Chapters from the book "Ideas and Opinions"
OUR DEBT TO ZIONISM
Jewish community has rarely experienced periods of harder oppression than now since Tit's conquest of Jerusalem. In some ways our time is even more dangerous, as long as, for instance, an opportunity to immigrate is more limited today than in those times. However, we will survive even this period despite the sorrow and losses it brings.
Community similar to ours, founded mainly on traditions can be suppressed only from the outside.
Every Jew feels today that being a Jew means being responsible not only for all Jews, but also for the whole mankind. Being a Jew means following Biblical fundamentals of humanity (essentials for any society) in practice.
Today we met on the occasion of our common cause - the future of Palestine. First of all it should be emphasized that Judaism should be grateful to Zionism. The Zionist movement brought back to life the feeling of community between Jews. It has done very important managerial work, which is practically incomparable to anything. The creative work in Palestine, contributed by Jews from the entire world, protected many of our brothers from severe misery, and, what is especially important, encouraged a considerable part of our youth.
A fatal disease of our century is chauvinism, which gives rise to blind hatred. Because of it our work in Palestine was extremely difficult. Fields cultivated in the day-time should be protected from fanatic Arabian bandits in the night-time. Economy suffers and the spirit of enterprise exhausts. It is proved by the unemployment rate (though, quite low according to American standards).
Solidarity and strength of mind, with which our fellows meet these difficulties in Palestine, are worth admiration. Donations of those, who have jobs, help the unemployed people pull ends together. The great spirit of Palestinian Jews proves that intellect and peace will take roots there forever. Everyone knows that revolts are incited artificially... Everyone knows that banditry will stop if we put an end to foreign subsidies. Despite everything, our fellows in other countries of the world stand behind those who are in Palestine. They also do not lose courage and are intending to support our common work resolutely and firmly.
There is one personal opinion concerning Palestine division. I would prefer peaceful coexistence with Arabs, based on a rational agreement on the Jewish state creation. I am not led by practical considerations - my understanding of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, army and institutes of secular power. I am afraid that the development of narrow nationalism in our rows will damage Judaism from inside. We should struggle against it regardless of the problem of Jewish state creation. We are no longer Jews of the Maccabeus period. The return to nation in political sense would be equivalent to deviation from our society's spirituality, which we owe the genius of our prophets. If we are, after all, forced to carry this burden, let us carry it with tact and endurance.
Finally, I would like to say some words about our attitude to peace in the wide sense, which applies to our Jewish fate as well. Anti-Semitism has always been the cheapest means used by the egoistic minority for cheating people. Tyranny based on deceit and supported by terror should inevitably die from its own poison. The pressure of accumulated injustice multiplies people's moral strength, which leads to liberation and purification of social life. Let our community contribute with its needs and work to the emancipation of these powers.
SCATTERING OF EUROPEAN JEWS
The history of Jewish persecutions is almost inconceivable. However, the war being waged against us today in Central Europe is something special.
Previously we were persecuted although we were the Biblical people. Today we are persecuted just because we are the Biblical people. Their goal is to exterminate not only us, but also the Biblical spirit, which made prosperity of civilisation in Central and Northern Europe possible. If this goal is achieved, Europe will become a barren desert. The human society cannot exist for long with the help of brute force, cruelty, terror and hatred.
Only mutual understanding, justice and wish to help one's neighbour will guarantee human society constancy and confidence in the future. Neither intellect, nor inventions will substitute for these important human spirit characteristics.
Many Jewish communities were uprooted because of changes taking place in Europe. Hundreds thousands of men, women and children had to leave their homes and wander in despair along world roads. The tragedy of the Jewish nation today is a tragedy, reflecting a challenge to fundamentals of modern civilisation.
The appearance of the emigrant class is one of the most tragic consequences of the oppression of Jews and other groups. Many famous scientists, art and literature workers were exiled from those countries they had enriched with their talents. During decadence periods these people revived economy and culture, many were experts in different branches of industry.
Today's emigrants have made a valuable contribution into world progress. They are thankful guests and are ready to contribute to the development of the countries, which accepted them, as well. I was told that emigrants in England assisted in creating 15000 workplaces for the unemployed.
As one of the former Germany citizens who was lucky to leave this country, I know I can speak on behalf of my fellow emigrants both here and in other countries. I can thank world democracies for the hearty welcome. We are all in debt to our new countries, and every one of us is doing everything possible to prove his gratitude.
The power of resistance, which gave the Jewish people a possibility to survive during thousands of years, is directly proportional to Jewish devotion to Biblical doctrines that regulate relations between people. During these troubled years our readiness to help each other undergoes an especially severe check. All of us should try to stand this test with honour. Only in this case we will deserve being called our ancestors' successors. We do not have other means of self-defence except our solidarity and understanding that the goal we are suffering for is important and sacred.
"Ami" ("My People"),