Last updated on: 8/12/2008 7:45:00 AM PST
Should a Jewish Homeland Have Been Created Somewhere Other than the Middle East?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Leon Pinsker, MD, Zionist and leader of the Russian Assimilationist Movement, in an 1882 essay titled "Auto-Emancipation," wrote:

"The goal of our efforts should not be the 'holy' land, but a land of our own. What we need is a large tract of land for our poor bretheren, our own possession, whence no strange master shall have the power to drive us forth.

Thither we should carry with us the holy treasures we rescued from the overthrow of our native land- the God-idea and the Sacred Scriptures. They and they alone- not Jerusalem and not the Jordan- are what sanctified our olden home.

If by lucky chance the Holy Land itself happens to become our land, so much the better. But above all- this is the one thing needful- it must be determined what land is available land, at the same time, fit to offer to the outcast Jews of all countries a safe, undisputed, productive retreat."

1882 - Leon Pinsker, MD 

Ami Isseroff, DSc, Director of MidEastWeb website, in an essay (accessed Sep. 14, 2006) titled "A History of Zionism and the Creation of Israel," wrote:

"Even before they [Britain] had conquered Palestine from the Ottoman Turkish Empire, owing to the efforts of Zionists [since 1880's], the British government declared its intentions, in the Balfour declaration [of 1917], of sponsoring a 'national home' for the Jews in Palestine. Britain was given a League of Nations Mandate [in 1922] to develop Palestine as a Jewish National home."

Sep. 14, 2006 - Ami Isseroff, DSc 

The Jewish Virtual Library, an online encyclopedia, in a section related to Zionist factions titled "Territorialism," (accessed Sep. 14, 2006), offered the following information:

"Territorialism preached the formation of a Jewish collective in Palestine, or anywhere else, on the basis of self-rule. The territorialist outlook coalesced in the debate over the Uganda Program. It attempted to locate territory suitable for Jewish settlement in various parts of Africa, Asia, and Australia, but with little success. The Balfour Declaration and the resulting Zionist awakening negated the movement and led to its dissolution in 1925.

Other territorialist [non Zionist] attempts... were undertaken in the Soviet Union between the two world wars. The first was in the southern Ukraine and the northern Crimea, where four non­contiguous 'national districts' (raiony) were established in the early 1920s and obliterated when the Nazis invaded. The second was in Birobidjan, where a 'Jewish Autonomous Region' was proclaimed in 1934.

In 1935, in response to the Nazi accession to power in Germany, Isaac Nachman Steinberg established the Freeland League in the United States. This organization attempted, unsuccessfully, to pursue Jewish autonomy by obtaining a large piece of territory in sparsely populated areas in Ecuador, Australia, or Surinam."

Sep. 14, 2006 - Jewish Virtual Library  

Israel Zangwill, founder of the Jewish Territorial Organization, in a Aug. 4, 1905 Los Angeles Times article titled "Zionist Leaders Disagree, Refusal of Land Offered by the British Government for Colony Considered a Mistake," stated:

"The majority of the [Zionist] Congress does not represent the interests of the Jewish nation... A great mistake was made in refusing the land [in Uganda] offered by the English government as the site for a colony.

It would have been the beginning of a movement that would have had world-wide significance, and would have made a haven where persecuted Jews could have taken refuge."

Aug. 4, 1905 - Israel Zangwill 



PRO (yes)

Theodor Herzl, Doctor of Law, Father of Zionism, in the "Palestine or Argentine?," section of his 1896 book titled The Jewish State, proposed the following:

"Shall we choose Palestine or Argentine? We shall take what is given us, and what is selected by Jewish public opinion. The Society will determine both these points. Argentine is one of the most fertile countries in the world, extends over a vast area, has a sparse population and a mild climate. The Argentine Republic would derive considerable profit from the cession of a portion of its territory to us."

1896 - Theodore Herzel 



Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, PhD, President of Iran, stated the following at a Dec. 8, 2005 summit of Muslim nations in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as reported by Salah Nasrawi of the Associated Press:

"Some European countries insist on saying that during World War II, Hitler burned millions of Jews and put them in concentration camps...

Let's assume what the Europeans say is true ... Let's give some land to the Zionists in Europe or in Germany or Austria... They faced injustice in Europe, so why do the repercussions fall on the Palestinians?"

