"Yet all who devoured you shall themselves be devoured,
All your oppressors shall go into captivity.
Those who plunder you shall be plundered,
And those who despoil you I will give up to be despoiled.
I will cause the new skin to grow and heal your wounds, says the LORD,
Although many call you the Outcast,
Zion, nobody's friend."
Jeremiah, Ch. 30, Verses 16-17
The emergence of Zionism in the late nineteenth century changed the course of Jewish history. It reawakened a national consciousness among Jews throughout Europe and thereby ended a century-long trend toward assimilation into the larger society surrounding them. As an ideology that bore the concrete result of the establishment of the State of Israel, Zionism continues to encounter powerful opposition. It is "of particular interest to historians because the very concept of national character is a highly controversial one that they handle gingerly and with misgiving."1 The Zionist movement arose during an era of nationalist stirrings in Europe. Especially in its early years, it was "the most radical attempt to break out of the parochial molds of Jewish life and become part of the general history of man in the modern world."2 Zionism's complexity and significance lie in the confluence of "molds" from which it was formed. In an attempt to evaluate modern perceptions of its purpose and goals with better clarity, this thesis will examine the nature of its "molds" and the era of their coalescence into the Zionist idea.
While it is known today as the parent ideology of the State of Israel, Zionism began as a popular national movement in central and eastern Europe. Its earliest proponents drew inspiration from the struggles of other peoples for political independence.3 Long before Israel's formal inception in 1948, the idea of a "legally secured homeland" for the Jews took shape. Its roots lie in the secularized Jewish culture of the era which, while affirming the central religious idea of a 'Return to the Land of Israel,' transformed it from a supernatural event taking place at the 'End of Days' through the appearance of the Messiah into the spontaneous uprooting of a Jewish diaspora and organized migration to a land in the heart of the Arab world. Zionism's connection between the urbanized, cosmopolitan population of European Jewry, and Palestine - an agricultural and sparsely-settled land - has caused extreme turmoil and obscure debate. From Israel's inception, the Zionist goal and philosophy have been under continuous attack by its Arab neighbors. The UN General Assembly resolution of November 1975, condemning Zionism as "a form of racism and racist discrimination,"4 has set the tone for their denunciations. Some Arab writers have even drawn comparisons between Zionism and Nazism.5 While such extremism may be dismissed as peripheral in other discussions, it is important in understanding the response to the factor of external hostility, which unified early Zionist thinkers. From its earliest articulations and actions among the Jews in Czarist Russia, Zionist sentiment is clearly seen as a response to racist attack. Only after it received assistance from central and western European sources did Zionism become a movement of recognized importance. Its popular appeal, however, underwent a preparatory stage during the years 1881 to 1906 which fixed its course in the twentieth century. The diverse directions it took in attempts to answer the 'Jewish question' reflect its vast appeal to the object of Czarist oppression, Russian Jewry. It is necessary to make a careful historical analysis of these directions, and their relationship to the revolutionary changes occurring in Russia at that time, to reach a clear picture of the controversy surrounding Zionism today.
At the beginning of the 1880's, the majority of the Jewish people resided in eastern Europe - Poland, Romania, Galicia, and Russia - where they had settled centuries earlier, and had remained an isolated and tradition-bound people. Their local communities were granted a degree of self-autonomy and their cultural life reflected few external influences. Unlike the west, where their co-religionists had been offered emancipation and individual assimilation into the mainstream of Christian society, Russian Jewry lived a life apart. By their own preference, but also according to the wishes of their rulers, they were barred from virtually every aspect of the world around them. Their confinement to a "Pale of Settlement" comprising 20% of European Russia indicates the anomaly of their status among the Czar's subjects. It also determined their most enduring traits, as a minority of four million in a total population of roughly 35 million: compactness and apartness.6 Of these years, Chaim Weizmann wrote:7
"We were separated from the peasants by a whole inner universe of memories and experiences. In my early childhood, Zionist ideas and aspirations were already awake in Russian Jewry. My father was not yet a Zionist, but our house was steeped in rich Jewish tradition, and the Holy Land was at the center of the ritual, a longing for it implicit in our life. Practical nationalism did not assume form until some years later, but the idea of a 'Return' was in the air, a vague, deep-rooted Messianism, a hope which would not die."
At mid-century, during the 'false dawn' of Czar Alexander II's reign, the rights of Jews were liberalized to encourage assimilation and 'russification.' Religion, however, proved too great an obstacle. The impenetrable inner life of the Jews, dividing them into opposing orthodox (mitnagdim) and fundamentalist (hasidim) camps, was only slightly affected by the offering of secular learning in schools, and the opening of some professions to Jews.8 The apartness of the Jews aggravated medieval suspicions of them as 'enemies of Christ' and subverters of Great Russian culture. They were an unwelcome exception to the monolithic sway held by the Russian-orthodox church over the Russian masses. Anti-semitism, then, found support at every level of Russian society, from the peasantry, to the priesthood, to government officials up to the Czar himself. Several well-known members of Russia's literary intelligentsia portrayed the Jews in a consistently unfavorable light. Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev and Dostoyevsky carried a tradition of anti-Jewish contempt and bias into the cultural experience of Russia's educated elite. In Gogol's Taras Bulba, the Jew "Zhyd Yankel" bears "the well-defined features of an inhuman fiend."9 Dostoyevsky's character, Isaac, in "House of the Dead," has some positive features, but is a convict and "presented, as a petty, despicable, and comical figure."10 After the spectre of violence against the Jews returned in the 1880s, no well-known Russian writer raised his voice in protest.11 As a response to Russian public opinion, as well as a continuation of traditional ethnic loyalties, the Jews in Russia remained for the most part outside the larger society surrounding them.
The brief period of liberal reform in Czarist policy toward the Jews during the early part of Alexander's reign nevertheless wrought important consequences for life in the Pale. Encouraged by the 'Czar-Liberator,' and the more enlightened attitude of his government administrators, there arose among Russian Jewry a small but influential segment of 'enlighteners,' known as 'maskilim,' who preached the russificatlon of their people. They were also influenced by the progress of Jewish emancipation in the West, especially Germany, and had high hopes for its completion in the East.12 There were, in fact, positive aspects in the changing Russian attitude. Leo Tolstoy, Russia's foremost literary giant, expressed them when he described the Jews as the "spring and fountain out of which all the rest of the peoples have drawn their beliefs and religions."13 This precarious attitude of tolerance led to the entrance of Jewish students into Russian universities, and a new generation's identification with all things Russian. The Russian-Jewish intelligentsia of the l870s was quite unlike that of earlier generations:14
"Like other Jewish youths of the '70s, I was very far from Jews and Judaism. Of course, we had our gods whom we worshipped, and for whom we were willing to sacrifice all we had. Thev were Pisarev, Dobroljubov, Tchernishevski and others. We also had a people for whom we worked and suffered - the Russian people."
The Jewish youth who were drawn into the secular life of Russia were influenced by the positivist literature and social outlook of the Russian intelligentsia, and took an active part in the narodniki (populist) movement, which "undertook to enlighten and educate the masses politically."15
After the attempt on Alexander II's life in 1868, however, the climate for a peaceful opening of Jewish life into the surrounding culture began to fade. By the end of his reign, Czarist policy reverted back to the arbitrary restrictions imposed earlier by Nicolas I. That ruler's cruel practice of conscripting Jewish boys at age 16 for 25-year terms of military service earned him the name of the "second Haman," after the wicked advisor who plotted the destruction of the Jews in the Book of Esther.16 By the 1870s, however, the maskilim had taken the initial steps of secularization in Russian-Jewish life. While they made little headway among the traditional majority, they were cohesive enough to maintain their numbers and activities as Russian-educated Jews. But their effectiveness in transmitting their ideas withered when "the coveted equality was denied them, and the emancipation granted to the degraded muzhiks [serfs] was withheld from them, because of a religion they hardly professed."17 Verbal attacks on the Jews began to appear in the press, in which reactionary articles such as "The Jew is Upon You" were published by leading Russian periodicals.18 After the assassination of Czar Alexander II in March 1881 by members of the "People's Will" party, these attacks became violent. Even before then, the maskilim had begun to reorient their thinking toward Jewish national culture. Perez Smolenskin, a celebrated novelist in the revived field of Hebrew letters, was the first of many to embrace the national cause of the Jews. In asking the question, "why should our lot be worse than that of other people, who after years of subjection have regained their political independence," Smolenskin established a counterposltion to the goal of russification, and began the formulation of a Jewish response to increased oppression, which continued to gain popularity during the period under review.
A more extreme counterposition to early demands for emancipation began its development at the same time, from the radical source of European socialism. As the ideas of Marx and Engels gained currency in eastern Europe, an important segment of maskilim grew sympathetic to them, and attempted to reject, or at least modify, the idea of russification to account for this more modern and versatile political philosophy. The impact of this development had important consequences for the fate of Czarist Russia, which felt the first tremor of revolution at the death of Alexander II. While Jews played no unusual role in that event, even socialists attacked them for it, which led to an open rift between the counter-positions.19 In Lev Deytch's words, the Russian struggle consumed the interests of the earliest Jewish socialists:20
"Not only was anything that bound the Jewish masses into one people alien and wild to us, but frankly I must tell you that anything that smelled Yiddish aroused in many of us, at the very least, a feeling of contempt .... In short, being thoroughly assimilated with the Christian population, we desired the Jewish masses to assimilate as quickly as possible."
While the cementing force of Jewish unity, religion, represented to men like Deytch complete retrogression, revolutionary activity according to Marx's international credo led them to reject early on the importance of the 'nationality issue' in building a mass workers' movement. At this early stage, while more a potential than actual force, Jewish socialists showed particular hostility to the Zionists. Their thinking, which conflicted with the idea that "the proletariat was one, all were oppressed, and the liberation of all was the only solution for any particularly oppressed section," led to an important internal difference in Jewish activity and thought which grew more pronounced as the end of the century neared.21
The pogroms which followed Alexander III's accession were inspired by his agents, but also arose from the spontaneous anti-semitism of the Russian peasantry during the Easter season.22 The popular belief of the ritual murder of a Christian child at Passover was a recurring spark to the violence directed against the Jews, and was employed as late as 1906 in southern Russia.23 The pogroms, which raged throughout the summer and recurred in the south of the Pale until 1884, left the Jews a physically and emotionally crushed people. About 20,000 Jews were made homeless, 100,000 ruined, and Jewish property valued at the time at over $80 million was destroyed.24 While these numbers pale before the far greater tragedy of the Nazi Holocaust, their significance is magnified by the emotional transformation which the defenseless and unsuspecting Jewish population underwent. In the wake of the destruction, the disillusioned maskilim were transformed into the founders of modern Jewish nationalism. Moshe Lilienblum, whose book, Confessions of a Maskil, was widely read by Russian-Jewish youth, and who later became a founder of the Zionist organization in Odessa, reflected upon the metamorphosis that affected so many of his peers:25
"When I became convinced that it was not a lack of high culture that was the cause of our tragedy - for aliens we are and aliens we shall always be even if we become full to the brim of culture; when my eyes were opened to the new Ideal, and my spirit rose to the new task, in which, if all goes well, lies our eternal salvation - all of the old ideals left me in a flash."
The most serious blow to the survival of Russian Jewry was that which effectively reduced their legal status to nil. The temporary rules of Count Ignatiev, known as the 'May Laws' of 1882, signalled the start of a period of official reaction against the Jews after years of allowing restrictions to go largely unenforced. The May Laws comprised only three clauses: one revoked the rights of Jews to rural residence and compelled them to live henceforth in towns; another suspended all mortgages and leases on real estate held by Jews; and the third forbade them from carrying on business on Sundays and Christian holidays. While these provisions were considered temporary, they culminated with devastating logic in increased disabilities and persecution, as the populace was made aware that the Jews were outside the law. The heartless plundering of Jewish lives and property was best expressed by Pobedonostev, curator of the Holy Synod, and the most powerful advisor of Nicolas II. To his mind, the Czarist policy's intention was for one-third of the Jews to emigrate, one-third to convert to the Russian Orthodox Church, and the final third to perish of hunger.26 This policy, however, remained inchoate during the era of the temporary 'May Laws.' Their temporary status was verified, apparently, by the Czar's order for the appointment of a commission to investigate the status of the Jews. This commission, under the liberal leadership of Count von Pahlen, issued a detailed report in 1887 which opposed further legislative disabilities and advocated instead the gradual normalization of Jewish rights, including the abolition of the Pale of Settlement.27 Its recommendations were never acted upon; instead, the reactionary influence in Alexander III's entourage succeeded in adding further restrictions, including a numerus clausus for Jewish students attending secondary schools and universities.28 The temporary 'May Laws' thus remained the basic policy of the Czarist government toward the Jews until the fall of the Romanov dynasty in 1917.
The significance of these developments is placed in a broader historical perspective by the later events of the Russian revolution. The internal decay of the Czarist autocracy is evident in the great energy it expended in anti-semitic policy-making. Fomenting violence against the Jews continued as a pretext for curbing revolutionary activity, and as a method of diverting it from the goal of toppling Czarism. The Jews were made the convenient scapegoat for the economic ills plaguing Russia. Throughout the last three decades of the 19th century, government officials made repeated reference to the adverse effect on the peasantry from the "pernicious activity" of the Jews in the economic life of the Pale. On August 22, 1881, Alexander III issued an ominous ukase which dwelt on the "abnormal relations" between the Jews and the Russian people.29 This explanation, however, belied the complex changes taking place in the Pale during a period of rapid urbanisation and industrialization - changes that would ultimately lead to the rise of socialism and the overthrow of the Czarist government.
The Jews in Russia at the turn of the twentieth century thus constituted a depressed class of urban workers in a largely agricultural setting. This position, as much achieved by the hostility of Russian governmental edicts as by traditional occupational trends, became increasingly threatened and insecure from the l870s onward. Even before then, a rate of growth of the Jewish population roughly double to that of the population as a whole, along with restrictions which forced it to reside in cities and forbade it important areas of employment, had caused the pauperization of the Jewish masses.30 A government commission appointed in the '80s to investigate the condition of Russian Jewry reported that 90% of them constituted "a proletariat living from hand to mouth, in poverty and under the most trying conditions."31 Consequently, there arose among them a large surplus population composed of non-productive, middleman, or unemployed labor. As they were barred from agricultural work and employment in Christian-owned factories, their numbers were concentrated in outmoded, small-scale artisan shops which competed unsuccessfully with larger concerns for the consumer market.32 The higher density of the Jews is another index of their greater poverty, caused by increased competition and resulting in mass misery. Their condition led to the social-darwinian observation of an American immigration report in 1891 that life in the Pale was "practically a case of survival of the fittest."33 The number of Jews requiring charity during the holiday seasons increased each year in the 188Os and '90s.34 Even anti-semitic newspapers acknowledged that a considerable segment of the Jews were on the verge of starvation, although their plight could easily have been alleviated by allowing for greater demographic diffusion. In one writer's words, "it was as if all the Jews of Russia were to be violently crowded-in and piled on top of each other, like grasshoppers in a ditch; here they were to be miserably crushed, together until the fruitless struggle for life should have done its work."35
It is interesting to note that, despite the depressed economic conditions of Russian Jewry, more favorable preconditions for prosperity existed in the Pale for non-Jews than elsewhere in the Empire. While there was a land shortage and widespread rural debt after the emancipation of the serfs in 1868, they benefitted from a greater urban population nearby, which could absorb surplus produce, offer greater availability of credit, and cause a lesser incidence of crime and drunkenness.36 These and other findings of the extensive investigative documents of the Pahlen Commission led to its conclusion that economic relations between Jews and Russians should be normalized. Nevertheless, the economic life of the Pale was sacrificed to the reactionary attitudes of the Czar and his ministers. As one government official noted:37
"In the matter of the 'Jewish question,' we still walk in the dark, not having any facts, but only tales which, though long meaningless, still function in their full vigor."
