Convince the citizens of Germany, the European Union, the world’s Jewish communities and the international community to support the founding of the state

When you create political art, it has to be part of a political culture. It never stands alone.
You don’t just wake up in the morning and decide, oh I am against whatever, or lets start a movement for xyz. You are part of a community, you are part of a political environment and you participate in it, ideas don’t just come from nowhere, they are in the air – coming together through communal interaction.

Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, was unaware of an earlier Zionist, Leo Pinsker and his book Auto-Emancipation (1882), or about Moshe Hess’s book Rome and Jerusalem (1862) calling to establish a Jewish socialist commonwealth in Palestine, when he wrote the “Jewish state”1. He was not aware of many other similar Zionist activist groups in Eastern Europe like Chibbath Zion. However, just as he came up with the idea, so did many others at the same time. Herzls’ success (among many) is that he articulated the ideas of Zionism in a way that it became a mass movement, and many credit Herzl abilities as a playwright in doing so.2

When Herzl first appeared on the political scene, he thought that he would create a state by working with courtiers and statesmen, with princes and kings. He found that they could not be relied upon for truth or stability. Favorites and mercenaries encircled them. Enormous responsibilities rested upon their shoulders but they seemed to behave with regard to these duties as though they were gamblers or amateurs. Herzl soon realized that these were frail reeds that would break under the slightest pressure. He came to put his trust in the Jewish masses that only through a popular mass movement, will he then manage to achieve his goals.

A political artist has to be part of an entire political culture. Political art does not stand on its own and it only works if you are part of a wider community, culture, movement, a collection of artists, musicians, writers, organizers, theorists, technicians, historians, lawyers, law makers, magicians as well as any other kinds of contributors to society. You have to work in the framework of that culture that gave birth to it. It can never be effective on its own, it could only be successful as part of a greater whole. For example, The project (un)Documented Disappearance that was made in Jena, one wouldn’t have been able to do it, if there hadn’t already been an organization working on refugee issues, self-organized refugees, a history of struggle and a community already working on the issue that one could connect to.

If one wants to convince people, get them aboard, it helps to be part of their community. It’s not a strategy, it’s a reality of how things work. Inside a community there are important jobs that art could do. For one thing, it’s important to moralize, propaganda for the believers. I think, people forget that morale is not something to look down on, it is especially important, even if you already agree, you can see that somebody is enforcing your ideas, it is very important to be reinforced and to know you are not alone, that we are connected and that there are other people. It can help create a network, bring people together around an idea, and of course it should motivate to take the ideas further, break new grounds and inspire the next step.


1 Louis Lipsky, introduction to English version Introduction to Judenstaat, Theodor Herzl,
2 Amos Elon, Herzl, p. 17-18 (Hebrew edition 1975)

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