Wednesday, August 16, 2006

US Zionist Leader: "We are still Palestinians"

This is a quote from a US Zionist leader in 1903, Dr. Richard Gottheil.

Many people are aware of the "Uganda Proposal," where Great Britain offered a portion of Africa to the Zionist movement. Some Zionists, including Herzl himself, were quite interested and the resolution was brought up in the Sixth Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland in August 1903. The Congress voted to send an exploratory team to Africa to determine if it would be a suitable land.

What I didn't know was that even the "Territorialists" who supported the Uganda Proposal did not see it as a permanent idea, rather as a stopgap measure to save the Jews who were threatened by pogroms in Czarist Russia. They all accepted that the Jewish homeland is in what was then called Palestine, hence the "We are still Palestinians" comment. This is clear in this article I found from "The Durango (Colorado) Democrat" that describes the situation in December, 1903.

The Uganda Proposal was defeated at the Seventh Zionist Congress after a negative report from one of the investigators sent to Africa (actually Kenya, not Uganda.)

The Territorialist movement stayed around trying to find other places for oppressed Jews to move - even getting thousands to move to Galveston, Texas. The movement dwindled after the Balfour Declaration in 1917.