Who coined the term, what is the historically enduring question and why is there a need of a question?
The term “Jewish Question” was first used in Great Britain in around 1750, intended to be a neutral expression, regarding the continual negative attitude toward the Jews as a people, who were persistently surrounded by historical friction, from a national, ethical and legal view-point, to which a ‘Solution’ continually needed to be sought.
The styled slogan of it being a ‘Question’ was a political and linguistical approach to address what was actually an incessant ‘Problem.’ A ‘Question’ provokes an ‘Answer’ – a ‘Solution’ is only ever in direct response to a ‘Problem’ – in this case, ‘The Jewish Problem.’
The histories of Jewish emancipation and of so-called European “Anti-Semitism” are filled with a great variety of proffered “Solutions to the Jewish Question.”
The question was next discussed in France (“la question juive”) after the French Revolution in 1789, before arriving in Germany via Bruno Bauer’s treatise “Die Judenfrage” (The Jewish Question).
From that point hundreds of tractates, pamphlets, newspaper articles and books were written on the subject, with many offering ‘Solutions’ to the ‘Problem’ including resettlement, deportation and assimilation of the Jewish population. Similarly, hundreds of pieces of literature were written by Jewish intellectuals, opposing these solutions and have offered solutions such as re-integration and education.
This debate, however, ultimately resulted in confusion at not being able to ascertain whether the problem of the “Jewish Question” had more to do with the problems posed by the German Jews’ themselves, or now their opponents? Was it ‘Anti-Semitism’ or ‘Anti-Gentilism’?
From around 1860, under the newly coined description to the historical problem, Jews were described as a stumbling block to the identity and cohesion of the German nation and as enemies within the Germans’ own country. The “Question” was declared by many as a racial ideology problem, unsolvable through integration and that the removal of Jews from their over-representation and socially dominant positions, of the press, education, culture, state politics and economy, was necessary to restore ethical and cultural balance back into the lives of the German people.
An early use of the expression “Jewish question” appeared during the ‘Jew Bill of 1753’ debates in England.
Joseph Salvador, a prominent Banker and leader of London’s Sephardi Jewish community, petitioned the government for legislation to enact a wide range of accommodations for foreign and local Jews, financial benefits for the higher classes being dominant… The contradictions within the petition and the legal implications, left puzzled those who debated it and wondering what was the true intent behind the Bill itself, as it would open up further hostilities toward Jewry.
Although the Bill passed, it was hurriedly repealed a few months later, citing; “Wherein the motives of all parties interested therein are examined: the principles of Christianity, with regard to the admission of Jews are fully discussed […] Wherein the false reasoning, gross misrepresentation of fact and Perversions of Scripture, are fully laid open and detected.”
Bruno Bauer, in his book ‘The Jewish Question’ published in 1843, argued that Jews can achieve political emancipation only if they relinquish their particular religious consciousness, since political emancipation requires a secular state, which he assumes does not leave any “space” for social identities such as religion. True political emancipation, for Bauer, requires the abolition of religion.
Mordechai Levi ( better-known as Karl Marx), replied to Bauer in his 1844 essay titled, ‘On the Jewish Question.’ Marx contradicted Bauer’s view that the nature of the Jewish religion prevented Judaism’s assimilation. Instead, he focused on the specific social and economic role of the Jewish group in Europe which, according to him, was lost when capitalism, the “material basis for Judaism,” assimilated the European societies as a whole.
Marx argues, that Bauer is mistaken in his assumption that in a ‘secular state’, religion will no longer play a prominent role in social life. In Marx’s analysis, the ‘secular state’ is not opposed to religion, but rather actually presupposes it.
Theodore Herzl, stated in his pamphlet, ‘Der Judenstaat’ (The Jews State);
“The ‘Jewish Question’ persists wherever Jews live in appreciable numbers. Wherever it does not exist, it is brought in together with Jewish immigrants. We are naturally drawn into those places where we are not persecuted, and our appearance there gives rise to persecution. This is the case, and will inevitably be so, everywhere, even in highly civilised countries—see, for instance, France—so long as the ‘Jewish Question’ is not solved on the political level.”
