The Idol of Zionism, the Negation of Judaism — 1904

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by Neil Godfrey

Fortunately, I am not the only one raising my voice against the current, entirely misguided and long obsolete way of training rabbis. Protests are already being heard in rabbinic circles. However, not from the circles of the very youngest rabbis, who, trained in our days of chaplaincy, out of complete ignorance of the true essence of Judaism and despairing of its inner strength and future potential, throw themselves into the arms of the most recent day’s idol adorned with journalistic tinsel, called Zionism, which was recently aptly characterized by a perceptive scholar as the negation of Judaism. . . .

Original text:

Zum Glück bin ich nicht der einzige, der gegen die heutige, ganz verkehrte und längst verlebte Art, Rabbiner heranzubilden, seine Stimme erhebt. Es werden gegen dieselbe bereits in Rabbinerkreisen Proteste laut.Allerdings nicht in den Kreisen der allerjüngsten Rabbiner, die, herangebildet in unsern Tagen der Kaplanokratie, aus völliger Unkenntnis des wahren Wesens des Judentums und verzweifelnd an dessen innerer Kraft und Zukunftsstärke, sich dem jüngsten, mit journalistischem Flitter verbrämten Tagesgötzen, Zionismus genannt, den letzthin ein tiefblickender Gelehrter treffend als die Negation des Judentums charakterisierte, in die Arme werfen . . .

Friedländer, Moriz. Griechische Philosophie im alten Testament. Berlin: Reimer, 1904. http://archive.org/details/griechischephilo00frie. p. xvii


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3 thoughts on “The Idol of Zionism, the Negation of Judaism — 1904”

  1. Is there supposed to be an article with this or some comment about this chaps quote?
    If he is writing in 1904 that’s only 7 years after the movement has started and that does seem a little early to be passing such a strong sentiment and why concern one self with the training of Rabbis? And which rabbi’s would this chap be concerned about…..was it all forms of training or only specific schools of Jewish Tradition……?

    1. I only meant to post the quote without comment. It is only one instance of what was a more general opposition to the emergence of the Zionist movement from its beginnings. The Zionist movement was a secular nationalist project following in the train of European nationalist-imperialist and related settler colonial projects that produced the United States, Canada, Australia of today.

      I happened to be reading Friedlander’s book when I came across those words of his that painfully reminded of what is happening today.

    2. If nothing else, I thought that being reminded of such historical attitudes is potentially one more small antidote to thinking the state of Israel represents all Jews today.

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