Should the Jews Have Taken Uganda? Essay

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“If you will it, it is no dream.” In this quote Theodor Herzl made it his goal, to live up to his statement. The British offered an area in Eastern Uganda to the Jews as a temporary refuge so they could be safe from the anti-Semitism and pogroms in Europe; there is a dispute as to whether it was the right decision to refuse such an offer, but the Seventh Zionist congress made the correct choice for declining Uganda as a Jewish refuge.
In the late 1800’s many Jews in Europe were exposed to events regarding anti-Semitism. In the Papal State, the Christians wanted to convert the Jews. If they refused, death was the punishment. They were taxed heavily, and put in ghettos so that they were contained- like cattle. Herzl states “Wherever
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Or, may we yet remain and for how long?” (The Jewish State, 22) All Herzl wanted was to protect his people from suffering. He went to the Turks, who controlled Palestine at this time and asked if the Jews can settle in Palestine. They ignored his request. Herzl was not done giving up; he went to the British and asked for a piece of land in Uganda. He knew Uganda was not a very controversial piece of land and the Jews would live in peace with the natives, unlike Palestine which was surrounded by Arab countries that hate Jews. After making it a possibility to have Uganda as a refuge, Herzl met with Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary who agreed in the idea of allowing Jews to settle in Uganda. This was a big step. It was discussed by the Sixth Zionist congress. To Herzl’s chagrin, it was rejected in the Seventh Congress, and Uganda was off the table.
Many people argue that it was a mistake to say no to the Uganda proposal. Yes, it would have been a quick solution the anti-Semitic problem brewing in Europe and given Jews a safe haven. There is also very little controversy over the land of Uganda. It is not surrounded by anti-Semitic countries and no one has a strong historical sentiment to it. Some people say, the holocaust would not have happened if The Jews went to Uganda. This all sounds like a great plan in theory, but if one takes a closer look, Uganda is not such a perfect
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