A founding father of political Zionism
1. Jacob de Haas was born in 1872 to a Dutch family living in London. He studied at English and German universities.
2. A journalist, he became editor of the London Jewish World. In addition, he wrote for London’s Daily Chronicle, Daily News and Pall Mall Gazette, as well as for Die Welt of Vienna.
3. In 1896, after joining the Zionist movement, his writing introduced Theodore Herzl [see my blog post of 6/26/13] to the English public. It was to change his life: he became Herzl’s secretary and biographer, working closely with him until his death.
4. In 1902, at Herzl’s request, de Haas moved to the United States, where he became secretary of the Provisional Zionist Committee and of the American Federation of American Zionists. Later, he served as secretary to the Palestine Development League and the Palestine Endowment Fund.
5. He helped organize the American Jewish Congress and was one of its representatives in 1919 at the Paris Peace Conference.
6. De Haas is credited with introducing Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis to the ideas and ideals of Zionism. Brandeis became an active Zionist. [see my blog post of 6/11/14] With Brandeis, he visited Palestine twice, in 1919 and 1924. He later wrote a biography of Brandeis, published in 1928.
7. He was the author, as well, of a two-volume biography of Theodore Herzl, a history of Palestine and other works. He died in New York in 1937. Some of his books are still available today; his papers are archived at the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem.
In Tel Aviv, you’ll find De Haas Street running eastward off Ibn Gevirol.
Many thanks to Ido Biran Telavivi for this photo.