March 31, 2020

Herzl's Gift To Europe

“Europe is at a crossroads. Brexit and immigration prompted a debate about the essence of European liberalism. Luckily, Europe has an invaluable resource it can use in its deliberations: Theodor Herzl.

The visionary of the Jewish State was a prominent thinker of European liberalism at the end of the 19th Century. Yet, unlike other thinkers, Herzl’s ideas were not just theoretical – they were applied to the establishment of a state, and therefore can be evaluated based on tangible results.

Moreover, unlike others, Herzl’s had unique exposure to alternative approaches to Europeanism. Herzl was at the epicenter of the three political models of late 19th Century Europe: The super-national union, nationalist nation-state, and liberal democracy.

Herzl observed how the Habsburg monarchy, rooted in centuries of proud Austrian culture, has turned itself into a super-national kingdom. Indeed, Herzl benefited from the open-borders that allowed his family to relocate from Hungary to Vienna and for Jews, Polls, Galicians and other minorities to study at the University in Vienna. Herzl analyzed the imperfections of the super-national empire as well as its dangers. He even shared some of his thoughts with Austrian’s Prime-Minister Count Kasimir Badeni – who was Polish.”

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