The primary response of the Jews to the onslaught of legislative and physical persecution, which continued sporadically up to and after the Revolution of 1905, was that of mass migration. The trend toward fleeing Russia began to accelerate after the outbreak of the pogroms. One writer estimated that as many as one million Jews left Russia during the year 1881-82.38 While this figure appears high, there is no doubt that tens of thousands of Jews made their way, often by foot, to the western frontier. These indigent masses brought a distant problem, dealt with through charity, to the immediate attention of their more assimilated co-religionists in the west. As Jews only recently emancipated by their respective societies, the financial limits of their philanthropic efforts were reached early. Under heavy pressure from American-Jewish organizations, the Alliance Israelite Universelle began to curtail its efforts to assist immigrants from Russia in March 1882, urging all those remaining to return home.39 The continuous flow, like refugees from a war, could not, however, be so easily stemmed. Despite a more tolerant policy initiated by Ignatiev's successor, Tolstoi, and the disapproval of emigration by the small stratum of affluent Jews, the middle classes of Russian Jewry enrolled in the mass movement leaving Russia in increasing numbers. The character of the migrations indicated that their departure was permanent. There were few returnees, a high percentage of women and children, and a large number of fares were paid by relatives abroad.40 As the impoverished Jews left Russia, they became a more familiar sight in central European cities. They also became the target of the lower middle classes, which felt their economic competition, and resented their strange and foreign presence. By the turn of the century, a sizable anti-semitic movement had developed, particularly in Austria.41
Physical persecution constituted the experience of life in the Pale after 1881. This extreme alteration in the status of Russian Jewry from one of relative security to that of illegal pariah precipitated the rise of two social movements in their ranks. These two movements, which competed directly with one another for the loyalty of the population, sought to accomplish the same thing: relief from Czarist oppression. But, while the socialists "fled from Judaism under the colors of cosmopolitanism," the Zionists sought to integrate their national background into a practical programme for the solution of the 'Jewish question.' They took as their examples the Slavophilists, and the struggles of the Balkan nationalities for independence from the Ottoman Empire. Zionism, in Martin Buber's words, was "a continuation, a restatement of age-old religious and popular reality adapted to the form of the national movements of the time."42 Socialism's attraction lay in its promise of a solution to the crisis of Russian Jewry through the economic victory of an International proletariat. Its appeal reflected the extent to which the dissemination of secular culture and values had penetrated the traditional outlook of Bussian Jewry. Also, the immensity of the project of reclaiming Palestine, which was unreacteable diplomatically and inert economically, deterred all but the most courageous adventurers. Most Russian Jews either left the Pale for the west, or sought more Immediate relief to the worsening conditions of life by participating in revolutionary activity. Jewish socialists such as Deytch, Akselrod, and Zundelevlch, abandoned the narodniki, populist formula to embrace Marxian doctrines in the '70s and '80s.43 In later years, the Jewish labor movement would be transformed from a scattering of artisans' guilds into a highly cohesive and Influential revolutionary socialist organization. At this early date, it began its conflict with Zionism, which was destined to grow as the two movements became stronger. The influence of the socialist movement on Zionist thinking is crucial to understanding how Zionism became a dynamic national movement. It has remained a powerful force in the present-day political ideology of Israel.
The earliest manifestations of Zionist feeling in Russia did not end auspiciously. Pollowing the pogroms in Ukraine in 1880, a small group of students in the southern town of Kharkov met to plan the emigration of like-minded, idealistic young Jews to Palestine. Their meager resources and Utopian Ideology prevented a widespread response from the Pale, but they were not deterred. This group, known as the "Biluim," launched a campaign to win approval from the Turks for a settlement in Palestine. Although it was not forthcoming, they ventured to the Holy Land anyway. While they were unsuccessful in establishing a viable base for full-scale emigration there, two aspects of their attempt are worth noting. The first is that they were unlike all previous Jewish emigrants to Palestine. They came there to live and work, not to pray and die, as did the traditional orthodoxy. Their ideology was distinctively Zionist:44
"Now our emancipation is more urgent than before. We must show that we do not believe in the possibilities of even a mere existence here, in spite of the new decrees of the ministry of Tolstoi; that now as before we are prepared to throw our very lives into the struggle to realize our great and sacred ideal: the renascence of our people."
The second, more ominous point is the alacrity with which the Ottoman government sought to cut off theses initial efforts to send a total of fourteen people to Palestine. On the very day that the "Biluim" left Constantinople, the Porte sent a telegram to the Mutasarrif of Jerusalem, forbidding the disembarkation of Russian, Romanian or Bulgarian Jews at Jaffa or Haifa.45 At this time, the obstacles in the way of Zionism appeared insurmountable.
Apart from individual relationships between assimilated Jews, such as that between Karl Karx and the Russian Jew Nicolay Utin, the first sign of a collective Jewish socialist feeling occured in the late 1870's with the formation of the "Hebrew Socialist Union," founded by emigres and Russian-Jewish students in London. The movement, led by the expatriate Aaron Liberman, gives the first glimpse of organization among the socialist intelligentsia of Russian Jewry. It printed in Hebrew the first newspaper of a soon-powerful movement, "Ha'Emet" ('The Truth'), which addressed itself to "the elite of our Jewish youth," the Talmud students of the Pale. Its leader's "strong feeling for Jewish cultural nationalism," however, soon led to the group's dissolution. While there were several other Jews active in the socialist underground throughout Europe who made more lasting impressions on its direction, the radical novelty of Liberman's career, which ended in suicide in America, is useful in understanding a significant influence on later Zionist thinking.46
Zionism in Russia enlisted a broader base of support than either the "Biluim" saga or Liberman's group revealed. The tremendous attraction of emigration led many writers in the Pale to ponder the alternative between further dispersion in America and an historic 'Return to the Land of Israel.' In the Jewish periodicals of the day, they noted the overwhelming preference of America as the destination of the emigrants, and sought to reconcile it with their own feelings of national pride. Some claimed that it was in the north, where assimilation had made its deepest inroads, that their brethren departed for America rather than Palestine.47 While the workers' movement was stronger in the northern cities of the Pale, and Odessa had become the haven for Zionist-thinking maskilim, there were more complex factors affecting the decisions on where to arrive, once having made the decision to leave. Settlement in Palestine was discouraged by the international organizations assisting Russian-Jewish emigrants.48 Taking note of the hostility of the Porte to the admittance of Europeans, especially those from a country which had warred with Turkey three times earlier in the century, they determined that Palestine was, in a word, "impractical."49 America appeared far more realistic, particularly in terms of economic opportunity. To at least one Zionist leader, this state of affairs was not unsatisfactory:50
"As for myself, I do not weep or feel too badly about those who in these days of evil and darkness have escaped to the lands of freedom in America, and who preferred other countries to the land of their forefathers, which had the birthright. It is much better for us in that the foundation which we shall establish shall be with people who have chosen to live there not because they are forced to do so but because they have chosen this path freely out of love for their people and their homeland and because they desire to labor in the Holy Land with greatest enthusiasm."
As the river of emigration widened, it may have even appeared to many that the stream of settlers would suffice in establishing a 'Jewish homeland.' The Russian Jews could at least find some courage from the example of the Romanian Jews, who faced similar oppression in the '70s and '80s, and thought only of Palestine, not America or western Europe, in the early stages of their emigration. Romanian Jewry was both more enthusiastic about the Zionist movement and even less secure than Russian Jewry, having been designated as "aliens without foreign protection" in a land which had seen its continuous presence since the fourth century of the common era.51
The Zionist appeals, however, reached a broader cross-section of the Pale's population than did those of Socialism, After the publication of Dr. Leo Pinsker's book, Autoemancipation, a reservoir of Zionist sentiment surfaced among Russian Jewry. Although he wrote in German, Pinsker touched a sensitive nerve in his almost "clinical dissection" of anti-semitism as a permanent feature of Jewish life outside of its own homeland. His book did not concern itself with the significance of Palestine as the historic homeland of the Jews; instead, it expressed the "territorialist" solution of their problem through their "emancipation as a nation among the nations by the acquisition of a home of their own."52 It pointed out that the world had been dealing with the Jews distributively, not collectively, and that emancipation was piecemeal where it occured at all. The potential of Pinsker's leadership was perhaps more important to Russian Jewry than his book. Its earlier champion, Laurence Oliphant, an eccentric English journalist, had failed in his well-publiciised efforts to obtain permission for the Jews to settle in Ottoman Palestine. The great hopes placed in Oliphant was exceeded by that accorded to Pinsker, and only surpassed by an even more "western" leader, Theodor Herzl, After a pogrom in 1883. three physicians wrote Pinsker:53
"Much respected Lev Semyonovich! ... The horrors of the Kunavina catastrophe have deeply shaken all our society, or to put it more accurately, all our faith ... Worried and harassed, we have completely lost our heads and find ourselves unable to act decisively, lest we commit a fatal error. That is why we appeal to you, much respected Lev Semyonovich. What shall we do? We do not doubt that you and all your Odessa brethren have been deeply shocked and troubled by the horrible Kunavina catastrophe. We are certain that you seek the answer to the questions: what is to happen, what is to be done? If you have indeed reached a decision on this question, we most resolutely ask you to inform us of it by the first outgoing post."
