New Zion

(With apologies to the actual residents of the Land of the White Cloud)

  1. Somehow processes of National consciousness in the Jewish World get speeded up compared to OT (Original Timeline). This may be the result of earlier penetration of the ideas of the Enlightenment, maybe a different twist that Hasidism takes, maybe both. There is recognition that the Jews are capable of taking steps to empower themselves as a nation.
  2. The Jews will naturally turn to Palestine first, since Redemption and Return to the Land of Israel are major tenets of the Jewish Religion, and of course it is their historical homeland. A scenario may look like this:
  1. In the 18th century, there is quite a bit of Jewish immigration to Palestine, perhaps inspired by Hasidism and/or by safer conditions in Palestine than in OT. They are not very organized and live rather traditional lives in towns & farms in the Galilee. Their inspiration is mainly religious.
  2. During the French Revolutionary & Napoleonic wars, many Polish exiles served under French arms, in order to liberate their country that had recently been dismembered. There will be a Jewish contingent as well, that had fought alongside the Poles, and that also aims to create a Jewish state in Palestine. The ideology behind this is called Zionism, and mixes in equal measure progressive-revolutionary and messianic elements (much like Zionism in OT).
  3. The leader of the Jewish contingent is a man who in OT is known as Berek Joselewicz. In OT he was the leader of a Jewish battalion that fought under Kosciuszko in the 1794 Polish rebellion against the Russians. He later joined the French Army with other Polish exiles, and was eventually killed in one of the Napoleonic wars. In AT, he is known as ‘Barak Bar-Yosef’, a name much more fitting to a Mighty Jewish Warrior. He is a charismatic & romantic leader, a patriot in the mould of Kosciuszko, Wolfe Tone or Lord Byron. He is tall, dark & handsome, frequents the salons of Warsaw, Berlin and even Paris, a writer of tolerable poetry, and of course a Warrior and a Leader.
  4. Bar-Yosef leads the Jewish contingent as part of Napoleon’s invasion force to Egypt in 1798. As in OT, Napoleon will conquer Palestine. Napoleon creates a puppet Hebrew republic there (in the manner of all of Napoleon’s conquests), installing Bar-Yosef as ‘Nassi’, with his officers and local Jewish notables as ‘Sanhedrin’, though of course, the French will be equivocal about supporting it – the state will be limited to the Galilee, around Tiberias and Safed.
  5. Foundation of Jewish state causes great excitement all over Jewish world. This is the biggest event in Jewish history since Shabbetai Zvi.
  6. Napoleon realizes that the military situation is hopeless, and escapes back to Europe. The French army surrenders. The Hebrew republic is on its own, isolated, with the Turks gathering an army to destroy it. The British Navy offer Bar-Yosef the opportunity to leave the country peacefully, but he is determined to make a last stand. Bar-Yosef wins some memorable skirmishes with the Turks, but is defeated in the final battle in 1803. He dies a hero’s death. The existing Jewish community is massacred; the survivors make their way to Egypt.
  7. The Turks are now aware of the danger posed by Jewish nationalist aspirations, expel all Jews from the land, and prohibit Jews from ever setting foot on it (except for a handful in a few holy places – and their lives are strictly regulated). For the entire 19th century, Jews can only come there to be buried.
  8. This whole episode sends tremors into the entire Jewish world, launching many a Jewish youth to become like Bar-Yosef.
  9. Though many Orthodox Jews will attempt to keep the Jews politically quiescent, Jewish nationalism will have received an enormous boost. Even if Palestine is currently not an option for immigration, the world is a big place, and another homeland can be found.
  1. Though NZ was discovered in the late 18th century by Captain James Cook, no one is doing anything special with the country, aside from a few whaling stations.
  2. For financial services rendered during the Napoleonic wars, the Rothschilds receive some sort of Private charter (something like 17th century Pennsylvania, only 150 years later) to create Jewish colony in New Zealand (or as it's called here, New Zion). One may ask why the British, who as allies of the Turks would have had a hand in helping quell Jewish nationalist aspirations in Palestine, would aid them here: I don’t think it very odd – consider the Napoleon III’s about-turns regarding Italian nationalism in the mid-19th century.
