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The Basle Program

Resolutions of the First Zionist Congress
August 30, 1897

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Theodore Herzl organized the first Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland in 1897. Prior to the Congress, Zionist activities had been initiated by several different groups such as Hovevei Zion (lovers of Zion) with no central direction or political program. The Basle Congress was the foundation of a mass Zionist movement. At the conclusion, the congress adopted the resolutions below.  Herzl wrote in his diary, "At Basle, I founded the Jewish state.. If not in five years, then certainly in fifty, everyone will realize it.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion , an anti-semitic forgery of the Tsarist police written in 1905, are claimed by anti-Zionists to be the protocols of the first Zionist Congress. The actual resolutions of the congress are given below. They are the result of a compromise formula. A committee headed by Max Nordau offered the text "The aim of Zionism is to create for the Jewish people a home in Eretz-Israel (the land of Israel) secured by law."  Leo Motzkin proposed the wording "international law.

Ami Isseroff"

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The Basle Zionist Program

Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine secured under public law. The Congress contemplates the following means to the attainment of this end:

1. The promotion by appropriate means of the settlement in Palestine of Jewish farmers, artisans, and manufacturers.

2. The organization and uniting of the whole of Jewry by means of appropriate institutions, both local and international, in accordance with the laws of each country.

3. The strengthening and fostering of Jewish national sentiment and national consciousness. Preparatory steps toward obtaining the consent of governments, where necessary, in order to reach the goals of Zionism

The handwritten copy of the program also states:

4. Preparatory steps toward obtaining the consent of governments, where necessary, in order to reach the goals of Zionism.


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