Theodor Herzl, father of political Zionism and founder of the World Zionist Organisation was born in 1860. Following his general education, Herzl studied law in Vienna. However, a year after gaining his doctorate, he began a career in journalism.

The growth of anti-Semitism in France stirred Herzl's interest in the Jewish problem and the Dreyfus case convinced him that the only solution was for the Jews to leave the various anti-Semitic countries in which they resided and be resettled in a country of their own. He therefore decided to apply himself to the realisation of this ideal.

Herzl's Diaries

Herzl had kept a diary as a young lawyer in the 1880s, but in May 1895, he started keeping a diary devoted entirely to the Jewish cause.

On 12 June 1895, Herzl confided to his diary his programme for the removal of the indigenous non-Jewish population from the Jewish State and the expropriation of private property by the Jewish State.

In those days, countries consisted of the few rich landowners and the multitude of poor, and Herzl had plans for each of these classes of population. With regard to the landowners, Herzl wrote in his diary: “When we occupy the land, we shall bring immediate benefits to the state that receives us. We must expropriate gently, the private property on the estates assigned to us.”(1) For the remainder of the population, he wrote in his diary on the same day: “We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries whilst denying it any employment in our own country.”(2) We can thus see that the means Herzl envisaged to transfer non-Jews out of the Jewish State, was to deny them sources of livelihood in the Jewish State, and find them employment elsewhere.

In the above extract, it is noticable that Herzl did not use the words “Palestine” or “Arabs”. As can be seen from his book “The Jewish State” (Der Judenstaat) which was also written (or at least drafted) in the summer of 1895, Herzl had not yet decided on the final location of the Jewish State. “Shall we choose Palestine or Argentina?” wrote Herzl, and listed the advantages of each of these two locations.(3) Although Herzl did not state this in his book, Argentina may have suggested itself to him, because of the then recent purchase by Baron Maurice de Hirsch of a very large tract of land in Argentina to resettle three million Jews. At that time, Herzl was trying to interest Hirsch in his ideas. However, we are mainly interested in Herzl's plan “to spirit the penniless (indigenous) population across the border.”

Herzl was also vague about the “transit countries” to which the non-Jewish poor would be spirited. One of Herzl's biographers, Desmond Stewart, analyses this term in connection with both Argentina and Palestine. In the case of the former, Stewart comments, “There are no transit countries, only an ocean between Western Europe (where Herzl envisaged the Jewish migration as starting) and the coast of Latin America.” With regard to Palestine, there would also be no “transit countries” since Herzl (from an entry in his diary) envisaged the settlers arriving at Jaffa by ship. Hence Stewart concludes, “All that is clear is that most of the natives will have to leave.”(4)

Herzl realised that secrecy and discretion were necessary to put these ideas into practice. His diary entry thus continues, “The property-owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly. Let the owners of immovable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.”(5)

Herzl described his methods of expropriation. “The voluntary expropriation will be accomplished through our secret agents. The Company would pay excessive prices.” Herzl was determined that once property had been acquired it would be retained in the hands of the Jews. “We shall then sell only to Jews, and all real estate will be traded only among Jews,” he said. As a qualified lawyer, Herzl realised that he would not be able to declare sales to non-Jews invalid. He therefore took precautions to avoid resale to non-Jews, as he wrote, “If the owner wants to sell the property, we shall have the right to buy it back at our original sale price.”(6)

Herzl realised that some property owners would, for sentimental reasons, be reluctant to part with their properties and in such cases these people “will be offered a complete transportation to any place they wish, like our own people. This offer will be made only when all others have been rejected.”(7)

The phrase “like our own people” is amplified by Herzl in his book “The Jewish State”, where he explains how the “Jewish Company” will arrange the exchange of non-transferable goods of Jews moving to the Jewish State. “For a house it will offer a house in the new country, and for land, land in the new country; everything being, if possible, transferred to the new soil in the same state as it was in the old.”(8) Thus we can see, that in Herzl's programme, as propounded in his diary, “in the last instance” non-Jewish estate owners in the Jewish State would be offered equivalent housing and land outside the area of the Jewish State.