Pinsker, incapable of acting alone, journeyed to Germany in 1882 to arouse support for his position. Already an elderly man, he was told upon his arrival to take a long rest. But the Odessa maskilim, led by Lilienblum and Pinsker, could not afford to wait upon developments elsewhere. They began, with spontaneous success, to organize the first wide-scale Zionist organization ever. "Hovevei Zion" (Lovers of Zion) grew to a membership of up to 25,000 by the mid-1890s.54>
Hovevei Zion undertook the gradual resettlement of Russian Jews in Palestine in 1882. By the year of its first conference on goals and strategy two years later, chapters had been established in most important cities of the Pale, and even in some foreign cities. Part of its strength was derived from its success in reuniting the maskilim with the rabbinical orthodoxy, which weakened the opposition of the orthodox majority, sifloe ib "inclined to look upon this political movement as a rival of the traditional Messianic idea of Judaism."55 Hovevei Zion, according to David Vital in The Origins of Zionism, was the "grey affair" of a legalistic, non-revolutionary middle-class membership which organized fund-raising campaigns - a Jewish skill par excellence - but proved unable to collect the large sums of money necessary to support organized emigration of Russian Jews to Palestine.56 Only its success in soliciting the philanthropic support of Baron Edmond de Rothschild averted its insolvency. Rothschild's interest in Jewish agricultural projects, however, soon led to an unwelcome meddling and heavy-handedness from his agents.57 By 1890, despite its success in gaining legal recognition from the Czarlst government, the organization faced three problems which limited its capacity to escalate migration and precipitated its decline: its financial limits, its reticence to enter the political struggle fully when the unfavorable reception of its purpose by Czarist and Ottoman authorities demanded it, and its preoccupation with problems of internal leadership. These problems developed slowly, but were evidently substantial in conferences at Grodno in 1888 and at Vilna in 1889. The religious faction's attempt to take over the leadership from the Odessa maskilim continued to hamper Hovevei Zion.58 Dr. Pinsker, the least likely hero of Russian Jewry, drank a toast to "the downfall of Jesuistry" before quietly retiring from his active role as President.59 By the early 1890s, his 'movement' began an era of crisis and decline. Its accomplishments, most notably the galvanization of popular support into the beginnings of an orderly framework, were unable to meet the challenge of its endeavor. Pinsker never sensed the potential of his leadership, and the passive, legal-minded attitudes of his followers preferred to wait for better times, when authorized and permitted migrations might be allowed, and the need for "inflltration" would cease. Moshe Lilienblum's letter to a prominent member, Moshe Usshishkin, summarized, the dead-end reached by Hovevei Zion in 1887:60
"The main thing, you say, is to settle people, to get the Turkish Interdiction cancelled, etc. How easy it is to write such things, how difficult to put them into effect ... What Hovevei Zion does is no more than the beginning of the real operation ... that will be performed when better days come, days which it is beyond our power to hasten."
The early 1890s in Russia were momentous years. After a devastating famine in the winter of 1891-92, the power of the Czarist government in the western provinces weakened.61 In a "new phase of the Russian labor movement," the Jewish proletariat, led by organizations in Vilna in particular, laid the groundwork for the later success of the Socialist revolution. Underground groups, such as the Social-Revolutionaries ("S.R.'s") and the "Cadets," grew dramatically. Jewish names abounded in the '80s and '90s among the pioneers who created the first social democratic groups and circles.62 For the Jews, a national group with ancient historical origins, the conflict between a national and international approach to their more severe crisis was both fundamental and far-reaching. When a scion of a Jewish family joined, the revolutionary underground, he or she was mourned by relatives as if they had seen someone die.63 The strength of Jewish national identity found expression in the pages of an active Russian-Hebrew press. But it was the workers' movement that broke loose in popularity during these years. The effects of industrialization had caused depressed wages and greater unemployment.64 But they also led to spontaneous strikes among artisans and workers. After the assimilated Socialist intelligentsia undertook the movement's leadership, a grass-roots socialism of cooperatives, known as "kassy," had reinforced a growing strike movement. There, began among its leadership in Vilna a new search for unity which would, culminate in October, 1897, with the founding of the General Jewish Workers' Union of Poland, Russia, and Lithuania, better known as the Bund. Its difficult task of reforming the status of the proletariat through political activity, however, remained confined, for ostensibly practical reasons, to the Jewish proletariat.
In 1889, there arose among Russian Jews a voice which now stands almost alone in the formulation of a solution to the 'Jewish question.' His pen name, "Ahad Ha'am" ('One of the People'), reflected the author's concern with Judaism instead of with Jews. Ahad Ha'am's masterly Hebrew style remains a major literary accomplishment of the modern language. The thoughts he expressed through it had a great impact on the Zionist movement, equalled only in importance by the actions of the founder of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl. Ahad Ha'am's "cultural Zionism" was developed from his criticisms of the legacy of Hovevei Zion, which exposed the inconsistencies of its rhetoric at home and practices abroad, charging it with fostering Jewish landlordship of Arab Palestinian lands.65 His philosophy approached more of a peculiar 'evolutionary liberalism' rather than political nationalism. His program called for the continuous building of Jewish culture outside of Palestine, and its settlement as a "spiritual center" by a select group of correct ideologists who would serve as guides of world Jewry and assure the achievement of Judaism's ultimate task: the Return to Zion. He was an ardent critic of Herzl's political Zionism, but he struck many positive notes, arguing that "the secret of our people's persistence is that at a very early period the Prophets taught it to respect only spiritual power, and not to worship material power." Ahad Ha'am discerned the political tendency of western Zionism to indicate the extent to which assimilation and emancipation had brought Judaism out of the ghetto and overturned its defenses from within. The task of his generation, to his mind, was to rebuild those defenses:67
"A Jew may be a liberal of liberals without forgetting that Judaism was born in a corner and has always lived in a corner, aloof from the great world, which has never understood it and therefore hates it. So it was before the rise of Christianity, and so it has remained ever since. History has not yet satisfactorily explained how it came about that a tiny nation in a corner of Asia produced a unique religious and ethical outlook, which, though it has had so profound an influence on the rest of the world, has yet remained so foreign to the rest of the world, and to this day has been unable either to master it or to be mastered by it. This is a historical phenomenon to which, despite many attempted answers, we must still attach a note of interrogation. But every Jew, be he orthodox or liberal, feels in the depths of his being that there is something in the spirit of our people - though we do not know what it is - which has prevented us from following the rest of the world along the beaten path, has led to our producing this Judaism of ours, and has kept us and our Judaism "in a corner" to this day, because we cannot abandon the distinctive outlook on which Judaism is based. Let those who still have this feeling remain within the fold; let those who have lost it go elsewhere; there is no room here for compromise."
This prophetic understanding of Jewish culture created a unique influence on latter-day Zionists, but its highly intellectual and philosophical content left an unfollowable legacy. While Ahad Ha'am became a leading figure of the 'Odessa Committee,' which organized the migration of Jews to Palestine, his pessimistic portrayal of the spiritual directions taken there left unnavigable a map of material despair. According to Vital, the short-term effect of his work as a publicist was "to confirm the sense of inadequacy which had come to depress the spirits of Hovevei Zion by the beginning of the 1890s." He recognized that his pessimism was not always helpful, but it was too deeply rooted in his psyche. His outlook was the product of long hours studying Talmud in virtual Isolation until age 14. He journeyed to Odessa after a childhood spent in rural, southern Russia, and became a successful businessman. In the long run, his influence had serious drawbacks:69
"He encouraged, in part unwittingly, a tendency to remove the nationally directed evacuation of eastern Europe, that both Pinsker and Lillienblum had wanted, out of the realm of the possible, even the attainable. He thus contributed to a further lowering of the sense of urgency, the sense of the imminent - indeed, actual - catastrophe that had informed the activists in the early years of Hovevei Zion."
