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December 05, 1975 - Image 56

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1975-12-05

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56 December 5, 1975


Patriotism and Zionism: How Cyrus Sulzberger
Viewed Jewry's Right to A Political Home in Zion


Patriotism is the crown-
ing argument of the anti-
Zionist. "How can you," he
says, "give to your country
that single-hearted devotion
to which she is entitled if
your mind is engaged with
the thought of Zion?" This
might be a valid objection if
a fair definition of patriot-
ism involved an exclusive
attitude, such as is here in-
dicated. Patriotism, accord-
ing to the Century Diction-
ary, is "the passion which
moves a person to serve his
country either in defending
it from invasion or in pro-
tecting its rights and main-
taining its laws and institu-

That the Zionist doctrine
is not at variance with the
demands of patriotism is
evidenced by the American
attitude towards Cuba,
which affords an instance
more nearly parellel than
history usually furnishes.
In order to secure to the peo-
ple of Cuba a publicly legal-
ly-assured home in Cuba,
the people of the U.S.,
through the national con-
ventions of their political
parties, thrOugh their repre-
sentatives in Congress and
through the mouth of the
President, urged upon the
Spanish monarch their in-
terest in the Cuban situa-
tion and their desire to see
that situation alleviated.

A Case in Point

When finally it was
deemed that patience was
no longer a virtue the Amer-
ican Congress, sustained by
substantially the unani-
mous sentiment of the
American people, declared
that Cuba is and-of right
ought to be free and inde-
pendent, and upon that dec-
laration war was made upon
Spain and the independence
of Cuba established.

Surely, if ever there was a
reply to the doctrine that
patriotism involves exclu-
siveness here it is. Would
anyone dare say that they
were not patriotic men who
made the declaration as to
Cuba's freedom and inde-
pendence, and who followed
up their declaration by the
supreme test of war? And if
it was patriotic to go to war
in behalf of the republic of
Cuba, how can it be unpa-
triotic to make peaceable
and purely moral propa-
ganda in behalf of the state
of Jordan? It is conceivable
that the argument may be
made thus:

"But you are interested in
your own people in the Zion-
ist movement whereas in
the American movement for
Cuba we were interested in
an alien people; therefore
yours is a selfish while ours
was an unselfish move-
ment." As a matter of fact,
the American movement in
behalf of Cuba was not and
did not purport to be an un-
selfish movement. On the
- contrary, the repeated basis
of our activity was the corn-

mercial and financial inter-
ests of our citizens.


Cuban Republic

But assuming for argu-
ment's sake that it had been
otherwise and that attitude
of the U. S. had been taken
solely on the grounds of the
intolerable conditions pre-
vailing with reference to the
Cubans themselves, the ap-
plication of the argument
would then result in this:
that an American not re-
lated to Cuba might patriot-
ically interest himself in
securing the establishment
of the Cuban republic, but
an American of Cuban ex-
traction, doing the same
thing would be unpatriotic.
It is a reductio ad absur-
Or, to apply it to Zionism,
a Jew who is a Zionist is un-
patriotic because he is inter-
ested in establishing a polit-
ical home elsewhere for his
own people, but the non-
Jews who are Zionist are not
unpatriotic because the peo-
ple for whom this home is to
be established is not their
own people. Reduced to
writing the argument seems
too trivial for utterance.

`Little Joe' of History

If we were justified in
warring with Spain in be-
half of Cuba, surely we are

Editor's Note: Cyrus Leopold Sulzberger was one of American
Jewry's eminent leaders in the first decades of this century. Born in
Philadelphia in 1858, he came to New York in 1903 and was active
as an importer. He became active in the American Jewish Committee
and was a leader in many important Jewish communal movements.
During and after World War I he was active in the American Jewish
Joint Distribution Committee and was an active member of the execu-
tive committee of the Jewish Publication Society. He was a vice presi-
dent of the Federation of American Zionists, the predecessor of the
Zionist Organization of America, and while he later opposed nation-
alism he became active again in movements in support of Jewish
Palestinian causes and was primarily active in the movement for the
Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He died in New York in 1932. When
the article reprinted here was published in The Detroit Jewish News,
Jan. 7, 1944, the following editorial note was appended to it:
Editor's Note: The late Cyrus L. Sulzberger, who wrote this arti-
cle in 1904, was a close friend of Dr. Theodor Herz/ and served as
vice-president of the Federation of American Zionists, forerunner of
the Zionist Organization of America. Unlike him, his son, Arthur Hays
Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times, is one of the leaders
of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism which is frequently
referred to as "the Jewish Cliveden Set."
His grandson, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, president of the New
York Times Company, has not responded to a request for a comment
on this article and its Jewish News 1944 editorial note.

justified in sympathizing
with Zionism in behalf of Is-
rael. Long enough, aye, for
too long, has continued the
wandering of the homeless
nation. Too long has he car-
ried his burden from coun-
try to country, finding
sometimes a temporary
resting-place, and more of-
ten finding only a big police-
man to tell him to "keep
movin' on," as though he
were the "Little Joe" of his-
Unless our comfort and

prosperity have completely
enslaved us; unless the red
blood in our veins has lost
its warmth and left us with
no emotions except those
that are stirred by the rise
and fall of the stock market;
unless, in our sleek and self-
satisfied state, human suf-
fering means nothing to us
so long as its squalor is not
visible to our eyes and its
cries not audible to our ears;
unless we have grown cal-
lous to noble aspiration, to
high idealism, to intellec-

tual hunger and -thirst, we
cannot be indifferent to this
world cry of a people for a
return to its own.