Herzl says that in the case of the estate owners not accepting this offer, no harm would be done to them. The Jewish State would “set the entire old world a wonderful example” since the Jewish leaders would “respectfully tolerate persons of other faiths and protect their property, their honor, and their freedom with the harshest means of coercion.”(9)

However, on the same day that he wrote the above, Herzl also noted down in his diary, several unpleasant and dangerous tasks for “the natives” prior to their transfer: “If we move into a region where there are wild animals to which Jews are not accustomed - big snakes etc. - I shall use the natives, prior to giving them employment in the transit countries, for the extermination of these animals. High premiums for snake skins, etc, as well as their spawn.”(10)

During the subsequent days, Herzl wrote an “Address to the Rothschilds” (which was to be the first draft of his book “The Jewish State”). Here, however, he omitted to mention the tasks for “the natives”!(11) A few months later in January 1896, Herzl wrote an article in “The Jewish Chronicle” of London entitled a “Solution to the Jewish Question”(12) and in February his book was published. In neither of these works did Herzl suggest using the indigenous peoples to rid the country of its wild beasts! “Supposing, for example, we were obliged to clear a country of wild beasts”, wrote Herzl, “we should organise a large and lively hunting party, drive the animals together and throw a melinite bomb into their midst.”(13)

Even if it is suggested that Herzl's diary entry proposing the use of “natives” to clear the country of snakes and wild beasts, was merely recognition of their superior skills at such tasks, the question remains as to why this solution was not proposed in his book, (which was written at about the same period), omitting, if desired, the phrase regarding “the natives'“ subsequent transfer.

Interpretations of Herzl's Diary Entry

Up to the 1970s, the various biographers of Herzl had been unaware of (or had suppressed!) Herzl's transfer plans. The first biographer to discuss them was Desmond Stewart, whose book entitled “Theodor Herzl” was published in 1974.

In attempting to analyse Herzl's approach to the non-Jewish inhabitants of the proposed Jewish State, Stewart linked Herzl's thoughts on “how to obtain the territorial basis for a (Jewish) state with British actions in Africa.”

It must be remembered that this was the period when European powers, especially Britain, were acquiring colonies in the African continent. Herzl had studied the methods used by Cecil Rhodes, the British Empire builder to separate certain African tribes from control of their land. Stewart considered that “Herzl's stencil for obtaining a territory and clearing it for settlement was cut after the Rhodesian model” but added that “one problem - that of the native population - presented itself in a more urgent form to Herzl than to Rhodes.” He explained that this was due to Herzl's envisaging the settling of “millions of Jews” in the Jewish State “all at once”, whereas the settlement of Rhodesia “would be limited and over a protracted period”, since Britain already had many “Homes”.(14)

Stewart is not completely accurate here, since Herzl had written in “The Jewish State” that the departure of the Jews from their countries of residence would not be sudden. “It will”, he said, “be gradual, continuous and will cover many decades.”(15) However, it is certainly correct, that whereas the Jews were to have only the one Home, the British already had many colonies.

Stewart considered that from the reference books, almost certainly available in his Paris newspaper office, Herzl was fully aware of the extent of the non-Jewish population in Palestine, when on 12 June 1895, he devoted many pages in his diary to his plans for the removal of the natives.(16)

The historian Joseph Nedava disagreed with Stewart, whom he described as a “hostile biographer” (of Herzl). In his study, “Herzl and the Arab Problem”, Nedava rejected Stewart's suggestion that Herzl was basing his plan for the indigenous population on the African model. Instead, Nedava, in explaining the phrase “to spirit the penniless population across the border”, argued that Herzl realised that if he were to be faced with a “landless proleteriat in a newly developing colonising project” it would be “highly dangerous” and would “lead to catastrophe.” Herzl was therefore “not adverse to driving the principle to its logical conclusion and entertain the idea of evacuating the landless to another country after providing for their integration there.” The expropriation of private property was in order to “avoid ruinous speculation.”(17)

Stewart, however, had largely based his “Rhodesian Model” theory on the meeting between Herzl and Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1898.(18) Of this meeting, the Kaiser wrote (in his unpublished memoirs), that Herzl's blueprints for large-scale settlement in Palestine would “culminate in a plan to create a 'Jewish Chartered Company' for Palestine patterned after the 'British Chartered Company in South Africa'.”(19) Nedava made no attempt to explain the Kaiser's remarks.