Ahad Ha'am's negative impact, however, should not obscure his positive far-sightedness of the way Zionism had to progress in order to succeed in its goals. His newspaper, Ha'Shiloach, became the leading organ of the Odessa Zionists after 1896. He understood, far sooner and more clearly than his contemporaries, the potentially explosive confrontation between Zionism and an emerging Arab nationalism in Palestine. His opposition to "diaspora nationalism," or the advocacy of an autonomous Jewish existence outside of Palestine, was well-reasoned and poignant. "With few exceptions," he wrote, "all recognize that the position of a lamb among wolves is unsatisfactory, and they would gladly put an end to this state of affairs if it were possible."70 Jewish existence, however, if faithful to the spiritual principles he promulgated, should not always be so precarious. One observant critic, Jacob Klatzkin, noted that his secularism and rejection of belief in God did not accord with his affirmation of the "chosenness" of the Jews as a holy people, and their historic right to Palestine.' Nonetheless, his idea of a "spiritual center" there attempted to answer the deeper question of the meaning of Zionism, and his contribution to Zionist discussion is enormous.
By 1896, however, Zionism had reached the limits of its potential in Russia. Hovevei Zion had come to depend on the financial support of Baron de Rothschild for its Palestine settlements. Ahad Ha'am's incisive criticisms served to undermine further the possibilities of leadership within the organization. Perhaps most importantly, the situation of Russlan Jewry by that year had gone from desperate to hopeless, as legal disabilities and scenes of violence increased. The forced evacuation of Jewish residents from Moscow in freezing weather during the winter of 1891-92 was conducted unmercifully. The legislative pogrom, while failing to stifle Russia's revolutionary fever, deepened the nisery of the Russian-Jewish masses. Kore limits on the number of Jews allowed in universities, further Interdiction of businesses and trades, restrictions on religious ceremonials through added taxation, and denial of the privilege of keeping families together were among the more pernicious forms of oppression faced by the Jews in the 1890s.
It was during these years that the radical Jewish Intelligentsia fully coalesced with the working classes to form the Bund. Its immediate success in strike actions proved it to be, in Plekhanov's words, the "vanguard of the revolution."72 In order to form an effective alliance with the workers, however, the yundlsts were forced to drop their rejection of ethnic nationalism. While it remained anathema to more assimilated Jews, such as Trotsky, Luxemburg, and Otto Bauer, the leadership of the Bund, which included Arcady Kremer, Pavel Akselrod, and the famous Menshevik, Juli Martov, gradually recognized the importance of the Bund's position as a national as well as socialist movement. While they were far from deciding the 'nationality issue,' they devised a platform calling for the Bund's national autonomy within the larger Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party (RSDWP). The Bund's rank and file viewed Zionism as little more than well-meant fantasy, but they were unwilling to abandon their national identity for an international cause.
The 1890s also saw unprecedented increases in the levels of Jewish emigration from Russia. The expulsion of Jews from cities outside the Pale, and the stricter enforcement of the ban on Jewish rural residence within it, brought hundreds of thousands to the frontier posts of Odessa on the Black Sea, and Brody, which bordered Austria. Some 2,600,000 Jews left Russia during the years 1890 to 1914.73 As early as 1886, the situation had so deteriorated that "appeals were rcade," in the Hebrew press, "for harmony among all factions so that immigration both to Palestine and America could be expedited."74 Several socialist organizations even considered the dwindling of the Pale's population as an indication that their task was more properly the training of Jews for the world revolution. The migrations throughout the era followed no collective purpose. Baron de Hirsch's colonization scheme for the Argentine joined the long list of proposed destinations. The German Central Committee for Russian Jewry, established in May, 1891, faced the reality of the migrations, while other organizations, such as the Alliance, continued, to oppose large-scale aid out of the fear that such a course would stimulate emigration even more.75 Despite the mass exodus of Russian Jews to western Europe and the United States, the number of Jews leaving for Palestine remained only a handful. The Zionist movement, for itself, had yet to prove itself capable of influencing the affairs of world Jewry. It became formidable, however, almost overnight, with the dramatic appearance of Dr. Theodor Herzl.
Herzl, the son of "Germanized" Jews living in Austria, is the antithetic figure of the great Russian Zionist, Ahad Ha'am. His total dedication to Zionism was not selfless, but rather a manifestation of Geltungsbedürfnis, an inner, egotistical need for love and recognition.76 During his short career from 1896 to 1904, Herzl's political and diplomatic approach to securing a Jewish national homeland transformed the struggle Into a worldwide movement among the nations. This occurred almost by accident when, after falling to enlist the support of "upper" Jews in the West, the journalist turned to the eastern European masses to make his political Zionism a popular cause. Though Herzl knew little of their affairs, Hovevei Zion, after some initial trepidation, became an important element of his unified world movement. Moshe Lilienblum, whose activity declined, along with the organization he helped to start, allied himself with the new leader early on.77 Herzl displayed his naivete in the situation of Russian Jewry when he admitted to having not read Autoemancipation!, which appeared to many, including himself after he read it, as an earlier version of the ideas of his book, The Jews' State. He was astonished by the thought that he too was an "eastern Jew." His actions often reflected more political skill than tact, as when he attempted to garner support for his World Zionist Congress. The first such congress, held in Switzerland in August, 1897, was nevertheless well-attended by Russian delegates, although their presence was constrained by the fear of Czarist retaliation.79 Herzl drew heated criticism from several factions of Jewish public opinion, especially the Bund, for meeting the Czarist minister von Plehve shortly after the Kishinev pogrom, an event that stirred international concern for the plight of Russian Jewry, and which was believed to have been engineered by von Plehve. Herzl's political leadership challenged the older Hovevei Zionists, who were "devoted to the notion of the resettlement of Palestine," but when he proposed consideration of Jewish settlement in East Africa, under British auspices, Russian Jews overwhelmingly rejected it. In all, his impact in eastern Europe was mixed:81
"Herzl's limited understanding of the real complexities of the Jewish problem was perhaps the inevitable concomitant of that magnificent concentration of purpose to which his mastery of men was so largely due. On the other hand, he might have saved himself from many mistakes and much weariness of soul if it had been possible for him to get in close touch with Ahad Ha'am, and through him to gain a clearer insight into the spiritual forces which were at the back of his movement."
A more positive side of the role played by Herzl for Russian Jewry was given by his harshest critic, Ahad Ha'am:82
"Herzl gave us the congress, the organization, the bank, the national fund. Whether these are to he reckoned great achievements we cannot yet know. All depends on whether they endure and in what form they continue to exist. But one thing Herzl gave us involuntarily, which is perhaps greater than all he did of said purpose. He gave us himself, to be the theme of our Hymn of Revival, a theme which imagination can take and adorn with all the attributes needed to make of him a Hebrew national hero, embodying our national aspirations in their true form."
The nationalist sentiment of Hovevei Zion after Herzl's political initiative is most apparent in the career of Simon Dubnow. Dubnow's participation in practical activities was no greater than that of his friend, Ahad Ha'am, nor were his Zionist views dramatically different. He was, like Ahad Ha'am, a product, of the highly educated element of the Russian-Jewish middle class, but as an historian, Dubnow's emphasis on nationalism in Jewish history is worthy of some consideration. As a young man of 21 in 1881, Dubnow began a career as a journalist. By the turn of the century, he had assumed the leading place among Jewish historians of his day. His path out of the confines of traditional orthodoxy did not lead either to Socialism or Zionism, though he clearly distrusted the former and sympathized with the latter. He was not prone to extreme reactions, and expressed a greater harmony in his perception of Jewish and non-Jewish worlds. From his studies, which concentrated on the era of the Polish Commonwealth, in which the Jews flourished under the Council of the Four Lands, Dubnow formulated a theory of "autonomism," which asserted that the survival of the Jews had its foundation in the fact that "those elements not dependent on territory counted more than those dependent on territory.83 The most interesting aspect of his thought, however, was his careful examination of the importance and variety of types of nationalism. He distinguished between "national egotism," or the nationalism of dominant countries which sought to impose their own values on smaller nations, and "national individualism," which approximated the "culture of humanitv through the principle of evolutionary development and not tradition,"84 Much of Dubnow's writing was propagandistic and hortatory; he rarely failed to identify Jews and Judaism with the 'right' cause, and he continually de-emphasized the importance of Socialist theory for the fate of Russian Jewry:85
"It is the great mistake of Jewish socialist politics that it measures our internal life by a foreign standard, that it exaggerates the class antagonism among us and that it draws upon this source for justification of its claim to power."
