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Theodor Herzl's Program for Zionism

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THE FLAG

We have no flag, and we need one. If we desire to lead many men, we must raise a symbol above their heads.

I would suggest a white flag, with seven golden stars. The white field symbolizes our pure new life; the stars are the seven golden hours of our working-day. For we shall march into the Promised Land carrying the badge of honor.

RECIPROCITY AND EXTRADITION TREATIES

The new Jewish State must be properly founded, with due regard to our future honorable position in the world. Therefore every obligation in the old country must be scrupulously fulfilled before leaving. The Society of Jews and the Jewish Company will grant cheap passage and certain advantages in settlement to those only who can present an official testimonial from the local authorities, certifying that they have left their affairs in good order.

Every just private claim originating in the abandoned countries will be heard more readily in the Jewish State than anywhere else. We shall not wait for reciprocity; we shall act purely for the sake of our own honor. We shall thus perhaps find, later on, that law courts will be more willing to hear our claims than now seems to be the case in some places.

It will be inferred, as a matter of course, from previous remarks, that we shall deliver up Jewish criminals more readily than any other State would do, till the time comes when we can enforce our penal code on the same principle, as every other civilized nation does. There will therefore be a period of transition, during which we shall receive our criminals only after they have suffered due penalties. But, having made amends, they will be received without any restrictions whatever, for our criminals also must enter upon a new life.

Thus emigration may become to many Jews a crisis with a happy issue. Bad external circumstances, which ruin many a character, will be removed, and this change may mean salvation to many who are lost.

Here I should like briefly to relate a story I came across in an account of the gold mines of Witwatersrand. One day a man came to the Rand, settled there, tried his hand at various things, with the exception of gold mining, till he founded an ice factory, which did well. He soon won universal esteem by his respectability, but after some years he was suddenly arrested. He had committed some defalcations as banker in Frankfort, had fled from there, and had begun a new life under an assumed name. But when he was led away as prisoner, the most respected people in the place appeared at the station, bade him a cordial farewell and au revoir -- for he was certain to return.

How much this story reveals! A new life can regenerate even criminals, and we have a proportionately small number of these. Some interesting statistics on this point are worth reading, entitled "The Criminality of Jews in Germany," by Dr. P. Nathan, of Berlin, who was commissioned by the "Society for Defense against Anti-Semitism" to make a collection of statistics based on official returns. It is true that this pamphlet, which teems with figures, has been prompted, as many another "defence," by the error that Anti-Semitism can be refuted by reasonable arguments. We are probably disliked as much for our gifts as we are for our faults.

BENEFITS OF THE EMIGRATION OF THE JEWS

I imagine that Governments will, either voluntarily or under pressure from the Anti-Semites, pay certain attention to this scheme, and they may perhaps actually receive it here and there with a sympathy which they will also show to the Society of Jews.

For the emigration which I suggest will not create any economic crises. Such crises as would follow everywhere in consequence of Jew-baiting would rather be prevented by the carrying out of my plan. A great period of prosperity would commence in countries which are now Anti- Semitic. For there will be, as I have repeatedly said, an internal migration of Christian citizens into the positions slowly and systematically evacuated by the Jews. If we are not merely suffered, but actually assisted to do this, the movement will have a generally beneficial effect. That is a narrow view, from which one should free oneself, which sees in the departure of many Jews a consequent impoverishment of countries. It is different from a departure which is a result of persecution, for then property is indeed destroyed, as it is ruined in the confusion of war. Different again is the peaceable voluntary departure of colonists, wherein everything is carried out with due consideration for acquired rights, and with absolute conformity to law, openly and by light of day, under the eyes of the authorities and the control of public opinion. The emigration of Christian proletarians to different parts of the world would be brought to a standstill by the Jewish movement.

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Translated from the German by Sylvie D'Avigdor
This edition published in 1946 by the American Zionist Emergency Council

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