Premise of "The Jewish State" (02:22)
Dr. Daniel Polisar discusses Theodor Herzl's belief that antisemitism was inevitable and that the only solution was to form a Jewish nation.
Incubating Jewish Statehood Institutions (05:51)
In his pamphlet, Herzl outlined forming the Jewish Company to fund a new country, the logistics of relocating people, and forming the Society of Jews as a political entity. He showed readers historical examples and acknowledged that sovereignty might take decades.
"We Are a People—One People" (04:40)
The idea of Jewish nationality threatened emancipationists in Western Europe but gained support among Eastern European Jews. In this lecture, Polisar will examine how "The Jewish State" addresses intellectual, political and diplomatic challenges of launching a state and its public impact.
Beneficial Effects of Antisemitism (03:19)
Herzl believed Jews had to remain as one people because assimilation efforts would always fail. He saw persecution as strengthening character and uniting Judaism.
Chapter Two: The Jewish Question (07:43)
Herzl devoted most of "The Jewish State" to demonstrating how to make the dream of sovereignty a reality; antisemitism was inevitable. The Society of Jews and the Jewish Company would execute the plan.
Chapter Three: The Jewish Company (02:35)
Herzl began with the logistical side of his plan to demonstrate his commitment to success. He included details such as non-transferrable goods, land purchase, buildings, workman's dwellings, unskilled laborers, commerce, liquidation forms, company securities and activities, and industry promotion.
Chapter Four: Local Groups (03:36)
Herzl conceived of congregations led by rabbis, who were natural community leaders in Eastern Europe. He emphasized that Jewish people were united by faith, rather than language.
Chapter Five: Society of Jews & Jewish State (04:59)
Herzl was interested in the Roman negotiorum gestio concept. He called for a representative body to lead the movement, since the diaspora limited political participation. The society would be internationally recognized as a state-forming power.
Chapter Six: Conclusion (02:27)
Herzl summarized hopes and expectations that his readers would take up his call to action and join the Zionist movement. He ended the book by stating that humanity would benefit from a Jewish state.
Herzl's Hope for "The Jewish State" (03:39)
The pamphlet was intended to persuade individuals that Jewish sovereignty was desirable and feasible. It called readers to action to join the movement and build institutions, and outlined how to organize Jews into an internationally recognized state-forming power.
Reactions to the Book's Publication (04:50)
Herzl was generally derided by Western European Jews as idealistic. His vision for a Jewish state contradicted emancipationists and Orthodox Jews, who awaited a messiah to lead them to Palestine. Some intellectuals and student groups supported Herzl's ideas.
Impact in Eastern Europe (03:14)
Nahum Sokolow initially criticized Herzl, but many Jews in the Pale of Settlement heard his call—including David Ben-Gurion. Chaim Weizmann was enthralled with the book.
Individuals Transformed by "The Jewish State" (05:35)
Herzl's book was translated into English, Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew, Spanish, French, and Romanian. Reverend William Hechler joined the movement and David Wolffsohn offered his services to Herzl. Despite critics, Herzl gained a nucleus of support.
Argument against Assimilation (02:31)
Herzl's experience of antisemitism in Pest, Vienna and Paris contributed to his rejection of emancipation movements in Western Europe.
Where to Locate the Jewish State (03:54)
Herzl did not have a strong geographical preference, although he became increasingly emotionally attached to Palestine. From a political perspective, he needed multiple options for negotiations. Polisar discusses his evolving understanding of Eastern European Jewry.
Credits: Herzl as the Leading Thinker and Writer of the Zionist Movement – Part II (00:08)
Credits: Herzl as the Leading Thinker and Writer of the Zionist Movement – Part II
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