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The British Press and Zionism in Herzl's Time (1895-1904)

Benjamin Jaffe

<plain_text><page sequence="1">The British Press and Zionism in Herzl's Time (1895-1904)* BENJAMIN JAFFE, MA., M.Jur. A It is a privilege to speak to the Jewish Historical Society on a subject which is very much related to its founder and past President, the late Lucien Wolf. Wolf has a prominent place in my research, owing to his early contacts with Herzl and his opposition to Zionism in later years, an opposition which accompanied him to his latest day. The story of the Herzl-Wolf relationship is an interesting chapter in the history of early British Zionism and Wolf's life.i It was not an easy venture to prepare comprehensive research on the attitude of the British press at the time of Herzl. Early Zionism in England in general attracted only few scholars, unless one mentions Josef Fraenkel and the late Oskar K. Rabinowicz, though in Israel, within the framework of the universities, some good work has been conducted on the history of British pre-Zionism, mainly on partial aspects. A Marginal Topic In the present paper I have not discriminated too much as far as newspapers and periodicals are concerned. I made a survey of all kinds of paper, national and provincial dailies, Sunday papers, and evening papers, weeklies, month? lies, and even quarterlies, as well as some Church papers. It is clear that not every paper with a large circulation has greater influence on public opinion than papers with a more limited circulation. The Times, for example, has always had a relatively limited circulation, but has been extremely influential; on the other hand, it is not easy, and may even be impossible, to evaluate in most cases public interest in a subject according to items or articles published in newspapers many years ago. It is clear that Zionism was at the period in question a marginal topic from the point of view of the public, and the Near East issue was not in the forefront of such interest. We have also to take into account that the number of British Jews was then much smaller than today, and the Jewish public as newspaper readers was naturally quite limited, having regard also to the fact that many of them were newly arrived immigrants who could not yet read English. I have concentrated here on Zionism as reflected in the British press in HerzPs time, 1895-1904. I have not been able to elaborate on other Jewish issues or events which were of interest to the English public or on the re? actions in the press to such events, except those which were closely related to Zionism. The Dreyfus affair, the situation of the Jews in Russia and Rumania, and the Kishinev pogrom of 1903 were covered to a very large degree in the pages of the English press, and each of these reactions deserves special research. Within the compass of my work I have not sur? veyed the interest of the British public in Palestine and the support of quite a number of Englishmen for the idea of the return of the Jews to the Holy Land before the Herzl era, nor the special interest of Englishmen at the time of Palmerston in the Holy Land, a subject of great fascination.2 B It is extremely difficult to find out why a * This paper was delivered to the Jewish Histori? cal Society in London on 22 November 1972. It is based on research prepared under the auspices of the Weizmann Institute of Zionist History, University of Tel Aviv, under the supervision of Dr. Alex Bein. I dedicate it to Josef Fraenkel. 1 See J. Fraenkel, 'Lucien Wolf and Theodor Herzl', Trans. J.H.S.E., Vol. XX, London, 1964. 2 See N. Sokolow, History of Zionism, Vol. I, London, 1918; B. Tuchman, Bible and Sword, chap. 9, etc., New York, 1956. 89</page><page sequence="2">90 Benjamin Joffe newspaper publishes a certain item or editorial. Is it an outcome of the interest of the public or is it on the initiative of the editors? It is not easy after 70 years to suggest, in most cases, why a certain paper was more positive towards Zionism than another paper. It is hardly possible to identify the writers who wrote the unsigned editorials. In certain cases it would certainly be helpful. Only through Herzl's letters do we know in which cases Herzl asked different people, such as Jacob de Haas and the Haham, Dr. Moses Gaster, to initiate publication of a news item whenever he felt it was important.3 Editorials are read only by a limited number of readers, but if such editorials appear in an important newspaper they are read by moulders of public opinion. As far as letters to the editor are concerned, the opinion expressed in them is usually a minority opinion. Altogether we have difficulty in defining public opinion and its influence, especially in a marginal issue such as Zionism was then. The British press at the end of the nineteenth century was a very important 'pillar of British Democracy' and an editorial in The Times on 6 December 1858 states as follows: 'Every issue of an English journal speaks to the whole world. That is its strength. It lives by its universality.' The importance of London as the metropolis of the Empire and as one of the most influential political centres of the world enhanced the importance of the British press. At the time in question the number of import? ant dailies and other political and cultural periodicals was much more numerous than today. The English are a nation of newspaper readers, but at the end of the nineteenth century, before the era of radio and television, they were much more so, though the circulation of the national press in the '70s and '80s was not more than 300,000 copies. In the provincial towns not more than 40,000 copies were sold daily.4 But the '90s brought a complete revolu? tion in the British press. Alfred Harmsworth (later Lord Northcliffe) introduced the in expensive newspaper with a somewhat sen? sational flavour, and by the end of the '90s reached the figure of 1,000,000 copies daily.5 Different Papers' Attitudes It will be useful to survey in a few words the colouring of the main British newspapers and periodicals of the period in question and their attitude to Zionism and Jewish topics. The Times, as already mentioned, was the most influential; it was a conservative paper in the wide sense of the word, although independent.6 Owing to its many important correspondents throughout the world The Times concentrated mainly on foreign policy and foreign news. Throughout the period the paper was quite cautious towards Zionism and always strove to be on its guard against what might be the effects of its editorials on Anglo Jewish leaders, including the Chief Rabbi, Dr. Adler. The Times covered news of Jewish interest in many countries. The Daily Chronicle had a liberal flavour and was more 'popular' than The Times. Several times the Chronicle expressed opinions which were far from being in favour of Jews or Zionism, and it was even accused sometimes of antisemitism. The Stand? ard, an independent Tory daily, which was quite important at the time, was indifferent to Zionism. The Daily News, a. popular and liberal paper, was alive to foreign news and often published items on Jewish life in Russia and other countries. The Daily Telegraph, a Tory Unionist paper, was quite sympathetic to Zionism. In addition to these we find two of the main provincial papers, the Manchester Guardian and the Yorkshire Post. The former, under the editorship of C. P. Scott, was a liberal, serious, and influential paper, and its cautious sympathy for Zionism started as far back as the HerzJ period. (C. P. Scott was instrumental in assisting Weizmann from 1915 in getting the Balfour Declaration.7) The Yorkshire Post, a Tory paper and a leading daily 3 Herzl, Iggerot (Letters) (Hebrew), Vol. II (1958), pp. 135-139; Vol. Ill (1957), p. 150. 4 A. Wadsworth, Newspaper Circulation 1800-1954, Manchester, 1955, pp. 18-25. 5 F. Williams, The Dangerous Estate, 1957, p. 160. 6 History of The Times, 1935, Vol. 3, deals with the period in question. 7 D. Ayerst, Guardian, Biography of a Newspaper, London, 1971.</page><page sequence="3">The British Press and Zionism in Herzl's Time 91 in the North of England, was also fairly positive towards Zionism. Support for Zionism In addition to these, the Observer, a Tory Sunday paper, and the Sunday Times, conserva? tive and independent, were less occupied with the problem. The most pro-Zionist newspaper throughout the period was the Spectator, which was a 'liberal, unionist and independent' weekly, and dedicated most of its pages to political, literary, and artistic subjects. Its editor, St. Loe Strachey, from 1898, raised the paper to a very important position and followed social, civil, and reform problems with great interest.8 There were a number of afternoon papers, illustrated and popular, like the St. James" Gazette, Tory, which was read mainly by educated people; the Westminster Gazette, liberal, whose editor from 1896 was J. A. Spender; the Pall Mall Gazette, Tory and inde? pendent, also appealing to educated circles; its first editor was John Morley and from 1883 W. T. Stead.9 The circulation of all these papers was not more than 25,000 copies a day, but all of them were edited by prominent journalists and had a number of innovations (illustrations, interviews, big headlines, etc.). These papers were very much concerned with new ideas and social reforms. Most of them covered Zionism in all its aspects to a very large degree and even supported it.1? In the period in question the reviews such as the Contemporary Review, the Fortnightly Review, the Westminster Review, the Nineteenth Century, and the Edinburgh Review included in their pages quite a number of articles on the Near East and Zionism and were open for discussion on Zionism by Jewish thinkers and leaders. There were a number of important papers directed to the Christian public, like the Tablet, the Catholic Weekly, the Christian Herald (a Catholic weekly with provincial editions), the Christian Age, etc. Their coverage of Zionism was limited, but on the whole positive, though sometimes with a missionary flavour. In our research we surveyed about 110 news? papers throughout the British Isles. I believe that was sufficient to give the general trend. In summing up we can say that while the conservative papers were mainly positive to Zionism, they were more cautious and took into consideration the views of Anglo-Jewish leaders, but became much more involved when Zionism became a 'burning issue' at the time of the alien immigration controversy and then the East Africa project. The liberal papers were more independent in their views as far as the Jewish community was concerned. The pro? vincial papers of all shades were open to the new idea and discussed it on its merits. On the whole, we can say that the standard of reporting and editorials was high and serious in its approach. C Herzl's first visit to England took place in November 1895. The first person to meet him and introduce him to the public and Jewish leaders was the author Israel Zangwill.11 Herzl was not aware, then, of the many ties existing between England and Palestine on the one hand, and British Jewry, since the era of Sir Moses Montefiore, with the Jewish com? munity of Palestine. But Herzl with his intui? tion felt that the Near East was a potentially important element in British politics. In his diaries he describes his attempts to contact British political figures and journalists, and the groundwork was prepared first by Zangwill, who became one of the main spokesmen of the movement, and later by Jacob de Haas, Dr. Moses Gaster, Herbert Bentwich, and Leopold Greenberg. The first publication of Herzl's ideas was in the Jewish Chronicle on 17 January 1896, under the title 'The Solution of the Jewish 8J. St. Loe Strachey, The Adventure of Living, N.Y., 1922; W. B. Thomas, The Story of the 'Specta? tor', London, 1928. 