Dubnow was particularly influenced by what he perceived as the process of 'denationalization' among western Jewry as a consequence of social and industrial progress. He was attracted to the views of Karl Renner, the Austrian Marxist who tried to reconcile the bloodless cosmopolitanism of the Communist Manifesto with the national conflicts of central Europe:86
"In place of the territorial principle of nationality, Renner proposed the personality principle - the right of each individual to determine to which nation he belonged and to enjoy the full right of cultural self-expression accorded to that nationality. Dubnow was attracted to Renner's theory of personal autonomy because it implied a decentralized federal system with guaranteed minority rights for non-territorial groups to preserve their culture and identity."
Dubnow offered a different approach to the 'Jewish question' through his organization, the 'Folkspartay,' which did "not demand, territorial autonomy for a nationality which does not constitute a majority of the inhabitants in any area; but it will," in Dubnow's words, "fight with all the strength it can muster for Jewish communal and national-cultural autonomy."87 The Folkspartay was unable to go beyond intellectual discussion, but Dubnow is remembered as an example of the mainstream of Jewish sentiment during the time. The centrality of nationalism in his ideas reveals a serious and scholarly attention to popular loyalties. His historical writings remain useful to present students of eastern European Jewry. Dubnow was killed at the hands of Nazis at age 81. His last words are his final testament: "Brothers, don't forgetl Recount what you see! Brothers, make a record of it all."88
Zionism's growing importance in Russian-Jewish affairs after the start of Herzl's movement brought new attacks from the Bund. The Bund's meetings and demonstrations often focused on the problem of Zionism.89 Its careful efforts in distinguishing between its own position of a federation of autonomous nationalities in a Socialist Russia from the "bourgeois nationalism" envisioned by the Zionists for Palestine were not, however, so carefully considered by its brother parties in the RSDWP. Led by Juli Martov, an early theorist of the Bund's nationality program, and supported by assimilated Jews such as Leo Trotsky, the RSDWP decisively defeated the Bund's claim of unlimited territorial rights and of sole representation of the Jewish proletariat at the Second Congress of the All-Russian revolutionary movement, held in October, 1903. Martov's opposition and alliance with "Iskra" ('The Spark'). Lenin's newspaper and Its editorial staff, was particularly hard. His struggle against the Bund's national stance caused, an important rift in the Congress, and revealed one of the main weaknesses of the early Socialist movement: its underestimation of the importance of the national element in the democratic and social revolution of the modern age. As Mark Liber, a Bundist delegate, put it to Martov, "you want to impose on us an international socialism when there is no international movement."90
Lenin, among other prominent leaders, severely criticized the Bund for departing from strict Marxist principles in its concessions to the popularity of Zionism amid its membership. The Bund thus faced attack from both sides. To the Zionists, it was assimilationist; to its "Iskra" critics, it was nationalist. Natlonalism, however, also found, support in the Polish, Ukrainian and Baltic factions of Lenin's "international" movement.91 Its persistence and growth in small regions proved a major theoretical puzzle to the socialist intelligentsia. Kautsky's choice for the Jews between isolation and revolutionary assimilation was the basic alternative that European Marxism had to offer.92 As late as 1913, Stalin's book. Socialism and The National Question, discounted the claim of the Jews to a national identity since they lacked the primary, and problematic, requisite of a territorial base.93
The Zionist influence in the Bund became more visible after 1898, when Nachman Syrkin, the "spiritual father" of Socialist Zionism, published the influential book, Socialism and The Jewish-Socialist State. From his activities in both Hovevei Zion and the revolutionary underground, Syrkin combined the nationalism of the former with the internationalism of the latter into a territorialist form of Zionism that was not Marxist, but rather a subjectively ethical and Utopian philosophy.94 Syrkin's analysis of the Jewish response to oppression did not discover the hidden nature of either Jewish socialism or Zionism. But it grasped the inevitable fusion of ideologies that would develop from the abnormal economic and political status of Russian Jewry:95
"The class struggle does not exhaust all the expressions of social life. When a people Is endangered, all parties unite to fight the outside enemy, though in normal times the classes fight each other. Likewise, within the limits of their higher principles, opposing parties unite in elections and form coalitions against external enemies."
Syrkin's thinking reflected his experiences as a student in Berlin, and traveller throughout Europe. A more radical formulation of Socialist Zionism can be found in the strictly Marxist theories of Dov Ber Borochov. Borochov's objective, dialectical analysis of the "proletarianisation" of the Jewish masses in his book, Nationalism and The Class Struggle, based itself on a thorough examination of empirical economic data. Its solution to the 'Jewish question,' however, amounted to the same "impractical" conclusion of more conventional Zionists: mass emigration to Palestine. After the failure of Herzl's proposal for settlement in East Africa in 1903, Socialist Zionism established itself as an alternative to the 'bourgeois' factions of the movement, hut was only briefly as powerful as them, during the '20s and '30s.96 Borochov's virulence against their dependence on philanthropy for financial support won widespread approval among Russian Jews. In 1906, "Poale Zion" ('Workers of Zion') was formed under Ber Borochov's direction, and gradually overtook the territorialist principles of Syrkin's adherents. Ber Borochov's ideas are noteworthy for their insight into the inter-relationship between national conflicts and class struggles, accounted for in a purely Marxist terminology:97
"Normal conditions of production de-nationalize the people and dull its national consciousness, whereas abnormal conditions of production (i.e., when some part of the national possession is lacking or Its organs of preservation are curtailed.) harmonize the interests of various classes of the nation and. heighten its national consciousness. Therefore, there is a kind of antagonism between the class consciousness and the national consciousness of a given group, and the two are wont to obfuscate one another."
The radical heritage of Syrkin and Ber Borochov has been continued by a strong Socialist-Zionist organization in Israel today. Labor, among other activities, has developed, the kibbutz movement, as well as the largest mutual-aid institution in the country, the Histradut.
Perhaps the most enduring, if least systematic, statement of early Socialist-Zionism was A.D. Gordon's, pioneer settler of Palestine at age 48, when, in 1904, he came there to work as an agricultural laborer.98 Gordon was a "seimist,- an offshoot of Syrkin's socialism and Tolstoy's populism. He learned. Russian, German, and French by age 19, left over five volumes of essays, and always refused all remuneration for his writings. As an individual with almost mythic appeal to the Zionist youth of the '20s and'30s, Gordon "made of his own life a finely integrated, web, weaving on the warp of his ideas the weft of action."99 His "religion of labor" placed the idea of the reconstituted individual into the heart of the ideology of Jewish nationalism. Yet he kept in focus the "cosmic element" of nations in "total history," and formulated a brand of Zionism that looked beyond ideological concerns of purity and practical worries over rigidity. All the while, he captured the Jewish predicament along with the peculiarly Jewish response:100
"Building a nation is not like building a society. The foundation stones are not merely laid for an improved system of economic life nor for the social justice which is desired in that life .... When all is said and done, man seeks life for himself; he seeks to sew together somehow the dark rents in the human and universal life that shake and darken his spiritual life. All this the Jew, especially the Jewish youth possessed of a soul, comes to seek here where he sees before him a soil suited for the regeneration of the Jew and of the man, suited for the creation of a new world."
Gordon's sensitivity to the complex need to reconstruct the Russian Jew's sense of self-respect after 20 disastrous years best presents the mass, emotional response of Russian Jewry rather than its intellectual one. He also recognized the natural antagonism between Nationalism and what he called the "child of Science and Capitalism," Socialism:101
"Socialism, placing as it does emphasis on the objective and external factors, assumes that through the improvement of those external factors must come the improvement of human life and of man. It fails to recognize in their full significance the subjective elements of man, whereas Nationalism, emphasizes the man as both an individual and national personality: God's image in man."