  3. Jewish Immigration starts. It is not very big in early and middle 19th century - but neither was immigration to NZ in OT. Immigrants are from Germany, as well as Yiddish-speaking Eastern-Europeans. The fallout from the 1848 Revolution brings in German Jews, who make a great contribution to the new colony.
  4. Hunter-gardener, stone-age natives are reduced and defeated, though showing great valor in the process. Treaties with the Maoris are signed and then broken. The Maoris still manage to preserve quite a bit of their identity, culture and land. All this is very similar to what happened in OT
  5. Cranks and quacks, of which the 19th century has many, are convinced that the Maoris are descendants of the 10 lost tribes of Israel (much is made of the fact that unlike other Polynesian peoples, the Maoris did not have pigs). All sorts of ridiculous etymologies are ‘discovered’ proving this. Jewish Missionary activity starts to bring back the Maoris to their 'old' religion. Though the Orthodox establishment will initially regard all this as heretical, the Zionist establishment encourages it, since it serves to hold back Christian missionaries. Eventually’ the Orthodox establishment declares Maoris to be descendants of the tribe of Zebulun (‘Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships’, Genesis 49:13). The Maoris are divided between Christians & Jews, a division reflecting tribal divisions among them.
  6. Eventually, the Rothschilds lose control of the colony, and it becomes a part of the British Empire, though immigration is mostly Jewish. There is no choice but to permit some Christian missionaries, and there is Christian minority, and the UK does not allow this minority to be hassled. However, most of the British who in OT emigrated to NZ, emigrate elsewhere. As there is no lack of white Anglo settler countries to choose from (USA, Canada, Australia, ZA, Rhodesia), one can't say the British feel particularly deprived.
  7. What would be the language of NZ? Let’s consider the candidates:
  1. Hebrew: Certainly the Jewish language with the highest prestige. I will have to think how far the Hebrew literary revival will have come along. Immigration allows a good deal of social engineering in the process, so it is quite likely that immigrants will start speaking Hebrew as one of the changes that any immigrant must make when he comes to a foreign land.
  2. English: Jews don’t speak it, but it is the language of empire. Presumably, there will be non-Jewish immigrants as well, who will be primarily attracted by English. The Jewish Upper classes may also cultivate English as a sign of being genteel.
  3. Yiddish: This is a language of low cultural prestige, though it is the native tongue of the majority of the immigrants.
  1. In OT, Auckland and Wellington are, respectively, largest city and capital city. This makes sense: Both lie at extremely advantageous positions, Auckland at the most fertile and productive part of the country, Wellington, at the most central part. I think we’ll do the same for NZ here, though the names will change. Wellington is Tel Aviv, Auckland becomes Montefiore (after the famous contemporary philanthropist).
  2. There is a problem of why exactly a non-Anglo white settler state would be created under British tutelage, since this is not exactly in Britain’s advantage. They example of other non-Anglo white settler societies is not encouraging: Both French Canadians & Afrikaners retreated into their own cocoons, while the English were commercially dominant - given the nature of the Jews, this is not how I picture NZ: The English are mostly wealthy farmers, while the Jews tend to be in the city. There are Jewish farmers as well, though they lack the know-how and connections of the British settlers. Maybe I will have to add a war or a rebellion. NZ Jews could start looking around for a foreign ally: possibly Napoleon III in the ‘50s & ‘60s or Wilhelm II later (or both). In terms of British politics, I think Gladstone would tend to favor Christian missionaries & the Maoris, as well as local commercial interests, while Disraeli would favor the Jews. In the years beforehand, I can’t say.
  3. In the late 19th century, massive Jewish emigration from Eastern Europe starts in earnest. A lot of it goes to the more developed and urbanized USA, quite a bit is siphoned off to NZ. East European Jews become overwhelming majority in NZ.
  4. I should devote some time to what the culture of NZ would look like. NZ gets created early enough so that there is a Jewish 19th century bourgeois society (something that didn’t happen in Israel). There exists a type of people who change their clothes three times a day, go to debutante balls, patronize the opera, etc. Of course, these types of Jews existed in Europe in OT, but there they were still conscious of themselves as a minority, so they tended to be liberal politically (they would also tone down their Judaism, mostly as a sign of being genteel on behalf of Christian society). In Continental Europe, the Bourgeoisie often allied itself with the forces of order (including religion), and in the 20th century, with fascism. I’m not saying this sort of thing would happen here, but it would be interesting to think about it.
