Page 151 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

Basic HTML Version

and, to say the least, completely incompatible with the admirable
qualities enumerated above.
For, indeed, Rawidowicz’s theories totally revolutionzed the
fundamental concepts of the Zionist movement. They seemed to
have been developed with such unexpectedness that their pro­
fessed loyalty to Zionism did not appear like Zionism at all. Their
advocate was a great ideological innovator and as such he had
great difficulty in gaining the recognition of the establishment. It
has been said that because of his provocative writings and chal­
lenging views Rawidowicz had hosts of readers but no followers.
Regrettably, the innovating element that to Rawidowicz was of the
utmost importance for Jewish national survival appeared to
others, who shared the same concerns and were committed to the
same goals, as strange, self-defeating and completely inadmissi­
Already in the formative stage of his thinking on Jewish na­
tional questions Rawidowicz had provided the rationale for his
ideological position. He did so in a Hebrew lecture delivered in
Berlin in 1931, in connection with the founding of the Brit Ivrit
Olamit (World Hebrew Union), of which he was the initiator.6
This programmatic address is notable for a number of significant
statements which can each serve as a key to his revolutionary
approach to old issues. Here are a few illustrative examples in this
writer’s translation:
I turn my back on one-sided Zionism in order to envisage a
two-sided Zionism aimed equally at both the Land and be­
yond the Land, which is total Zionism.
Promoting Hebrew literature, scholarship and art is not of
the commandments valid only in the Land — it is the obliga­
tion of Jewish communities everywhere.
Hebrew culture and Hebrew Jewishness cannot subsist
without a creative Hebrew Diaspora.
6 The lecture appeared in Lwow, Poland, in 1933 as a slim pamphlet, under the
challenging title,
I f Not Here - Where?