Ze'ev Jabotinsky

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Zionism is a colonizing adventure and therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force. It is important to build, it is important to speak Hebrew, but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot.

Ze'ev Jabotinsky (October 18, 1880 – August 4, 1940) was a Revisionist Zionist leader.


  • A Jew brought up among Germans may assume German custom, German words. He may be wholly imbued with that German fluid but the nucleus of his spiritual structure will always remain Jewish, because his blood, his body, his physical-racial type are Jewish. ... It is impossible for a man to become assimilated with people whose blood is different from his own. In order to become assimilated, he must change his body, he must become one of them, in blood. ... There can be no assimilation as long as there is no mixed marriage. ... An increase in the number of mixed marriages is the only sure and infallible means for the destruction of nationality as such. ... A preservation of national integrity is impossible except by a preservation of racial purity, and for that purpose we are in need of a territory of our own where our people will constitute the overwhelming majority.
    • V. Jabotinsky, "A Letter on Autonomy", Evreiskaya zhizn, no. 6, June 1904. As translated in "Israel Among the Nations : Selection of Zionist Texts" (ed. Zvi Zohar; Jerusalem : World Zionist Organization, Organization Department, Research Section, 1966). Reprinted in L. Brenner, 51 Documents, Barricade Books, 2002, pp. 7–20.
  • Our habit of constantly and zealously answering to any rabble has already done us a lot of harm and will do much more. … We do not have to apologize for anything. We are a people as all other peoples; we do not have any intentions to be better than the rest. As one of the first conditions for equality we demand the right to have our own villains, exactly as other people have them. … We do not have to account to anybody, we are not to sit for anybody's examination and nobody is old enough to call on us to answer. We came before them and will leave after them. We are what we are, we are good for ourselves, we will not change, nor do we want to.
    • Instead of Excessive Apology (1911).
  • The Jews might become the dynamite that will blow up the British Empire.
    • Palestine Bulletin, (1934-01-04) (Source).
  • [It is the] iron law of every colonizing movement, a law which knows of no exceptions, a law which existed in all times and under all circumstances. If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison on your behalf. Or else – or else, give up your colonization, for without an armed force which will render physically impossible any attempts to destroy or prevent this colonization, colonization is impossible, not “difficult”, not “dangerous” but IMPOSSIBLE! … Zionism is a colonizing adventure and therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force. It is important to build, it is important to speak Hebrew, but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot – or else I am through with playing at colonialization.
    • As quoted by Lenni Brenner, in The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir (1984), where the quotation is cited as being from "The Iron Law"
  • Our starting point is to take the typical Yid of today and to imagine his diametrical opposite … because the Yid is ugly, sickly, and lacks decorum, we shall endow the ideal image of the Hebrew with masculine beauty. The Yid is trodden upon and easily frightened and, therefore, the Hebrew ought to be proud and independent. The Yid is despised by all and, therefore, the Hebrew ought to charm all. The Yid has accepted submission and, therefore, the Hebrew ought to learn how to command. The Yid wants to conceal his identity from strangers and, therefore, the Hebrew should look the world straight in the eye and declare: "I am a Hebrew!"
  • My readers have a general idea of the history of colonisation in other countries. I suggest that they consider all the precedents with which they are acquainted, and see whether there is one solitary instance of any colonisation being carried on with the consent of the native population. There is no such precedent.
    The native populations, civilised or uncivilised, have always stubbornly resisted the colonists, irrespective of whether they were civilised or savage.
  • Two brief remarks: In the first place, if anyone objects that this point of view is immoral, I answer: It is not true; either Zionism is moral and just or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists. Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative.
    We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not.
  • We cannot offer any adequate compensation to the Palestinian Arabs in return for Palestine. And therefore, there is no likelihood of any voluntary agreement being reached. So that all those who regard such an agreement as a condition sine qua non for Zionism may as well say "non" and withdraw from Zionism. Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population - behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.
    That is our Arab policy; not what it should be, but what it actually is, whether we admit it or not.
    • [3]
      • Variant translation:[1]
        We cannot promise any reward either to the Arabs of Palestine or to the Arabs outside Palestine. A voluntary agreement is unattainable. And so those who regard an accord with the Arabs as an indispensable condition of Zionism must admit to themselves today that this condition cannot be attained and hence that we must give up Zionism. We must either suspend our settlement efforts or continue them without paying attention to the mood of the natives. Settlement can thus develop under the protection of a force that is not dependent on the local population, behind an iron wall which they will be powerless to break down.


  • Eliminate the Diaspora, or the Diaspora will surely eliminate you.
    • Tisha B'av (1937).
    • In an article "Things that Ze’ev Jabotinsky Never Said: Inventing Texts and Their Place in the Creation of the Image of Jabotinsky as the Prophet of the Holocaust" by Prof. Amir Goldstein and Efi Hoory in a 2023 issue of Zion: A Quarterly for Research in Jewish History they write Jabotinsky first said "eliminate the Diaspora" in 1935 at the founding convention of the New Zionist Organization and many times later. However, the second part speaking of the diaspora "does not appear in his writings, and it appears that he never said it", according to Goldstein and Hoory. See "Holocaust Remembrance Day | Decades After Its Fabrication, a Fake Jabotinsky Quote Is Everywhere" Haaretz (18 April 2023)
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  1. As quoted by Avi Shlaim in The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World