Moses Hess converted Karl Marx to Communism, yet advocated National Socialism for Jews; Shlomo Avineri on the Intellectual Origins of the Jewish State- Selections by Peter Myers. Date November 14, 2000; update August 17, 2004. My comments are shown {thus}.

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Despite Moses Hess' advocacy since 1862 of a separate "National Socialism" for Jews, in 1871 he was still an active member of Marx' Communist faction.

Hess' book Rome and Jerusalem (1862) is very important, showing how the Zionist movement drew upon Hegelian thinking to develop a consciousness of the Jews as a historical people on the world stage. All New Left "Liberation" groups (Gay, Feminist etc.) have developed (perhaps "manufactured" would be a better word) a Hegelian historical consciousness of their own group; the Nazis did the same. Such a Hegelian consciousness has proved a powerful motivating force.

Moses Hess was the founder of Israeli National Socialism, the inspirer of the kibbutz movement and of the Histadrut as a vehicle for social
ownership of the economy: nat-soc-isr.html.

The text of Rome and Jerusalem: A Study in Jewish Nationalism, by Moses Hess, the 'Red Rabbi" who converted both Marx and Engels to Communism, anmd then came out as a Zionist, is at rome-and-jerusalem.html.

(1) Shlomo Avineri, THE MAKING OF MODERN ZIONISM: The Intellectual Origins of the Jewish State (2) David McLellan names Moses Hess as source of Marx' article on Jews & Finance (3) Moses Hess the Founder of Israeli National Socialism - Lasse Wilhelmson (4) Moses Hess - in Marx' camp in 1871 (5) THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF MOSES HESS, by Sir Isaiah Berlin (6) Political and Social Aspects of Israeli and Arab Nationalism, by Schlomo Avineri (7) Moses Hess, father of Zionist Socialism, 1812-1875 (8) Hess, Moses

(1) Shlomo Avineri, THE MAKING OF MODERN ZIONISM: The Intellectual Origins of the Jewish State (Basic Books, New York 1981).

{Foreword} Great revolutions which strike the eye at a glance must have been preceded by a quiet and secret revolution in the spirit of the age (Zeitgeist), a revolution not visible to every eye, especially imperceptible to contemporaries, and as hard to discern as to describe in words. It is lack of acquaintance with this spiritual revolution which makes the resulting changes astonishing. HEGEL

{p. 3} INTRODUCTION: Zionism as a Revolution

{p. 12} If Poles and Lithuanians could delve into their history and forge their own modern, national identity on the anvil of the past, why could the Jews not follow this modern and hberating example? The politlcal movement of Zionism was preceded m Eastern Europe bv a revlval of the Hebrew language as a nonreligious, literary medium. Jews always used Hebrew in their prayers and religious writings, but this was a revival of Hebrew as a language of novels and poems, polemical articles, and journalistic feuilletons. This development was an anathema to the rabbis who saw in it a desecration of the Holy Tongue. The origins of this movement are found in ethnically mixed Lithuania and later in Galicia where the German Kultursprache of the Austrian rulers contended with both Polish and Ukrainian (Ruthenian) nationalism. Secularized, modern Jews began to ask for the origins of their culture, for the roots of their history, to extol the glories of Jerusalem; to ask whether they should not look into their own past just as members of other groups were doing.

Thus both liberalism and nationalism created in these Jews the beginning of a new self-awareness, no longer determined by any religious terms, but coeval to the emergence of modern, secular nationalism in Europe. l'he development of a modern Hebrew literature, that of Jewish Haskala (Enlightenment), was the first step in that direction. The political Zionism of Leo Pinsker, Theodore Herzl, Max Nordau followed, and it is significant that in all these founders of modern Zionism there appears again and again the same phenomenon: they did not come from the traditional, religious background. They were all products of European education imbued with the current ideas of the European intelligentsia.

{p. 13} Zionism, then, is a post-Emancipation phenomenon. While drawing on a historical bond with the ancestral Land of Israel, it made into an active historical-practical focus a symbol that had lain dormant, passive though potent, in the Jewish religious tradition. Jewish nationalism was then one specific aspect of the impact of the ideas and social structures unleashed by the French Revolution, modernism, and secularism. It was a response to the challenges of liberalism and nationalism much more than a response merely to anti-Semitism, and for this reason it could not have occurred at any period before the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Zionism was the most fundamental revolution in Jewish life. It substituted a secular self-identity of the Jews as a nation for the traditional and Orthodox self-identity in religious terms. It changed a passive, quietistic, and pious hope of the Return to Zion into an effective social force, moving millions of psople to Israel. It transformed a language relegated to mere religious usage into a modern, secular mode of intercourse of a nation-state.

{p. 14} CHAPTER 1 Krochmal: The Hegelianization of Jewish History

NACHMAN KROCHMAL's The Guide to the Perplexed of Our Time (Moreh Nevuchei Ha-zman) is one of the first and most intriguing intellectual attempts to confront the problems of modern Jewish existence within a conceptual framework drawn from the dominant European philosophical traditions of the nineteenth century. The title of the book consciously evokes echoes of Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed and the parallel is obvious. Maimonides' great achlevement was to integrate a rational understanding of ludalsm mto the dominant medieval Aristotelian tradliion. Similarly, Krochmal wished to guide the perplexed of his generation by the light of idealist philosophy from Kant to Hegel. ... He attempted to show that maintaining a Jewish identity did not necessarily contradict universal philosophical imperatives ... Nachman Krochmal (1785-1840)

{p. 15} The structure of Krochmal's Guide is indeed Hegelian. Human histoy is not conceived as a series of meaningless occurrences; there is a structure and a telos to history. Man is a social animal, and man's achievements express themselves in collective entities possessing a common denominator. Society, the nation (uma), are the subjects of history. History is the story of these cultural entities, and this heritage common to groups of human beings is what creates culture. Following Herder and Hegel, Krochmal calls these cultural entities ruah ha-uma, the spirit of the nation. Judaism has also to be considered within such a historical understanding. Judaism should not be viewed, as Orthodox rabbinical thinking has it, as an unchanging and frozen entity, existing in its crystallized form from time immemorial, but as an outcome of an unending chain of events, embedded in world history. True to the Hegelian meaning of Volksgeist, Krochmal views the spirit of a nation not as a mystical and irrational force, but as the aggregate of specific qualities common to a given group of men which distinguish this group from others. It is the spiritual root common to the historical creativity of any given human group. According to Krochmal, the observer who looks into the differences between nations will discover a key or a code which characterizes all the institutions and cultural expressions of any given entity.

{p. 16} Just like the individual spirit, so the spirit of a nation has specific traits ...

Like Herder, Krochmal sees three stages in the development of all nations: growth, great historical achievement, and decline. ... Yet the specific contribution of each nation becomes integrated into the totality of world history and lives on as the universal heritage of mankind even after the disappearance of a nation. Again following Hegel, Krochmal maintains that despite the disappearance of the Greeks and the Romans from the historical stage, their contributions persist. Greece endowed mankind with the aesthetic spirit, while Rome bequeathed a political and juridical tradition. Thus, while individual Volksgeister disappear, their contributions persist within the universal Weltgeist. Dialectically, every Volksgeist is thus only a moment in the ever-unfolding Weltgeist, itself an expression of the Absolute Spirit. This is the dialectical synthesis of the particular and the universal in the Hegelian tradition. National culture is not an end unto itself, but only a step in the development of universal culture, and the mounting series of national cultures expresses also a mounting order of an ever-widening universality ...

{p. 17} the Jews continue to exist. Does this need a special explanation, or are the Jews, as the Orthodox rabbinical tradition maintains, living completely outside history ... Yet the question persists: why did the Jews not disappear like the ancient Egyptians and the Persians, like the Greeks and the Romans? The question goes back to Hegel hlmself. Both Herder and Hegel viewed the Jews as a nation, a Volk, not as a mere religious community. Yet Hegel's view allocated to the Jews a role described in terms of the historical past, and ultimately he did not give an adequate answer to the survival of the Jews into present times. Krochmal develops his philosophy of history by going back to what Hegel said about the Jewish contribution to history, and out of it he develops his own, rather startling, synthesis of Judaism and Hegelianism. {ed. - this is a very important point - Zionism draws heavily on Hegelian consciousness.} According to Hegel, the Jewish people introduced the concept of monotheism and made this belief in one God an historical reality. {ed. - but they drew on Zoroastrianism, and Akhnaton's monotheism too.} The chosenness and holiness of the Jewish people was the political and historical actualization of the idea of monotheism, and its objective historical reality was expressed in the notion of a Holy Nation, a people of priests.

Yet, according to Hegel, this monotheism was still bound by the particular historical limitations of the Jewish people and did not have any impact outside its own very restricted boundaries ... buttressed and sustained by an intricate structure of rigid and formalistic legislation. The Mosaic code, with its numerous formalistic and highly technical commandments, was intended to serve as a substitute for the lack of real belief.

Hegel thus maintained that Jewish monotheism needed a complement that would both take it out of its particular attachment to the Jewish people as well as emancipate it from the thralldom of the Mosaic code and turn it into a creed based on internal, subjective conviction, not on extemal codification. This was, according to Hegel, what Jesus did. He emancipated Jewish monotheism from its tribal attachment to the Jewish

{p. 18} people and turned it into a world religion. By anchoring it in the subjective belief of the individual soul he freed it from a crushing obedience to the formalistic Mosaic code.

It is at this turning point, when Judaism became, through its offspring, Christianity, a world religion, that Hegel also placed dialectically the end of historical Judaism. Once Israelite monotheism became, via Christianity, open to the whole of mankind, a separate and distinct existence of the Jewish people lost its justification. The rationale for the existence of the people of Israel was in its separation and apartness from a world of paganism. Now that the message of monotheism had been universalized through Christianity, what justification could there be for this distinctiveness? The New Testament, complementing the Old Testament, made the separate existence of the Jewish people superfluous. ... Once the Jewish people had achieved its mission on a universal scale, it had to disappear from the historical scene as the Greeks and the Romans disappeared after their contributions had heen integrated into the course of world history.

Here Krochmal discovers a problem which had faced Hegel and which he had been unable to solve. ... unlike the Greeks and the Romans, the Jews did not disappear from history. In fact they continued to survive under extremely diffficult conditions. Neither the Greeks nor the Romans had their political structures destroyed in a way similar to what had befallen the Jews with the destruction of their Temple. Yet despite losing every shred of political autonomy, having their holy places devastated, and being exiled from their country, the Jews continued to exist for two millennia. ... Hegel had no answer to this problem.

{p. 19} Here Krochmal uses Hegel's own theories to refute him while constructing his argument within the Hegelian framework itself. ... While all the contributions of other nations to world history have been of a particular nature, the Jewish contribution has been of a universal nature. The Greek contribution in the field of aesthetics, like the Roman contribution in the field of statecraft, basically relates to the world of externalities and, hence, is particular. The Jewish contribution of monotheism directly relates to the Absolute Spirit, which is the content of history itself. Thus the Jewish contribution is not bound by time and space because it is itself absolute and universal and not subject to the ebb and flow of historical development. The content of Judaism is therefore equal to the content of philosophy - the Idea - and this is the reason for the ability of the Jews to transcend time and place.

Only in Jewish monotheism is this spirituality, which is found in every religion, but is still imprisioned within particularism, raised to the level of universality. Since the material and the particular are transient by their very nature, the nations which introduced such particular spiritualities

{p. 20} (like the Greek and the Roman) disappeared in the course of history, whereas the bearer of Absolute Spirit, the people of Israel, can transcend the temporality of history. ... Krochmal discerns three cycles in Jewish history, and each cycle encompasses within itself the three stages of youth, maturity, and decline that characterize all historical development. Jewish history in that way is the meeting point of the temporal and the transcendental, the finite and the infinite, the historical expression of the Absolute Spirit.

Krochmal's three cycles in Jewish history are (1) from Abraham to the destruction of the First Temple; (2) from the Return from Babylon through the destruction of the Second Temple to the death of Rabbi Akiva and the fall of Betar during Bar-Kochba's revolt against the Romans, and (3) from the composition of the Mishnah until the 1648/49 pogroms of Chmielnicki in the Ukraine. Since then, a new era has begun, heralded by the Enlightenment and Emancipation. What characterizes this periodization, true to the Hegelian tradition, is the rise and decline of political structures among the Jews. This is a highly politicized and national periodizatlon of history, and Krochmal is the first Jewish modern thinker not only to propose an outline of lewish history but also to make political criteria into the cornerstones of its structure. With minor modifications, Krochmal's construction of Jewish history would remain intact in later generations and would constantly accompany the Jewish national renaissance

{p. 21} Krochmal's tour de force is intellectually brilliant and stimulating. He takes Hegel and judges him by his own criteria and finds him wanting in supplying a satisfactory answer to the survival of the Jewish people beyond the moment at which its contribution had been integrated into world history. ... The Jews, not the nations of the world, are truly universal; it is the Gentiles who are particularistic. ... Only the Jewish people, whose power is the power of the spirit, is truly universal. Hence it could survive without political power,

{ed. - the only universal quality in Judaism is its condemnation of all other nations and their (particular) cultures or gods. But kosher food laws are hardly universal; the conquest of Canaan was hardly universal.}

{p. 22} Krochmal gives a universal significance to Jewish history ... In this way Krochmal was one of the first to answer the problems of Jewish identity in a community of nations, and to give that particular answer its universal dimensions.

{p. 23} CHAPTER 2 Graetz: Revolutionizing Jewish Historical Consciousness

EVERY NATIONAL MOVEMENT in Europe was accompanied - or even preceded - by the emergence of a new and revolutionary histoncal consciousness, through which the new or renascent nation expressed its self-awareness and its new image A call for a national future was always voiced in the context of the discovery of a historical past or its reinterpretation. Hence the emergence of historical writing in the post-1789 era was a constant accompaniment to the rising nationalism.

{p. 24} Like Krochmal before him, Graetz derives his view of history as an unfolding structure from Hegel ...

{p. 25} According to Graetz, at the moment Judaism entered history, it appeared as a protest, a negative force, a revolt against paganism; and this revolt is considered by Graetz the main historical characteristic of Judaism. In an excursus that still retains much of its freshness, Graetz describes paganism as the cult of Nature, while Judaism appears as the Spirit, the antithesis of Nature, and hence representing a more developed phase of historical development (again, the Hegelian overtones are evident). Pagans, according to Graetz, saw Nature in its broader meaning as an immamanent force acting of its own power. {ed. - well put; this is now my own view.} Even among the Greeks ... The Olympian gods remain, just like ordinary mortals, subservient to the blind force of Tyche, the goddess of fortune. In such a context, there exists no moral freedom since there is no choice. Human praxis, be it good or bad, is perceived as a natural necessity, preordained by fate In such an amoral world, there exists only tragedy, where there is no relation

{p. 26} between crime and punishment ... to Graetz Judaism is the exact obverse of this relation. The divine and the natural are separated, and nature becomes an object of divine activity; nature is even considered as being created by God ex nihilo. God is omnipotent and is not himself ruled by nature. It is before God that man is responsible for his actions. Judaism thus signifies man's emancipation matter, and it is only with the emergence of Judaism that human moral responsibility becomes a possibility.

Paganism is thus an immanent religion of nature, Judaism a spiritual religion of the transcendental. Pagan art is consequently also steeped in nature, and this is expressed in its being mainly figurative art, whereas Jewish art Is poetic, verbal. Pagan man sees the deity in natural, physical form and molds it accordingly, whereas in Judaism one hears God. ... Judaism ...

{p. 27} is not a religion of personal salvation. The idea of the immortality of the individual soul, Graetz maintains, is alien to Judaism and was introduced into postbiblical Judaism mainly under Greek influence. Judaism is characterized by its public nature unlike Christianity which views itself as a religion of personal salvation:

Judaism does not promise anv other-wolrdly happiness for faithfulness. Immortality is not its concern; the survival of the soul has as little place in Judaism as the dogma of transubstantiation, and who knows whether thls deficiency is not precisely its strength. Knowledge of God and social welfare, religlous truth and political theory form the two components of Judaism ... Judaism has both a religious and a social aspect, it is Church and State interwoven into one community.

{p. 29} Unlike other religions, Judaism is also characterized by the special emphasis it puts on the future as an essential moment of its own self-consciousness. ... Because of this future-oriented element in Jewish life, which remained always connected with Palestine, the Jews managed to survive in the Diaspora even after the destruction of the Temple and the disappearance of any significant remnants of the Jewish population in the Land of Israel.

{p. 30} Hence the centrality, for Graetz, of the future in Jewish historical consciousness as the key for the survival of Jewish identity. ... the future dimenslon and the Return to Zion are inextricably bound together.

During the First Commonwealth the heroes were military leaders, judees, and kings, whereas the historical heroes of the Second Commonwealth were pious and learned men, rabbis, teachers of

{p. 31} the Law, and members of various religious sects - Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes.

... messianism ... Graetz sees as the ideal integration of the religious and the political. ... Other religions define their identity mainly through past occurrences - the Crucifixion, Allah's revelation to Mohammed, et cetera. In Judaism, on the other hand, while there exist past revelations, like Abraham's Covenant and Sinai, the apotheosis is fully future oriented

{p. 32} David's kingdom would always remain in the national consciousness as the idealized model for that future Jewish messianlc vision: the Messiah, in the Jewish tradition, will always be hailed as the Son of David.

{p. 33} When Jesus said that his kingdom was not of this world but was intended to be the Kingdom of Heaven, he disappointed the Jewish masses. ... the apolitical and purely spiritual nature of Jesus' message did not address itself to the concrete expectations of his generation. He obviously and explicitly rejected one of the central elements of Jewish existence - the political moment. For this Jesus was ultimately rejected by the Jews.

{p. 34} According to Graetz, the Talmud is the instrument forged by Judaism in Exile in order to perserve {sic. - ed.} its existence. ... Graetz welcomes it not for its content, ... but for its role in perserving {sic.} the Jews' apartness from their surrounding world, thus insuring their continuing survival and Return to the Land of Israel. According to Graetz, the somewhat xenophobic and ethnocentric precepts of the Talmud have to be understood in that context:

The same function which the natural borders of Palestine - the high Lebanon in the north, the sandy deserts of the east and south, and the partial ocean border of the west - had served, namely, to cut off the Holy Land from too close contact with the polythelstic world, was now served by the protective measures of the Talmud. These talmudjc injunctions turn every Jewish house, anywhere in the world, into a precisely defined Palestine.