The “British Chartered Company in South Africa”, (British South Africa Company), governed part of south Central Africa and amongst its objects was “to encourage emigration and colonisation”. It received a Royal Charter from Queen Victoria in October 1889, at the instigation of Cecil Rhodes, who became its managing director.

Stewart pointed out that whereas Rhodes gained Royal support in legalising his colonisation methods in Africa, Herzl forsaw that the extreme measures he advocated in planning colonisation in the Jewish State would “temporarily alienate civilised opinion.”(20) He wrote in his diary, “At first, incidentally, people will avoid us. We are in bad odor.” Herzl realised however, that this unpleasantness would only be a transient phenomenon and was worth the price. He then added, “By the time of reshaping of world opinion in our favor has been completed, we shall be firmly established in our country, no longer fearing the influx of foreigners, and receiving our visitors with aristocratic benevolence and proud amicability.”(21)

In his book “The Jewish State”, Herzl had propounded a similar idea regarding the Jews from the Jewish State returning to their previous countries of residence. He wrote, “If some of them (Jews) return, they will receive the same favourable welcome and treatment at the hands of civilised nations as is accorded to all foreign visitors.”(22)

Stewart's biography of Herzl was carefully researched and during the period 1971-72, he exchanged a considerable amount of correspondence with Mark Braham, a man who had written about Herzl in his book “Jews Don't Hate”. A number of these letters dealt with Herzl's plans for the transfer of the indigenous population from the proposed Jewish State.

Although Braham would describe himself as an “anti-Zionist”,(23) the Press Officer of the British Zionist Federation wrote to him giving a different assessment: “You certainly present our case extremely eloquently and as a Zionist I find there are only a very few trivial and minor points on which I would disagree with you.”(24)

This exchange of correspondence began in March 1971, when Stewart wrote to Braham telling him that Braham's “interpretation of the character and motivation of Herzl was similar” to his, and Stewart thus wanted to consult with him whilst preparing his book. This put Braham in a quandary. On the one hand, since Stewart was not sympathetic towards Zionism, non-cooperation could lead to Stewart producing “a work that was bound to be slanted against Zionism and Israel.” On the other hand, cooperation might possibly “be an influence of moderation on what might otherwise become an unbalanced and dangerous work.” Braham chose the second alternative and when Stewart's book was published realised that he had made the right choice.(25)

Stewart would send Braham typescript of the various chapters of his book when they were ready, which he would then read. However, Braham commented that after he had read the chapter dealing with Herzl's transfer proposals, he read no more of the typescript. As Braham said, “I began to feel that my position was untenable. I found myself in the position where I became counsel for the defence for Herzl in a desperate search to explain the entries.”(26) As we shall see, in course of the following months Braham kept putting forward different reasons in his correspondence with Stewart, in order to try and play down or talk away Herzl's transfer plans.

Stewart finished in “rough draft” the chapter dealing with Herzl's transfer plans in early May 1972, and presumably immediately sent Braham a copy. On 18 May Braham gave Stewart the following answer to Herzl's transfer plans: He felt that Herzl was “not concerned with shifting the Arabs as such; his concern is to shift the poor and he fully expects the 'property owners' to 'come over to our side'. This fits neatly into his basic plan to destroy the Jew and create a new nation, a middle class paradise, liberal, secular and European. He had no use for the Arab tribesmen, not because they were Arabs, but because they were gypsies.”(27)

Just over a week later, (it seems that he had not yet received Braham's letter), Stewart asked in a postscript, “Are there any Talmudic quotations ruling out the kind of policy of force & deception which Herzl assumed would be necessary for dealing with the 'natives' - whether in Argentina or Palestine?”(28) There is no record of Braham answering this question!

