Chapter: 8. Is there a Future for Jews and Judaism Outside of Israel?
When Zionism emerged at the end of the nineteenth
century, secular Zionists argued that
Jews would never be secure in the countries
where they resided. In 1897, at the first Zionist
Congress, Max Nordau, a co-founder of the World
Zionist Organization, spoke about the condition
of Jewry. Wherever Jews lived in large numbers,
he declared, they were subject to misery.
Proponents of Jewish emancipation argued that
if legal restrictions against Jews were lifted, this
would result in the amelioration of Jewish deprivation.
This happened in the West, yet human
beings do not live by bread alone. The old forms
of misery, he stressed, have been replaced by
new ones. Antisemitism exists even in the most
enlightened countries. In The Jewish State, published
prior to the Congress, Theodor Herzl argued that his campaign for a Jewish homeland was not
utopian theory: rather, the enterprise was a realistic
proposal arising from Jewish oppression and