The ‘British Uganda Programme’ or, the ‘Uganda Scheme,’ was a plan in the early 1900s to give a portion of British East Africa to the Jewish people as a homeland. The idea was brought to the Zionist Congress at its sixth meeting in 1903 in Basel. There a fierce debate ensued. The African land was described as an “ante-chamber to the Holy Land” and a Nachtasyl (temporary night shelter), and many felt that accepting the offer would make it more difficult to establish a Jewish State in Palestine, and also that the Jewish nation would not be able to claim itself as native to that land. Before the vote on the matter, the Jewish-Russian delegation stormed out in opposition.
The Uganda Debate is still used as a metaphor in present-day Israeli politics. Israeli settlers place supreme importance on settling in the Biblically-hallowed Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and some have used the term “Latter-Day Ugandists” to describe others who are willing to accept a Jewish state based on the 1947 United Nations plan or, the 1949 Armistice Agreements (excluding the West Bank). This term implies that liberal Israelis—like the adherents of Uganda Programme or Latter-Day Ugandists, are simply interested in a place where Jews can live in peace, and care little about supposedly historical and/or biblical matters.
Chaim Weitzman stated in a 1907 speech;
“The governments of the world will pay attention to us, only as they will ‘become convinced’ that we are capable of ‘Conquering Palestine’ through persistent practical work.
Political Zionism means, to make the ‘Jewish Question’ an ‘International Question.’ It means going to the nations and saying to them: “We need your help to achieve our aim; but we ourselves are doing all in our power to strengthen our position in the land, because we regard Palestine as our homeland.” We must explain Zionism to the governments in such a manner that they shall understand it as the Jews understand it.”
How the Palestinians understand it, was not proffered at all.
In National Socialist Germany, the term “Jewish Question” (Judenfrage) referred to the sense that the existence of Jews in Germany had posed great problems for the nation, especially well founded since the 1848 Revolution, the 1918 Revolution, the repeated and deliberate economic crashes and escalated problems, moreover, since the Treaty of Versailles. In 1933 – the same year International Jewry ‘Declared War’ on Germany – theorists Johann von Leers and Achim Gercke, both proposed that this particular Jewish problem and, the Jewish Question over all, could be solved most humanely by resettling Jews in Madagascar or elsewhere in Africa. Both intellectuals discussed the pros and cons of supporting the German Zionist Jews as well, but von Leers asserted that establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine would create humanitarian and political problems for the region.
These theories were expanded on and proposed to the International Refugee Committee, between National Socialist representative, Alfred Rosenberg, IRC Director George Rublee and other international delegates.
Rosenberg reflected on all possible proposals and after a process of elimination, such as rejecting Alaska – as it offered too harsh a climate – proposed Guiana or Madagascar, as both had been officially offered prior.
Opposing a Jewish ‘Reservation’ in Palestine, Rosenberg said it was too small and experience had shown that the British Mandate Government of Palestine could not come to agreement with the Arabs. Further he asserted, that the territory should be set aside with contributions by “Jewish Millionaires and billionaires from all the world,” to the International Refugee Committee in London. Supervision of the ‘Reservation’ by a police administration under the command of a Governor or a League of Nations was also an important recommendation by Rosenberg.
He added, “If the democracies want to prove the truth of their friendship for Jews now, they must within a reasonable time make clear, which of these territories shall be established as a Jewish Reservation.”
“I stress the word “Reservation” for there can be no talk either at present or in the future about a Jewish-State…” Rosenberg said.
The only “Questions” that should be accurately answered and absent of fanciful theories of unfounded prejudice is…
Why hasn’t there been a persistent;
“Spanish Question” or
“All other peoples Question”
just the “Jewish Problem”?
And now, we have an additional modern day Question/Problem to find a ‘Solution’ for…
How do we hold criminals accountable, now that a ‘Jurisdictional-State [of Impunity]’ has been established, as a safe-haven for criminals to shelter and to retreat to?
Video: Insight to the numerous historical expulsions, mostly due to horrific ritual crimes.
List of the recorded expulsion of the Jews