Monday, June 14, 2021

The Unlikely Moses and His Even More Unlikely Followers


The Unlikely Moses and His Even More Unlikely Followers

June 12 2021

 See my discussion on YouTube:

I open with playing the Czech anthem The Molday ( Vlatava) by Smetana and then Hatikvah. I digress to a disccusion on who borrowed from whom- apparantly, both hail from an old Sephardi melody for the prayer for dew- see the source here:

"Hatikvah: The Real Story Behind Israel's National Anthem." Shlomo Meital

The Music: It is not true that the Hatikva melody came from Smetana’s 1874 piece, Die Moldau, played frequently on the radio and in concert halls. The Hatikvah melody has travelled the world for centuries, al­most like the Diaspora Jewry.

Baltsan discovered that the Hatikvah melody goes back 600 years to a Sefardi prayer for dew, Birkat Ha'tal. After the Inquisition, as Jews scattered through Eu­rope, the melody found its way to Italy, where it became a popular love song, “Fugi, Fugi, Amore Mio” (Flee, flee, my love!). It evolved into a Romanian gypsy folk song, “Cart and Oxen;” then, a 17-year-old immi­grant to Palestine from Romania, Shmuel Cohen, used the “Cart and Oxen” tune for the poem, Hatikvah. And it quickly caught on.

What is the connection with Die Moldau? 12-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart heard the original folk tune in Italy, where he had been sent to study, and incorporat­ed it into one of his compositions. Mozart took the music to Vienna, then to Prague. There, Smetana picked it up.


Lecture notes from Wikipedia and other sources

Early Zionism before Zionism:

There is first the movement of Jews to the Land of Israel-

First,a  timid foray to move outside the walls-

Sir Moses Montefiore- Sheriff of London & Middlesex, Sir, 1st Baronet.- Misheknot Shaananim.1860.

Another unlikely would-be Moses:

Dizzy Disraeli-Earl of Beaconsfield

In 1851, correspondence between Lord Stanley, whose father became British Prime Minister the following year, and Benjamin Disraeli, who became Chancellor of the Exchequer alongside him, records Disraeli's proto-Zionist views: "He then unfolded a plan of restoring the nation to Palestine—said the country was admirably suited for them—the financiers all over Europe might help—the Porte is weak—the Turks/holders of property could be bought out—this, he said, was the object of his life..." Coningsby was merely a feeler views were not fully developed at that time—since then all I have written has been for one purpose. The man who should restore the Hebrew race to their country would be the Messiah—the real saviour of prophecy!" He did not add formally that he aspired to play this part, but it was evidently implied. He thought very highly of the capabilities of the country, and hinted that his chief object in acquiring power here would be to promote the return".[22][23] 26 years later, Disraeli wrote in his article entitled "The Jewish Question is the Oriental Quest" (1877) that within fifty years, a nation of one million Jews would reside in Palestine under the guidance of the British.!!!

Benjamin Disraeli by Cornelius Jabez Hughes, 1878 - Benjamin Disraeli - Wikipedia


The first modern movement of return:

BILU_ Beyt Yaakov lechu v Neilchah- the first modern wave of migration to Israel from Tsarist Russia. 1881. My  great-great grandfather, at age of 81, moved to Israel. Ofra’s great-great-grandfather moved to Israel at the same time, from Yemen.There, the movement was called "A'aleh Betamar"- I will go up the date palm( Tamar- a play on the Hebrew date for 1882 and the date).New settlements in Rosh Pina and Zichron Yaakov. This was done despite Ottoman efforts to prevent Jewish migration.


The Two Paths to Peoplehood in the land of Israel ( 1 nation in Israel- two positions)

Cultural Zionism

Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg (18 August 1856 – 2 January 1927), primarily known by his Hebrew name and pen name Ahad Ha'am (Hebrewאחד העם, lit. 'one of the people', Genesis 26:10), was a Hebrew essayist, and one of the foremost pre-state Zionist thinkers. He is known as the founder of cultural Zionism. He started on his program shortly after the first Aliyah, which did not get very far.

Ahad Ha'am recognized that the effort to achieve independence in the land of Israel would bring Jews into conflict with the native Arab population, as well as with the Ottomans and European colonial powers then eying the country. Instead, he proposed that the emphasis of the Zionist movement shift to efforts to revive the Hebrew language and create a new culture, free from negative diaspora influences, that would unite Jews and serve as a common denominator between diverse Jewish communities. The main goal of Ahad Ha'am's cultural Zionism was the establishment of a new spiritual center for the Jewish nation, which did not necessarily require the establishment of a Jewish state, but did require the establishment of a Jewish majority in its national home.

We might call him the forerunner of the theme” Judaism as a Civilization”, which served as the basis for Mordecai Kaplan’s Reconstructionism.

A few memorable quotes:

What is national freedom if not a people’s inner freedom to cultivate its abilities along the beaten path of its history?

More than Israel has kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept Israel.

The right place for the League of Nations is not Geneva or the Hague, Ascher Ginsberg has dreamed of a Temple on Mount Zion where the representatives of all nations should dedicate a Temple of Eternal Peace. Only when all peoples of the earth shall go to THIS temple as pilgrims is eternal peace to become a fact.

Achadd Haam and Schats 1911 - Ahad Ha'am - Wikipedia

Asher Ginsberg( Achad Ha’am) with Boris Schatz, founder of Betzalel Art School, in background, the painting The Eternal Jew, by Natha Hischberg, which plays on the anti-semitic theme of the Wandering Jew. That title” Eternal Jew”-Ewige Jude-was the nameof a Yiddish play and then, undert Hitler, the name of a propaganda film against Jews!

The Hebrew University in Jerusalem- was also the outcome of his vision-23rd( out of 2000) highest ranking university in the world.  There are none in the neighboring Arab lands in the top 100, 200, or 300.This ranking system was founded by Saudi Arabia & now headquartered in UAE!

Finally full blown political Zionism- Theodore Herzl-

Theodor Herzl, (born May 2, 1860, Budapest, Hungary, Austrian Empire [now in Hungary]—died July 3, 1904, Edlach, Austria--.He was the consummate product of German culture.Member of a German nationalist fraternity.


Intro from Theodor Herzl Is Alive and Well and Living in New York (Los Angeles, Paris, and London, too) - Tablet Magazine

Matti Friedman, summarizing Amos Elon’s biography of Herzl

Theodor Herzl, is a writer, a master of the German language, and a former member of a Teutonic college fraternity. He is a Jew by birth, but he’s over it. His son isn’t circumcised, and when a rabbi pays a visit to his home one December, the writer is just lighting the Christmas tree. He’s a proud citizen of a great polyglot power, the empire of the Habsburgs, where Jews are emancipated, fitting in tentatively, moving up conclusively….

Yet, the country is in decline, disintegrating into its constituent parts. … There are Germans and Czechs and Hungarians and Poles, conservatives, socialists, anarchists—and then there are Jews, or rather, the “Jewish problem,” which suddenly becomes a burning preoccupation in Vienna and across Europe.

The prosperous Jews of Vienna, who assumed that this problem was on its way to being solved, are surprised to find themselves the focus for the anxieties of the age. .  .. “Jews were baffled and shocked by this obsession,” Elon writes. “Should they react to the attacks or ignore them? Was it something they had done? Many sensitive young Jews were tormented by these questions. …”

… among Jewish intellectuals, Herzl’s social circles, was to cringe at both rich and poor, ... a very Viennese attitude of wry fatigue with the foibles of humanity. The writer works for the Neue Freie Presse, the New York Times of the empire, a newspaper of careful Jews who are celebrated for their brilliance, hampered by their social aspirations, and wrong, in retrospect, about everything. …. Herzl’s plays are produced in Berlin and at the best theater in the city..

And yet society becomes increasingly preoccupied with the “bad manners” of the Jews. …

Books appear seeking to analyze the Jews’ warped character and physiognomy. … This is science. …Eugene Duhring’s The Jewish Question as a Racial, Ethical, and Cultural Question…. One of the most toxic tracts would eventually be written by a Jew by the name of Otto Weininger.

[Note: In his discussion of Judaism, Weininger saw the characteristics of the Jew as even worse than those of Woman. The Jew is a force which exists within people, not just in individual Jews (it is found also in non-Jews). The disadvantage of the Jew compared to Woman is that the latter at least believes in the Male while the Jew believes in nothing. Hence the Jew gravitates towards Communism, anarchism, materialism, empiricism, and atheism.  He had converted to Protestantism, and shortly thereafter, at age 23, committed suicide]

 “When a number of frightened Jewish scholars publicly endorsed the new ‘scientific’ antisemitism and admitted the ‘biological’ inferiority of their race,” Elon writes, “other Jewish wits replied that ‘antisemitism did not really succeed until the Jews began to sponsor it.’”…

Viennese politicians begin understanding how effective this hatred can be as a mobilizing tool. The dark word “they” comes into use—everyone knows who “they” are.

The most adept of this breed is Karl Lueger, who rides Jew-hatred into power but has Jewish friends. “I decide,” he famously declares, “who is a Jew.



In this atmosphere, Herzl works for Neue Freie Presse as, the paper’s Paris correspondent. fall of 1891 and was shocked to find in the homeland of the French Revolution the same anti-Semitism …led him to the conviction that the answer to anti-Semitism was not assimilation but organized counterefforts by the Jews. The Dreyfus affair in France 1895 topped it off.

 Alfred Dreyfus -- graduated ninth in his class with honorable mention and was immediately designated as a trainee in the French Army's General Staff headquarters, where he would be the only Jewish officer. His father Raphaël died on 13 December 1893.

The personal assessments received by Dreyfus during 1893/94 acknowledged his high intelligence, but were critical of aspects of his personality.[4]

Dreyfus, arrested for treason  On 5 January 1895, Dreyfus was summarily convicted in a secret court martial, publicly stripped of his army rank, and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island in French Guiana. …. Dreyfus cried out: "I swear that I am innocent. I remain worthy of serving in the Army. Long live France! Long live the Army!"[5]

Dreyfus still believed in the idea of the French Republic- but the military and the French did not!


Lieutenant Colonel Georges Picquart, reported to his superiors that he had found evidence to the effect that the real traitor was the Major Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy. Picquart was silenced by being transferred to the southern desert of Tunisia in November 1896. …. Esterhazy was found not guilty by a secret court martial, before fleeing to England. Dreyfus was  given a second trial in 1899 and again declared guilty of treason despite the evidence in favor of his innocence.

Finally cleared and reinstated into army in 1906.

[This sentiment- that there are Jews in France, rather than Frenchmen of the Mosaic persuasion, was true even for the great DeGaulle, the hero of the French resistance to Germany.  Lived in Israel in in the apartment above one of Israel’s most famous physicians, who had founded the Ben Gurion University  Medical School, Moshe Prywes. Durin WEWII, he had been drafted in the Polsih army as a doctor, then captured by the soviets. There were French officers and soldiers that were also caught behind Soviet lines- many fell deathly ill- Dr Prywes saved their lives. For this, he was awarded a Knight of the French Legion of Honor . He told me that De Gaulle was giving out the honors, and when he came to place the honors on the Dr, he muttered, so it could be heard, that couldn’t they find somebody other than a Jew to give the honor to?( And De Gaulle was against anti-semitism) ]

Herzl cooks up his plan

1)Herzl’s first idea- march all Jews to the Cathedral in Vienna for a mass conversion.

2)Next-with swords, to the death.His other idea-very popular at the time, was for Jews to challenge anti-semites to personal duels,

A half-dozen duels,” wrote Theodor Herzl in 1893 to the Society for Defense against Antisemitism, “would very much raise the social position of the Jews.”1 In his diary, Herzl fantasized about what those duels might entail. He, alone and unaided, would bravely challenge one of the three most influential leaders of Austrian antisemitism. Perhaps he would die a martyr in the duel, his death proof of Jewish honor. Or, if that failed, when brought to trial for murder (and illegal dueling), Herzl, in an impassioned speech, would “[compel] the court…to respect his nobility,” and, by implication, to understand the horror of antisemitism.2

Finally , the only solution for the majority of Jews would be organized emigration to a state of their own, which meant crating all the machinery of a state-even before there were enough Jews present.

Baron de Hirsch, one of the wealthiest men of his day, who financed many projects in the land of Israel ( and also in Argentina)  refused to hear him out. It led to Herzl’s famous pamphlet The Jewish State (Judenstat), published in February 1896 in Vienna.


“ No one can deny the gravity of the situation of the Jews. Wherever they live in perceptible numbers, they are more or less persecuted. Their equality before the law, granted by statute, has become practically a dead letter. They are debarred from filling even moderately high positions, either in the army, or in any public or private capacity. And attempts are made to thrust them out of business also: "Don't buy from Jews!"

…. In Russia, imposts are levied on Jewish villages; in Rumania, a few persons are put to death; in Germany, they get a good beating occasionally; in Austria, Anti-Semites exercise terrorism over all public life; in Algeria, there are traveling agitators; in Paris, the Jews are shut out of the so-called best social circles and excluded from clubs….

..: Is it not true that, in countries where we live in perceptible numbers, the position of Jewish lawyers, doctors, technicians, teachers, and employees of all descriptions becomes daily more intolerable? Is it not true, that the Jewish middle classes are seriously threatened? Is it not true, that the passions of the mob are incited against our wealthy people? Is it not true, that our poor endure greater sufferings than any other proletariat? I think that this external pressure makes itself felt everywhere. In our economically upper classes it causes discomfort, in our middle classes continual and grave anxieties, in our lower classes absolute despair.

Everything tends, in fact, to one and the same conclusion, which is clearly enunciated in that classic Berlin phrase: "Juden Raus" (Out with the Jews !)


The Jewish question, he wrote, was not a social or religious question but a national question that could be solved only by making it “a political world question to be discussed and settled by the civilized nations of the world in council.”

Some of Herzl’s friends thought it a mad idea- his personal physician thought he needed treatment. So did the chief Rabbi of Vienna.

The first convert to Zionism- a Christian Minister:

The Christian chaplain ,William Hechler, the British Embassy in Vienna- believed in Herzl- he was a Zionist before Herzl. Already- 1884-called for Jewish return.

 April 1896 Hechler arranged for meeting with Grand Duke Frederich I

Two days later, on 25 April, Hechler brought a very nervous Theodor Herzl[6] to a private audience with the Grand Duke. It was the first time that Herzl was able to share his vision of Political Zionism and his solution to the "Jewish Problem" with German royalty.'s_Stone-2.jpg

Now, the 2nd convert to Zionism is the German Grand Duke.

Frederick I, Grand Duke of Baden was very taken with Hechler's eschatological predictions and with Herzl's pragmatic solution to the Jewish problem through restoration of the Jews to Palestine. The Grand Duke became a lifelong advocate of Herzl and the Zionist cause. He used his office and his relationship with his nephew, Kaiser Wilhelm II to support Herzl and Zionism.


So the third convert to Zionism- the German Kaiser!

The Kaiser tried to convince the Ottoman Sultan that he should let Jews have a settlement in Palestine in exchange for Jews paying off Ottoman debts. Sultan refused.,_German_Emperor,_by_Russell_&_Sons,_c1890.jpg


The pamphlet won favorable response from eastern European Zionist societies, but not from assimilated central European Jews.

The First Zionist Congress

 decided to organize a world congress of Zionists in the hope of winning support from the masses of Jews in all countries. Basel.end of August 1897, attended by about 200 delegates. They represented all social strata and every variety of Jewish thought —from Orthodox Jews to atheists and from businessmen to students. the Basel Program, declaring Zionism’s aspiration “to create a publicly guaranteed homeland for the Jewish people” in Palestine. It also set up the Zionist Organization with Herzl as president.



Later accomplishments

. remained literary editor of the Neue Freie Presse in order to earn a living. He established a Zionist newspaper, Die Welt, published as a German-language weekly in Vienna. Wrote his novel , Altneuland, a vision of a new Jewish state.

The sultan refused his request for a Jewish autonomous region in Palestine. He then turned to Great Britain- 1st plan- a Jewish settlement in British territory in the Sinai Peninsula.The British proposed Uganda in East Africa. This offer, which he and some other Zionists were willing to accept, aroused violent opposition at the Zionist congress of 1903, particularly among the Russians. Herzl was unable to resolve the conflict. He died of a heart ailment at Edlach, near Vienna, at the age of 44

 Before died, though, he did get the 5th and 6th , most valuable converts to Zionism,

David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of the UK during WWI:

Before the location of that Jewish state was declared as Palestine, Lloyd George worked as a legal advisor for Theodor Herzl,  to help convey British support for Jewish autonomy in Uganda. George took great pride in his role to help bring about the 1917 Balfour Declaration,  Speech to English Zionist Federation: “I was Prime Minister of this country when the idea of the Jewish National Home took form as an act of State policy in the Balfour Declaration, and I presided over the Councils of the Imperial Cabinet which gave expression to that policy and secured for it the sanction of our Allies. I was the principal delegate of the British Empire at San Remo where the Mandate for Palestine received its final shape and was conferred upon Britain.”

The Prime Minister during WWII was the other great British Zionist- Winston Churchill

Both George and Churchill were odd-men out in the UK- George- a Welsh nationalist, Churchill, a half American.






One more ( albeit after Herzl) convert to Zionism:  Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca and King of the Hejaz, until the Saudi family took over. His son, the Emir Feisal, leader of the Arab revolt against Ottomans in WWI ( Lawrence of Arabia fane). His other son, Abdullah, founded Transjordan ( Jordan), the lion’s part of the mandate of Palestine.


According to Isaiah Friedman, Hussein was not perturbed by the Balfour Declaration and on 23 March 1918, in Al Qibla, the daily newspaper of Mecca, attested that Palestine was "a sacred and beloved homeland of its original sons", the Jews; "the return of these exiles to their homeland will prove materially and spiritually an experimental school for their [Arab] brethren." He called on the Arab population in Palestine to welcome the Jews as brethren and cooperate with them for the common welfare.[13,_Sharif_of_Mecca#/media/File:Sharif_Husayn.jpg





After the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Herzl had written in his diary:

If I had to sum up the Basel Congress in one word—which I shall not do openly—it would be this: At Basel I founded the Jewish state. If I were to say this today, I would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years, perhaps, and certainly in 50, everyone will see it.





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