Basle Program

   On 23 August 1897, in Basle (Basel), Switzerland, Theodor Herzl convened the first World Zionist Congress representing Jewish communities and organizations throughout the world. The congress established the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and founded an effective, modern, political, Jewish national movement enunciating that "Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine secured under public law." Zionism rejected other solutions to the Jewish Question and was the response to centuries of discrimination, persecution, and oppression. It sought redemption through self-determination. Herzl argued in Der Juden-staat: "Let the sovereignty be granted us over a portion of the globe large enough to satisfy the rightful requirements of a nation; the rest we shall manage for ourselves."
   For the attainment of the aims of the Basle Program, the congress envisaged the promotion of the settlement of Palestine by Jewish agriculturalists, artisans, and trades people; the organization and unification of the whole of Jewry by means of appropriate local and general institutions in accordance with the laws of each country; the strengthening of Jewish national sentiment and national consciousness; and preparatory steps toward securing the consent of governments, which is necessary to attain the aim of Zionism.
   See also Antisemitism; Dreyfus, Alfred (1859-1935); Jerusalem Program.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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