Celebrating 75 years of Theodor Herzl's Zionist idea - opinion

Published date23 November 2022
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
While celebrating this mind-blowing milestone next Tuesday, let's rebrand. Calling Resolution 181 the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine emphasizes the UN plan dividing British Mandatory Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem internationalized. But the Arab world repudiated this painful compromise, which most Zionist leaders reluctantly accepted

Instead, celebrate Resolution 181's true significance as The United Nations Recognition of Jewish Statehood. The world formally recognized Theodor Herzl's old-new Zionist idea that Jews are a people tied to a particular homeland with the right to establish a Jewish state in that homeland.

In this age of delegitimization, it's essential to emphasize that while world recognition was nice, Jews' rights to Israel preceded the UN and transcend any diplomatic power alignments.

Celebrating 75 years

This Sunday, November 27, at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem we will celebrate this November 29 breakthrough and Theodor Herzl's broader revolution, which began with that simple Zionist idea. On Sunday night, in launching my latest book project, Theodor Herzl's Zionist Writings, the inaugural three volumes of The Library of the Jewish People, we will toast Herzl's great gift to the Jewish people and to humanity. After centuries of leaps of faith, he offered a leap of hope, a liberal-democratic nationalist vision that tomorrow will be better than today and that we can roll up our sleeves to make tomorrow better.

"No one is powerful or wealthy enough to transport a people from one domicile to another. Only an idea can achieve that... All through the night of their history, the Jews have not ceased to dream this royal dream: 'Next year in Jerusalem!'"

Theodor Herzl wrote in his 1896 Zionist manifesto, Der Judenstaat

Today, Herzl may be most famous for his remarkable profile with that fabulous black beard but that catalytic idea transformed his life – and Jewish life. More than an image guy, this lawyer-playwright-journalist was an idea man. In these newly-published diaries, the word "idea" appears over 600 times, which is why it's so appropriate that these volumes are launching the Library of the Jewish People's ambitious attempt to catalog the many ways Jews have danced with ideas over millennia.

Herzl began his 1896 Zionist manifesto, Der Judenstaat, declaring: "The idea which I develop in this pamphlet is an age-old one: the establishment of a Jewish state." He understood that "No one is...

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