In early July 1972, Braham went to Jews' College Library in London to look up Herzl's diary, in particular the reference for 12 June 1895 - the date that Herzl had proposed transfer. He informed Stewart that the impression that he got from these diary entries was that “Herzl was simply setting down a formula in the abstract for setting up a state in a territory inhabited by 'natives',” and that his attitude towards non-Europeans was the typical 19th century European attitude with Herzl being a typical example.(29) In a paper presented by Braham to an Adult Jewish Study Circle in New South Wales, Australia in May 1974, he brought further evidence of this attitude, by mentioning a case in 1837, just a generation prior to Herzl, where “the Australian responsible for the Myall Creek murders had pleaded in court that they did not know it was against the law to shoot aborigines.”(30)

Stewart in his book had compared Herzl to Rhodes, but Braham held that Herzl had “an immense respect for the rule of law” and this fact set him above Rhodes.(31) However, support for this assessment by Stewart comes from the biography of Herzl by Jacob de Haas, who personally knew and worked with Herzl. In this biography we see that Herzl was in fact an admirer and supporter of Rhodes's ideas.(32)

Later in his letter, Braham considered that Herzl's “scheme to buy the land at excessive prices and in secrecy” was “the classic ploy of property developers and businesses whose stock in trade is to pay what appears to be a handsome price for a piece of land without disclosing its true potential. My conclusion is that Herzl was a coloniser, certainly; there is no doubt he intended to create a state over the heads of the indigenous population - but by stealth rather than force of arms.”(33)

In his reply to this letter, Stewart wrote that he agreed with almost everything Braham wrote on this subject in his letter, adding “but it is also very close to what I wrote!”(34)

Braham had realised his limitations and thus searched for a Jewish scholar who could advise him “about problems” beyond his “limited capacity”.(35) The scholar he found was Bruno Marmorstein,(36) who at that time was Chairman of the Board of Governors of Jews' College, and a few weeks earlier with the “willing cooperation” of Stewart(37) had passed on to him the typescript for an opinion. Before reading Stewart's draft, Marmorestein had “been ignorant of the existence of these entries (as 99 Jews out of every 100 undoubtedly are).”(38) Braham also commented that he himself did not really believe they existed until he had checked it out a few weeks earlier. He had in the past put down the rumours he had heard about such entries to the “propaganda of the kind one associates with anti-Semites.”(39)

In his reply, Stewart wrote that he was not surprised “that Bruno Marmorstein and 99% of Jews everywhere are ignorant of the passage about spiriting the poor across the frontiers.” He then went on to try and link Herzl's transfer schemes with “the whole series of laws passed by the Zionist state immediately after the 1948 exodus. Laws by which even temporarily abandoned property was made over to Israel; laws by which whole areas were proclaimed military zones and the Arabs moved out 'for security reasons'; you must read Sabri Jirjis for this; he is an Israeli Arab lawyer who gives all the details of operations which are in the spirit of Herzl's diaries.”(40)

On receiving this letter from Stewart, Braham wrote to David Jacobs, Press Officer of the British Zionist Federation, bringing these quotes from Herzl's diary and Stewart's argument that “the Arab refugee problem has its origins in Herzl's Diaries.”(41) He felt confident that Jacobs “had come across these entries in the Diaries and had some explanation - perhaps a mistranslation or ambiguity.”(42) Braham certainly did not expect the answer which Jacobs immediately sent him: “I feel it is very unlikely that these quotes [from Herzl's diaries] are in fact genuine.”(43)

In a letter to Stewart, Braham reported on his correspondence with Jacobs adding, “His reply, enclosed, will astonish you as much as it did me, I am sure. When I said that 99 out of every 100 Jews would not be aware of this material it was a serious underestimate. Imagine, the PR officer of what is probably the second most important Zionist Federation in the world doubts the validity of the quotes. And this is perfectly genuine, quite obviously.” He then commented on the success of the suppression of these quotes from Herzl's diary: “I really did not suspect that the efforts of the Zionist editors had been quite so successful: I once remarked, half jokingly ... that there certainly was a Zionist conspiracy - against the Jews! I begin to think so on this score.”(44)