Dec. 8, 2005 - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, PhD 



Emil Hirsch, Rabbi and spokesman for the radical wing of the Reform Movement, in the 1890 "Conference on the Past, Present and Future of Israel," held in Chicago, stated:

"No Jew interpreted his prophecies to mean the re-gathering of his race into the land of their ancient home. No expectation was expressed of an earthly kingdom, Messianic or other, with Jerusalem as its capital...We, the modern Jews, do not wish to be restored to Palestine.

We have given up the hope in the coming of a political, personal Messiah. We say, 'The country wherein we live is our Palestine, and the city wherein we dwell is our Jerusalem.' We will not go back...to form again a nationality of our own...

Let our religious life be clothed in the symbols of the life we see living round about us. Let our synagogues speak the language of the cities in which we dwell. Let our ceremonial be constituted in harmony with the culture by which are surrounded."

1890 - Emil Hirsch 



Malcolm MacDonald, MA, British Colonial and Dominions Secretary, in an Nov. 24, 1938 Los Angeles Times article titled "Britain Rejects Zionist Appeals, Colonial Secretary Says Palestine Offers No Hope for Refugees," was quoted as follows:

"When we promised to facilitate a national home for the Jews in Palestine we never anticipated this fierce persecution in Europe. We made no promises that Palestine should be the home for everyone who is seeking to scape such a calamity. Palestine's rather meager soil cannot support more than a fraction of the Jews. The problem... can not be settled in Palestine, it has to be settled over a far wider field."

Nov. 24, 1938 - Malcolm MacDonald, MA 



CON (no)

The League of Nations, an international organization created after the First World War, stated in The Palestine Mandate signed on July 24, 1922:

"Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed, for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, to entrust to a Mandatory selected by the said Powers the administration of the territory of Palestine, which formerly belonged to the Turkish Empire, within such boundaries as may be fixed by them; and

Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty [Balfour Declaration], and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and

Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country."

July 24, 1922 - League of Nations 



Bernard Horwich, Chicago representative at the Zionist Congress, was quoted in an Aug. 27, 1903 Los Angeles Times article titled "May Locate Zion in East Africa":

"[We] urge Congress to leave the African proposition to the Executive Committee. Zion is not to be abandoned until all efforts are abandoned. If we abandon the Palestine colonization project, Zionism is dead. All our efforts have been directed toward establishing the Jewish nation in Zion. East Africa may be a desirable place, for colonization, but is not our country."

Aug. 27, 1903 - Bernard Horwich 



Ber Borochov, founder of the Marxist Zionist party Poalei Tziyon, in a 1905 essay titled "To the Question: Zion and Territory," wrote:

"The dogmatic territorialist must give up, as a matter of principle, any freedom of choice and he must take the first territory that happens to come along, the one that is given to him on the basis of secured rights of autonomy and where it is possible to establish a sanctuary for the majority of persecuted and scattered Jews.

However territorialism cannot retain its lofty, theoretical, abstract principle, because the Zionists of Zion remain true to the belief that the national advantage of the Land of Israel, as an object of special endearment, doesn’t allow us to give up Eretz Israel as long as there is hope of acquiring it on the basis of our needs.

And here, the territorialists, after removing themselves from the purity of dogma, after removing themselves from free choice, are compelled to move on step further and negate the Land of Israel."

1905 - Ber Borochov 



Napoleon Bonapart, French Commander-in-Chief, in a 1799 letter to the Israelites after the conquest of Jerusalem titled "Buonaparte, Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the French Republic in Africa and Asia, to the Rightful Heirs of Palestine," wrote:

"Israelites, unique nation, whom, in thousands of years, lust of conquest and tyranny have been able to be deprived of their ancestral lands, but not of name and national existence!...

Arise then, with gladness, ye exiled!

A war unexampled in the annals of history, waged in self-defense... offers to you at this very time, and contrary to all expectations, Israel's patrimony!...

The great nation [France] ...herewith calls on you not indeed to conquer your patrimony ;nay, only to take over that which has been conquered and, with that nation's warranty and support, to remain master of it to maintain it against all comers...

Now is the moment, which may not return for thousands of years, to claim the restoration of civic rights among the population of the universe which had been shamefully withheld from you for thousands of years, your political existence as a nation among the nations."

1799 - Napoleone Buonaparte