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nations. This was the aspiration of the Mendelssohnian school, which in Germany anticipated this outcome of the French Revolution, and it was formally sanctioned, legalised and promulgated, on behalf of the Jews of France, Italy, Holland, and South Germany, by the great Sanhedrin summoned by Napoleon in 1806. This authoritative body renounced Jewish nationality in unambiguous terms. It declared the Jews to be “neither a nation within a nation, 'nor cosmopolitan’; it affirmed that they were an integral part of the nations among whom they lived, and it claimed for them the same rights, and acknowledged the same duties, as their fellow-citizens, from whom they differed only in religion.* It was practically on the basis of this declaration, which was confirmed by conferences of Rabbis, in Germany in 1845, and in America in 1869, that the whole battle for Jewish emancipation in the Western World was fought. In England, Macaulay accepted it as disposing of the last obstacle to the civil and political enfranchisement of the Jews, and even in Eastern Europe, which for a time had no part in the emancipation movement, and where the Jews were still of the extreme orthodox wing, shrinking from all 'customs of 'the Gentiles,' scarcely a word of protest was heard against it.
This movement of Jewish social assimilation was strengthened and justified by the stirring political events of the next half century. The Congress of Vienna practically annulled the work of the French Revolution, with the result that all over Western Europe a great struggle for popular libertiesin some cases for national freedom-was set on foot. Everywhere the Jews threw themselves with conspicuous enthusiasm and effectiveness into the struggle, not as Jews, but as part and parcel of the suffering democracies, content to merge their own claims for emancipation in the larger claims for civil and religious liberty and constitutional reform. The wisdom of this action was strikingly illustrated by the revolutions of 1848, the final outcome of which was virtually to make the assimilative formulae of the Paris Sanhedrin an integral part of the structure of Western European liberties. Throughout this agitation, not a word was heard of Jewish national claims. It was only in the sixties, when the so-called Principle
* Actes du Grand Sanhédrin (Paris, 1807), pp. 65–73, 191.
of Nationalities was revived by Napoleon III., in connexion with the struggle for Italian unity, that a faint manifestation of national sentiment was noted in the Jewish community. It took the form of a pamphlet entitled 'Rome and Jerusalem, 'the latest National Question,' by the well-known Social Democrat, Moritz Hess. In this work, the re-establishment of the Jews as a nation in Palestine was advocated; but the proposal found no sympathy anywhere, and even in the Jewish community its reception was significantly cold.
The first symptom of a decisive change came from the great Jewish community in Russia, in the early eighties. It was due, partly to the frightful massacres and other outrages which devastated the teeming Jewries of the western provinces in the spring of 1881, and partly to the example of the other sub-nationalities of Western and South-Western Russia, who had also been made to feel the heavy hand of Slavophil persecution. Previously to the eighties, the younger generation of Russian Jews, under the comparatively mild sway of Alexander II., had, like their occidental co-religionists, very largely sought their political salvation in assimilation. They frequented the universities; they took an active part in the liberal, and even the revolutionary, movements of the empire, and they dreamt of a free Russia, of which they also would be free citizens. These dreams were rudely dispelled by the savage anti-Semitism sanctioned by Alexander's reactionary successor, which culminated, not only in the pogroms, but also in a new statute for the Jewish communities, known as the May Laws, under which all their medieval disabilities were revived and aggravated. When the first great rush of emigration to escape the new 'house of bondage' was over, the Jews settled down to consider their hapless situation. Emigration had conspicuously failed, for the Western Relief Committees had even found themselves compelled to repatriate the bulk of the fugitives. On the other hand, the storm of Slavophil reaction showed no sign of abating, and there was clearly a long road to travel before Russia would reach the level of political thought and action which prevailed in Western Europe. In these circumstances, it became apparent to thoughtful minds among the Jews that assimilation on the old plan—the plan borrowed from quite different conditions in Western Europe—was a hopeless failure. Very soon they began to think of nationalism as a possible alternative. In the autumn of the following year, a Jewish physician of Odessa, Dr. Leo Pinsker, advocated the formation of a Jewish nationality in a striking pamphlet entitled “Auto-emancipation,' which he published anonymously in Berlin. Impressed by the fact that anti-Semitism was, at the time, not confined to Russia, however less brutal it might be in other countries, he evolved a theory of the perpetual alienage of the Jews, and concluded that the only cure for it was a Jewish nationality, equal in status, and hence in dignity, with other nationalities, and, if possible, with a land of its own. It is noteworthy that Pinsker makes no appeal to Jewish national tradition, and does not even mention Palestine. He rests his case frankly and exclusively on the political exigencies of the times, and he even recognises the patent absence of Jewish national consciousness as a formidable obstacle to the realisation of his plan.