Several months later, Braham reported to Jacobs how he was “approaching the problem of some of these outrageous entries in the Herzl Diaries.” He argued that modern Zionism began half a century before Herzl. Herzl's grandfather Simon Loeb Herzl had been a member of Rabbi Alkalai's congregation in Semlin and the source of his Zionism was in fact from his grandfather. When Theodor Herzl came on the scene, Zionism was already a worldwide movement. Braham argued that “Herzl was something of an irresponsible artist and much of his Diary contains illconsidered, almost idle, jottings. ... The Zionist movement should consider cutting Herzl down to size: the alternative is to risk having these entries thrown up as 'inspired words of the prophet'.”(45)

In 1989, Shabtai Teveth came to a different conclusion from Braham regarding Herzl's plans for Arab transfer: “In retrospect it appears perfectly logical that this notion of an allencompassing Jewish transfer in Herzl's thinking would be accompanied - if only for the sake of symmetry - by a parallel and just as comprehensive a transfer or 'evacuation' of Arabs.”(46) If in fact Teveth's reasoning is correct, Herzl “for the sake of symmetry” would have included Arab transfer in his published book “The Jewish State”, in the same way as he included Jewish transfer. However, as we know, Herzl “hid” his plans for Arab transfer in the pages of his private diary!

Herzl's True Thoughts

Do Herzl's diaries accurately reflect his thoughts? An article written by Harry Zohn, the English translator of his diaries, clearly gives a definite affirmative answer. Zohn writes that the Herzl diaries are a “remarkably frank record of the incorruptible, outspoken Herzl who detested dissimulation and self-deception and who noted on the very first pages that his diary entries would be valueless if he attempted to play the hypocrite with himself. The Diaries are therefore a voluminous and unblushing compendium of Herzl's triumphs and tragedies, not merely in the arena of world politics but on a personal plane as well, presenting Herzl from within.”(47) Similar views are expressed by Alex Bein in his biography of Herzl.(48)

Unlike his books, Herzl's diaries were not intended for publication during his lifetime. Soon after his death, the question of publishing his diaries arose.

David Wolffsohn, Herzl's successor as President of the World Zionist Organisation, quoted Max Nordau, who, in emphatically opposing their publication, said, “You will ruin Herzl's name if you publish his diaries. Whoever reads them is bound to believe that he was a fool and a swindler.”(49) This statement is not elaborated upon, but possibly relates to Herzl's views, as propounded in his diary, on the appropriate treatment for the indigenous population of the proposed Jewish State, since Nordau was strongly against prominent Zionist figures putting forward transfer proposals in public.

We can see this from a letter which he wrote in 1919 to the Anglo-Jewish writer, Israel Zangwill, who was a strong supporter of transfer of the Arabs. Nordau described Zangwill's stand on the Arab question as “regrettable”. He wrote, “It's no use qualifying your scheme as your own individual idea - we have not to count on the good faith of our eternal enemies, and henceforward they will quote you as their authority for the accusation that, not you Israel Zangwill, but the Jews, all the Jews, are an intolerant lot dreaming only violence and high-handed dealings and expulsion of non-Jews.”(50)

The original letter of Nordau's has not been traced, although from a number of postcards and letters exchanged between the two of them at that period,(51) we know that they were in regular contact.

We do however have the reply sent by Zangwill to Nordau on 28 January. In this letter, he pointed out that Nordau “somewhat misconceived my attitude on the Arab question”. He added that at the same time he had “received a similar castigation from my old friend, Judge Sulzberger, of America.” Zangwill was however so firm in his opinion on the Arab question that he wrote, “but not even both these stars in their courses fighting against me have altered my conviction that I am absolutely in the right.” He then asked Nordau for his “own solution of this vexing question, which, to my mind, is the destruction of Zionism.”(52)

When, a few years later, which was nineteen years after Herzl's death, his diaries were first published, Joseph Bloch, the great fighter of anti-Semitism, was “appalled”.(53)

Herzl's Letter to Al-Khalidi

Herzl's public attitude (which is quite different from his private views!) towards the indigenous population is illustrated in a letter he wrote to Youssuf Zia Al-Khalidi, Mayor of Jerusalem, in 1899.

