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Pen Portraits- Theodor Herzl
Theodor Herzl (1860-1904)
founder of the political form of Zionism, a movement to establish a Jewish homeland. His pamphlet The Jewish State (1896) proposed that the Jewish question was a political question to be settled by a world council of nations. He organized a world congress of Zionists that met in Basel, Switz., in August 1897 and became first president of the World Zionist Organization, established by the congress. Although Herzl died more than 40 years before the establishment of the State of Israel, he was an indefatigable organizer, propagandist without whose vision the state of Israel might have turned out altogether different and out of step with the times.

A Jew in name but in all other things totally assimilated into the prevailing consciousness of Germanic culture as an ideal,he even joined a fencing club Albia in his Vienna days to prove he was unlike the typical Jew bred in the dingy ghetto. 1881 pogrom in Tsarist Russia coincided with closer at home politicians of the Right and Catholic clergy inveighing against liberalism that had given Jews certain exceptions. The Church of Rome had singled the Jews for their ire since they supported Bismarck’s anti-clerical policies. The changing political climate was something like the verse from the Exodus. ‘There arose up a new king over Egypt who knew not Joseph.'(ex.1:8)
It is however difficult not to bring in Moses for comparison. The original Moses turned back on the Egyptian culture but Herzl wanted to create a secular nation than a Jewish homeland revolving about the Torah. He did not even believe Moses as the author of Penteteuch. He was a Reluctant Moses who set out achieve his goal once he was sure of the vast scope of his mission. It appealed to the dreamer in him, and the oversized ego that equalled matched his commanding presence.

Born and brought up in the dual monarchies of Austro-Hungarian empire he spoke German and not Hungarian. Born to parents who were well to do (assimilated in secular ideals) he preferred literary fame above all. Among earliest of his heroes none were of Jewish persuasion. In his youth he had seen the Iron Chancellor creating a grand German Federation and in his life mission it must have unconsciously served as the template. Pan-Germanism was inclusive of all peoples subscribing to German culture that cut across various client states about Berlin. Growing up in Vienna Herzl was well tuned to the growing trends. There was also anti-semitism running into all levels of the society. As a reporter in Paris during the Dreyfus Affair he realized there was no other way to recast the proverbial Shylock image into a citizen of the world. It would require a nation. People don’t change from within, but change their social structure they would also change, a dictum that seems very valid. There were quite many detractors but it certainly speaks of the optimism and impermeable spirit of the man to stay his course.
In a sense his dedication to the cause to which personally he had great antipathy but nevertheless a great cause to give his all, makes him ‘King’ Herzl. He is rightly called the father of the nation of Israel.
benny

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DAMASCUS, Syria – Mohammed Oudeh, the key planner of the 1972 Munich Olympics attack that killed 11 Israeli athletes, died Saturday morning in Damascus, his daughter said. He was 73.
Oudeh was a leader of “Black September,” an offshoot of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah group that was established to avenge the 1970 expulsion of Palestinian guerrillas from Jordan.
My title to this post may be misleading to Palestinians. They would term he was a fighter.
Whereas for an Israeli he would be nothing but a terrorist.
“Before Munich, we were simply terrorists. After Munich, at least people started asking who are these terrorists? What do they want,” he said. “Before Munich, nobody had the slightest idea about Palestine.”
So one who plans murder of athletes (for the simple reason they belonged to the state of Israel) is a propagandist and not guilty of murder.
On the flip side of this let us see what Israel set out to do: Oudeh escaped narrowly an attack by Israel’s Mossad spy agency in 1981. He was sitting in a hotel cafe in Warsaw, Poland, when a gunman shot him in his left wrist, chest, stomach and jaw.”It was a Palestinian double agent, recruited by the Mossad. … He was arrested 10 years later, put on trial (by the PLO) and executed.”
In setting a wrong to right with another wrong both Israel and Palestine have merely clouded the moral question. When shall we get to see the truth?
After the last man has been either killed (revenge killing or honor killing, no matter what you call it) truth shall be determined. The angel who walks length and breadth of the globe will count the number of people stoned for adultery,hands cut off for stealing or fried in an electric chair for real or imagined crimes, poisoned or killed by hired assassins for power or for family wealth and ask the Most Glorious seated on the White Throne of Judgment ,’What is the moral of this slaughter house, O Lord?’
What do you think will be the answer?

benny

(ack:AP News-reporter Albert Aji)

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