{p. 36} CHAPTER 3 Moses Hess: Socialism and Nationalism as a Critique of Bourgeois Society

IN MOSES HESS (18l2-75) two powerful ideological and political forces - socialism and the beginning of Jewish national thought - were integrated into a unique synthesis. When he died after decades of activity in the German and international socialist movement, the inscription on his tomb, near Cologne, read: "Father of German Social Democracy." Seventy-five years later, when the State of Israel was established, its government (then under the leadership of the Labor Party), transferred his remalns from Germany and reinterred them in the cemetery of the first kibbutz, near Lake Tiberias. There he lies now among the other founders of Zionist socialism - Syrkin, Borochov, Katznelson.

{p. 37} He calls for a radical social revolution based on a rejection of bourgeois society as contrary to the universalist postulates of Hegelian thought. These writings were later greatly praised by Marx, who always acknowledged his indebtness to Hess whom he occasionally called "my communist rabbi."

{p. 40} Hess was one of the first writers in the modern era to see Judaism in national terms, even whlle denying it a future. At the same tlme, it was in this period that Hess wrote one of the harshest statements that has ever been made by a Jew about Judaism. It is connected with Marx's essay "On the Jewish Question," which he wrote in 1843 and which appeared in 1844. In the year 1845 Hess's essay,

{p. 41} "On Capital," appeared, which contains very severe pronouncements regarding the Jews and identifying Judaism with capitalism. Only recently has it been shown that Hess' work preceded that of Marx. Hess wrote his essay in 1843 and sent it to Marx for publication. However, it was published a year and a half later. Hence, Hess's work was known to Marx while he wrote his essay, "On the Jewish Question," and most of the images which appear in Marx' works are borrowed from Hess.

{this is very important. Where did Marx get his inside information on the operations of Jewish bankers like the Rothschilds - perhaps from Hess? And where did Hess get it, if not from direct connections? Given Hess' importance as a pioneer of Zionism, this information is the more credible.}

More than that, Hess's work, "On Capital," contains material that is much more extreme than anything used by Marx, and it is to Marx's credit that he did not include it. For example, Hess writes that the Children of Israel were originally idolators whose principal god, Moloch, demanded blood sacrifices. Hess knew Hebrew from his childhood heder and used this linguistic knowledge in his essay. In the course of time, he maintains, the Jews passed from blood (dam) sacrifices to money (domim) sacrifices, this being the origin of the Jewish money cult, as money took the place of Moloch. Throughout the essay Hess calls the God of Israel "Moloch-Jehova," and it is difficult to find a parallel to such a collective blood libel in even the most virulent anti-Semitic literature. These expressions of Hess are less well known than Marx's essay, "On the Jewish Question," but they are much more drastic and, ironically, served Marx as a source of information when he wrote his essay.

Still in contrast to Marx, who did not struggle, at least explicitly, over the problem of his Jewish identity (he was, after all born to a family which had converted to Christianity), Hess's universaiism was for him not merely a theoretical speculation but no doubt also represented a solution to the problem of his personal existence and his own identity. Since he tried hard from the outset to find a solution to this problem, one can understand that the failure of the Emancipation had far-reaching repercussions on his world view.

Rome and Jerusalem, subtitled The Last National Problem, appeared in l862. At the time of publication, it made little impact and was soon forgotten. Hess's socialist friends considered the work a personal idiosynacracy and did not take it seriously; Reform rabbis criticized it violently and Orthodox rabbis could not but approach it with a great deal of skepticism.

The Rome of the title was neither Imperial Rome nor Papal Rome, but the Roma terza of Giuseppe Mazzini and Italian nationalism. ...

{p. 42} The main thrust of the work is its conception of Judaism as a nation and its perception of the Jewish problem as a national problem. ... Hess' conceptual system views the Jews in terms of nineteenth-century national liberation movements.

{p, 43} the Jewish commonwealth would provide an answer to the plight of the Jewish masses in Eastern Europe and the Muslim world. Hess' awareness that these two large communities ... would form the basis of the Jewish state is of central importance ...

{p. 44} Christianity, according to Hess, was individualistic, and this is why it was Christian society that produced capitalism (how far Hess has come from "On Capital"!); Judaism on the other hand, was based on the family, that is, on a unit already characterized by elements of social solidarity. Furthermore, in gentile society, both pagan and Christian, the central figure was that of the male, while in Judaism it was that of the woman and mother.

{p. 45} As a whole, Hess' conception of nationalism folows Mazzini's in that it combines national particularity with a universalist vision. Mazzini said that by being a member of a nation, he is also a member of the human race, and the only way of belonging to humanity is by belonging to a specific nation. Nationalism and universalism are not mutually exclusive, but complement one another.

Another aspect of Hess's project for a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine, concerns his awareness of the future needs of the Arab population in the area. Given his radical philosophy, Hess realizes that the whole Levant, as it was then called, would soon be in the throes of national movements that would dismember the Turkish Empire in Asia and Africa just as they had already diminished Turkish hegemony in the Balkans. Hess draws encouragement from French support, under Napoleon III, for Italian nationalism ... He hopes that a similar combination of spiritual and material considerations will move France not only to support Jewish independence in the Middle East but also to help the re-establishment of Arab states in Egypt and Syria. Thus decades before the emergence of an active Arab national movement, Hess's universalist nationalism leads him to become one of the first to call for both Jewish independence and Arab national self-determination.

{p. 46} Emancipation, after all, is an individualistic project, while socialism relates to human collectivities, and if the Jewish collectivity is doomed to disappear in a rosy universalism, to which collectivity would the Jews belong?


(2) David McLellan names Moses Hess as source of Marx' article on Jews & Finance

David McLellan, Marx Before Marxism, 2nd edition (MacMillan, London, 1980):

{p. 141} Many of the themes of this article {On the Jewish Question}, particularly that of money and the Jewish-Christian relationship, are taken directly from an article by Hess entitled 'On the Essence of Money'.2 Hess submitted this article for publication in the Deutch-Franzoche Jahrbucher, but the review collapsed before it could appear. Hess's influence here is important, as Marx's criticism of Bauer's second article contains his first tentative application to the field of economics of Feuerbach's idea of alienation. Hess had converted both Engels and Bakunin to communism, but his influence on Marx was a much slower process: in 1842-3, when Hess's proselytising was at its most active, Marx was no communist, and by the time Marx did become a communist, in Paris, Hess was only one among many new points of reference. Nevertheless, at this particular juncture, Marx seems to have leaned very heavily on Hess.3

It is largely this article that has given the impression that Marx was an anti-semite.4 This is inaccurate. In the passages already referred to in the Holy Family which deal with the Jewish question, Marx tends to side with the Jews more than with Bauer. Marx also makes clear there that he judges the political maturity of a state by the degree to which the Jews in it are emancipated, and considers it illogical of civil society not to grant the Jews equal rights.5

2 See further McLellan, The Young Hegelians and Karl Marx, pp. 153 ff.

3 On the relationship of Hess to Marx, see Kagi, Genesis des historischen Materialiismus, pp. 146 ff.; McLellan, The Young Hegelians and Karl Marx, pp. 137 ff. For a view emphasising the 'eschatological' element peculiar to both, see E Thier, Das Menschenbild des jungen Marx (Gottingen, 1967) pp. 41 ff.

4 See, as an extreme, D. Runes's edition of this article entitled A World without Jews (New York, 1959). There is a general treatment ot this question in: J. Carlebach, Karl Marx and the Radical Critique of Judaism (London, 1978) pp. 148 ff.

5 See S. Avineri, ÔMarx and Jewish Emancipation', Journal of the History of Ideas, xxv (1964).


(3) Moses Hess the Founder of Israeli National Socialism - Lasse Wilhelmson

Zionism - more than traditional colonialism and apartheid

by Lasse Wilhelmson <>

Moses Hess - the Communist Rabbi

The fundamental ideology of Zionism however evolved much earlier with Moses Hess. He was one of Germany's earliest renowned Socialists. He was a Utopian, a Hegelian and a good friend of Karl Marx. Hess also wrote a contribution to The Communist Manifesto (1848) on the question of Religion as opium to the masses. He is considered by Zionists as the first Zionist. As he grew older he dissociated himself from Marx and "returned" to his People, that is to say Judaism. Marx shunned Hess' chauvinistic ideas. "Communist Rabbi Moses" as he was also called, wrote Zionism's Magnum Opus which Herzl later referred to as the book which says everything there is worth saying about Zionism.

This book, "Rome and Jerusalem" was published by Hess in 1862. He was inspired, amongst others, by Spinoza. He defines the Jewish Nation by the following components:

. The Jewish race - superior and chosen
. Palestine - the homeland of the Jewish people
. The Jewish religion - the best guarantee for Jewish nationality.

The importance of Blood in defining racial purity was common at that time and was also part of Hess' conception. He saw the German race as antagonistic to the Jewish race. He worried about the antisemitism apparent in Germany at that time and this was his main reason for "returning" to Judaism. For him, Socialism, apart from developing equality of the classes must also develop a moral dimension. The Jewish State should have the makings of a Socialist State.

Hess predicted both the foundation of the State of Israel and the Holocaust 80 -85 years in advance of these occurrences. Hess considered France to be the foremost ally of the Jews. This was before the Dreyfus trail in France which came to be the one event that convinced Theodor Herzl that Zionism was the only solution to antisemitism. ...

Zionism and Nazism

Moses Hess put together the fundamental components Race, People, Nation and "the Chosen" to make a National Socialist version of colonialism. It was later to be known as Zionism. Hitler, 60 years on, put together the same components in Mein Kampf and formed his National Socialist Party. Hess' opinions about the "purity of the Jewish race" correspond to Hitler's belief in "the pure Aryan race". ...

"I too, like Hitler, believe in the power of the blood idea", Chaim Nachman Bialik writes this in "The Present Hour" (1934) Bailik is Israel's most acclaimed poet. Had it been 10 years later he would probably have chosen to refer to Moses Hess, or kept quiet on the matter. Bialik's sentiments on the enigma of the Blood can also be found in the above mentioned Martin Buber's book "On Judaism" (1967).


Israel is not only a traditional colonial State with apartheid and racism, but also a Western imperialist fortress in The Orient. ...

(4) Moses Hess - in Marx' camp in 1871

Hess wrote Rome and Jerusalem in 1862; yet in 1871, he was a participant at the First International, in Marx' camp.

I know of no antagonism between Marx & Hess over Hess' position on Jewish nationalism.

There was a clash between Marx' camp & Bakunin's camp. Marx was manoevring to exclude Bakunin: correctness.html.

(4.1) Bertram D. Wolfe writes in his book Marxism: One Hundred Years in the Life of a Doctrine (Chapman & Hall, London 1967):

{p. 60} The International Workingmen's Association was originally founded by the British Labour Movement in collaboration with some workingmen's delegations from France. Marx had been called {p. 61} in at first as a respected emigre from Germany, with a revolutionary past and a doctor's degree. ... Yet its congresses could and did outvote him and his faction, for Bakunin, Proudhon, and others who did not accept his every pronouncement, had more influence than he in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Holland, and Switzerland, while the English continued to have views distinctly their own. Marx had decided just before the Franco-Prussian War that he must pack a congress with his disciples, set it to be held in a country from which Bakunin was banned, strengthen the powers of the General Council over the affiliated movements, whose mere clearing-house and obedient servant it was supposed to be, then expel Bakunin and move the Headquarters of the General Council to far-off America, where Bakunin could not lay hands on it and where it would not require so much of Marx's attention and time.

The strategy for packing the congress was such that even a Lenin might have envied it. Marx picked The Hague, to which Bakunin could not go because he was wanted by the police of both France and Germany. Engels paid the fare of five members of the General Council who would side with Marx. Marx wrote to Kugelmann in Germany and to Sorge in America to send the largest possible delegations of the faithful, and as many blank credentials as possible which he might fill in with suitable names. {end quote}

(4.2) Aileen Kelly gives details of the clash, in her book Michael Bakunin: A Study in the Psychology and Politics of Utopianism (Yale University Press, new Haven, 1987).

Note (below) that Bakunin attacks Hess, as a member of Marx' camp, which he brands "the synagogue". After Hess attacked him in an article, he condemned "the 'Jewish pygmies' in Marx's entourage":

{p. 229} The Fifth Congress of the International was prevented from taking place in Paris in 1871 by the reaction after the suppression of the Commune, and a conference was held in London in September that year for a limited number of delegates, to which the rebellious Swiss Bakuninists were not invited. ...

In reply, the Jura sections of the International (which ... were now the centre of Bakunin's support in Switzerland) held a congress at Sonvillier in November 1871. ...

The General Council replied in May 1872, in a circular to the International composed by Marx and Engels. ...

{p. 230} The source of the General Council's information was Marx's son-in-law, P. Lafargue, who had gone to Spain at the end of 1871 in order to strengthen the International there. He discovered the existence within the International of a Bakuninist secret organization, the Alianza, reported this to Engels in a letter of April 1872, and wrote two articles which appeared on 28 April and 5 May in the Brussels paper La Liberte, in which for the first time Bakunin was publicly accused of secretly maintaining within the International an organization which he had formed before joining it, and which now sought to establish itself as an 'aristocracy' within the workers' movement.

Bakunin replied to the accusations of Marx, Engels and Lafargue in a circular where he dismissed the claims in his characteristic polemical style as

{quote} ridiculous inventions, falsifications of principles and of facts; odious insinuations, cynical lies, infamous calumnies .... a botched-up collection of all the dirty and absurd inventions that the German and Russian Jews [a reference to Utin], their friends, their agents, their disciples, with their wicked malice .... have spread against us all, but especially against me .... {endquote}

He presented his version of events: Marx had hounded him since the Bale {Basle} Congress, when he had 'dared' with his followers to vote aainst a Marxist resolution. Thereby incurring Marx's fury, he had become the 'sacrificial ram condemned by the furious synagogue to suffer for our collective sins'; in a campaign of lies and insinuations he had been represented as a paid agent 'of Panslavism, of Russia, of Napoleon, of Bismarck, even of the pope'. {endnote 10: Aux compagnons redacteurs du 'Bulletin de la federation jurassienne', Archives,ii. 123-5.} There is no evidence that any of this weird assortment of charges was ever made against Bakunin, but he had been accused, in articles by one German Marxist, Borkheim, and in a reported remark by another, Liebknecht, of being a Russophile and hostile to the International (a reference to his belief that a future socialist Russia would be the source of regeneration for decaying Europe); and after the Bale Congress Moses Hess, in an article published in the radical paper Le Reveil, accused Bakunin of undermining the authority of the International through his demagogic methods and of thereby unconsciously serving the interests of reactionary Panslavism. Bakunin saw all this as a cunningly disguised revival of the old slander that he was a Russian government agent; but while it reflected the German Marxists' hostility to the Slavophile strain in Bakunin's socialism, none of this criticism cast any doubt on Bakunin's sincerity as a revolutionary. Indeed, as regards Hess's article Bakunin had conceded this point, when it was made by the editor of Le Reveil. {endnote 11 ... E.H. Carr, Michael Bakunin, 2nd edn. (New York, 1975) 366-9.}

{p. 236} When Bakunin replied to Hess's article in Le Reveil with a vicious anti-Semitic tract against the 'Jewish pygmies' in Marx's entourage, {endnote 27: Moil lichnye otnosheniya s Marksom, Materialy, iii. 294-305, and his letter to the editors of Le Reveil (later transformed into the first chapter of a book which Bakunin never completed), Guillaume, v. 241-94. ...} he made no mention of Marx himself: the calculation behind this was revealed in a letter to Herzen to whom he had sent the tract for an opinion (it was eventually not published), and who had been surprised to find no mention of Marx in it. In reply Bakunin gave two reasons for his silence about Marx: the first (his respect for Marx as founder of the International) was somewhat inconsistent with the second, which he explained as follows:

{quote} Can't you see that all these gentlemen together are our enemies, that they form a phalanx that must first be disunited, broken up, so that it can more easily be smashed.... Divide et impera. If I now declared open war on Marx, three uarters of the International would turn against me ... {endquote}

{p. 237} It is true that his enemies greatly overestimated the power and extent of his secret society. As will be shown, his ambitious projects bore little relation to reality. Although a network of his organization existed in Spain, elsewhere it consisted largely of individual cells - the tightly-knit international structure described in his programmes was sheer fantasy.

{end of quotes from Aileen Kelly's Bakunin}

(4.3) Exchange with Lasse Wilhelmson

Despite Hess' advocacy since 1862 of a separate "National Socialism" for Jews, in 1871 he was still an active member of Marx' Communist faction.

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2004 15:47:39 +0100 From: Wilhelmson <>

In the Communist Manifesto 1848 Marx and Engels were very hard against the Utopian Socialists to whom Hess belonged. In spite of this Hess was very close to Marx up to about 1851. After that he seems to have had more contact with Lassalle (who died 1864) before and after he published Rom and Jerusalem 1862. I do not know why Hess chose to defend Marx against Bakunin 1871, just a few years before he died. It could bee because of a lifelong friendship or of political reasons, it really does not matter for my article. You must not agree on Marx all the way to join him in the clash with Anarchism, as Hess did. What is your point?

Best regards

Lasse Wilhelmson

REPLY (Peter M):

My point is that Hess seems to be the first person who combined National Socialism, for a particular state (the Jewish), with world-wide Communism.

It might seem that, with the publication of Rome and Jerusalem in 1862, he had given up Communism. But there he is, in 1871, involved in the International in Marx' camp.

It may be that Marx himself paid little or no attention to Rome and Jerusalem. I have no information on whether he even read it.

I can't agree with Bakunin, that the state should be abolished. That would be like operating sporting teams without referees, coaches or managers.

On the other hand, Marx' advocacy of the suppression of religion is no less extreme than what the Bolsheviks' enacted later.

Marx favoured the Jacobins, but criticised them for looking to ancient Rome, Sparta & Athens as models. He lamented the rise of Napoleon who, he said, transformed "Permanent Revolution" into "Permanent War". One of Napoleon's actions was to make peace with the Church; on equal terms, perhaps akin to Mussolini's concordat. Marx rejoiced that during the Jacobin period, people had "forgotten" religion.

How does this relate to the Soviet Union?

Its philosophy was that Religion being the Opium of the People (Marx' saying), it should be suppressed. Through this program, the State tried to determine what was in the people's minds, what they were thinking, their mental processes.

This goes far beyond what the State should do. Even if Religion be an opium, the Soviet State should have limited itself to ensuring that "present miseryÓ was abolished (impossible) or at least reduced, so that people would not have felt need for an opium.

Moses Hess

Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2004 15:45:52 +0100 From: Wilhelmson <>

Now I see your point. Hess is really an interesting person. Is he also the origin of Trotskyism? The first Trotskist.... and the first Zionist!!!! I have not read enough of Hess´writings to tell, but even this hypothesis is a challenge. As far as I am concerned Trotskists often have been positive to Zionism, have they not?

Lasse Wilhelmson



On Intellectuals: Theoretical Studies Case Studies, edited by Philip Reiff (Doubleday & Co, New York, 1969).


Sir Isaiah Berlin

I cannot deny that Moses Hess was both a Communist and a Zionist. He played a decisive role in the history of the first movement, he virtually invented the second. Indeed this remarkable fact is his chief, perhaps his sole, claim to fame.

Nevertheless, in the course of his troubled and dedicated life, Moses Hess uttered some highly original and telling judgments that have not, even now, obtained the recognition that they seem to me to deserve. He was a prophet without much honour in his own generation, certainly none in his own country. Yet much of what he said was new and, as it has turned out, both important and true. In particular he detected in the life both of European society in general, and of the European Jews in particular, symptoms of what, he feared, was a fatal disease; or, if not fatal, at any rate dangerous. Against it he offered remedies which, whether or not they were effective, were at any rate specific proposals capable of being realized, and not cries of self-pity, or empty forms of words, or vague and idle dreams. His theses were indeed dismissed at the time of their utterance, as being some, or all, of these things. But this verdict seems to me wholly unjust. The counter-thesis that I should like to put before you is that Hess was, at any rate after 1848, an exceptionally penetrating and independent thinker who understood and formulated the problems with which he was dealing more clearly

{p. 154} ... some Jews persuade themselves that they have been called to perform among the nations - to teach toleration to other religions, or propagate the doctrine of "pure theism," or even the arts of commerce. "It is better for the Jew who does not believe in a national regeneration of his people to labour, like an enlightened Christian of today, for the dissolution of his religion. I can understand how one can hold this view; what I do not understand is how one can believe simultaneously in "enlightenment" and in the Jewish mission in eile, that is to say, in the ultimate dissolution and the continued existence of Judaism at one and the same time." Do the Jews who wish to sacrifice their historical past to such abstractions as "Liberty" and "Progress" really imagine that anyone will be taken in? Does Meyerbeer really think that anyone besides himself is deceived because he so carefully avoids Biblical themes in his operas?

Having settled his account with the German Jews, Hess tumed to the practical problem of the colonization of Palestine. He noted that Rabbi Hirch Kalischer of Thorn had already drafted a plan for precisely such a movement19; he noted, too, that a Monsieur Ernest Laharanne, in a book called the New Oriental Question, supported this view. Laharanne, who was employed in the private office of the Emperor Napoleon III, was a Christian and a passionate advocate of Zionism. He denounced the rich emancipated Jews for their indifference, the pious Jews for defeatism, and declared a state in Palestine to be the only solution of the Jewish problem; the Sultan and the Pope would doubtless resist this plan, but he felt sure that free French democracy would ultimately prevail against both. He spoke of the fundamental right of the Jews to a historic home, and believed, too optimistically, that the Turks would, for a handful of gold tossed them by Jewish bankers (or, perhaps, obtained by the nobler expedient of a democratic subscription from the entire Jewish people), admit large Jewish colonization. He spoke lyrically of the infinite mystery of Jewish survival, of the fact unparalleled in the history of manind, that faced by enemies in every age - Alexandrian Greeks, Romans, Asiatics, Africans, barbarians, feudal kings,

19 Klischer's Drishat Tsion appeared a few months before Rome and Jerusalem; like Newton and Leibniz, the two authors knew little of one another's lines of thought.

{p. 155} grand inquisitors, Jesuits, modern tyrants - they yet survived and multiplied. The French and the Jews must march together, together they must revitalize the parched land of Palestine and rescue it from the terrible Turk. French democracy, Jewish genius, modern science, that was to be the new triple aliance that would at once save an ancient people and revive an ancient land.

Hess, as may be imagined, welcomed this with great enthusiasm. In a characteristically apocalyptic mood, he prophesied that the national solidarity and unity that was the basis of Jewish religion, would gradually make all men one. Natural science would liberate the workers, racial struggles would come to an end, and so, too, would those of classes. Jewish religion and Jewish history (a vast amalgam in which he included the teachings of the Old Testament and the Talmud, the Essenes and Jesus) said to men: "Be of the oppressed and not of the oppressors; receive abuse and return it not; let the motive of all your actions be the love of God, and rejoice in suffering."20 By this gospel the world would be regenerated; but the first requirement was the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine. The rich Jews must buy the land and train agricultural eperts. The Alliance Israelite - a philanthropic body of French Jews - must help Rabbi Natonek of Stuhl-Weissenburg in Hungary, who was ready to interview the Sultan about this plan, armed with a letter of recommendation from the Turkish Ambassador in Vienna. Jewish colonists must be led by men trained in modern methods of thought and action and not by "obscursntist rabbis." The plan was capable of being realized; it must be realized; nothing stood in the way but bigotry and artificial cosmopolitanism, from both of which the majority of the Jews recoiled instinctively. Hess ends his extraordinary sermon on a note of high enthusiasm.

The language of Rome and Jerusalem, after a hundred years, seems antiquated. The style is by turns sentimental, rhetorical, and at times merely flat; there are a good many digressions and references to issues now totally forgotten. And yet it is a masterpiece. It lives because of its shining honesty, its fearlessness,

20 He refers to the passages in the Tractates Sabbath 88B; Yoma 23A; Gitfin 36B; as cited in Graetz, Vol. III, Pt. 2, P. 216.

{p. 156} the concreteness of its imagination and the reality of the problem that it reveals. The morbid condition that Hess seeks to diagnose and cure has not vanished; on the contrary, it is as widespread now as in his day, but its symptoms are better known. Consequently the book is, despite its lack of literary talent, not dated. And because it is simple, and not encumbered by the dead formulae and the (by now often meaningless) Hegelian patter that mars some of the most original pages of Marx and his followers, its impact is still exceedingly fresh and direct: it can still provoke sympathy or violent opposition; it remains an analytic and polemical essay of the first order. No one concerned with its central theme can read it with indifference.

Hess had travelled a long way from the violently anti-religious communism and anti-nationalism of his younger days. The fierce attack upon the assimilationist reformers was in part, of course, an attack on his own dead self. The solution consisting in a dignified national dissolution by means of systematic inter-marriage and the education of children in a faith different from one's own, which he now so ferociously denounced, was the very conduct that he himself had earlier advocated. The conscientious internationalism of his young Hegelian days was replaced by the realization (it seems destined to come, late or soon, to almost every Jewish social thinker, whatever his views) that the Jewish problem is something sui generis, and seems to need a specific solution of its own, since it resists the solvent of even the most powerful universal panaceas. Nor was this in Hess's case the final reaction of a persecuted and exhausted old socialist, who, tired of waiting for the realization of his universalist dreams, settles for a more limited national solution as a temporary expedient, or returns to the happy, conformist days of his youth as an escape from the excessive burden of the universal social struggle. To think this is to misunderstand Hess profoundly. He was a man who abandoned no belief unless he had convinced himself by rational methods that it was false. His Zionism did not cause him to abandon socialism. He evidently felt no incompatibility between communist ideals and belief in a Jewish national Risorgimento. Hess was not, like Hegel or Marx, a historical thinker of genius who broke with previous tradition,

{p. 157} perceived relationships hitherto unnoticed (or at least not clearly described), imposed his vision on mankind, and transformed the categories in terms of which human beings think of their situation, their past, and their destiny. But neither did he suffer from the defects of these despotic system builders. He was intellectually (as indeed in every other respect) a man of complete integrity and did not, for any psychological or tactical reason, try to force the facts into some preconceived dogmatic pattern. The strongest single characteristic of his writings, especially of his later works, is a pure-hearted devotion to the truth, expressed with candid, at times childlike, sirnplicity. It is this that makes his words often devastating, and causes them to linger in the memory longer than the richer and weightier sentences of the more celebrated prophets of the age.

Hess abandoned neither socialism nor Zionism because he saw no incompatibility between them. His socialism - which was nothing but desire for social justice and a harmonious life - did not, any more than Lassalle's, preclude nationality. He could conceive of no inevitable collision between purposes or policies that seemed true, responded to genuine needs, and were morally good. It did not so much as occur to him that modern Jews should be prevented or even dissuaded from, let us say, the celebration of the Feast of the Passover, or the fulfilment of other religious duties, because these were obsolete survivals or superstitions that had nothing in common with an enlightened scientific outlook. He took it for granted that one truth and one value could not require the suppression of another: hence the moral values of socialism, and the truths embodied in a sense of one's individual social national human past, could not possibly, if correctly conceived, ever clash. Life would be sadly and quite gratuitously, impoverished by the sacrifice of anything good or true or beautiful. It is this "idealism," this "naivete," that the tougher-minded revolutionaries derided in his day much as they do in ours.

After being Lassalle's representative in Cologne, and five years after publishing Rome and Jersalem - to the theses of which he remained unwaveringly faithful to the end of his days - in 1867 Hess joined the International Working Men's Association, founded, as everyone knows, by his old comrade in arms and

{p. 158} remorseless denigrator, Karl Marx. He represented the workers of Berlin in the First International, and in 1868 and 1869, as a Marxist delegate, fought the representatives of Proudhon and of Bakunin, old friends whom he deeply admired, because he thought that their doctrines would disrupt working class unity. He never became an orthodox Marxist. He still did not believe in violence or class warfare as an inescapable historical category; and he was a full-fledged Zionist avant la parole. But he was a socialist, and when he spoke of the Jewish state in Palestine, he declared that the soil of that country must be acquired by the Jews acting as a single national whole in order to prevent private exploitation. Similarly he regarded full legal protection of labor among the future colonists as a sine qua non, and declared that the organization of industry, agriculture and trade must follow Mosaic - which for him was synonymous with socialistic - principles. He wanted to see in the new Jewish state workers' cooperatives of the type organized by Lassalle in Germany, state-aided until such time as the proletarians formed a majority of the inhabitants of Palestine, when the state would automatically, peacefully, and without revolution, become a socialist commonwealth.

All these ideas met, it may well be imagined, with an exceedingly hostile reception among educated Jews, particularly those German Liberal Jews against whom Hess's sharpest sallies were directed. Such words had certainly never before been addressed to them. Jews in Germany had for almost a century been much adjured and much discussed. Mendelssohn and his followers had accused them of clinging senselessly to the ghetto for its own sake, of blind avoidance of the magnificent opportunity of entering the world of Western culture that was at last open to receive them. The orthodox charged them with godlessness, with heresy and sin. They were told to cling to their ancient faith; to abandon it; to adjust it to modern life; to dilute it; to emulate German culture by critical examination of their own antiquities; to be historians, scholars, higher critics; to enter Western civilization by their own door; by doors already built by others; not to enter it at all. But in this great babel of voices, no one had yet proposed to them to recognize themselves for what they were - a nation: odd, sui generis, but still a nation; and

{p. 159} therefore to give up nothing, avoid self-deception, not to seek to persuade themselves that what was not theirs and had never been theirs, was dearer to them than what was truly their own, not to offer up, with pain and an unbearable sense of shame, what alone they could truly love, their own habits, outlook, memories, traditions, their history, their pride, their sense of identity as a nation, all that they, like other peoples, were and lived by, everything indeed, that they could respect in themselves or others respected in them. Others - Englishmen, Frenchmen, Italians - probably understood this better than the emancipated Jews to whom Hess spoke. "No people struggling for its country can deny the Jewish people the right to its own land without the most fatal inconsistency," he wrote. And so, in the twentieth century, it duly and honourably turned out. But in the circumstances of the time his words were wounding to many, not least because they were true. "Educated parvenus in Christian society" he called his opponents with more bitterness than justice. He poured vinegar in their wounds with the bitter zeal of a convert turning upon the blind mass from which he is sprung. Their reaction may well be imagined. The most eminent German Jewish scholar of the day, Steinschneider, expressed himself with comparative moderation, and called Hess a repentant sinner, adding the hope that the book would not be exploited by the enemies of the Jews already in Palestine. The celebrated scholar, and publicist, the advocate of Reform Judaism, Abraham Geiger, whose disavowal of nationality and intense efforts to feel and think like a Hegelian German of Jewish persuasion Hess had pilloried in telling language, reacted with understandable hostility: "An old romantic with new reactionary plans," he called the author, and condemned his book root and branch. "An almost complete outsider," he went on to say in his anonymous review, "who, after bankruptcy as a socialist, and all kinds of swindles, wants to make a hit with nationalism .. and along with the questions of restoring Czech and Montenegrin nationality, etc. ... wants to revive that of the Jews." Die Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums said, "We are first and foremost Germans, Frenchmen, Englishmen, Americans - only then Jews. ... The growth of

{p. 160} civilization will cause desire for Palestine to evaporate among the Eastern Jews."22 So the debate - which even now is by no means closed - began, more than thirty years before the word Zionism had been so much as heard of. The Alliance Israelite Universelle cautiously opened its journal, the Archives Israelites, to Hess, and offered tepid support. The Alliance was attracted by the notion of having so well known a publicist on its side, but was frightened of the notion of organized irnmigration to Palestine, although it was prepared to support such Jews as had already found their way there as the result of such minor efforts to colonize Palestine as were already, at that time, beginning to be made.

The scandal caused by the book duly died down. Like Hess's earlier works, it had, as far as can be determined, no influence at all. The return of the Jews to Palestine had, after all, been spoken of not only by pious Jews or Christian visionaries, but by the great Napoleon himself at the time of his Egyptian campaign, by Fichte, by the Russian revolutionary Decembrist Pestel, who, like Fichte, wished to rid Europe of the Jews, by the French-Jewish publicist Joseph Salvador, by the eccentric English traveller Laurence Oliphant, by Rabbi Kalischer, and other obscurer figures. It is possible that George Henry Lewes, who had met Hess in Paris, had spoken of his views to George Eliot and so inspired her novel Daniel Deronda, with its Jewish nationalist hero. But all this was of no account in a world where no one except, perhaps, a few groups of Jews scattered in Eastern Europe (and, oddly enough, Australia) took such matters seriously. Hess was not destined to see in his own lifetime even the beginning of the fulfillment of his ideals.

The rest of his life is characteristic enough. Like other impoverished emigre journalists, he acted as correspondent of various German and Swiss journals, as well as the Chicago German weekly Die Illinois Staats-Zeitung, for which he wrote from 1865 a series of despatches which show a grasp of European affairs scarcely inferior to those of the New York Tribune's European

22 I owe these quotations to a valuable article by Mr. Israel Cohen, entitled "Moses Hess, Rebel and Prophet," published in The Zionist Quarlerly (New York), Fall 1951.

{p. 161} correspondent - Karl Marx - and far greater powers of accurate prediction of events. He was dismissed from it in 1870 ostensibly for excessive interest in politics in which his German-American readers were held to have too little interest. In the same year, on the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war he was expelled from Paris as a Prussian citizen, although, as may be imagined, he denounced Bismarck's aggression with all his might, and called upon the Jews to give their sympathies to France - the cradle of liberty and fraternity, the home of revolution and all humane ideals. He went to Brussels where he called for an alliance of all free peoples against "Prussianized Germany," a country intent on destroying France, only because France wanted to make humanity happier. In 1875 he died, as for the most part he had lived, in obscurity and poverty, an unworldly isolated figure, and by his own wish was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Deutz by the side of his parents. His posthumous work, Die Dynamische Stofflehre, was published by his devoted wife in 1877 as a pious monument to his memory. She declared it to be his life's work, but it is a confused, half philosophical half scientific, speculation of no interest or value today. His real life's work is the simple and moving book which still contains more truth about the Jews, both in the nineteenth century and in our own, than any comparable work. Like its author, it was all but forgotten until events themselves rescued both from unjust oblivion. Today streets are called after him in the two principal cities of the State of Israel: nothing would have surprised or delighted him more greatly. After 1862 he was a Jew first and a Marxist second, he would, I suspect, have considered the systematic disparagement of his ideas and personality by Engels and his imitators as more than made up for by the recognition given him by the Jewish state in which he believed with his whole being. Yet nothing seemed less likely during his lifetime.


(6) Political and Social Aspects of Israeli and Arab Nationalism, by Schlomo Avineri

in Eugene Kamwenka (ed.), Nationalism: The Nature and Evolution of an idea (Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1975).

{p. 100} Political and Social Aspects of Israeli and Arab Nationalism

Schlomo Avineri

{p. 111} The

{p. 112} Return to Zion would not have to be a mere territorial shift in population: in order to be successful, it would have to be accompanied by the development of a Jewish peasantry and a Jewish working class.

The development of these ideas can be traced most dramatically in the career of Moses Hess, Marx's mentor and his so-called 'communist rabbi', who is also considered as one of the founding fathers of socialist Zionism. He now lies buried in the first kibbutz on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, but he was initially interred in a Cologne cemetery under a tombstone carrying the inscription Vater der deutschen Sozialdemokratie. His private papers are to be found divided between the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem and the Institute for Marxism-Leninism in Moscow, and editions of his works are being published by the Zionist Library in Jerusalem and the Academy of Sciences of the German Democratic Republic. He deserves a much closer study than the few footnotes usually referring to him as an 'influence' or 'forerunner'.

Though only six years older than Marx, Hess was born into a strictly Orthodox Jewish family in the Rhineland, while Marx grew up in a family that had been baptised. Unlike Marx who had no Jewish education and knew practically nothing about Judaism, Hess's only education had been a Jewish religious one. It was said of him that he belonged to that generation of Jews who learned their German from studying Hegel and their Latin from studying Spinoza.