At the beginning of March 1899, Al-Khalidi had written to Zadok Kahn, Chief Rabbi of France, saying that the Zionists' case was just but could not be implemented in Palestine due to the opposition of the Turks and the local population. Al-Khalidi suggested that the Jews would do better if they went elsewhere.(54) Rabbi Kahn forwarded the letter to Herzl and suggested that he make an authoritative reply.

On 19 March, Herzl replied to Al-Khalidi in a letter which was both meek and reassuring. “You see another difficulty, Excellency, in the existence of the non-Jewish population in Palestine. But who would think of sending them away?” wrote Herzl, “It is their well-being, their individual wealth which we increase by bringing in our own.” He went on to point out that Jewish colonisation would cause the value of Arab land to rise five or ten-fold in the course of a few months.(55)

Another example of Herzl's public pronouncements on this subject arose in May 1903, during the course of a discussion on the question of the purchase of the Jezreel valley. Herzl is reported to have remarked, “One cannot displace these poor Arab farmers from the soil.”(56)

Herzl's Charter

Amongst the Herzl papers at the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, is Herzl’s Draft Charter.(57) This document is typewritten with some handwritten amendments. It is undated and is in German.

One of Herzl's objectives was to gain a Charter for Palestine. He felt that this should preceed colonisation of the country. Until the British conquest, towards the end of the First World War, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. Herzl considered that the Zionist movement's diplomatic achievements depended on Turkey, which at that time was in chronic financial difficulties and Herzl's strategy was therefore centred on a plan to gain the approval of the Sultan.

On 15 May 1901, a long-planned audience with the Sultan finally took place, but Herzl did not mention his proposed Charter at this meeting. However, at a meeting held a few days later with the Sultan’s representatives, Herzl “propounded the Charter ... for the first time” and he “contented” himself “with their listening to all these suggestions”. One of the Sultan’s representatives then went to inform the Sultan of Herzl’s proposals and he returned to inform Herzl that the Sultan expects to receive Herzl’s “definite proposals within a month”(58).

From Herzl’s diary, we can see that on 29 May 1901, which was two weeks after his meeting with the Sultan, Arminius Vambery, (a Hungarian Orientalist, who worked closely with Herzl), met with Herzl in Germany. After giving Vambery a report, Vambery responded that “we shall have the Charter this very year”. He informed Herzl that he planned to go to Constantinople that September and that “meanwhile he [Vambery] would like me [Herzl] to make a draft of the Charter which he intends to present to the Sultan and get it signed by him without any Secretary or Minister finding out about it”.(59)

The next mention of this Charter in Herzl’s diary is dated 21 August 1901 and is a copy of a letter Herzl sent to Vambery. He wrote: “I am herewith returning to you Draft I, which met with your approval, because I have a copy of it”. We can thus see that some time prior to this date, Herzl had sent Vambery a copy of his draft Charter and asked Vambery for his comments. Vambery had expressed satisfaction and returned this draft to Herzl. However, since Herzl already had a copy, he sent it back to Vambery.

The draft Charter was in German and it would seem that Vambery had suggested preparing a French translation, since Herzl continues his letter to Vambery: “Translating it into French is pointless, because it probably will not be practicable in this form”.

In order to implement his plan, Herzl wrote in his letter that “first of all he [the Sultan] must give the Charter, specifically, to the Jewish Colonial Trust for the formation of the Compagnie Ottomane-Juive pour l’Asie Mineure, la Palestine et la Syrie [Ottoman-Jewish Company for Asia Minor, Palestine and Syria]. To give the whole thing a financially sound character, the Jewish Colonial Trust could deposit a security of, say, one million francs as soon as the Charter is delivered to us, and this earnest would be forfeited to the Turkish treasury if the Company was not founded within a certain period of time”.

