De Haas, Jacob

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DE HAAS, JACOB (1872–1937), author, journalist, and Zionist. De Haas was born in London of Dutch parentage. In 1896, when Theodor *Herzl visited England to secure the support of British Jewry, de Haas, an active Zionist and editor of the London Jewish World, became an enthusiastic supporter of Herzlian Zionism. He was appointed "honorary secretary to Dr. Herzl," serving as the latter's spokesman and collaborator in Zionist affairs in Britain. In 1902, at the behest of Herzl, de Haas settled in the United States and was elected secretary of the Federation of American Zionists and editor of The Maccabean. Resigning in 1905 because of policy differences with the leadership, de Haas then moved to Boston, where he became publisher of the Jewish Advocate. In 1910 he met Louis D. *Brandeis and evoked his interest in Zionism, encouraging him to assume leadership of the Federation. When Brandeis was elected chairman of the Zionist Provisional Emergency Committee in 1914, he appointed de Haas director of its New England bureau. When Brandeis was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1916, de Haas returned to New York as executive secretary of the Committee to interpret and carry out the Brandeis policies. With the establishment of the Zionist Organization of America in 1918, he served as its leader until 1921 when the Brandeis administration was defeated. Subsequently, de Haas headed undertakings for Palestine launched by the Brandeis Zionist groups, including the Palestine Development Council and the Central Committee of the Palestine Development Leagues. In 1930, when the Brandeis faction regained a dominant role in the zoa, de Haas again assumed command, but resigned within a year, realizing that the Brandeis economic program for Palestine was impractical because of the economic depression. Toward the end of his life he briefly took up the Revisionist cause. De Haas wrote Theodor Herzl (1927); Louis D. Brandeis (1927); History of Palestine (1934), and The Great Betrayal (1930, with Stephen *Wise) attacking the British Mandatory Government in Palestine. He edited the Encyclopedia of Jewish Knowledge (1934).


The New Palestine (March 26, 1937), 1–3; L. Lipsky, Gallery of Zionist Profiles (1956), 166–75; A. Friesel, Ha-Tenuah ha-Ẓiyyonit be-Arẓot ha-Berit ba-Shanim 1897–1914 (1970), index.

[Herbert Parzen]

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De Haas, Jacob

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