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Current time:0:00Total duration:11:10

Video transcript

the history of the jewish people goes back roughly 4 000 years but in order to understand the the desire by jewish people in the late 1800s and early 1900s for jewish homeland we have to go back roughly 17 or 1800 years to the year 135 135 in the common era and it was then that judea was a province of the roman empire judea is the biblical home of the jewish people it's the location of jerusalem and in 135 of the common era the roman emperor hadrian is able to suppress a rebellion by the jews in judea and he after suppressing that rebellion he expels the jews from judea so hadrian hadrian expels expels the jews from from judea and it was actually not only did he expel them from judea but he actually renamed the province this province up here in red was roman syria he merges these two provinces and calls them syria palestina so let me write that down so he renames it syria syria palestine palestina which is essentially why for the next 1700 years or so and even parts of it today are referred to as palestine now we will fast forward over the next more than 1700 years so we're going to go more than 1700 years over this period most of the jewish people are not now living in what was then judea they have settled in groups in europe in in in the middle east in africa there were even groups of jews who had settled in india and for the most part they thrived in their various communities but unfortunately their history had had a had a fairly large amount of persecution of discrimination of kind of using them as a scapegoat this was particularly the case in in europe where you have the the christian church often kind of blamed the jews on religious grounds you had you know they were an easy scapegoat every anytime things went hard you had ethnic cleansing you had pogroms this was especially the russian empire as we get especially as we get into the into the 1800s was especially infamous and it's in its treatment of the jews and so you have this long history of jewish persecution in fact much of jewish tradition today is around remembrances of these various tragedies these various persecutions and so with that as the context we then get into the late 1800s and so let's go to 1860 1860 you have the birth of theodore herzl so 1860 you have the birth of this gentleman right over here theodore herzl born and he's born to a jewish a german-speaking jewish family in the austro-hungarian empire and the family he's born into isn't particularly religious in his as a young man he's he remains fairly secular he's not a particularly religious person but as he grows and he he becomes a journalist he's able to observe the anti-semitism that especially that's occurring in especially in the late 1800s in russia but throughout much of europe in 1894 so at this point he's 34 years old still a fairly young man in 1894 in paris he directly observes he uh the dreyfus affair the dreyfus dreyfus affair in which a in which a french jewish officer in the military is accused of treason accused of spying for the germans this leads to all sorts of kind of public anti-semitism it later is shown that it was a false claims on on dreyfus and some people would debate whether this directly led to theodore herzl's articulation of a need for a jewish homeland but it was something that he directly observed so it must have influenced him in some way it was this and all the other anti-semitism that he observed either directly or indirectly his entire life or even that he was able to read in the history books and so taking all of that in and this is coming from a fairly secular individual in 1896 1896 at the age of 36 he writes der dudenstadt der judenstadt which literally translates as the jewish state der judenstad and this was a very articulate description or or desire or articulation i guess i should say of the need for a jewish homeland and a jewish state and so it's really the birth of political zionism political political zionism now where does the word zionism come from well the root is zion from mount zion mount zion is essentially a hill in in modern day jerusalem but the word zion is often equated with kind of with with with jerusalem with with the holy land with kind of the home of the jews and that would be roughly right over here jerusalem is roughly right over here and i stress the modifier political political zionism because there was already a movement to bring the jewish people back to their their ancient homeland in judea which would be referred to as could be referred to as zionism but it was really herzl who articulated a a kind of a a need to set up a political state and start to organize around trying to create a political state and i write over here i quote some of what he wrote in der juden stott we are people one people we have sincerely tried everywhere to merge with the national communities in which we live seeking only to preserve the faith of our fathers it has not permitted us in vain we are loyal patriots sometimes super loyal in vain do we make the same sacrifices of life and property as our fellow citizens in vain do we strive to enhance the fame of our native lands in the arts and sciences or her wealth by trade and commerce in our native lands where we have lived for centuries we are still decried as aliens often by men whose ancestors had not yet come at a time when jewish size had long been heard in the country oppression and persecution cannot exterminate us no nation on earth has endured such struggles and sufferings as we have palestine is our unforget is our unforgettable homeland and this ends up getting huge traction resonates with the jewish diaspora gives him the power to essentially the next year organized in 1818 1897 the first zionist congress first the first zionist congress where he's able to bring bring together like-minded or at least people who are who are looking to organize a way to eventually establish a a jewish state preferably in palestine and i say preferably in palestine and it's clear that this was this was the this was the first choice to go back to the historical homeland of judea but even herzl himself had considered argentina which at the time was was very open-minded very open towards immigration there was some talk of of of of east africa of british east africa in fact the british offered uganda in 1803 in 1903 to the what would later be called the zionist organization it was considered at i believe it was the sixth zionist congress so these were things that were actually considered but palestine was always because of historical reasons the the hopeful home of the zionist movement now i fully realize this is an incredibly touchy issue regardless of where people end on on kind of their views of of zionism or theodore herzl some would view him as a visionary view him as a hero some would view him as starting the sea that led to the eventual you know the the occupation of palestine and and the settlements that are going on there and i'll try my best to to to stay out of kind of picking sides there but regardless of where you are in in in that argument it's pretty amazing how much foresight he actually had and his ability to kind of get this thing going even even from the get-go he was able to he had some conversations with the ottomans and other folks about being able to get land in palestine and all of us it didn't he wasn't successful in his own lifetime but even after that first zionist congress which was held in basel he had he he understood what he was doing and he was looking past beyond his own lifetime and this is a quote here from from his journal and it's pretty telling we're to sum up the basil congress in a word which i shall guard against pronouncing publicly it would be this at basel i founded the jewish state if i said this out loud today i would be greeted by universal laughter in five years perhaps and certainly in 50 years everyone will perceive it and this is amazingly prescient because the state of israel would come into a reality in in roughly in roughly 50 years with that said i and i once again i know this is an incredibly touchy issue the one thing that is probably surprising to to many people is that he he was not he was not a kind of an extreme individual and it comes out from some of his other writing that even though he wanted this this jewish state he he was a fairly tolerant individual and he did not view this only for the jews and he didn't feel that it should be taken by force or in any other way and it comes out in his writing right over here this is from his diary it goes without saying that we shall respectfully tolerate persons of other faiths and protect their property their honor and their freedom with the harshest means of corrosion so protect their property honor and using the harshest means of coercion to protect their property their honor and their freedom so this is a tolerant thing to do this is another area in which we shall set the entire world a wonderful example should there be many such immovable owners in individual areas who will not sell their property to us so say if we want to go there and properly buy land but people don't want to sell it to us we shall simply leave them there and develop our commerce in the direction of other areas which belong to us so he wasn't in the mood to really get into a confrontation or to antagonize anyone and he was and he recognized that there were other people there that might not want to sell their land to those that might settle this this new this new state and in his later on in his life right actually shortly before his death he actually writes a novel about this this this potential state that might be created and he writes this is written in alt new land it literally translates to the old new land it is founded on the ideas which are a common product of all civilized nations it would be immoral if we would exclude anyone whatever his origin his descent or his religion from participating in our achievements for we stand on the shoulders of other civilized peoples what we own we owe to the preparatory work of other peoples therefore we have to repay our debt there's only one way to do it the highest tolerance our motto must therefore be now and ever man you are my brother