-Hungarian Journalist, Founder of Zionist Movement and in effect the State of Israel

Author Quotes

Our first object is... the obtaining of sovereignty, assured by international law, over a portion of the globe sufficiently large to satisfy our just requirements.

We can be the vanguard of culture against barbarianism.

Such resettlement would fail because when you want a great settlement, you must have a flag and an idea. You cannot make those things only with money. . . With money you cannot make a general movement of a great mass of people. You must give them an ideal. You must put into them the belief in their future, and then you will be able to take out the devotion of the hardest labor imaginable. [For example,] Argentina has a very good soil and the conditions for agricultural labor are much better than in Palestine, but in Palestine they work with enthusiasm and they succeed. I am not speaking of artificially made colonies, but self-helping colonies, which have that great national idea.

Our opponents maintain that we are confronted with insurmountable political obstacles, but that may be said of the smallest obstacle if one has no desire to surmount it.

We have an important task before us. We have met here to lay the foundation-stone of the house that will someday shelter the Jewish people. . . We have to aim at securing legal, international guarantees for our work.

But I am convinced that those Jews who stand aside today with a malicious smile and with their hands in their trousers' pockets will also want to dwell in our beautiful home.

Palestine is our unforgettable historic home. The very name would be a force of marvelous potency for summoning our people together.

We must expropriate gently the private property on the state assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it employment in our country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly. Let the owners of the immoveable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.

But we wish to give the Jews a Homeland. Not by dragging them ruthlessly out of their sustaining soil, but rather by removing them carefully, roots and all, to a better terrain.

Philanthropic colonization is a failure. National colonization will succeed.

Were I to sum up the Basel Congress in a word — which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly — it would be this: At Basel, I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. Perhaps in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will know it.

Dream and deed are not as different as many think. All the deeds of men are dreams at first, and become dreams in the end.

Realists are, as a rule, only men in the rut of routine who are incapable of transcending a narrow circle of antiquated notions.

What We want is to make it possible for our unfortunate people to live a life of industry for it is by steady work alone that we hope for our physical and moral rehabilitation. For this reason above all we have undertaken to rally our people around our ideal.

Economic distress, political pressure, and social obloquy already drive us from our homes and from our graves. The Jews are already constantly shifting from place to place.

The anti-Semites will become our most loyal friends, the anti-Semites’ nations will become our allies.

When we sink, we become a revolutionary proletariat, the subordinate officers of all revolutionary parties; and at the same time, when we rise, there rises also our terrible power of the purse.

Four years ago in speaking of a Jewish nation one ran the risk of being regarded ridiculous. Today he makes himself ridiculous who denies the existence of a Jewish nation.

The body is a marvelous machine...a chemical laboratory, a power-house. Every movement, voluntary or involuntary, full of secrets and marvels!

Zionism demands a publicly recognized and legally secured homeland in Palestine for the Jewish people. This platform is unchangeable.

I incline to an aristocratic republic. This would satisfy the ambitious spirit among our people. We shall learn from the historic mistakes of others in the same way as we learn from our own; for we are a modern nation and wish to be the most modern in the world.

The character of a people may be ruined by charity.

I prefer being penetrated by iron to seeing Palestine is loose.

The Jewish people asked nothing of its sons except not to be denied. The world is grateful to every great man when he brings it something; only the paternal home thanks the son who brings nothing but himself.

I wrote walking, standing, lying down, on the street, at the table, at night when it roused me out of sleep... I know now, and was even aware of it throughout this entire period of turbulent productivity, that much of what I wrote was wild and fantastic.

Author Picture
First Name
Theodor
Last Name
Herzl, born Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl
Birth Date
1860
Death Date
1904
Bio

Austrian-Hungarian Journalist, Founder of Zionist Movement and in effect the State of Israel