Biography of Max Nordau
Nordau soon became Herzl's partner in the Zionist movement. It was he was credited with drafting the Basle program. At the first Zionist Congress, Nordau spoke immediately after Herzl. He gave an address surveying the condition of the Jewish people, which became a tradition at later Zionist Congresses.
At the Sixth Zionist Congress, Nordau defended the plan to settle Jews in Uganda, arguing that it offered a temporary solution to the Jewish people's sufferings (see Max Nordau - Address to the Sixth Zionist Congress). He coined the term nachtasyl (night shelter) to describe the Uganda plan. After Herzl died, Nordau was offered the office of President of the World Zionist Organization. He declined, preferring instead to serve as advisor to David Wolffsohn. He opposed Practical Zionism, like Herzl, and remained faithful to Herzl's l program of Political Zionism.
Nordau gradually distanced himself from the Zionist movement, but remained a Zionist. He last attended his Zionist Congress in 1911. Though he lived in Spain during the First World War, he tried to keep up contacts with the movement throughout that period. Weizmann tried to bring him back into the Zionist at the end of the War; but Nordau rejected the overtures, believing that the movement was a shadow of what Herzl had intended it to be.
In 1920, following the Balfour Declaration- Nordau attended a gathering of Zionists and British notables in England. There he embarrassed Chaim Weizmann and other British Zionists by making a frankly colonialist and utilitarian statement of Zionist aims. The Jews had helped Britain to acquire Palestine, and would help to guard the Suez Canal and British colonial interests, but the British must keep their part of the bargain and support massive Zionist settlement. He foresaw imminent catastrophe for the Jews of Europe, particularly in Germany, Hungary and Poland, and pleaded for immediate and massive immigration. He wanted to bring 500,000 Jews to Palestine immediately, but the resources of the Zionist organization were too meager to make such a plan practical, the Jews would not come, and the British would not allow rapid settlement of Palestine. He planned to immigrate to Palestine, but fell ill and died after a long illness in 1923. In 1926 his remains were brought to Tel Aviv.
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