26 February 2004
WEIZMANN, Chaim (1874-1952). Autograph letter signed to General Gilbert F. Clayton, 6 September 1918. Three closely written pages, 4to, stationery of Zionist Committee to Palestine, two filing holes on left margin, paper clip burn.
"THE ZIONISTS IN GERMANY HAVE...TO TREAD VERY CAREFULLY...AMERICA IS ENTIRELY WITH US AND I THINK THAT BRANDEIS AND MYSELF ARE A FAIRLY STRONG COMBINATION."
CHAIM WEIZMANN'S GLOBAL SURVEY OF ZIONISM IN 1918. Weizmann considers the state of world Zionism in the aftermath of the Balfour Declaration in this lengthy letter to General Clayton, the British administrator in Palestine. There were many Zionists in the Central Power countries, Weizmann writes, and "their position is a very delicate one." Germany, for its part, did not "know exactly how to deal with them; sometimes they try methods of coercion like in Austria (arrests, search of houses, confiscation of documents), but in the majority of cases they try the wise policy of vague promises, concessions of an innocent nature, and what is important they try to protect the colonies in those parts of Palestine which are still unoccupied. The Zionists in Germany have therefore to tread very carefully and are constantly avoiding an open conflict with the Germans. But I am afraid that at present they have been forced on a somewhat dangerous path," namely depending on the German government to extract territorial concessions from Turkey.
The Zionists in neutral countries "are just sitting on the fence and have become demoralized." America, by contrast, "is entirely with us and I think that Brandeis and myself are a fairly strong combination." He concludes with the reflection that "It is rather a solemn hour just now, the end of an old year for us Jews, of a very momentous year and at the threshold of a New Year."
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