Like many of his generation, Hess reacted most strongly against his Orthodox upbringing. His repudiation of Judaism became total and fierce. In his first book, The Holy History of Mankind, Hess refers to two nations of 'world historical importance' which are nowadays lifeless cadavers: the Jews and the Chinese. Following a somewhat simplified version of Hegel's philosophy of history, Hess characterises the Jewish people as 'spirit without body' and the Chinese as 'body without spirit'. Judaism's role in history has been completed and though the Jews may experience a revival it will be as individuals totally immersed in universal Western culture. Spinoza is to Hess an example of this new type of Jew who transcends the narrow limits of his origins and merges into the universal spirit - his anonymous book actually gives 'a Young Spinozist' as author.

The last chapter of the volume is indeed called 'The New Jerusalem' in it: Hess paints a picture of a future society organised in communes, in which distinctions between town and country, as well as between man and woman, would disappear. But 'it is in the heart of Europe that

{p. 113} this New Jerusalem will be founded'.

In an unpublished draft written around 1840 and called The Poles and the Jews, Hess says that one may expect a renaissance among both the Poles and the Jews, but while the Polish renaissance will be political, the Jewish one will be purely spiritual. The Jews lack the two basic conditions for national life, territory and language; they have repeatedly shown a total lack of national consciousness (Mangel an Nationalsinn). Even traumatic experiences like the Damascus Affair have failed to arouse in them a sense of cohesion, and they are destined to disappear as a separate group through assimilation and integtation into the new Europe of the spirit.15 Similarly in his European Triarchy Hess suggests that through their rejection of Jesus, the Jews have become a 'mummy'. And in his essay On the Essence of Money, Hess identifies Judatsm and the cult of money - an identification which was later taken over and elaborated by Marx in his On the Jewish Ouestion.17

We thus see that though the Jewish question comes up quite frequently in Hess's writings, and his well-informed historical account of early Judaism unmistakably shows the signs of his religious schooling, his attitude to Judaism is basically hostile and if he had a message to deliver it is that of total assimilation and ultimate disappearance.

Almost twenty years later, however, Hess experiences a complete transformation of his views on the subject. In 1862 he publishes his Rome and Jerusalem, which he originally intended entitling 'The Rebirth of Israel'. In the Preface he very much takes up the posture of the prodigal son:

{quote} Here do I stand, after an estrangement of twenty years, in the midst of my people. Only one thought, which I felt I had stifled forever in my breast presents itself vividly before my eyes: the thought of my nationality, which cannot be separated from the heritage of my forefathers, the Holy Land and the Eternal City, the birthplace of the belief in unity of the divine and the future brotherhood of all men.18 {endquote}

{p. 114} The book is written as a series of letters to a fictional lady correspondent, and Hess finishes one of the letters with a highly emotional outburst that he is happy to revert to his original name Moses and discard his adopted name of Maurice, further commenting: 'I only regret that I cannot be called Itzig'.

How may one account for such a complete change of attitude? On the evidence of Hess's own account of lis conversion, there had been a number of reasons: the success of Italian nationalism, which became a great triumph for the European Left, was certainly one of the main driving forces; the Rome in the title of the book is Mazzini's Roma terza, though the overtones of Rome of the Pagan Emperors and the Catholic Popes are, of course, also evident. Whereas for Marx national unity was viewed purely as instrumental (it helps the working class to focus on its true class interest), Hess followed Mazzini in arguing that the nation is a community in which individuals transcend their pure egotism and it is on its foundations that a socialist international 'community of communities' would be established.

Hess also cites as a reason for his advocacy of Jewish nationalism the increasingly racialist overtones of European, and particularly, German nationalism: in this he is one of the first to discern the catastrophis consequences of the failure of liberal nationalism in Germany in 1848. German nationalism, Hess argues, is becoming xenophobic, militaristic and racist, and there is no hope for the Jews of incorporation into the New Germany.

Another formative influence Hess mentions is a volume by a French radical, Ernest Laharanne: La nouvelle question d'Orient. Laharanne became greatly disturbed by the communal riots in Lebanon in 1860 (the same riots which we saw so instrumental in politicising Butrus Bustani's thought). He saw in them an ultimate proof of the bankruptcy of the Ottoman Empire: France, he argues, true to its revolutionary tradition of supporting enslaved peoples against their oppressors, should now espouse the cause of the new nationalisms in the Levant. In place of the old Ottoman Empire, Laharanne sees the emergence of two Arab states, one in Syria-Mesopotamia and the other in Egypt. In the area between the two he envisages the formation of a new Jewish state, and he calls upon France to help establish 'les empires d'Egypte et d'Arabie et la reconstitution de la nation juive'.

But beyond all these motives, the prime force in Hess's argument is that emancipation has not worked. Bourgeois society has not been able

{p. 115} to solve the Jewish problem, and because of this the Jews in bourgeois society have been put into invidious positions which made their integration in a future socialist society in Europe quite impossible. Reform Judaism failed similarly; not only did it, according to Hess, emasculate historical Judaism, but also, by stressing the purely confessional rather than the national aspect of Judaism, it substituted the eternal Jewish dream of communal redemption for the Christian message of merely individual salvation.

In his historical account of Judaism in Rome and Jerusalem Hess similarly takes a completely different attitude from the one that informed his early writings, where Judaism had been associated with the cult of money. This may or may not be the case of the Jews in the Diaspora: Judaism as a system of social ethics, both in biblical and talmudic times, is portrayed by Hess as a proto-socialist system.

The romantic idealisation here is obvious, but the examples are nonetheless illuminating. Jewish sabbatarian legislation is portrayed as socially motivated, as the first historical instance of social legislation in which even slaves were included. Judaism, Hess argues in a letter dating from the same period, knows no classes, has no feudalism, is basically 'social democratic'.

The Jewish family figures quite prominently in this historical account: the family and not the individual has always been, according to Hess, the focus of Jewish life. 'Judaism never severed the individual from the family, nor the family from the nation, nor the nation from humanity.' The family appears here, in a Hegelian fashion, as a community, in contradistinction to what Hess sees as the fundamental individualism of Christian society. Moreover, whereas Gentile society, be it pagan or Christian, worshipped masculinity and its attributes, in Judaism it was the feminine virtues of compassion, suffering, love and understanding, associated with the Jewish mother, that were always dominant: 'every Jewish mother is a mater dolorosa'. On the evidence of a paragraph in the talmudic tractate Pirkei Avoth ('Ha-omer sheli sheli v-shelcha shelcha, zo mida beinonit, ve-yesh omrim zo midat Sdom') Hess concluded that 'the ordinary bourgeois morality of chacun pour soi is alien to Judaism'.

But Judaism, Hess contends, cannot be rejuvenated in the Diaspora, and certainly not in bourgeois society: the Jewish masses will be able to participate 'in the great movement of modern mankind' only when they will have a Jewish homeland, when they will be engaged, like any other nation, in primary production.

{p. 116} It is indeed to the Jewish 'masses', that is the populace of Eastern European Jewry, and not to the assimilated Western Jew that Hess turns his attention; there, Jewish consciousness is still alive, there suffering is quite brutal, and it will be from there that the immigration to Palestine will come. It will be the impoverished Ost-Juden and the Middle Eastem Sephardim that will make up the bulk of the population of the new society. It is among these communities that the traditional communal spirit of Judaism is still alive, whereas Western Jews have been corrupted by individualism. Hess has, for example, a great, and somewhat naive, admiration for Hassidism: while criticising what he calls its 'religious superstitions', he sees in its way of life a communal togetherness, transcending individual atomism.

With such a background, Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel will not, in Hess's opinion, create another free-enterprise society. The new society will be organised 'according to Mosaic, i.e. socialist, principles', there will be no private property in land, agricultural settlements will be formed on a communal basis, industry and commerce will be likewise organised according to co-operative principles. The New Jerusalem will be a socialist Jewish society.

Just as the national liberation of Italy and Poland became a central cause for the nineteenth-century European Left, so the solution of 'the last nationality problem' should be espoused by European socialists. Hess's latter-day Jewish nationalism was not a reversal from early socialist principles, though it obviously involved a change of heart about the Jewish question. The recent East German editors of Hess usually ignore his Zionism, briefly referring to it in one instance as an aberration, an inexplicable throwback to 'the religion of his youth'. This is obvious nonsense, since Hess is not reverting to Jewish religious orthodoxy but is trying to evolve a concept of Jewish nationalism, and the future Jewish commonwealth envisaged by Hess is postulated in socialist terms.

Despite all the romanticisation involved in the Zionist socialist attempt to create a Jewish peasantry and a Jewish working class in Palestine, this ultimately proved to be the main reason for the ability of the new society to maintain itself. Zionism thus become the only migration movement with a conscious ideology of downward social mobility. While all the great mass migration movements of the nineteenth century were motivated by the promise of upward social mobility - and this includes, of course, the three million Jewish immigrants from Czarist Russia to the West during the 1882-1914 period - the handful of Zionist immigrants to the Land of Israel were mainly middle and lower middle class people who went to the New Zion in order to become labourers

{p. 117} and peasants and thus lay the foundations for a new type of Jewish social structure.

Though much of this initial ideology is not as evident today in Israel as it was years ago, it was responsible for the creation of the basic socio-economic structures which characterise Israeli society until this day. The emergence of the kibbutz and the moshav as forms of collecive and co-operative organisation, the fact that most of the land is publicly owned, the hegemony of the labour movement in Israel's life and the fact that all Israeli governments have been headed by the Labour Party, the evolution of the Histadruth not only as a merely powerful trade union organisation but also as a Labour-owned section of industry, the fact that the commanding heights of the Israeli economy are publicly owned - all these, together with the basic egalitarianism of Israeli society, are elements that can be traced back to the combination of national ideology and social critique leading to the social vision implied in Zionism.

Though Hess was the first to evolve this combination of Zionism and socialism, he was less influential, in the long run, than some later, perhaps less original minds. Mention should be made of only two of them, signifying the different streams of thought that went into Labour Zionism. One was Aharon David Gordon, who under the influence of Tolstoyan ideals became an agricultural labourer at a very advanced age and in his writings extolled the idea of 'the religion of labour', suggesting that physical labour should become part of the life experience of every individual, and especially of intellectuals. The other was Dov Ber Borochov, whose amalgam of Plekhanovite Marxism and Zionism was perhaps the most influential in the emergence of Labour Zionism in Israel.

What is interesting is that this awareness of the social dimension in Zionism appears even in the writings of those Zionist thinkers who cannot be called socialists. Herzl represents the liberal, bourgeois element in Zionist thought, yet even he refers on the first page of the Preface to Der Judenstaat to Thomas More's Utopia and to the popular utopian novel Freiland by his Viennese contemporary, the economist Theodor Hertzka. The social structure of Herzl's The Jewish State envisages, among other features, public ownership of land and a seven-hour working day. When Herzl came up with a flag for the new state,

{p. 118} he suggested an arrangement of seven golden stars on a white field, for 'it will be under the banner of labour' that the Jews will return to their land.24 A few years later Herzl wrote a utopian novel, Altneuland, clearly modelled on Hertzka's Freiland, in which the new Jewish society in Palestine is based on Proudhonist mutualist principles. Like many other utopian novels, Herzl's abounds with long didactic speeches about the new life, in this case hailing Mutualism as the realisation of social justice and the abolition of the power of privately owned capital.

Arab society, on approaching and achieving political independence, was faced with a similar problem of social structure. While it can be said of Jewish society that in the nineteenth century it was almost exclusively middle class, Arab Muslim society hardly had a middle class for a number of historical reasons. It is my argument that Arab nationalism remained almost exclusively political, had very little to say about the problem of social structures and hence was almost completely unsuccessful in effecting the transformation of Arab society that would have been necessary for political independence to be more than a hollow crown.

As the previous remarks on Arab nationalism pointed out, the Arabs lived for centuries under foreign rule before the British and the French moved into the area. Before the establishment of Western paramountcy in the Middle East, Arab society was not a self-governing entity. Ever since the twelfth century, the Arabic-speaking population of the Middle East was ruled by a succession of foreign invaders: first the Crusaders, later the Muslim Seljuks, Tartars, Osmanli Turks, Mameluke slaves (in Egypt). It is the Islam of all of these conquerors, except the Crusaders, which gave them, as we have seen, legitimacy in Arab consciousness. But socially speaking the consequence was that the political elites in Arab societies were not Arabs but members of a foreign ethnic and linguistic group. Arab society, on achieving independence, had hardly a traditional political elite of its own.

Furthermore, because of Islamic precepts and the nature of the Arab Muslim Conquista of the Middle East in the seventh century Muslim Arab society looked with disdain on commercial activity: mercantile activity was never considered to be the right thing for a true Muslim to be engaged in. As a consequence, most of the urban mercantile middle classes in Arab society in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries turned out to be composed of non-Muslim minority groups: Christian Arabs, Armenians, Greeks, Jews. The

24 The Jewish State, p. 65 - the English translation mistakenly writes 'honour'

{p. 119} Christian Arabs, as we have seen, had been crucial in the initial steps of Arab nationalism (they still figure very strongly among the most radical nationalist groups: most of the membership of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine comes from among Christian Arabs), but they could not give the movement its social backbone.

Thus Arab society lacked a Muslim Arab middle class, so central to formative stages of nationalism, and it was this gap in the social structure which was responsible for the breakdown of the democratically-oriented constitutions which most Arab countries adopted on achieving independence.


(7) Moses Hess, father of Zionist Socialism, 1812-1875

Moses Hess (1812-1875)

His Life

Born in Bonn, Hess remained there to be educated by his orthodox grandfather, when his father moved to Cologne for business reasons. At age 14 he joined him in Cologne business. Hess studied philosophy at the University of Bonn, 1837-1939 {should be 1839}, but did not graduate.

Hess helped found the first socialist daily newspaper in Cologne, and became its Paris correspondent at the end of 1842, moving to Belgium in 1845 where he was active in communist activities, and returning to Paris in 1848-1849. In 1849, he took refuge in Switzerland. Two years later he moved back to Belgium, and in 1853, finally returned to Paris where he lived, off and on, until his death.

After his father's death in 1851, Hess' inheritance provided the basis for an independent lifestyle, including marriage to his Christian companion, Sybille Pesch. He lived in Germany from 1861-1863, where he published his most famous work, "Rome and Jerusalem," a classic of Zionist theory. At the end of 1863, he returned to Paris where he contributed to a number of Jewish and other publications. He was also the Paris correspondent for several socialist newspapers in the U.S. and Germany.

A Prussian subject, Hess was expelled from France at the beginning of the Franco-Prussian war. He moved to Belgium, but returned to Paris after the war, began another philosophical work, and died there. According to his wishes, he was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Deutz, near Cologne. In 1961, his remains were moved to Kibbutz Kinneret.

His Accomplishments

With the publication of his first book - a historical- philosophical work influenced by both Spinoza and the Bible - and especially his second book - which advocated the union of the three great powers (England, France and Germany) into a single, European state - Hess established himself as a serious writer and later as the first important German socialist. His most famous work was "Rome and Jerusalem", published in Germany in 1862.

Hess believed that free labor should replace the system based on exploitation. Although he was attacked by Marx and Engels in their Communist Manifesto, Hess was the first to recognize Marx's greatness, and found himself strongly influenced by Marx, 1846-1851, without becoming a Marxist.

Hess' attitudes toward Jews changed several times.

In his twenties, he felt himself thoroughly German, and believed that Jews should assimilate.

Later, reacting to current events, he occasionally expressed compassion for his fellow Jews.

"Rome and Jerusalem" is a classic Zionist book, in which he writes of his return to "his" people. After personally suffering from anti-Semitism, he turned to the Jewish national concept based on his idea of race, espousing the view that Jews should preserve their national identity in exile while striving for their political restoration in Palestine. The Jewish religion was the best means of preserving Jewish nationality, he felt, and should be left unchanged until the establishment of a Jewish entity in Palestine, where a Sanhedrin (supreme Jewish court) could be elected to modify Jewish law in accordance with the needs of the new society.

The future Jewish state, he wrote, should be based on national land acquisition, creation of legal conditions to encourage work, and founding Jewish societies for agriculture, industry and trade.

Although his work was forgotten for some time, its importance was revived with the birth of the Zionist movement. Articles on Hess and early translations of his works began appearing in the 1880s. Selections of his works have been published in German, Polish and Hebrew (edited by Martin Buber). {end}

(8) Hess, Moses

Moses Hess was born in Bonn to an orthodox Jewish family. He received a traditional Jewish education but as an autodidact learnt German and French as a means to secular learning. Initially, Hess was a utopian socialist but following his acquaintance with Marx he moved toward a more scientific determinist understanding. Hess contributed toward Marx's "Communist Manifesto" written in 1848 in particular the term "religion as the opium of the masses." Following the unification of Italy, the rise of nationalism in that country and the emergence of German antisemitism, Hess returned to his Jewish roots. His booklet Rome and Jerusalem; The Last National Question, written in 1862 is evidence of this change. However, his proposed Jewish State was to be socialist in nature. Hess died in Paris although at his request was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Cologne. However, in 1961 his remains were transferred to Israel where they were buried in the Kinneret cemetery alongside other Socialist-Zionists such as Nahum Syrkin, Ber Borochov, and Berl Katznelson.


The text of Rome and Jerusalem: A Study in Jewish Nationalism, by Moses Hess, is at rome-and-jerusalem.html.

Zeev Sternhell, The Founding Myths of Israel: Nationalism, Socialism and the Making of the Jewish State: nat-soc-isr.html.

Harry Waton was a religious Jew (not fundamentalist), and also a Communist. In his 1939 book A Program FOR THE JEWS: An Answer TO ALL ANTI-SEMITES: A PROGRAM FOR HUMANITY, he expounds on the connection between the two.

Communism, Waton says, is Judaism's project for the world. All other religions are other-worldly; only Judaism lives for this world, and specifically for a political program which unifies and equalises mankind.

excerpts: (1) Nazism is an imitation of Judaism: naz-jud.html (2) The Jews are a People, not a Race: people.html (3) A Jewish View of the non-Jewish Religions: religion.html (4) God's Mandate to the Jews: mandate.html (5) The Jews are an Intellectual Aristocracy: intelect.html.

full text: Zipped version, with explanatory footnotes and commentary:

More on Zionism: zioncom.html.

Write to me at contact.html.