The Official Postcards of the Early Zionist Congresses

In 1897, Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress, a parliamentary gathering for Jews dedicated to the Zionist project. The Zionist Congress went on to meet every year or every other year prior to the creation of the state of Israel; specially produced, official postcards were issued to mark each of these gatherings. Alongside images of the first seven such postcards, Saul Jay Singer offers important historical context regarding the Zionist Congresses they represented.

The official card of the Fourth Congress illustrates “wandering Jews,” Diaspora Jews in exile carrying their meager possessions while the “Angel of Zion” framed by a Magen David extends its wings and points them toward Eretz Yisrael, where Jews are at work on their land.

Herzl realized that support from Britain, then the world’s greatest power, was a necessary prerequisite to the establishment of a Jewish homeland. Indeed, this was why the Jewish National Fund was incorporated as a British company; why the Fourth Congress was convened in London, marking the first time it was held outside Switzerland; and why the first part of Herzl’s opening address was delivered in English: to affect public opinion in England in sympathy with the Zionist idea.

The Congress met in an atmosphere of growing concern over the situation facing Romanian Jewry, where many thousands had been forcibly expelled, and the remainder subject to extreme persecution. The Jewish situation in much of Eastern Europe was dire, and many of the addresses at the Congress contained seeds of prophecy regarding the European Holocaust to come.

Read more at Jewish Press

More about: History of Zionism, Jewish art, Theodor Herzl

Would an American-Backed UN Resolution Calling for a Temporary Ceasefire Undermine Israel?

Yesterday morning, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution, sponsored by Algeria, that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. As an alternative, the American delegation has been circulating a draft resolution calling for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released.” Benny Avni comments:

While the Israel Defense Force may be able to maintain its Gaza operations under that provision, the U.S.-proposed resolution also warns the military against proceeding with its plan to enter the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israel says that a critical number of Hamas fighters are hiding inside tunnels and in civilian buildings at Rafah, surrounded by a number of the remaining 134 hostages.

In one paragraph, the text of the new American resolution says that the council “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries, which would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

In addition to the paragraph about Rafah, the American-proposed resolution is admonishing Israel not to create a buffer zone inside Gaza. Such a narrow zone, as wide as two miles, is seen by many Israelis as a future protection against infiltration from Gaza.

Perhaps, as Robert Satloff argues, the resolution isn’t intended to forestall an IDF operation in Rafah, but only—consistent with prior statements from the Biden administration—to demand that Israel come up with a plan to move civilians out of harms way before advancing on the city.

If that is so, the resolution wouldn’t change much if passed. But why is the U.S. proposing an alternative ceasefire resolution at all? Strategically, Washington has nothing to gain from stopping Israel, its ally, from achieving a complete victory over Hamas. Why not instead pass a resolution condemning Hamas (something the Security Council has not done), calling for the release of hostages, and demanding that Qatar and Iran stop providing the group with arms and funds? Better yet, demand that these two countries—along with Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon—arrest Hamas leaders on their territory.

Surely Russia would veto such a resolution, but still, why not go on the offensive, rather than trying to come up with another UN resolution aimed at restraining Israel?

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship, United Nations