Page 151 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 37

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CHYET / LEWISOHN: THE CHOICE IS THE MAN
143
pacifism, on a spiritual nationalism, which in those still innocent,
pre-Nazi years he believed utterly at one with the work of Judaea
rediviva. The Zionism he dreamed of would demonstrate that
“there can be a people that is never an enemy of any other people,
that is never held together by the possession or the hope of power
. . . ” Jews would “build up in Palestine a state that abstains from
power, . . . that will suffer injustice rather than seek to share
political responsibility, a state that shall not only restore the pre­
served of Israel but be a light to the Gentiles.” This Zionism would
create an exemplary society, a bi-national society. The word is not
his, but the bi-nationalist idea was very much alive in his con­
sciousness. Under the constitution to be drafted for Palestine,
Jews would “expect equal rights with Arab and Christian. No
more. For all that we bring to the land we ask no more than
equality with the people of continuous residence in it.” In this
aristocratic doctrine, Judaea rediviva did not mean “the exercise
of force and the exertion of power”; it meant “work and justice,”
“drainage and the Hadassah Medical service,” “cities of refuge
from the peacelessness of the world”; it meant “quite literally”
turning “a poisonous desert into a garden.” Even so, he did not
deceive himself about Arab enthusiasm for bi-nationalism. “The
problem of the Arab population is our most serious one,” he
conceded. The Arabs would “inevitably” be a minority in the
Land “tomorrow,” but their rights were “clear and indestructi­
ble.” The Jews were to “be deterred by no hardship from carrying
out [their] duty toward the Arab population with perfect pa­
tience, serenity and . . . unfaltering good-will.”
THREAT OF DESTRUCTION
Lewisohn was to remain abroad — in Europe — for nearly a
decade. By 1930, he sensed that Germany’s”national state of
mind” was “at work breeding future wars.” Only a few years later,
it became necessary to face not only the “rigid barbarism and
slavery” of the Soviet regime, but also “the stern facts of the
German terror.” With “two-thirds of the Western World . . .
relapsed into pagan barbarism,” Zionist goals had to be pursued
with far greater intensity. Now it was no longer mere speculative
theory that Jews confronted “a mounting world conjuration
against the very life of Israel.”