Response Letter to the ‘History of Zionism

Tags: Zionism, History, Leadership

by Mark Sykes

My Dear Mr. Sokolow,

After many days delay, I write to you my message of goodwill and good hope for the successes of this your great work on the cause which you have at heart and for which you have labored so long.

It is an odd thought which crosses my mind art this moment- if it be egotistical I cannot help it- nevertheless I will set it down. I foresee myself handed down to posterity as one of those enduring obscurities, who did nothing in any way remarkable, yet whose names last for all time, because they scratched their fleeting impressions on the Memnon at Luxor.

In languages yet unknown, and in the States unborn, this your work will be read by people who will know perhaps as little of the details of life in these days as we do of those of the times of the first dispersion of the Jews.

Your case has about it an enduring quality which mocks at time; if a generation is but a breath in the life of a nation, an epoch is but the space ‘twixt a dawn and a sunrise in the history of Zionism.

When all the temporal things this world now hold are as dead and forgotten as the curled and scented Kings of Babylon who dragged your forefathers into captivity, there will still be Jews, and so long as there are Jews there must be Zionism.

We live in an age when mankind is reaping the whirlwind of its wickedness and folly. Wherein the last men have sown those dragons’ teeth of intolerance, tyranny, injustice, and race hatred, legions of armed men now spring up to destroy and shatter the husbanded resources of progress.

The War of to-day is the logical result of the “peace” of yesterday. The grand problem which we have to consider is whether or not the peace of to-morrow is to be the precursor of a future war which will overwhelm civilization forever. Unless forces different to those which have counted in the direction of the affairs of men hitherto are in the ascendant, I feel no doubt that what is called Civilization is predestines to suicide, and that in the real meaning of the word “felo de se.” The blind genius which people call “science” wrests mechanical discoveries and chemical formulae form the accumulated experience of the past and gives men hygiene, transit, and commerce with on hand, and explosives and military organization with the other. You, my dear Mr. Sokolow, represent people who have watched this process of constructive destruction in the course of evolution, and have seen the higher men climb in ride and vanity the more deplorable is their fall.

If the peace which is to follow the War is to be real peace, and not a pause in war, then you and your people must be watchers no longer. In Zionism lies your people's’ opportunity. In alliance with those other forces of regeneration and illumination which are centered on Jerusalem and which radiate through the world, it may be that you and your successors will play a part in establishing a moral order which will enable mankind to combine universal material progress with mutual subjugation and charity.

Yours very sincerely
Mark Sykes


  1. What are your thoughts on the statement ‘As long as there are Jews there must be Zionism.’
  2. What do you feel is the relationship between being a Jew and being a Zionist?
  3. Looking back on history, how do you see the statement - The War of to-day is the logical result of the “peace” of yesterday.’
  4. Can you apply this to the Arab Israeli conflict?
  5. Consider Skyes’ statement - ‘When all the temporal things this world now hold are as dead and forgotten as the curled and scented Kings of Babylon who dragged your forefathers into captivity, there will still be Jews’. How have we seen this trait of the Jews as the everlasting nation manifest itself over time?
  6. Do you agree with his statement?

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Tags: Zionism, History, Leadership

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