9J. W. Scott-Robertson, The Story of the 'Pall Mall Gazette', Oxford. 10 A very good survey of English press and periodi? cals, see H. Herd, The Making of Journalism, London, 1952; to identify the papers' affiliations we used The Newspaper Press Directory, London, 1900. 11 See L. Zangwill, 'Herzl invades England', Herzl Memorial Book, New York, 1929, p. 41.</page><page sequence="4">92 Benjamin Joffe Problem', some time before his book The Jewish State was published in its original German. The reactions to Herzl's article in the Jewish Chronicle were interesting. William Holman Hunt, the British painter, who spent some years in Palestine in the 1850s and advocated the return of the Jews to Palestine, published an interview in the Jewish Chronicle (12 February 1896) and the Daily Chronicle (24 February 1896) in which he declared his early initiative and Zionist ideas. Hunt believed in the im? portance of a Jewish State in Palestine as 'a centre for peace, stability and security, and as a solution to the problem of the Middle East and for the benefit of all humanity', but while Herzl still believed in the possibility of having such a State under the protection of the Sultan, Hunt advocated getting the support of the big Powers for the Jewish State and the taking of the area of Palestine out of the Sultan's 'corrupt' control. It is interesting that Sir Samuel Montagu (later Lord Swaythling), the Anglo-Jewish leader, who later became an opponent of Zionism, supported Hunt's point of view in the Daily Chronicle (25 February 1896). It is also interesting to find that the idea of the big Powers' consent to the aim of Zionism was adopted in the Basle Programme and was for many years ajfter a very important element of Zionist policy. Herzl Meets Lucien Wolf Herzl was anxious in 1896 to come to some sort of a deal ('Charter') with the Ottoman Government, but he realised the special sensitivity in England to the massacre of the Armenians by the Turks and the potential importance of Palestine in English policy. In order to get support for Zionism in England he looked for ways to appease English public opinion, and through his new contacts in England Herzl tried to approach the British press. He even entertained the idea of publish? ing a daily newspaper in Paris or London which would not be a 'Jewish paper', but would be a 'whip' against the Turks, if necessary, or sup? port them in case it would serve the new move? ment. One of the first journalists whom Herzl met was Lucien Wolf, the foreign editor of the Daily Graphic. Wolf interviewed him several times, and Herzl himself published articles on Zionism in the Daily Chronicle (17 October 1897) and Contemporary Review (October 1897). In 1896 Herzl discussed Palestine and Eng? land's position with the Grand Duke of Baden, who became a sympathiser of the new move? ment, and raised the issue of a Jewish State under the sovereignty of the Sultan but which would serve England by building a railroad, on the 'short way to India,' a project which would 'solve the Egyptian problem' and would create an alternative route to India, which would be necessary in the event of 'difficulties with the Suez Canal'.12 Herzl returned to the same idea, which he believed would attract English statesmen, in an interview in the St. James9 Gazette (13 August 1900). In view of this concept, we can guess what was actually in Herzl's mind when he approached the English public as early as 1896, but he did not realise that at the time in question the whole issue of the Suez Canal, alternative routes to India, and possible difficulties in Egypt, were not in the forefront of British politics. First Congress's Poor Impression Ten British correspondents attended the First Zionist Congress in Basle, but the coverage in the papers was meagre. In The Times, for example, most of the reports came from Reuter's. The Congress did not impress the journalists then. Among the few editorials which we find on the First Zionist Congress we must mention that in The Times, which had reservations about Zionism, being sensitive, as mentioned before, to the attitude of Anglo Jewish leaders, and suggested an alternative to Zionism by combating antisemitism, (4 September 1897). In an editorial in the Pall Mall Gazette the paper viewed the First Zionist Congress as an 'historical event which the political world would have to take into account in the future' (30 August and 2 September 1897). The visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II to Palestine in the autumn of 1898 persuaded two papers, the Spectator (20 August, 12 November, 26 i2 Herzl's Diaries, 25 April 1896.</page><page sequence="5">The British Press and Zionism in HerzPs Time 93 November 1898) and the Daily Mail (18 November 1898), to imply that a Jewish State in Palestine could prevent the Germans from getting a foothold there. Both papers empha? sised the importance of Palestine to British interests. D Arnold White's Criticisms The strangest, and a forgotten, figure, who was most active in the polemics against Zionism in the period in question, was the political writer Arnold White, who several times ran unsuccessfully for Parliament.13 White was the son of a clergyman of Danish extraction, a frustrated politician, an emotional and unstable personality. From 1891 White visited Russia no fewer than five times, the last visit probably in 1902.14 In 1891 he was sent to Russia by Baron Maurice de Hirsch to negotiate with the Russian Government to allow the Jews to emigrate. It is not clear today what was the actual contribution of White in Hirsch's emigration venture, which was mainly directed towards Argentina. Nor is it clear why Hirsch selected White for this assignment, but the fact is that during the end of the century White knew more about Russian Jewry than any other person in England, and he came to know the Russian Jewish communities and Russian political leaders intimately. White published three books15 in which he expressed his opinions on a wide range of Jewish problems in Russian and in England. He believed that there was a danger that the Jews would bring an anarchic 'flooding' of England, which would eventually increase antisemitism there. He criticised the 'insularity' of the Jews and their reluctance to assimilate, but sometimes he expressed his disbelief in the success of such assimilation. In a series of articles in the Pall Mall Gazette (13 October, 3 and 16 November 1897) White dealt with the Jewish problem and suggested convening a European Congress which would discuss its solution. Herzl himself mentioned White's idea in several places. White said that 'if Europe will not assist the Jews, the Jews will destroy Europe.' He attacked the rich Jews who refused, according to him, 'to assist their brethren' and criticised the House of Rothschild's readiness to grant loans to the Russian Government. On the other hand, he was critical of Baron Hirsch for sending Jews to Argentina. White was one of the first who foresaw the possibility of a holocaust of the Jews. He suggested establishing a Jewish State in Armenia which would limit the national Armenian tendencies against Russia. Several articles in the Daily Chronicle (9, 14, and 16 October 1897), which were unsigned, expressed White's ideas and stated that 'the Jewish problem contains the germs of a great inter? national danger'. Possibly White was their author. East Africa Scheme Opposed In the many articles which White wrote during the Herzl period he opposed the Zionist solution, the resettlement of Palestine, and at the same time the immigration of Jews into the British Isles. He was one of the main public figures who advocated the limitation of Jewish immigration to England, and his agitation was one of the factors which brought about the setting up of the Royal Commission on Alien Immigration (1902). He also gave evidence to the Royal Commission and opposed the nomi? nation of Lord Rothschild as a member of it. When the Kishinev pogroms occurred, White defended Plehve, the Russian Minister of the Interior, who was accused by many as the man behind the pogroms. After Plehve died, White wrote an obituary in which he stated that Plehve was 'a friend of the Jews and agreed to the establishment of a Jewish State in Armenia' {Daily Express, 29 July 1904). White opposed the East Africa project, which was to divert Jewish immigration to a semi-autonomous colony, but it seems that " See 'White, A.', in Who was Who, London, 1929. 14 S. Adler-Rudel, 'Moritz Baron Hirsch', Leo Baeck Yearbook, Vol. 8, London, 1963. is The Destitute Alien, 1892; The English Democracy ?Its Problems and Perils, 1895; and The Modern Jew (1899).</page><page sequence="6">94 Benjamin Joffe after Herzl died White limited his expressions on Jewish affairs. He died in 1925, and the Jewish Chronicle wrote that he was 'one of the most active anti-Semites in his generation'. There was a strange mixture in White: cruel realism, admiration for Jewish genius, deep knowledge of Jewish life and issues, and anti semitism. He rejected Zionism or any other solution, except Armenia, and later suggested a Jewish State in America. He saw in the Jewish problem 'a cancer' which was a danger to European society and the British Isles, and, as mentioned earlier, he forecast the European holocaust. In spite of the fact that his opinions were published and circulated in quite a number of papers, they had relatively few reactions. We find more about it in the Jewish press than in the general press. E The discussion on Zionism among leaders and spokesmen of the Jewish community started from the first appearance of Herzl. From the beginning the Jewish Chronicle was the main vehicle through which Zionism was brought to the notice not only of the Jewish public but also of the non-Jewish, who pre? sumably read the paper. We know it through the editorials of various general papers and letters in the JC, written by non-Jews. Para? doxically the Jewish Chronicle, in spite of its opposition to the idea of political Zionism, was instrumental in publicising the new move? ment through articles, editorials, letters to the editor, news items, and special illustrated supplements, which appeared during every Zionist Congress. The reasoning behind the attitude of the paper was the danger that Zionism would affect the rights of the Jews which they had gained in England and other countries, that it would involve Jews in dual loyalty, and that it would endanger the weak Jewish settlements in Palestine. We find traces of these ideological and practical considerations in various general papers.16 At the time of the First Zionist Congress, in August 1897, Dr. Emile Reich, an historian and scholar, and Herbert Bentwich, the Zionist leader, discussed Zionism in the Nineteenth Century quarterly,17 and the late Oswald John Simon and Dr. Gaster in The Times argued on every aspect of the new movement.18 The difference of opinion between these personali? ties is a topic for special research which should also include the controversy between the Zionists and personalities like Israel Abrahams, Claude Montefiore, Laurie Magnus, and others. The intellectual leaders of Anglo-Jewry rejected the new national idea, emphasised the religious aspect of Judaism, and looked upon Zionism as 'a surrender to antisemitism\ They also doubted the practicality of a Jewish State. There was also a rift between Hovevei Zion leaders and the Zionists in connection with the position of the colonies in Palestine. Some of the Hovevei Zion leaders, like Colonel Albert Goldsmid, refused to join the new movement. There was a permanent struggle in the Spanish and Portuguese community. While the Haham, Dr. Gaster, and Sir Francis Montefiore joined the movement, most of the elders of the com? munity rejected it, and were critical of the Haham, who became a spokesman of the movement from the beginning. Widespread Controversies All these struggles and arguments were discussed and reported not only in the Jewish press but also in the general press, especially in 'letters to the editor'. At the time of the Fourth Zionist Congress the representative Anglo-Jewish leaders did not attend the Congress, and some of their spokes? men wrote letters to the general press against the new movement,19 and quite a number of newspapers reacted to this phenomenon. Some of them indicated that unless Anglo 16 See The Jewish Chronicle (1841-1941), London, 1949, pp. 105-106; J. Fraenkel, 'The "Jewish Chronicle" and the Launching of Political Zion? ism', Herzl Tear Book, Vol. Ill, pp. 217-227. 17 E. Reich, Nineteenth Century, August 1897; H. Bentwich, October 1897. !8 The Times, 30 August, 1 September, 3 Septem? ber, 1897; O. J. Simon (1855-1932) was a well known Anglo-Jewish leader and intellectual. if 'Cant' in The Times, 14 and 16 August 1900, F. Montefiore, The Times, 15 August 1900; H. Guedalla, The Times, 20 August 1900.</page><page sequence="7">The British Press and Zionism in HerzPs Time 95 Jewish leaders assisted the movement it would affect its chances of success, though other papers were of the opinion that the position of the Jewish leaders in England towards Zionism was irrelevant to its success or failure.20 In 1903 Zangwill and Lucien Wolf ex? changed letters in The Times in connection with the purposes of the I.G.A. (Jewish Colonial Association) regarding the 'millions of Hirsch' which Baron Hirsch left after his death.21 Lucien Wolf was very active in the pages of the British press in the controversy with Zangwill and others connected with the East Africa project and against what he called 'the Zionist peril' and the 'mischieveous' idea of self government for the Jews in East Africa.22 F The Fourth Zionist Congress was held in London in August 1900, and was convened by Herzl there for two purposes: to present Zion? ism to the English political world in view of his failures in negotiating with the Turkish Sultan and the German Government, and to present Zionism to the English press. Herzl believed that Zionism had many friends in political and Christian religious circles and that English intervention could help to move the Germans to act on behalf of Zionism.23 The Fourth Zionist Congress, more than any other Con? gress in Herzl's time, was 'a Congress of publicity', as described by Weizmann24 and others. Herzl himself admitted in his articles and in his opening speech at the Congress that his main purpose in going to London was to start a new chapter of relationship between Zionism and British public opinion. Herzl wrote in Die Welt (8 June 1900) the following: 'London with five million citizens is an enor? mous centre of spiritual, political, and economic trends. Anybody who speaks to London speaks to the whole English-speaking cultural world. The British press has the biggest newspaper reading public in the world. A Congress in London will publicise our movement. Political Zionism goes to London in order to present itself to the English world and request its moral and political support. The Congress must present itself as the representative of the Jewish people.' Doubts and Scepticism Herzl's aim was achieved. In the Weizmann archives we find a bulky volume of four hundred press-cuttings on Zionism and the Fourth Congress, which appeared in a wide range of English papers and periodicals. The speeches of Herzl, Nordau, and Zangwill got very wide coverage, especially Nordau's speech on the position of the Jews in Europe. The headlines used such expressions as 'Dream? ers of the Ghetto', 'Towards Zion', and 'New Jerusalem', and Herzl was called 'New Moses', 'Modern Moses', and 'Uncrowned King of the Jews'. If we summarise the editorials we can state that on the whole the papers were sym? pathetic towards the Zionist Movement. Shortly before the Congress the position of the Jews of Rumania deteriorated to a very large degree. There was large press coverage on their plight. Some of the opposers of Zionism accused the movement of encouraging dis? orderly immigration of Rumanian Jews to England. De Haas denied this in public, and Herzl, in his opening speech at the Congress, indicated his position that it would be unwise to give advice to the Jews of Rumania to escape to England. Such immigration was liable to be a danger not only to the English people but also to the new immigrants, who were 'importing' with them antisemitism. Sir Francis Montefiore, in his speech at the Con? gress, mentioned that antisemitism in England was not an unknown phenomenon.25 Most of the newspapers were impressed by the personalities of the leaders of the movement and the spirit surrounding it, as in the Man? chester Guardian (16 August 1900) and the 20 See Yorkshire Post, 14 August 1900; Morning Leader, 13 August 1900; Saturday Review, 16 August 1900. 21 The Times, 23, 30 March 1903; 4, 11, 16 April 1903. " The Times, 28 August, 8 September 1903. 23 Herzl Diaries, 8 November 1899. 24 Weizmann, Letters and Papers, Oxford, 1968, Vol. I, p. 118. 25 J.C., 17 August 1900, p. xiv.</page><page sequence="8">96 Benjamin Joffe Daily Chronicle (17 August 1900). The Daily Graphic, possibly from the pen of Lucien Wolf, said that Herzl raised the Maccabean flag, his venture was a Jewish revolt, and he had courage, know-how, and political sense (13 August 1900). On the other hand, the Yorkshire Post doubted Herzl's leadership and approach, though it put more trust in Nordau, who 'is more sensible' (14 August 1900). Other papers expressed doubts about the importance of the Congress and were sceptical of its practicality (like the Morning Post, 16 August 1900; the Nottingham Guardian, 15-16 August, 1900, etc.). Political Complications Feared Quite a number of papers believed that a Jewish State in Palestine could 'change' the country and make it a place of'milk and honey'. Such a State could be beneficial not only to the Jews but also to Christians, and it would raise the intellectual standard of the Jewish people and the status of the Jews (Liverpool Mercury, 14 August 1900; Manchester Mail, 14 August 1900; Pall Mall Gazette, 15 August 1900). Quite a number of papers agreed that the Zionist goal was practical and possible and that it would solve the problem of all those Jews who could not assimilate and who were per? secuted (Saturday Review, 17 August 1900). There were voices advocating that Jewish leaders like the Rothschilds should join the movement in order to solve its financial difficulties (W. T. Stead, in Review of Reviews? quoted in the Jewish World, 31 August 1900). Not one paper doubted the possibility that the majority of Jews would leave Europe; the terrible position of the Jews justified the implementation of Zionism and might bring benefit to all Asia (Spectator, 18 August 1900). Only one paper, the Daily News (14 August 1900), asked 'what would happen to the local Arab inhabitants of Palestine?will they be expelled?' The papers dealt on several occasions with the attitude of the Sultan to a Jewish State. Some believed that the Sultan would agree to it, others doubted it. The Liverpool Mercury (14 August 1900), for example, believed that only if Palestine ceased to be part of the Ottoman Empire would there be a chance for Zionism. Only international rule or supervision might bring the fulfilment of Zionism. Another paper, the Western Mercury (14 August 1900), saw a danger of political complications in the Near East if a Jewish State were to be estab? lished in Palestine. The Manchester Courier (14 August 1900) repeated what many papers had written before it, that a Jewish State would 'contribute an element of stability to Asian polities'. Quite a number of papers related Zionism to the problem of alien immigration and believed that the movement could solve this problem and eliminate anti-Jewish trends in England, which were inevitable if immigra? tion into the British Isles continued at the same pace (Nottingham Guardian, 15 August 1900; Saturday Review, 17 August 1900). At the end of the Congress Herzl gave an interview to the Jewish Chronicle (17 August 1900), in which he said that Congress brought the message of Zionism to the non-Jewish public, but he regretted that Zionism did not get co-operation from British Jews, who had a bias against Zionism, and he added, 'We brought the Jewish case to the court of public opinion'. The Jewish Chronicle, in some editorials (17 and 24 August 1900), discussed the publicity given to the Jewish problem and Zionism in the British press and complained about Jews who were interested in such publicity. Again it is worried about English nationalism. The Jewish Chronicle returned to the subject on 31 August 1900 and stated that the 'British press was sympathetic to Zionism and even the critics were positive towards the Jews. Possibly it was due to the events in Rumania'. The wide coverage of the Congress was hailed in a letter in the Daily Chronicle (20 August 1900) signed by Rabbi J. H. Hertz and others, in which they expressed appreciation of the full and satisfactory coverage of Zionism. Zangwill said:26 Tn spite of the fears of the British Jews, there was no event in the history of England which created among the Christians 26 Quoted by Herzl in a letter to Hamburgeshe Correspondent, see Herzl, Michtavim (Letters), 1937, pp. 193-195.</page><page sequence="9">The British Press and Zionism in HerzPs Time 97 a better opinion of the Jews than the Congress in London.' On 24 September 1900, one month after the Congress in London, a circular letter, signed by Joseph Cowen on behalf of the Zionist Federation, was sent to Parliamentary candi? dates for the general election.27 In this circular it was stated that the implementation of Zionism would solve the Jewish problem in Europe and divert the flood of immigrants from Western Europe to Palestine. Furthermore, the candidates were asked to appeal to His Majesty's Government 'to use its good offices' for the Zionist aspirations, if it were needed, among the Governments who had an interest in Palestine and Syria. Cowen stated that if the candidate sympathised with the Zionist movement he would be happy to recommend his candidacy and give every assistance in this respect. Replies of Parliamentary Candidates Close on 100 replies were received from the candidates. A few replied in the positive, a few added the words T sympathise with Zionism', some added that they 'are prepared to act for the fulfilment of Zionism'. Two candidates said that they would act 'according to the opinions of the representative loyal Jews'. George Lansbury, the leader of the Labour faction, wrote: T believe that Zionism is a movement which will contribute not only to the benefit of the Jews, but also of all nations.' A member of the Government, H. W. Lang, said that he was prepared 'to hear with sympathy the opinion of the Jewish community.' A second member of the Govern? ment, W. S. Robeson, stated that he was ready as a private member to assist the Government in appealing to the Sultan to grant a 'charter'. Four Jewish candidates agreed to support Zion? ism, one of them, B. S. Straus, stating that Zionism was the solution to the immigration problem which was so important to East