Pinsker's seed did not fall on sterile soil, although the response to it was slow. Nationalism was then in the Russian air, far beyond the confines of the Jewish Pale of Settlement. The Russifying policy of the Tsar's Slavophil advisers, Pobiedonoszeff and Ignatieff, had everywhere stimulated the selfconsciousness of the non-Russian sub-nationalities, from the Letts and Esthonians in the north to the Ukrainians, Tartars, and Armenians in the south and south-west. All over this vast region, secret organisations were started to defend the national languages, to cultivate the national literatures and customs, and to assert national rights. Among the Jews a similar movement was soon discernible. Not long after the publication of Pinsker's pamphlet, societies were formed in Odessa and elsewhere under the name of Chovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion'), for the 'peaceful penetration' of Palestine by Jewish agricultural colonists, while the historian, Simon Dubnow, began to outline his idea of 'spiritual nationalism' in opposition to the Territorial or Palestinian Nationalists. For some years, both movements were vague and timid, but their fundamental national idea spread widely. Meanwhile, a new and redoubtable force had arisen in Russian Jewry. The May Laws, by driving the Jews into the towns, had nearly ruined the small Jewish bourgeoisie, and had created in their place a great and hungry Jewish proletariat. The rise of Russian industrialism under the artificial stimulus of Witte's protectionist policy found employment for much of this main d'ouvre, which, together with the already considerable artisan class, soon became organised on a Trade-Union basis, and thus came into close contact with all the wilder spirits of Russian democracy. From these Jewish Trade Unions was evolved the famous Jewish Bund, one of the most powerful of the revolutionary organisations in Russia.* At first purely Social Democratic, and averse from all national, as from all social, distinctions, the Bund found itself gradually impregnated with Jewish national sentiment, owing, in part, to the great development of the Yiddish language and literature, stimulated by its own political propaganda. With the love for the old jargon and the new literature, which was a literature of folk-song, of poetry and romance, as well as of politics, economics and natural science, went a love for all the other ethnographic peculiarities of the people—all except the religion, for the Bund, as true Social Democrats, knew only the religious negations of their political teachers. Round this organised nucleus, or in sympathy with it, many other popular elements ranged themselves, including a large intellectual proletariat which the new political disabilities had fashioned out of the University-trained Jewish youth. Thus, Jewish nationality, although otherwise very indistinctly defined, first began to manifest itself in an essentially secular form, and, although it did not know precisely how, aimed at taking its place among the other secular sub-nationalities of the Russian State.
The definite crystallisation of this interesting movement was due to the organisation of political Zionism in 1897. Until then Zionism, though it was the only actual plan of Jewish re-nationalisation before the public, had timorously eschewed political agitation, and had confined itself to the dreaming of dreams, and the founding of unambitious colonies in the Holy Land. In 1897 a startling impulse was given to the movement by Theodor Herzl, a brilliant Viennese journalist, who, affrighted by the progress of anti-Semitism in Austria, had come to conclusions in regard to the future of the Jews in Europe very similar to those of Pinsker, and had declared for
* Ular, 'La Révolution Russe,' pp. 238-239, 273 et seq. ; Mater, 'Le Juif Russe,' pp. 17-20.
a Jewish State in Palestine as the only remedy. But Herzl, unlike Pinsker, was used to the ways of the great world, and he took his measures on a scale and with a flourish which at once stirred the popular imagination. With his magnificent talent for réclame, his imposing Pan-Jewish Congresses, his apparatus of political committees and financial institutions, and his showy diplomatic activities, he at first swept the Russian nationalists off their feet. From the beginning, however, the Bund opposed him. They suspected the Zionists as bourgeois and clerical, and they objected to the whole theory of Zionism, not only as destructive of their conception of RussoJewish nationality, but as a betrayal of the larger cause of Russian freedom. The controversy, which spread far beyond the Bund, lasted for some years, but gradually the fundamental distinctions between the two nationalist schools took striking shape. The Zionists, with unsparing logic, declared that the Diaspora (Dispersion) did not exist for them. They waved it majestically aside, and proposed to recommence Jewish history where the old Jewish State had ended, to resume Hebrew as the national language, and to forget the two thousand years of dispersion and sorrow as the unsubstantial fabric of a bad dream. To this the other side replied that the revival of the old order of things might be magnificent, but it was not practical politics ; that two thousand years of European history had made of the Jews a European people, with new ideas, new relationships, a new culture, and a new language and literature of their own. To sweep all this away and forget it was impossible. The struggle eventually centred on the language question, and Russian Jewry rang for a time with the bitter controversy of the so-called Hebraists and Yiddishists. The Yiddishists of course won; for Hebrew, whatever its historic associations, and the zeal with which its study was promoted, was an exotic, while Yiddish was a living language, the natural outcome of Russo-Jewish life, the language of the people and the home, the vernacular in which all the tears and laughter of the Ghetto, and all its strivings for freedom, had found spontaneous expression. On this basis the controversy settled itself, but it was not without a certain formal sanction, for in 1903, at a conference of ardent young Yiddish intellectuals, held at Czernowitz, Yiddish was solemnly proclaimed the Jewish national language. The Zionists have