A historical Survey of Proposals to




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Herzl's True Thoughts

Do Herzl's diaries accurately reflect his thoughts? An article written by Harry Zohn, the English translator of his diaries, clearly gives a definite affirmative answer. Zohn writes that the Herzl diaries are a "remarkably frank record of the incorruptible, outspoken Herzl who detested dissimulation and self-deception and who noted on the very first pages that his diary entries would be valueless if he attempted to play the hypocrite with himself. The Diaries are therefore a voluminous and unblushing compendium of Herzl's triumphs and tragedies, not merely in the arena of world politics but on a personal plane as well, presenting Herzl from within." (8) Similar views are expressed by Alex Bein in his

1 / Stewart to Braham, 22 July 1972, (SU). 2 / Braham to Jacobs, 27 July 1972, (SU). 3 / Paper, p.3; Jewish Tribune, op. cit. 4 / Jacobs to Braham, 28 July 1972, (SU). 5 / Braham to Stewart, 31 July 1972, op. cit.

6 / Braham to Jacobs, 16 October 1972, (SU).

7 / Shabtai Teveth, The Evolution of "Transfer" in Zionist Thinking, (Tel Aviv, 1989), p.2 ; Ha'aretz, (Tel-Aviv),23 September 1988, p.5 bet.

8 / Harry Zohn, "The Herzl Diaries", Herzl Year Book, vol.3, (New York, 1960), p.208.

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biography of Herzl. (1)

Unlike his books, Herzl's diarieswere not intended for publication during his lifetime. Soon after his death, the question of publishing his diaries arose.

David Wolffsohn, Herzl's successor as President of the World ZionistOrganisation, quoted Max Nordau, who, in emphatically opposing their publication, said, "You will ruin Herzl's name if you publish his diaries. Whoever reads them isbound to believe that he was a fool and a swindler." (2) This statement is not elaborated upon, but possibly relates to Herzl's views, as propounded in his diary, on the appropriate treatmentfor the indigenous population of the proposed Jewish State, since Nordau was strongly against prominent Zionist figures putting forward transfer proposals in public.

We can see this from a letter which he wrote in 1919 to the Anglo-Jewish writer, Israel Zangwill, who was a strong supporter of transfer of the Arabs. Nordau described Zangwill's stand on the Arab question as "regrettable". He wrote, "It's no use qualifying your scheme as your own individual idea - we have not to count on the good faith of our eternal enemies, and henceforward they will quote you as their authority for the accusation that, not you Israel Zangwill, but the Jews, all the Jews, are an intolerant lot dreaming only violence and high-handed dealings and expulsion of non-Jews." (3)

The original letter of Nordau's has not been traced, although from anumber of postcards and letters exchanged between the two of them at that period, (4) we know that they were in regular contact.

We do however have the reply sent by Zangwill to Nordau on 28 January. In this letter, he pointed out that Nordau "somewhat misconceived my attitude on the Arab question". He added that at the same time he had "received a similar castigation from my old friend, Judge Sulzberger, of America." Zangwill was however so firm in his opinion on the Arab question that he wrote, "but not even both these stars in their courses fighting against me have altered my conviction that I am absolutely in the right." He then asked Nordau for his "own solution of this vexing question, which, to my mind, is the destruction of Zionism." (5)

When, a few years later, which was nineteen years after Herzl's death, his diaries were first published, Joseph Bloch, the great fighter of anti-Semitism, was "appalled". (6)

Herzl's Letter to Al-Khalidi

Herzl's publicattitude (which is quite different from his private views!) towards the indigenous population is illustrated in a letter he wrote to Youssuf Zia Al-Khalidi, Mayor of Jerusalem, in 1899.

At the beginning of March 1899, Al-Khalidi had written to Zadok Kahn, Chief Rabbi of France, saying that the Zionists' case was just but could not be implementedin Palestine due to the opposition of the Turks and the local population. Al-Khalidi suggested that the Jews would do better if they went elsewhere. (7) Rabbi Kahn forwarded the letter to Herzl and suggested that he make an authoritative reply.

On 19 March, Herzl replied to Al-Khalidi in a letter which was both meek and reassuring. "You see another difficulty, Excellency, in the existence of the non-Jewish population in Palestine. But who would think of sending them away?" wrote Herzl, "It is their well-being, their individual wealth which we increase by bringing in our own." He went on to point out that Jewish colonisation would cause the value of Arab land to rise five or tenfold in the course of a few months. (8)

1 / Alex Bein, Theodore Herzl, A Biography, trans. Maurice Samuel, (Cleveland, 1962), pp.134-35. 2 / David Wolffsohn, Diary entry 7(?) November 1906, p.2, (CZA W 35/3).

