Jacob De Haas, Addressing Boston Zionists, Speaks on ‘back-to-herzl’ Movement
Menu JTA Search

Jacob De Haas, Addressing Boston Zionists, Speaks on ‘back-to-herzl’ Movement

Download PDF for this date

Says Brandeis Could be Brought Back to Leadership; Crities Decry Defeatism (Jewish Daily Bulletin)

The views of the sponsors of a “Back to Herzl” movement among American Zionists was presented to a Zionist audience of 250 by Jacob de Haas in an address he delivered last night at the Temple Ohabei Scholom.

The meeting was arranged under the auspices of the Zionist Organization of Boston. Albert Hurwitz presided.

Contending that the Herzilan idea of Zionism, embodied only in a program of mass colonization, is the only possibility of realizing the Zionist program. Mr. de Haas severely criticized the Zionist administration during the past seven years.

To several of his conclusions, particularly the assertion that the Chaluzim were mis## strong objection was taken in the discussion which followed, participated in by Dr. Morrison, Joseph Shubow, Miss Oppenheim and others. Charges were made against the leadership of Boston Zionists for arranging the lecture, the opponents claiming that “defeatism may impair the United Palestine Appeal which is about to be launched in Boston.”

The name of Justice Louis D. Brandeis was brought into the discussion when Mr. de Haas expressed the belief that Zionist public opinion could bring Brandeis back to leadership.

Robert Silverman, who attended the Zionist Congress, denied the statement of Abraham Tulin that the Zionist Executive did not make demands to the British government and declared that Dr. Wise’s attitude at the Congress was not consistent in proposing a political commission with Dr. Weizmann at its head.

Ellhum D. Stone, president of the New England Zionist Region, was present last night but declined to make a statement. He will make an announcement later, he said.

After his address, Mr. de Haas, in reply to a question, admitted that Zionists must support the fund raising activities until a new change in policy is effected. He declared that he is ready to take the lead in organizing new Zionist leadership although he was not ready last summer.

“It is obvious that this Herzlian project could not be based on charity, because benevolence cannot raise the capital required,” Mr. de Haas declared in his address. “But the most difficult phase is that charity calls for no individual enterprise–it lacks the personal effort to make success. It is generally argued that a charity to be a success must have a deficit. But if a man has an increasing deficit he faces bankruptey and if a nation has a perpetual deficit it has no credit.

“Herzl wanted to solve the Jewish problem. That problem still requires solution. And if not for that end wherefore the labor of building up Palestine. Therefore he thought in terms of mass settlement. He had to think in those terms because only in masses can you blance the factors that our mutual dependence creates. Here and there a single craftsman earns a good living, but even his livelihood depends upon the existence of a wealthy class who in their turn gain from a mass of people. One poultry farmer in Palestine cannot earn a living–a hundred could succeed. Even a peddler needs a certain minimum population to earn his pittance. Therefore it is not only a question of mass settlement to solve the Jewish Question, but a question of numbers to make any settlement a possible success. And this is more true in 1927 than it was in 1897 for now the whole world is run on mass production lines. If we ignore the mathematics of the problem of settlement we forcibly handicap the individual settler. We practically predicate his failure. Practical development therefore lies entirely the other way. The Herzlian policy is economically sound. ‘Back to Herzl’ implies that it should be attempted.” the speaker declared.

“There is one difficulty about the Herzilan program. It involves the personal equation not only in intelligent administration and economic leadership but it pre-supposes Jews willing to throw in their lot with Zion in order to make of it a real Homeland Herzl had no idea of being a peripatetic leader, nor of administration from afar. He saw himself settling in Palestine with his people, and he believed you and I would go along with our abilities and braims, taking with us that great nonpossessing proletariat that is ours. Even in this I am optimistic enough to believe that once we set the thinking machine again in motion, once we bring back the ideal, once we restate to ourselves convincingly the purpose for which we entered upon this struggle for the Homeland, once we make an end of fumbling not only will leadership speedily manifest itself, but encouraged by an organic policy– the best assurance for our possible personal success–thousands of Jews everywhere will be found ready to risk themselves upon the altar of our national well being. For we are a people that want to live and the crust of our materialism breaks every so often, and many of us, more than we know, have held on through the years because we believed that we and our children could be the free natural Jews we want to be, and only can be in a politically righted and economically sound Jewish Homeland.” Mr. de Haas concluded.

The new building of the Mount Sinai Hospital School of Nursing was officially opened Wediesday. Work on the $2,000,000 edifice was started two years ago. There are accommodations for 600 persons.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund