23 April 2001
HERZL, Theodor (1860-1904). Der Judenstaat. Versuch einer modernen Lösung der Judenfrage. Leipzig and Vienna: M. Breitenstein's Verlags-Buchhandlung, 1896.
8o (220 x 145 mm). 86 pages, divisional titles. Ornamental headpieces. (Slight glue residue on title at gutter.) Modern blue half morocco, gilt spine, decorated paper sides, portion of original wrapper mounted on a flyleaf.
FIRST EDITION OF HERZL'S PROPOSAL FOR A JEWISH STATE. Herzl, the founder of the political form of Zionism, proposed that the Jewish question was a political, and not religious, matter and should be settled by a world council of nations. "It was Herzl's book which really crystallized the idea of a national home for the Jews. Two conceptions had prevailed hitherto: either that of the ghetto, presupposing an unbridgeable gulf between Jews and Gentiles, or that of assimilation, which meant a complete acceptance by the Jews of their environment leading eventually to their becoming part of the people among whom they lived. Herzl took a different view. By his work he transformed the Jewish people from a passive community into a positive political force" (PMM). Reception of the ideas expressed in Der Judenstaat allowed Herzl to organize a world congress at Basel, Switzerland in August 1897. He became the first president of the World Zionist Organization, the movement to establish a Jewish state. "That a Jewish State was created in Palestine within fifty years of his death was due to the vision and practical methods of Herzl, expressed in his manifesto of 1896" (PMM 381).
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