Roth Samuel - Now and Forever


Author : Roth Samuel
Title : Now and Forever A conversation with Mr. Israel Zangwill on The Jew and the Future
Year : 1925

Link download : Roth_Samuel_-_Now_and_Forever.zip

IT IS fortunate that it is the habit of prefaces to appear in the front of books and not as rear lights, or the reader of this volume would be puzzled to understand why I should be writing a preface to a work in which I am abused or at least misunderstood and misrepresented. Or would he perhaps imagine I took the opportunity of countering? The simple truth is that I am an admirer of Samuel Roth's poetry and pugnacity as becomes one who is himself a meek "prosateur." Although I do not share his views on the Jewish Problem, or on myself - apparently to him a still tougher Jewish problem - I respect forthrightness, and I take off my hat to his Jewish faith - or, should I say, I put it on? But he appears to belong to a young generation of Zionists who were in their cradles when I was fighting for Zion, and who absorbed prejudice against me with their mothers' milk or the honey with which Palestinian oratory has never failed to flow. Among the stigmata of these young fanatics, whose nationalism is incurably linked with a land they have never trodden, the word "Uganda" is the most revelatory. Uganda is a country which never came within a hundred miles of Jewish history. It is a country which, according to my friend and neighbor, Sir Harry Johnston, whom the twentieth century found implicated in its administration, is inhabited by a dense population of negroes and Masai clothed and unashamed, many of them Christians, ticking away at typewriters. Pigmies take up any space left by these civilized children of Ham, and there is not room for a Jew to worm his way into the polity even as High Commissioner. Yet the whole literature of Zionism for a decade bristles with Uganda and Ugandaism. The region really offered to the Zionists by the magnanimity of Joseph Chamberlain was a plateau in the adjoining province of British East Africa. It was an empty, healthy territory, free from politicians and almost from insect pests, and the refusal thereof by the Jews was an historic blunder of the first magnitude, a spiritless contradiction of the Hebrew proverb: Leolam Tikkach (Always take). What could the "Elders of Zion" have been about, thus to refuse a slice of the planet which, according to a famous manufacturer of motor cars and myths, their one dream is to annex? Not only would thousands of Jews have by now been settled happily on land which, even without their advent, has gone up vastly in value, but Zionism, there exercising governmental functions, would - as Professor Gregory, F.R.S., has pointed out - have been in a position to claim and to take over the mandate for Palestine. In conformity with the paradox of his history, Israel would have colonized his mother-land from his colony. Still stronger would have been the Jewish position, had my scheme of taking over the whole of British East Africa as a British Judæa materialized the scheme for which I had won the sympathy of both Winston Churchill and Joseph Chamberlain, then on opposite sides of the House of Commons. "Great work accomplished!" one of the zealots cabled to America when the East African territory was rejected by the Zionist Congress. "Great work unaccomplished" was, I remember, my comment on his cable. And what is geography - any more than statesmanship - to passionate Palestinians, who have never seen Palestine? And so Uganda it is which figures in Zionist annals as the despised and rejected of the Jews, and Uganda it will be, I suppose, to the end of the chapter. It even figures in Nahum Sokolow's monumental "History of Zionism." "We have Palestine, why do we want Uganda?" shrieked an hysterical Zionist at the critical Congress. "Have you Palestine? Give it us then," came Max Nordau's retort. It is a curious debate to remember just now, when, despite a magnificent British gesture, the possession of Palestine by Israel has become more nebulous than ever. To the Dreamer of the Ghetto the Palestine of millennial vision was more solid than the political Palestine of the British Mandate and Sir Herbert Samuels. ...

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