Israel Zangwill (3): The Voice of Jerusalem

No one has laboured more for the Pacifist ideal than the inventor of Esperanto, the late Dr. Zamenhof, the Russo-Jewish oculist who truly strove to heal the blindness of humanity. For the unity of speech at which he laboured was to him merely the outward sign of of the inner unity of mankind. If he sought to undo the curse of Babel, it was in order to bring the peace of Jerusalem. Amid the barbaric welter generated by that military ideal of which Prussia offered the supreme expression, in a planet seething and rumbling with animosities, and streaked with volcanic fires, this obscure Russian Jew managed to set myriads of every race, creed and colour, meeting in the concord of a common tongue, the very name of which brought the gospel of hope. (p. 13)

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If a Russian-American Jew, Berenson, is the chief authority on Italian art, and Georg Brandes, the Dane, is Europe's greatest critic, if Reuter initiated telegraphic news and Blowitz was the prince of foreign correspondents, if Charles Frohman was the world's greatest entrepreneur and Imre Kiralfy ran its exhibitions, all these phenomena find their explanation in the cosmopolitanism of the Jewish intelligentsia. For when the Jew grows out of his own Ghetto without narrowing into his neighbour's, he must necessarily possess a superior sense of perspective. Lifted to the plane of idealism, this cosmopolitan habit of mind creates Socialism through Karl Marx and Lassalle, an international language through Dr. Zamenhof, the inventor of Esperanto, a prophecy of the end of war through Jean de Bloch, an International Institute of Agriculture through David Lubin, and a Race Congress through Dr. Felix Adler. (pp. 183-184)

SOURCE: Zangwill, Israel. The Voice of Jerusalem. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1921.

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