London. Almost all London candidates who replied agreed to support Zionism. We do not find replies from Balfour, Lloyd George, and Chamberlain. Opposing a 'Jewish Vote' The Jewish Chronicle, on 28 September 1900, was very critical about creating a 'Jewish vote', and saw in such action a non-patriotic activity. In the elections 31 sympathisers with Zion? ism, who replied to the circular, were elected to Parliament. Herzl saw in this campaign 'the cleverest action done by the movement'.25 Zangwill was also happy with the results.29 Leopold Greenberg said at a meeting in Cardiff, 'Zionism may be an issue of English politics much earlier than we expect, due to a special interest in Egypt and the "shortest way to India". This is why it is important for us to find out to what degree the representatives of the English people sympathise with our move? ment' (Jewish Chronicle, 26 October 1900, p. 25). The Parliament which was elected in 1900 kept the Tory-Unionist Government in power until December 1905. During this period, under Balfour as Prime Minister, the negotiations were conducted between the British Govern? ment and the Zionists concerning El Arish and East Africa, and the Royal Commission on Alien Immigration sat, with the controversies connected with it. Since the Fourth Zionist Congress, Zionism became an issue in British politics and was brought to the attention of British political figures. G In 1901 attention to Zionism in the general press was limited. The most memorable event in the presentation of Zionism to the general public was the November meeting of the 'Article Club', a very important club of financial and colonial figures. Generals, admirals, colonial administrators, clergy, writers, and scholars attended the meeting, where Zangwill was the main speaker. The title of his lecture was 'The Commercial Future of Palestine', 27 Included in a brochure of the English Zionist Federation, General Elections, London, 1900. 28 Protocol of the Fifth Zionist Congress (Ger? man), Vienna, 1901, p. 45. 2* I. Zangwill in World's Work, July 1903.</page><page sequence="10">98 Benjamin Joffe but actually the lecture covered an emphasis on the strategic importance of Palestine as well as the potentialities of British economic interest there, and the plight of East European Jewry. Among the speakers who followed Zangwill were the writers Hall Caine, George Bernard Shaw, the Archdeacon of London (Sinclair), Colonel Albert Goldsmid, and the Serbian Minister of State, Dr. Milevic. All the speakers supported Zionism. Zangwill spoke in those days at other public meetings, where he was critical of the organisational leadership of the Jewish people, the Anglo Jewish Association, and the Anglo-Jewish press (Jewish Chronicle, 22 November 1901, pp. 14-16, and Commerce, 21 November 1901). Israel Zangwill's Attitude In December 1901 Zangwill delivered a speech to the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basle in which he raised the problem of the 'Hirsch millions'. The British press discussed this speech and The Times of 4 February 1902 supported Zangwill's approach. Sixty-three representatives of the English press attended the Fifth Congress, representing among them the big daily papers and quite a number of provincial ones. Again some of the papers supported Zionism, others doubted its practi? cality. A strange comment is found in the Manchester Courier (quoted in the Jewish World, 10 January 1902), which saw in 'Zionism the crown of all national movements of the world' and criticised the Congress for not using Hebrew as its official language. H The problem of alien immigration into England was an important issue among the public and press during the last years of the century.30 A considerable number of papers followed with alarm the statistics of European immigration into the British Isles and the Parliamentary debates on the question. While the Morning Post published articles on the 'criminal' character of the Polish immigrants (quoted in the Jewish World, 20 May, 1898, p. 151), the Spectator urged refuge for the perse? cuted, but at the same time taking steps to 'safeguard the character of the English life' in the isles (quoted in the Jewish World, 3 June 1898, p. 164). We have mentioned that at the time of the Fourth Zionist Congress, in August 1900, quite a number of papers saw in Zionism a solution to the alien immigration problem. In the summer of 1902 the Royal Commission on Alien Immigration, which was established to inquire into the character and scope and the negative results of such immigration and find ways to limit foreign immigration, held its meetings; 49 sessions were held and 175 wit? nesses appeared. Among the witnesses was Herzl, who saw in Zionism the only alternative to the flood of immigrants, but at the same time rejected limitation on immigrants into England. In the same period the British press occupied itself with the position of Rumanian Jews. Special issues, under the title 'Rumanian Bulletin', in support of the Jews of Rumania, were published and included letters of sym? pathy by Joseph Chamberlain, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sir Charles Dilke, Herbert Gladstone, Asquith, and others. It is interesting that Chamberlain in this connotation used the term 'The Jewish People', which was not acceptable at all to the Jewish leaders. Immigration Complexities The British press covered the Royal Commis? sion meetings and discussed the issues raised by it. It is very likely that one of the main reasons for the support by some English papers of the East Africa project was its intention to divert the waves of immigration from England to that area. Chamberlain, who was the main negotia? tor with Herzl and Greenberg in connection with El Arish and East Africa, in his public speeches supported the limitation of Jewish immigration into England (Jewish Chronicle, 18 December 1903, p. 22, and see also J.C., 23 December 1904, p. 13). 