Theodore Herzl the driving force behind Zionism wrote in his private diary in 1895:”We must expropriate gently the private property on the state assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries while denying employment for it in our country… the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumpspectly…”
But there were a people already there in “our countrty.” Today we call them Palestinians. This of course bothered ethical Jews like Asher Ginsberg and his disciple Isaac Epstein.
Ginsberg (pen name Ahd Ha’am) wrote:
‘We tend to believe that Palestine is nowadays almost completely deserted, an uncultivated wilderness, and anyone can come there and buy as much land as his heart desires. But in reality this is not the case. It is difficult to find anywhere in the country Arab land which lies fallow.’
Epstein settled in Palestine in 1886. Twenty years later he warned his fellow Zionists that: ‘there resides in our treasured land an entire people which has clung to it for hundreds of years… the Arab, like all other men, is strongly attached to his homeland.’’
A decade earlier in 1898 two rabbis from Vienna who visited Palestine in 1898, the year after the First Zionist Congress put it best ‘‘The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man.”