Gordon did not start the Socialist-Zionist movement, but he gave to it an eloquent testimony of the potentialities of Jewish national revival through his personal example of work on the land - the only way, Gordon claimed, that a people could earn any real right to that land. Gordon mixed a traditional allegiance to Palestine with his argument that as a country, it had once supported several millions, and its present condition in the early twentieth century, in which only a few hundred thousand lived there, degraded in poverty and economic stagnation, reaffirmed the historic right of the Jews to go and live there.102
The early 1900s saw a great ferment of Jewish activity and thought in Csarlst Husala. Along with Gordon's 'seimism,' Syrkln's socialism, and Ber Borochov's Marxism, an entire spectrum of opinions on the 'Jewish question' appeared, including the Bund's central position of "neutralism" toward Zionism, as advocated by Vladmir Medem, a young Bundist who engaged in vigorous public debate with an even more quickly rising star, the young Zionist Chaim Weizmann.103 The tenor of public discussion during this period had risen dramatically in the wake of Herzl, as Zionism became a new and popular solution to the resurgence of anti-semitism. The years 1898 to 1904, aptly termed by Syrkin as "the era of theoretical chaos," saw the full emergence of a confrontation between the revolutionary socialist movement and rival nationalist and anti-semitic movements throughout Europe.104 In 1903, the Bund withdrew from the RSDWP after the defeat of its rational program before the Second Congress. The relationship between the Bund and the Zionists up to the Revolution of 1905 is as complex as the relationship between Nationalism and Socialism. Nevertheless, it can be said that their main concern was the same: finding a rational and effective solution to the 'Jewish question.' While the attitude of the Socialists had changed since 1881. when they greeted the pogroms as the first sign of class unrest, anti-semitism was rife at all levels and in all circles of Russian life. Plekhanov'a remark, that Bundists were "Zionists afraid of seasickness," reveals the subtle distaste many revolutionaries had for the special problems of the Jews.105 Dzerzhinsky, the Polish communist who became the head of Lenin's secret police ("Cheka") after the October Revolution of 1917, conceded that most of his revolutionary comrades had not mastered their anti-semitism.106 It is not surprising, then, that the disquieting factors in Russian-Jewish life brought immense change in the activity and thought of those remaining in the Pale, and led to the inevitable merging of nationalist and socialist ideologies.
It is important to keep in mind the brutal reality of racist persecution against the Jews during the pre-revoiutionary era. After a depression which lasted from 1899 to 1903, the wrath of Czarist frustration again turned on the Jews. The years 1903-04 were bloody and violent, and the pogroms which broke out in southern Russia were only surpassed by those occuring from 1881 to 1883. It was at this time that the infamous Protocols of the Elders Of Zion were first published in Russia, and became the popular testimony of the anti-semites, who used it as an instrument of anti-Jewish agitation. The Protocols "arrayed thousands, and perhaps millions of people into opposing camps" on the 'Jewish question.'107 It was employed to entertain devastating plans of persecution which only saw light decades later in Nazi Germany:108
"The myth of the Protocols stimulated numerous remarkable suggestions for the counteraction of the alleged. Jewish plot. One such was the proposal by the Czarist foreign minister, Count Lamsdorff, in reaction to the allegedly Jewish inspiration of the Revolution of 1905. In a secret memorandum, the minister seriously advocated a confidential exchange of views between St. Petersberg, Berlin, and the Vatican with a view toward organizing vigilant international supervision ... to combat the Jew as the common foe of the Christian and monarchical order."
After the terror of the "Black Hundreds," which assaulted Jewish communities throughout the Pale, leaving thousands homeless, homes pillaged, men, women, and children,beaten, raped, and killed, the plight of the Jews had reached a final nadir during the period under review, Bundists and Zionists united in self-defense committees to protect their embattered people. As a consequence of the virulent Russian antl-semitism, which exploded after the Revolution of 1905, the national aspirations of the Jews were heightened. A dramatic rise in Jewish literary activity, urging the migration of Jews from Russia, brought such names as Saul Tchernlowsky, Nahum Sokolow, and Chaim Nachman Bialak to the fore, Bialak's poetry expressed the suppressed intensity of Jewish thought after the latest round of pogroms:109
"Thou shall see
With walking eyes, and touch with conscious hands,
On fences, posts, and doors,
On paving in the street, on wooden floors,
The black, dried blood, commingled here and there
With brains and splintered bone
And thou shall wander in and out of ruins
Of broken walls, doors wrenched, from off their hinges,
Stoves overturned, delapldated hearths."
While individual Bundists continued to work actively in the revolution after 1905, when the Bund gained readmittance into the RSDWP, the organization had seen its zenith of power over and involvement in that all-Russian revolutionary struggle. In its Helsingfors platform of November 1906, the compromises made at all levels reflect the organic interaction of Zionists and Socialists due to the increasing pressure against both sides. The 'nationality issue' had become an Internally Jewish dispute, and had left its mark on the Bund. It now turned to pursuing almost strictly national goals: "1) national education, 2) national health, 3) mutual labor and aid, 4) emigration, and 5) matters of faith."110 In one historian's words:111
"Perhaps in the end the Bund was right in trying to allow for some national apartness, even if it ran counter to strict social-democratic theory. Of course, the Bund failed - but it is perhaps better to fail with integrity than to succeed, only to discover that one has succeeded for the wrong cause."
The Bund's "failure" was not caused by any mistake or misdirection by its leadership. If anything, its leading theoreticians always attempted to minimize the importance of the organization's national identification with Russian Jewry. But in its rank and file, this identification was foremost in importance and could not be contained. Lenin was mistaken in his accusation that the Bund's leaders were too Zionist. The Bund's membership forced its leaders to compromise their social-democratic ideals to account for the rising national sentiment of an oppressed people. While that sentiment may not be considered entirely Zionist, it certainly emphasized the unity of the Jewish people - a unity which ran deeper as the racist persecutions against the Russian Jews increased.
The Jewish national cause of Zionism matured, during the turbulent twenty-five years between 1881 to 1906. From its beginnings as a vague, traditional feeling for the messianic aspects of Jewish culture, it became an internal response to the pressure of racist attack by disillusioned., assimilated. Jews. In its earliest forms, such as the "Biluim" group and Liberman's "Hebrew Socialist Union," the Zionist movement appeared far too inconsequential to effect the return of the Jews to the 'Land of Israel,' or, as it was known at the time, Ottoman Palestine. But external forces acting on Russian Jewry caused Zionist sentiment to grow. From an awkward and ineffectual religious base, it broadened into a formidable movement of an oppressed minority.
The "nationhood" of the Jewish people was problematic and controversial during the period under review, and remains so, to some scholars, today. Despite its lack of a continuous territorial base, however, world Jewry has always remembered its ancient historic homeland, and has placed it at the center of its values and culture. The Jews have shared a common history and, particularly in the eyes of their oppressors, they have presented themselves as a national group with peculiar - perhaps even dangerous - characteristics. Both in their internal cohesiveness, and the continuous external distinctions made for them, the Jews are a nation. They may find their origins in a variety of lineages, but in their common destiny, so far as they have perceived and articulated it, they are one people.
Zionism was tempered by the cruel backlash against the Jews in the pre-revolutionary Russia of Czars Alexander III and Nicholas II. Its rise coincided with the rise of the Socialist movement in the Jewish population of the Pale. Both movements sought to achieve similar ends, but varied greatly in their choice of means to reach those ends. The Zionists acknowledged the cultural differences between Russian Jews and other Russians as the cause for conflict between them. They formulated a program that would end that conflict by removing one of its antagonists - themselves - and resettling them elsewhere. The Jewish socialist intelligentsia favored the mass assimilation of the Jews, but could not accomplish it as a solution to the 'Jewish question' against the wishes of the rank and file of the Jewish proletariat. In the end, the two groups were forced to join together in mutual defense of their people.
The spiritual activity within Russian Jewry was stimulated by the threat to its physical survival, and led to a strong nationalist sentiment that was not unlike that of other eastern European peoples at the turn of the nineteenth century. While unable, due to its suppressed and precarious existence, to begin a popular political movement by itself, Russian Jewry made it a reality when given the impetus of a strong leader - Herzl. The nationalist ideology of Zionism began its rise in popularity during the period under review, and grew stronger as racist oppression increased. The thought and activity of the Jews responded to attack with a stubborn and persistent will to carry on. While, in 1906, Zionism was still over a decade away from its greatest early accomplishment - the Balfour Declaration of 1917 - it had nevertheless emerged as a movement with a life of its own. The early synthesis of its many schools provided it with the ideological power to survive the loss of Herzl, or any other leader who helped to bring it to historical significance. By 1906, as Czarist oppression continued into its most desperate acts, the Russian Zionists found the courage of their convictions, and gave their movement a resourceful and dynamic force.