  5. Strong socialist movement develops in NZ. It promotes a republican nationalist ideology and independence from the UK. The late 19th century – early 20th century should be a time of bad labor relations (as in rest of West). One image I can imagine is the Maori irregulars, recruited by government, putting down workers’ barricades (the workers call them ‘cossacks’).
  6. 1908 - Young Turk revolution in Turkey. Prohibition of Jews entering Palestine is lifted. Too late now.
  7. NZ participates, as part of the British Empire, in World War I, despite the fact that NZers see no point in fighting against Germany and alongside Russia, which is a far more antisemitic country. The discontent against the War, British hegemony, as well as a very strong Socialist movement, lead to NZ rejecting the Westminster Convention and a formation of a republic. Relations with Britain sour for a while, but time heals all wounds. Socialists gain power, and stay there for a long time (I haven’t thought about what political parties should be in NZ).
  8. As in OT, Jewish Immigration to USA stops after WWI. Jewish Immigration to NZ continues at even greater speed, though there is some minor nativist sentiment from the native-born NZers, called 'kiwis' (coarse on the outside, sweet on the inside). In the 30's refugees from Nazi Germany are accepted in NZ.
  9. Relations with the USSR are initially friendly, given previous anti-tsarist sentiment, the USSR’s isolation at the time, NZ being socialist, and what with much of the Bolshevik elite in the 1920s being Jewish. As Soviet rule becomes ever more harsh under Stalin relations deteriorate, especially since the USSR sees that it cannot dominate NZ.
  10. What NZ should do during WWII? Do they fight the devil, or do they make a deal with him to save Jews? [The majority of Jews stay in Europe and so the tensions that created modern Antisemitism are the same]. I think the leaders of NZ cannot be granted the foresight of knowing that a Holocaust is going to happen. NZ will almost certainly join the war. Once it is fighting, it is not in any position to negotiate with Hitler to save the Jews. It will however, keep a watch on the situation and when the Nazi Death Machine starts rolling, it will attempt to disrupt it as much as possible. I don’t know how much good this can do, though I think that quite a lot. Bombing Auschwitz and the other Death Camps would be very helpful. I’ll have to do some reading about the subject (though I dislike doing so). Let’s assume an excess of 1.5 million Jews get saved. This means a whole lot of refugees for NZ to deal with in 1945.
  11. The 50’s and 60’s are a time of healing the wounds, of refugees rebuilding their lives, and of high growth rates (as in the rest of the west). The high growth rate, as well as the identical ethnic background of the refugees (Ashkenazi Jews) makes sure that there is relatively quick assimilation.
  12. Multiculturalism and a less ethnic sense of patriotism develop since the ‘60s. There is considerable immigration of non-Jewish Pacific Islanders, to whom NZ is something of a metropolis (as in OT), as well as others. Still, the majority is overwhelmingly of Jewish origin & religious heritage.
  13. Another aspect which I should go into more deeply would be how Judaism would look like. There is nothing stopping a strand of Judaism that would want to build a temple. The environment is on the whole less of a problem than in OT, so Judaism can spread its wings any which way it wants (benevolent, malignant, whatever).
  14. What would the culture look like? Like NZ in OT, remoteness can play a major theme. NZers will feel to some extent as castaways.
  15. Politically NZ is a largely liberal democracy - due to the British & Socialist heritage; the forces of Judaism not being strong enough to create a religious state, though Judaism is the established religion, and religion-state conflicts dominate much of the political scene.
  16. What would the Middle East look like without Israel? Though this is not the subject of this exercise, I can give it a shot: Palestine and Jordan are one country, the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine. There are no Palestinian refugees. The HKP is a conservative western state that aligns itself with US, UK and Saudi, and against Syria (which claims it as “Southern Syria” and Egypt (which claims to lead the Arab world). There may be a war or two there, I don’t know. Lebanon is going to be unstable, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan takes place. So does the Iranian revolution, and the Iran-Iraq War. There is an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, which triggers Gulf war I. I happen to think that both 9/11 and the Gulf War II take place as well.
  17. Today, NZ is a country with some 20M inhabitants with one of the highest living standards in the world. Most of the world’s Jews live there. It is more densely populated than NZ in OT (this means that environment is not as well preserved as in OT), though lower than in most of Europe.
  18. Relations with Australia are close, though prickly. There is quite a lot of NZers buying real estate along Australia’s warmer beaches.
  19. Presumably, there would have been Oriental Jews in NZ before 1945, though not many. Decolonization in the Middle East did not, for the most part, create serious discontent for Jewish minorities there, but over the years there is quite a large immigration out of the ME anyway. The preferred country of emigration for the most part is NZ. In general, there are no ‘operations’ to bring Jews in the country (as in OT). Jews who wish to come do. NZ is not crazy about them coming (no wars, demographic or otherwise...). There would be greater xenophobia against them than in OT, though the government would be less paternalistic and immigration a matter of personal choice.
  1. Morocco – Government is stable, strong affinities with France. Over the years, there is a lot of immigration out of the country. NZ is one of the destinations, though France is a major destination as well.
  2. Tunisia – Same as Morocco.
  3. Algeria – Tied much more closely to France than other states. As in OT Immigration is not gradual, but with independence all Jews leave. Most goes to France, small minority to NZ.
  4. Iraq, Syria, Egypt – Governments are authoritarian, unstable, but secular and not necessarily antisemitic. There are Jewish Nasserists & Ba’athists (the Ba’ath was founded by Arab Christians. In this scenario, Jewishness does not compromise one’s Arab nationalism). Still, Jews (like Arab Christians) are more immigration-prone, with NZ a prime destination.
  5. Palestine – After prohibition on Jews entering the country was lifted after Young Turk revolution, there is trickle of Orthodox Jews to the four holy cities (Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed & Tiberias). This continues to present day. In the ‘60s, they are joined by New Age NZ hippies looking for spirituality.
  6. Iran – Wave of immigration after Revolution. Some of it NZ bound.
  7. Yemen – Jews extremely traditional. When prohibition on settlement in Palestine was lifted, a messianic wave of excitement brought some Yemeni Jews to Palestine, where they form about a half the Jewish population.
  1. What about the rest of the Jewish world?
  1. Former Soviet Union: As in OT, Stay locked up until 1989. Afterwards, great wave of immigration starts out of the country, a lot of it directed towards NZ. In NZ they make their way slowly and surely into the middle class. Immigration causes some degree of discontent, and NZ immigration laws are stiffened.
  2. Eastern Europe: After World War II, most left to the Jewish homeland and other destinations, as in OT.
  3. USA: Pretty much as in OT, it is the second largest center of Jews in the world. Jews are mostly left-wing politically, but Neo-Conservatives are out there. Strong ties to NZ. There is NZ Jewish community mostly in California.
  4. Canada: Same as in OT.
  5. Australia: More Jews than in OT. Many NZ Jews hop across the Tasman Sea and give it a shot there, where economic opportunities are greater. It is quite likely that many of Oz’s Jews originally made the trip to NZ, didn’t like it, and then tried Oz instead.
  6. South Africa: Same as in OT. End of Apartheid brings quite a large wave to NZ.
  7. France: Same as in OT. No special enmity with Muslim immigrants.
  8. UK: Same as in OT.
  9. India: Most Jews emigrate to NZ.
  10. Ethiopia: I don’t think there will be the same large-scale ‘operations’ that brought Jews to Israel as in OT. NZ is not be worried by demographic imbalance or something like that. More likely, there will be many charities active among them in Ethiopia, and there will be some immigration, though many may end up as part of the underclass.
  1. NZers are patriotic and proud of their country, though they bitch a lot and dislike living in a country where everyone thinks they’re smarter than anyone else and push their way to the head of the line. They feel at the same time both claustrophobic and isolated from the rest of the world. This explains why NZers are avid travelers. A year or two of travel abroad becomes a rite of passage for any NZ youngster. One popular destination is Palestine, where the government encourages tourism (despite the rumblings of Islamic Fundamentalists). NZ travelers are blown away by the Biblical landscapes, the sunshine, the desert and the picturesque natives, and wonder what might have been had Bar-Yosef succeeded.