3 /Nordau to Zangwill, 15 January 1919, quoted by Joseph Nedava, "British Plans for the Resettlement of Palestinian Arabs", Forum (on the Jewish People, Zionism, and Israel), (Jerusalem), no.42/43, Winter 1981, p.106.

4 / Postcards and letters may be found in CZA A120/509. 5 / Zangwill to Nordau, 28 January 1919, (CZA A120/509).

6 / Braham to Jacobs, 16 October 1972, (SU).

7 / Youssuf Zia Al-Khalidi to Rabbi Zadok Kahn, 1 March 1899, (CZA H iii D 13).

8 / Theodor Herzl to Youssuf Zia Al-Khalidi, 19 March 1899, (CZA H iii D 13); Walid Khalidi, ed., From Haven to Conquest, (Beirut, 1971), p.92.

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Another example of Herzl's public pronouncements on this subject arose in May 1903, during the course of a discussion on the question of the purchase of the Jezreel valley. Herzl is reported to have remarked, "One cannot displace these poor Arab farmers from the soil." (1)

Herzl's Charter

Amongst the Herzl papers at the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, is Herzl’s Draft Charter. (2) This document is typewritten with some handwritten amendments. It is undated and is in German.

One of Herzl's objectives was to gain a Charter for Palestine. He felt that this should preceed colonisation of the country. Until the British conquest, towards the end of the First World War, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. Herzl considered that the Zionist movement's diplomatic achievements depended on Turkey, which at thattime was in chronic financial difficulties and Herzl's strategy was therefore centred on a plan to gain the approval of the Sultan.

On 15 May 1901, a long-planned audience with the Sultan finally took place, but Herzl did not mention his proposed Charter at this meeting. However, at a meeting held a few days later with the Sultan’s representatives, Herzl "propounded the Charter ... for the first time" and he "contented" himself "with their listening to all these suggestions". One of the Sultan’s representatives then went to inform the Sultan of Herzl’s proposals and he returned to inform Herzl that the Sultan expects to receive Herzl’s "definite proposals within a month" (3).

From Herzl’s diary, we can see that on 29 May 1901, which was two weeks after his meeting with the Sultan, Arminius Vambery, (a Hungarian Orientalist, who worked closely with Herzl), met with Herzl in Germany. After giving Vambery a report, Vambery responded that "we shall have the Charter this very year". He informed Herzl that he planned to go to Constantinople that September and that "meanwhile he [Vambery] would like me [Herzl] to make a draft of the Charter which he intends to present to the Sultan and get it signed by him without any Secretary or Minister finding out about it". (4)

The next mention of this Charter in Herzl’s diary is dated 21 August 1901 and is a copy of a letter Herzl sent to Vambery. He wrote: "I am herewith returning to you Draft I, which met with your approval, because I have a copy of it". We can thus see that some time prior to this date, Herzl had sent Vambery a copy of his draft Charter and asked Vambery for his comments. Vambery had expressed satisfaction and returned this draft to Herzl. However, since Herzl already had a copy, he sent it back to Vambery. The draft Charter was in German and it would seem that Vambery had suggested preparing a French translation, since Herzl continues his letter to Vambery: "Translating it into French is pointless, because it probably will not be practicable in this form".

In order to implement his plan, Herzl wrote in his letter that "first of all he [the Sultan] must give the Charter, specifically, to the Jewish Colonial Trust for the formation of the Compagnie Ottomane-Juive pour l’Asie Mineure, la Palestine et la Syrie [Ottoman-Jewish Company for Asia Minor, Palestine and Syria]. To give the whole thing a financially sound character, the Jewish Colonial Trust could deposit a security of, say, one million francs as soon as the Charter is delivered to us, and this earnest would be forfeited to the Turkish treasury if the Company was not founded within a certain period of time".

Herzl concluded by saying that "Draft I would therefore have to serve only as a preamble, and you will certainly know yourself the most appropriate manner in which it can be used". (5)

Walid Khalidi, (a founder of the Institute for Palestine Studies and its General Secretary), concluded that the draft Charter was "drawn up sometime between the summer of

1 / Adolf Friedemann, Das Leben Theodor Herzls, (Berlin, 1914), p.22.

2 / CZA H vi A 2.

3 / Herzl Diaries, vol.3. pp.1135-36. 4 / Herzl Diaries, vol.3. p.1144. 5 / Herzl Diaries, vol.3. pp.1173-74.

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1901 and early 1902". (1) However, from the above diary entry, it seems to have been written before August 1901. It is of course possible that the draft Charter in the Central Zionist Archives is a latter draft, although there does not seem to be any evidence to support the existence of such a later draft.

