The Founder of Esperanto and the Dangerous Allure of Jewish Universalism

March 18 2020

Born in Russian-ruled Bialystok in 1859, Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof was fascinated by languages from a young age and, like many of his day, saw linguistics and politics as deeply intertwined. In the early 1880s, Zamenhof became an enthusiastic “territorialist”—believing that Jews should create a homeland somewhere outside the Middle East, in his view on the Mississippi River—and then a Zionist, although one who thought the Jewish state should be Yiddish-speaking. He then took another about-face and settled on the idea that would drive him for the rest of his life: the elimination of strife and prejudice through the end of linguistic differences—a problem he hoped to solve by creating a universal tongue, later known as Esperanto. As his Esperanto movement gathered steam, Zamenhof created an ideology to go with it, as Saul Jay Singer explains:

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Read more at Jewish Press

More about: Anti-Semitism, Esperanto, Universalism, Zionism

The U.S. Has Managed to Force a Stalemate in the Syrian Civil War, at Least for Now

In a little remarked-upon statement in May, James Jeffrey, the State Department’s envoy for Syria policy, said that his goal was to turn the war-torn country into “a quagmire for the Russians.” By using economic leverage, this policy has achieved modest success, writes Jonathan Spyer:

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy