web analytics
December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Where Persecuted Jews May Go: In Memoriam, Benzion Netanyahu (1910-2012)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a memorial ceremony for the Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky at Mount Herzl.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a memorial ceremony for the Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky at Mount Herzl.
Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90

It is therefore fortunate that the book, The Founding Fathers of Zionism by Benzion Netanyahu, the recently deceased 102 year old patriarch of an important Israeli family — including Jonathan the celebrated hero who was killed while leading the mission to rescue Jewish hostages held by the PLO at Entebbe airport on July 4, 1976, Benjamin, Prime Minister of Israel, and Iddo, a prominent physician — has been translated from Hebrew and is being published for the first time in English. The author is well known both as a renowned scholar, especially for his 1400 page, controversial book, The Origins of the Inquisition in 15th century Spain, dedicated to Jonathan.

Netanyahu’s book is a series of essays on five major writers — Leo Pinsker, Theodore Herzl, Max Nordau, Israel Zangwill, and Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky — who contributed to the intellectual foundation of Zionism and thus indirectly to the establishment of the state of Israel.

In earlier years, Netanyahu was an activist in the Revisionist Zionist movement, for a time secretary to its founder, Jabotinsky, and head of the U.S. branch of the movement during World War II. In 1940 he approved the campaign of Jabotinsky, who had formed Haganah in 1920 as a separate fighting force, to create a Jewish military force to fight against Nazi Germany, and to call for a Jewish state. Although he never renounced his favorable opinion of Jabotinsky, his essays are eminently fair in their evaluation of all of his five founders.

Netanyahu traces Zionism back to late 19th century Russia and the rise in Eastern Europe of a national consciousness, partly as an outcome of religious longings, but largely as a result of attacks on Jews and the manifest anti-Semitism there.

It is of course true that some in the Jewish community do not acknowledge the land that is now Israel as the necessary homeland for all Jews. The founders in Netanyahu’s book thought otherwise. Their arguments, which played a major part of the intellectual foundations on which the state of Israel was built, were based on the understanding, which turned out to be prescient, that European Jews would be doomed without a Jewish state in which they would be protected and could defend themselves. For Netanyahu the motivation of Zionism, also as expressed by his founders, was not religious but political.

The declaration at the First Zionist Congress that Herzl convened in Basel in 1897 was that “Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine secured under public law.” This implied an international charter for Jews to return to Palestine. The result, Herzl believed, would be not only a state but also the ending of anti-Semitism. Herzl emphasized the need for the Jewish people to rule, and to believe in their own powers. Netanyahu sums up Herzl in three words: “believe, dare and desire.” In Herzl’s novel, Altneuland, a character concludes, “If you will it, it is no dream.”

Herzl’s contributions to Zionism, a combination of realism and optimism, emphasized a principle post-Zionists tend to reject: that Jews “are a people, one people.” Affliction he said “binds us together, and thus united, we suddenly discover our strength.” He urged the restoration of the Jewish state, in which a normal society could exist for Jews. The new state, he said, with an insistence that underscored his determined diplomatic efforts to get international approval, must have an assured right of sovereignty, and a legal right recognized by the international community.

Not surprisingly, the longest essay in Netanyahu’s book is on his hero Jabotinsky – orator, writer, and thinker with a mastery of languages, literature, and history. That hero saluted Herzl, the liberated strong personality who was a model of the proud, independent Jew, able to command, and necessary in a new Jewish entity.

Jabotinsky called for both political and military resistance to any concession of the rights to which Jews were entitled, as individuals or as a people. To this end he championed Jewish self-defense in Russia. As a private individual he created the Jewish Legions in World War I and after the War the Irgun Zva’i Leumi (National Military Organization). Netanyahu points out that he urged both a political and military struggle against British rule. The political struggle should be one of constant public pressure, going beyond diplomatic niceties. The military one would be a way of educating Jewish youth; at an extreme it would be an armed uprising against Britain.

Jabotinsky’s most controversial argument was his policy towards local Arabs. He predicted the Arab pogroms of April 1920 against Jews, and organized defense against it for which he was jailed for 15 years, although soon released. He recognized that Arabs would not voluntarily consent to the fulfillment of Zionism, and would fight against Jewish immigration, even though it would bring them cultural and economic benefits. Hence his famous advocacy of an Iron Wall, a strong legal military and political force to convince the Arabs that they could not force Jews to leave the area. For him the land of Israel would be obtained only through force.

About the Author: Michael Curtis is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Rutgers University, and author of the forthcoming book, Should Israel Exist? A sovereign nation under assault by the international community.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Where Persecuted Jews May Go: In Memoriam, Benzion Netanyahu (1910-2012)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A message from an ambassador of the Palestinian Authority, Israel's "peace partner."
Palestinian Authority Envoy to Tehran Says Israel will be Destroyed
Latest Indepth Stories
Ben-Tsvi-122614

“Farming still allows some unique opportunities for mitzvah fulfillment that a city dweller never meets.”

Bill Cosby

It shakes our sense of justice when allegations against a famed role model are covered up or ignored

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Feiglin: Only true liberty will allow us to genuinely connect to our Jewish identity.

Knesset Logo

The silver lining with early elections is the chance to change the current dysfunctional government.

The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

The West needs to ensure Russia understands that aggression comes at a significant cost.

What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?

Girlfriend and double cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley apparently was influenced by Islamic extremism.

We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.

Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.

Also left unsaid was the fact that the menorah and its oil were in the Beit HaMikdash, which of course was located on Har HaBayit – the Temple Mount that present-day Muslims claim as their own.

Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.

A revolution is taking place between good and evil; light and darkness. Make the light activism!

More Articles from Michael Curtis
Rania Okby, Bedouin Israeli on faculty of Ben Gurion University Health Sciences School

Boko Haram enforces a patriarchal oriented society in which women are treated as “sexual slaves.”

Arab Woman

These feminists are so anti-Israel that they ignore Arab women’s lack of political and social freedom

With the Syrian government refusing to allow UN inspectors into the country it is difficult to see how indisputable proof of use of chemical weapons can be found

Sweden is now a country where orthodox Jews are afraid to wear a skullcap.

Since June 2005, the EU has given more than $48 million to over 90 NGOs based in Israel, who are regarded as critical of Israel.

The EU has yet to appreciate the reality that the conflict continues because of the refusal of the Palestinians to accept the right of the State of Israel to exist.

Today, fewer than 4,500 Jews remain in Arab countries. Israel absorbed and integrated 600,000 of the more than 850,000 who left.

The Palestinians have asked the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO to recognize Battir, a village about 5 miles west of Bethlehem, as a World Heritage Site and add it to the 936 sites already maintained by UNESCO. The city’s original name was Betar, the last fortress of Bar Kochba and the name of Jabotinsky’s Zionist youth movement.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/where-persecuted-jews-may-go-in-memoriam-benzion-netanyahu-1910-2012/2012/05/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: