There are few examples to be found, in the world of today, of such complete identification between state and nation, between political authority and civil society. Israeli policy is the faithful expression of Zionist ideology and of the entire Zionist experiment, which explain and determine, in Israel, both the choice of alliances and the reality of national life, at the level of the popular outlook and at the cultural level alike. From this standpoint, the relationship between the Jewish state of today and the ideas of its “prophet”, Theodore Herzl, is clearer and more direct infinitely so, indeed-than the link between the founder of Marxism and the Crimes which speak in his name, whether in the Soviet Union, in China or in Cuba.
“From the moment when I entered the movement, I turned my eyes towards Britain, because I saw that, owing to the general state of affairs over there, it was the centre of gravity where the lever could be applied.”
“Britain the great and free, Britain the ruler of the seas, will understand us and our aims. Starting from that point, the Zionist idea will take wing, ever farther and higher, we can be sure of that.”
These two statements were made by Her~l.~ His Anglophilia and devotion to the British Empire appear again in his book Der Judenstaat, the foundation document of Zionist ideology. It was not just a matter of making the Jewish state a “protectorate of Britain”, but more generally of making it an “outpost” of Europe, guarding the civilized world in a barbarian land.4 All Herzl’s efforts were aimed at securing the help of different sectors of imperialism-British, German, Russian, Turkish. Eventually, the Zionist movement directed its attention towards Britain in particular.
Despite hesitations that were shown both on the Right and the Left of the movement, it sought, on the initiative of Chaim Weizmann, to make a Jewish Palestine an integral part of the Commonwealth. True, there were many instances of friction between Britain and the Zionists. Nevertheless, it was under the British Mandate, and under the aegis of the Balfour Declaration, that the “Jewish presence” in Palestine was multiplied tenfold. In 1918 the Jews in that country numbered 50,000, or 7 per cent of the total population; in 1948 there were 650,000 of them, one-third of the total population. The alliance between Zionism and British imperialism was a difficult and uneasy alliance; but it contributed decisively to the creation of the state of Israel.