The contents of Herzl’s Charter deal with the privileges, rights and obligations concerning the colonisation of Palestine and Syria. (2) [Until after the end of the First World War, there were no actual borders between the regions of Palestine and Syria - it was all part of the Ottoman Empire. "Palestine and Syria" was the term used when planning Jewish settlement during this period.]

Included in Herzl's Charter were paragraphs dealing with the loan which the Company would make to the Sultan; the right of the Company to bring Jewish immigrants into the region; the option to acquire certain categories of lands in the region; autonomy; Jewish military defence units and the appointment of a Governor and a Chief Justice for the area.

Paragraph 3 of this Charter reads, "The right to exchange economic enclaves in the area - with the exception of the Holy Places or places of worship - by compensating the owners with equally large and equally qualitative plots in other provinces and lands throughout the Ottoman Empire. The emigration costs are to be paid to the owners and they are to receive an advance for building necessary housing and buying necessary utensils to be repaid in instalments over a number of years, the security being the plots they received in exchange." (3)

This paragraph in Herzl's Charter conferred the right to acquire certain (Arab)lands in Palestine and Syria, giving in exchange comparative plots of land within the Ottoman Empire, while financially assisting the previous owners with emigration and resettlement. For example, under Herzl's proposals, the Jews would have the rightto transfer an Arab from Jaffa to Constantinople, provided they paid his transfer expenses and gave him an equivalent parcel of land at his new destination.

It is not absolutely clear whether Herzl was referring to a "right" to transfer Arabs compulsorily or merely assist their voluntary transfer. The wording in his Charter strongly indicates transfer of a compulsory nature. This opinion is also held by David Hirst in his book "The Gun and the Olive Branch" where he writes, "Article Three of the draft charter would have granted the Jews the right to deport the native population." (4) An almost identical wording is used by the Dutch Orientalist, Van Der Hoeven Leonhard. (5) However, when assessing the weight to be attached to these opinions, it should be remembered that these two authors show an anti- Zionist bias. It is also just conceivable that this Charter refers to a voluntary transfer and the "right" is that granted by Turkey, (who in the past had put many obstacles in the way of Jewish settlement in Palestine), allowing the Jews to exchange land after its owners had agreed to move out of Palestine. However in January 1901, just a few months prior to Herzl writing this Charter, the Ottoman administration had removed many of the restrictions on Jews regarding the purchase of land and the building on it, in Palestine,(6) and this thus strengthens the argument that it was intended to be a compulsory transfer. Furthermore, restrictive expressions such as "equally large and equally qualitative plots" are used; were the exchange by agreement with the owners, they might have preferred monetary compensation, or a larger quantity of land of a lower quality. From all this we might conclude that the intentions of Herzl were for compulsory transfer.

Throughout his Zionist career, Herzl had strong feelings that the Holy Places must be given extraterritorial status and it is therefore fully understandable that he immediately

1 / Walid Khalidi, "The Jewish-Ottoman Land Company: Herzl’s Blueprint for the Colonization of Palestine", Journal of Palestine Studies, (Berkeley), vol.XXII no.2 (Winter 1993) p.30.

2 / Theodor Herzl, Uebereinkommen uber die Privilegien, Rechte, Schuldigkeiten u. Pflichten der Judische-Ottomanischen Land-Compagnie (J.O.L.C.) zur Besiedelung von Palastina und Syrien, (CZA H vi A 2); Adolf Bohm, Die Zionistische Bewegung, (Berlin, 1935), pp.705ff; Khalidi, Jewish-Ottoman Land Company, op.cit.., pp.44-47, (English translation).

3 / Ibid., p.2; Ibid., p.706; Ibid., p.44-45.

4 / David Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch, (New York, 1977), p.18.

5 / L.M.C. Van Der Hoeven Leonhard, "Shlomo and David, Palestine, 1907", From Haven to Conquest, op.cit., p.119. 6 / Neville J. Mandel, The Arabs and Zionism before World War I, (Berkeley, 1976), p.15.

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excluded them from this "right". (1)

This Charter was unrealised, since the Jewish bankers whom Herzl approached for the loan for the Sultan told him to return when he had an agreement with the Sultan and the Sultan told Herzl that he would only negotiate after he had the loan!

In conclusion, it is interesting to note that David Wolffsohn when composing a charter for Palestine in 1907, followed the points made by Herzl in his charter, except that he completely omitted the paragraph giving the right to transfer Arabs out of Palestine into some other part of the Ottoman Empire. (2) It is of course possible that Wolffsohn disagreed with this transfer plan of Herzl's. On the other hand,he may of been influenced by Nordau's appeal not to publish Herzl'sdiaries, an appeal which we saw earlier, was quoted by Wolffsohn in his diary.
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