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first Basle Congress of Zionists.
hypothesis upon which political Zionism is based is that there is a Jewish
nation. It is just this which is denied by the assimilated Jews and by the
unspiritual, unctuous Rabbis. Herzl recognised that the first task that he
had to perform was to organise a manifestation which in modern tangible
form should present to the eyes of the world and of the Jewish people the
fact of its national existence. He convened a Zionist Congress, which,
despite the most furious hostility and the most unscrupulous violence,
assembled for the first time in Basle at the end of August 1897, and
consisted of 204 elected representatives of the Zionist thinking Jews of
First Zionist Congress solemnly proclaimed in the sight of the listening
world that the Jews are a nation, and that they have no wish to be merged
among the other nations. It registered a vow to labour for the redemption
of that portion of the Jewish people which is denied all rights and
languishes in undeserved misery, and to prepare for it a brighter future.
It formulated its endeavours in the following programme, which was
carried with unanimity amid the utmost enthusiasm:
aim of Zionism is to create for the Jewish people a publicly recognised
legally secured Home in Palestine.
order to attain this object, the Congress adopts the following means:
promote tine settlement in Palestine of Jewish agriculturists,
handicraftsmen, industrialists, and men following professions.
centralize the Jewish people by means of general institutions agreeably to
the laws of the land.
strengthen Jewish sentiment and national self-consciousness.
obtain the sanction of governments necessary for carrying out the object
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