All Because He's a Jew

Nowhere among civilized
people is a man desirous of
tilling the soil denied that
desire except he be a Jew,
and then because he is a
Jew. Nowhere is a man de-
sirous of engaging in com-
merce denied that desire
except he be a Jew, and then
because lie is a Jew. To the
people who have been the
world's educators, educa-
tion is denied. To the intel-
lectual giants of the ages
intellectual development is

They who have been the
moral teachers are sub-
jected to such degrading in-
fluences that their moral
senses becomes perverted.
The indictment which
America found against
Spain in reference to Cuba
becomes trivial when we
regard the capital offenses
which for 2,000 years have
been inflicted by the nations
upon Israel.

Influence of Jewish State

Nor may we be unmindful
of the moral influence
which the new Judea would
excite. In these days when
nations are "world powers"

let us not forget that there
is room — aye, need — for a
greater world power than
any of these. "Not by might,
and not by power, but by
My spirit, saith the Lord."
There is need in the world
for the state which, by its
nature, cannot aspire to be a
great physical power, but
which, by its inherited tend-
encies and the principles to
which it has tenaciously
clung, is pre-eminently fit-
ted to be among states what
its people have been ar
peoples — the exponenn,--:-
justice, or morals, of righ-
teousness. For the sake,
therefore, not alone of the
Jew, but for the sake of the
world destined again to be-
come his debtor for the veri-
ties of life, let us strive for
the time—

When he who would till may
till, and he who would
trade may trade
With none to harass or hin-
der and none to make him
When each may follow his
calling, be it science or
letters or art,
And none be injured by mal-
ice or hatred's cruel dart;
When justice shall flow as
the waters and mercy de-
scend as the dew.
With righteousness ever the
watchword in the old new
land of the Jew.

A Classic Work by Moshe Pearlman

Prophets Personified; Roles Historically Defined

Moshe Perlman's earlier
works on the Maccabees, his
collaborative literary ef-
forts with David Ben-Gur-
ion, his "Ben-Gurion Looks
Back" and other works have
established him as histori-
cally authoritative on Israel
history, contemporary oc-
currences and an era relat-
ing to the Hanuka period.
He has now turned to an-
other fascinating subject,
that is the Prophets, and
once again he emerges as an
expert in research and the
study of history and He-
braic personalities.
Pearlman's "In the Foot-
steps of the Prophets"
(Thomas Y. Crowell Co.) is a
magnificent work. Photo-
graphically superb, because,
of the author's scrupulous
search for pictures relating
to the periods under discus-
sion, the wealth of data he
gleaned from archeological
findings and the photo-
graphs of material found in
recent diggings, his tho-
rough study of the prophetic
works — all add up to a to-
tal triumph in depicting the
personalities and in defin-
ing their prophecies and
their meanings in Jewish
All of the Prophets are
accounted for, as the sub-
title of this large and beau-
tifully' illustrated book in-
dicates as its being "From
Moses to Jonah, Joel and
Obadiah." Sandwiched in

are the entire personnel,
the complete case of char-
acters, whose writings and
labors are recorded in
Holy Scriptures.
Having written an earlier
work, "The First Days of
Israel: In the Footsteps of
Moses," it is natural that
the Prophets recorded in the
new book, which becomes a
companion volume to "The
First Days of Israel," with
the story of the great
Lawgiver. The chapter on
Moses emphasizes anew the
historicity of Moses, the ef-
fects of his leadership, the
early historic Jewish experi-
Subsequently, while re-
lating his research to all of
the Prophets, the minor as
well as the major, the great
task undertaken by Perl-
man is the review histori-
cally, with definitions and
explanations of the spirit-
ual, of the two masters, of
the three leaders, Isaiah,
Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
The review as provided by
the highly skilled author of
this work, magnificently
implemented with the 91
full-color and 40 black and
white illustrations, provides
guidance to the study of his-
tory, explains the texts,
quotes extensively for that
purpose and elevates the
roles of the great visionaries
to their high statures.

as "both having had a de-
cisive impact on the future
of their people. Both in-
veighed against paganism
and injustice and warned
of disaster if there were no
return to righteousness."

There were Jeremiads but
there were also visions of re-
demption and of better days
for the people to whom the
prophets preached. There
was always the hope of ulti-
mate return to the ancestral
land, although there were
the prophetic realities of im-
pending exile.
Pearlman sees in the role
of the prophets the symbol
of Jewish survival. He de-
scribes their preachments
as the ultimates of Jewish
adherence to identity as
well as survival.
In a sense the Pearlman
analysis of the prophets and
their time is a paean of
glory to that great aspect of
Jewish genius and historic
attainment which he glori-
fies in these concluding
"These, then were the men
who founded and developed
the Jewish nation and its re-
ligion, fashioned a ,supreme
body of ethics which has in-
fluenced almost half the
human race, and estab-
lished ideals which still re-
main the aspirations of civi-
lized society. First, through
the bleak desert of Sinai,
The impact of Isaiah and later, amid the rugged
and Jeremiah is described landscape of Israel, in war

and peace, in times of an-
archy and in times of order,
of turbulence and quiesc-
ence, of splendor and squa-
lor, these spiritual giants of
old strode with firm tread
and fearless heart, uttering
words of timeless wisdom
which thundered down the
ages to change the life and
behavior of man.
"Their visionary pro-
nouncements expressed in
sublime language were in-
tended for the ears of their
own generations of Jews,

yet they became the 'port-
able homeland' of the Jew-
ish people throughout their
centuries of exile — and led
to the rebirth of the state of
Israel in our own day. They
were aimed at their own
nation, yet they became
universal and eternal, and
are today the heritage of all
western nations. The pro-
phets sought to influence
contemporary events, and
did not always succeed. In-
stead, they changed the
course of history."

Moshe Pearlman

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