Herzl concluded by saying that “Draft I would therefore have to serve only as a preamble, and you will certainly know yourself the most appropriate manner in which it can be used”.(60)

Walid Khalidi, (a founder of the Institute for Palestine Studies and its General Secretary), concluded that the draft Charter was “drawn up sometime between the summer of 1901 and early 1902”.(61) However, from the above diary entry, it seems to have been written before August 1901. It is of course possible that the draft Charter in the Central Zionist Archives is a later draft, although there does not seem to be any evidence to support the existence of such a later draft.

The contents of Herzl’s Charter deal with the privileges, rights and obligations concerning the colonisation of Palestine and Syria.(62) [Until after the end of the First World War, there were no actual borders between the regions of Palestine and Syria - it was all part of the Ottoman Empire. “Palestine and Syria” was the term used when planning Jewish settlement during this period.]

Included in Herzl's Charter were paragraphs dealing with the loan which the Company would make to the Sultan; the right of the Company to bring Jewish immigrants into the region; the option to acquire certain categories of lands in the region; autonomy; Jewish military defence units and the appointment of a Governor and a Chief Justice for the area.

Paragraph 3 of this Charter reads, “The right to exchange economic enclaves in the area - with the exception of the Holy Places or places of worship - by compensating the owners with equally large and equally qualitative plots in other provinces and lands throughout the Ottoman Empire. The emigration costs are to be paid to the owners and they are to receive an advance for building necessary housing and buying necessary utensils to be repaid in installments over a number of years, the security being the plots they received in exchange.”(63)

This paragraph in Herzl's Charter conferred the right to acquire certain (Arab) lands in Palestine and Syria, giving in exchange comparative plots of land within the Ottoman Empire, while financially assisting the previous owners with emigration and resettlement. For example, under Herzl's proposals, the Jews would have the right to transfer an Arab from Jaffa to Constantinople, provided they paid his transfer expenses and gave him an equivalent parcel of land at his new destination.

It is not absolutely clear whether Herzl was referring to a “right” to transfer Arabs compulsorily or merely assist their voluntary transfer. The wording in his Charter strongly indicates transfer of a compulsory nature. This opinion is also held by David Hirst in his book “The Gun and the Olive Branch” where he writes, “Article Three of the draft charter would have granted the Jews the right to deport the native population.”(64) An almost identical wording is used by the Dutch Orientalist, Van Der Hoeven Leonhard.(65) However, when assessing the weight to be attached to these opinions, it should be remembered that these two authors show an anti- Zionist bias. It is also just conceivable that this Charter refers to a voluntary transfer and the “right” is that granted by Turkey, (who in the past had put many obstacles in the way of Jewish settlement in Palestine), allowing the Jews to exchange land after its owners had agreed to move out of Palestine. However in January 1901, just a few months prior to Herzl writing this Charter, the Ottoman administration had removed many of the restrictions on Jews regarding the purchase of land and the building on it, in Palestine,(66) and this thus strengthens the argument that it was intended to be a compulsory transfer. Furthermore, restrictive expressions such as “equally large and equally qualitative plots” are used; were the exchange by agreement with the owners, they might have preferred monetary compensation, or a larger quantity of land of a lower quality. From all this we might conclude that the intentions of Herzl were for compulsory transfer.

Throughout his Zionist career, Herzl had strong feelings that the Holy Places must be given extraterritorial status and it is therefore fully understandable that he immediately excluded them from this “right”.(67)

This Charter was unrealised, since the Jewish bankers whom Herzl approached for the loan for the Sultan told him to return when he had an agreement with the Sultan and the Sultan told Herzl that he would only negotiate after he had the loan!

In conclusion, it is interesting to note that David Wolffsohn when composing a charter for Palestine in 1907, followed the points made by Herzl in his charter, except that he completely omitted the paragraph giving the right to transfer Arabs out of Palestine into some other part of the Ottoman Empire.(68) It is of course possible that Wolffsohn disagreed with this transfer plan of Herzl's. On the other hand, he may of been influenced by Nordau's appeal not to publish Herzl's diaries, an appeal which we saw earlier, was quoted by Wolffsohn in his diary.

to continue

to references

to contents

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

to view "The Collected Writings of Rabbi Dr. Chaim Simons" please click here