30 On alien immigration, see Surveys of L. J. Greenberg in the Jewish Tear Book 1896-1897 to 1904-1905; L. Gartner, The Jewish Immigrant in England, 1870-1914, London, 1960; John A. Garrard, The English and the Immigration, London, 1971; Royal Commission on Alien Immigration? Report and Minutes of Evidence, London, 1903.</page><page sequence="11">The British Press and Zionism in Herzl's Time 99 The alien immigration issue was very much linked with the position of Russian Jews and the persecutions which culminated in the Kishinev pogrom in April 1903. But the British press was highly concerned with the Russian penetration in the Middle East through schools, monasteries, and churches.31 This penetration and its connection with Zionism was discussed in various papers and periodicals. Particularly interesting is the article 'Pan-Slavism and Zionism' in the Edinburgh Review (quoted in the Jewish Chronicle of 13 March 1903), which indicated that Russian circles were feeling concerned about the Jewish development in Palestine and that the steps taken against the Zionist movement in Russia were an outcome of it. Another article in the Globe (quoted in the Jewish Chronicle, 10 July 1903) stated that Russia was worried about German penetration into Asia Minor, and the Jews should be con? cerned about the Russian activities designed to penetrate the area. British East Africa Project The Kishinev pogroms received very wide coverage in the British press. The plight of Russian Jewry and its consequences brought concern to British public opinion, and it is not surprising that British political circles began to look for some solution to this issue. On 20 May 1903 Chamberlain, in a talk with Green berg, raised the possibility of settling Jews in East Africa. As Colonial Secretary he was interested in settling British East Africa with white settlers; as a political figure, who advo? cated limitation of immigration into the British Isles, he wanted to divert the immigrants to that continent. While most of the East African English newspapers joined the British settlers there in their opposition to the project, the reaction of most of the English newspapers was positive. The Morning Post (25 August 1903), the Daily Chronicle (26 and 27 August 1903), and the Daily Telegraph (31 August 1903) were positive towards the project, though some of them looked on it as a temporary solution. Most of the newspapers agreed that Palestine was the final goal. The Times, in an article on 28 August 1903, objected to the project for several reasons. Quite a number of papers doubted if the Jews could be farmers, others were concerned with the British character of the East Africa protectorate. The British press also dealt with the resignation of Sir Charles Eliott, the High Commissioner of the Protector? ate of East Africa, who wrote in an article in the Nineteenth Century (September 1904) that Uganda was not Palestine and he doubted the feasibility of the project. Another British colonial administrator, who served in Africa, Sir Harry Johnston, objected to the project for various reasons, but mainly because of his belief that the only solution was Palestine (The Times, 1 September 1903).32 As already mentioned, Lucien Wolf was the leading opponent of the project, Zangwill the main supporter. Among the other supporters we find Herbert Samuel (Jewish World, 4 September 1903, p. 472), Lord Rothschild (Jewish World, 28 August 1903, p. 453), and Dr. M. D. Eder, who later became the member of the Zionist Executive in Palestine (Jewish World, 20 November 1903). I In July 1904 Herzl died. The important newspapers mentioned it in a few lines. The Manchester Guardian (5 July 1904), the West? minster Gazette (4 July 1904), the Daily News (5 July 1904), and the Daily Telegraph (quoted in Die Welt, 8 July 1904, p. 23) published editorials in which they stated that Zionism had lost its greatest leader. Some of them believed that he was irreplaceable and referred to his unique position in Jewish history. The Times published a letter to the editor by the Poet Laureate, Alfred Austin, who was captivated by Herzl's personality, though he was not convinced that the Zionist venture was justified (8 July 1904). At the meeting of the Jewish Historical Society of England on 6 July 1904, Lucien Wolf eulogised Herzl and expressed his admira 31 See D. Hopwood, Russian Presence in Syria and Palestine, 1843-1914, Oxford, 1969. 32 On reactions to the project in East Africa and England, see Robert G. Weisbord, African Z*?n9 Philadelphia, 1968, pp. 80-97, 115-141.</page><page sequence="12">100 Benjamin Joffe tion for his person and indicated his important position in Jewish history, his dedication, and his being the first democratic leader of Jewry in modern times (J.C., 8 July 1904). Summing up, we can say that Herzl and political Zionism in his time got fair and under? standing treatment by the British press. Especially in Herzl's last few years, owing to the fact that Zionism was so much connected with the persecution of Jews in Rumania and Russia and with the alien immigration prob? lem, the coverage grew steadily, as well as the editorials. Zionism during HerzPs period became a familiar issue in the British press. It even became an internal political issue. Herzl and his followers paved the way for the great work of Dr. Chaim Weizmann and his followers, since 1915, which led to the Baifour Declaration and the British involvement in Palestine, which was a very important step towards the Jewish State. Without the great preparatory work of the Zionists in England at the time of Herzl, there would have been very little chance of Weizmann's success.</page></plain_text>

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