TEXT OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION - NOVEMBER 11, 1975
Recalling its Resolution 1904 (XVIII) of 20 November. 1963. proclaiming the United Nations declaration on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, and in particular its affirmation that "any doctrine of racial differentiation or superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable and socially unjust and dangerous" and its expression of alarm at "the manifestations of racial discrimination still in evidence to some areas in the world, some of which are imposed by certain governments by means of legislative, administrative or other measures."
Recalling also that, in its Resolution 33.51 G-(XXVXII) of 14 December 1973, the General Assembly condemned, inter alia, the unholy alliance between South African racism and Zionism.
Taking note of the declaration of Mexico on the equality of women and their contribution to development and peace, proclaimed by the World Conference of the International Women's Year, held at Mexico City from 19 June to 2 July 1975, which promulgated the principle that "international co-operation and peace require the achievement of national liberation and independence, the elimination of colonialism and neocolonialism, foreign occupation, Zionism, apartheid, and racial discrimination in all its forms as well as the recognition of the dignity of peoples and their right to self-determination,"
Taking note also of Resolution 77 (XII) adopted by the assembly of heads of state and Government of the Organization of African Unity at its 12th ordinary session, held In Kampala from 28 July to 1 August, 1975, which considered "that the racist regime In occupied Palestine and racist regimes in Zimbabwe and South Africa have a common Imperialist origin, forming a whole and having the same racist structure and being organically linked in their policy aimed at repression of the dignity, and integrity of the human being."
Taking note also of the political declaration and strategy to strengthen international peace and security and to intensify solidarity and mutual assistance among nonaligned countries, adopted at the Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of nonaligned countries held at Lima from 25 to 30 August, 1975, which most severely condemned Zionism as a threat to world peace and security and called upon all countries to oppose this racist and Imperialist Ideology.
Determines that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.
Source: Official Text of UN Resolution of 11 November, 1975
Reprinted in full by New York Times, 12 November, 1975, page 1
- P. Loewenberg, "Theodor Herzl: A Psychoanalytic Study of Charismatic Political Leadership," in B. Wolman, ed., The Psychoanalytic Interpretation of History (New York: Basic Books, 1971) pp. 168-9 ↩
- A. Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea (New York: Atheneum, 1976) "Introduction," p.20 ↩
- J. Katz, "The Jewish National Movement," in Journal of World History, Vol. XX, "Social Life and Social Values of the Jewish People" (Neuchatel: Editions de la Baconniere, 1968} p. 276 ↩
- See Appendix #1 ↩
- Y. Harkabi, Arab Attitudes to Israel (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, 1972) pp. 174-77 ↩
- N. Levin, The Zionist Movement Movement Palestine & World Politics: 1880-1914 (Lexington, Mass: D.C. HeaUT, 1974) p. 28 ↩
- C. Weizmann, Trial and Error (New York: Harper & Bros.: 1949) p. 11 ↩
- S. Dubnow, History of the Jews in Russia and Poland (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1946) vol. II, p. 176 ↩
- S. Dubnow, Ibid., Vol. II, p. 138 ↩
- I. Patkin, Origins of the Russian-Jewish Labor Movement (London: F.W. Cheshire Pty. Ltd., 1947) p. 31 ↩
- S. Dubnow, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 325-6 ↩
- J. Raisin, The Haskalah Movement in Russia (Westport, Conn,: Greenwood Press (Reprint), 1972) pp, 106-7 ↩
- S. Baron, The Russian Jew Under Tsars and Soviets (New York: MacMlllan Publishing Co.. 1976) p. 137 ↩
- S. Gardin, Pioneer Youth in Palestine (New York: Bloch Publishing Co. 1932) p. 2 ↩
- S. Bardin, Ibid., p. 2 ↩
- H. Frederic, The New Exodus: A Study of Israel in Russia (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1892) p. 72 ↩
- J. Raisin, op. cit., p. 256 ↩
- L. Greenberg, The Jews in Russia, Vol. I (New Haven: Yale Univ, Press, 1944), p. 97 ↩
- Ber Borochov, Nationalism & Class Struggle (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press Reprint, 1972), pp. 21-2 ↩
- M. Kiel, "The Jewish Narodnik," in Judaism, Vol. 19, No. 3 Summer 1970, pp. 304-05 ↩
- L. Schapiro, "The Role of the Jews in the Russian Revolutionary Movement," in Slavonic & Eastern European Review, Vol. 40, No. 94 (London: December, 1961) p. 156 ↩
- L. Greenberg, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 98 ↩
- H.J. Tobias, The Jewish Bund in Russia: From its Origins to 1905 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press, 1972y-p, 25 ff. ↩
- L. Dawidowicz, The Golden Tradition: Jewish Life & Thought in Eastern Europe (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1967) p. 47 ↩
- N. Lilienblurn, "The Way of Return," in The Zionist Idea, A. Hertzberg, ed. (New York: Atheneum, 1976) pp. 169-70 ↩
- M. Davitt, Within The Pale (London: Hurst & Glackett, Ltd., 1903) pp. 49-50 ↩
- L. Greenberg, op.cit., Vol. II, p. 28; p. 48 ↩
- S. Baron, op.cit., p. 48 ↩
- H.M. Sachar, The Course of Modern Jewish History (New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1977) p. 243 ↩
- S. Ettinger, "The Jews in Russia at the Outbreak of the Revolution," in L. Kochan, ed., The Jews in Soviet Russia Since 1917 (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1972) p. 19 ↩
- L. Greenberg, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 160 ↩
- E. Mendelsohn, Class Struggle In the Pale (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1970) p. 15 ↩
- Executive Document No. 235, of U.S. House of Representatives, 1891-2, 52nd Congress, 1st Session, pt. 1, in Reports of Commissioners (Immigration) (Washington: G.P.O., 1892) p. 42 ↩
- L. Greenberg:, op.cit., Vol II, p. 46 ↩
- L. Errera, The Russian Jews: Emancipation or Extinction? (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press Reprint), 1975) p. 19 ↩
- L. Greenberg, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 168-9 ↩
- L. Greenberg, Ibid., Vol. I, p. 169 ↩
- H. Frederic, op.cit., p. 129 ↩
- E. Tcherlkower, "Jewish Immigrants to the United States, 1881-1900, In J. Pishman, ed., Studies in Modern Jewish Social History (New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 1972) pp. 184-5 ↩
- S. Ettinger, op. cit., p. 21 ↩
- P.Q.J. Pulzer, The Rise of Political Anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1964) p. 11 ↩
- M. Buber, On Zion (New York: Schocken Books, 1973) pp. xvil-xvlil ↩
- L. Greenberg, op. cit., Vol. II, p. l65 ↩
- S. Bardin, op. cit., p. 13 ↩
- N.J. Mandel, The Arabs and Zionism Before World War I (Berkeley: Univ of California Press, 1976) p. 5 ↩
- I. Patkin, op cit., pp. 94-100 ↩
- J. Geffen, "Whither: To Palestine or America In the Pages of the Russian Hebrew Press," in American Jewish Historical Quarterly (Philadelphia: American Jewish Historical Society, Dec., 1969) Vol. 59, Number 2, p. 192 ↩
- E. Tcherikower, op cit., p. 184 ↩
- B. Halperin, The Idea of The Jewish State (Camhridge, Mass: Harvard Univ. Press, 1969), p. 123 ↩
- J. Geffen, op cit., p. 184 ↩
- H. Kallen, Zionism and World Politics (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press Reprint, 1975, p. 233 ↩
- L. Pinsker, Autoemancipation (New York: Maccabeari Publishing Co., 1903), p. 16 ↩
- D. Vital, The Origins of Zionism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), p. 146 ↩
- D. Vital, Ibid., pp. 157-8 ↩
- S. Dubnow, op cit., Vol. 11, p. 377 ↩
- W. Laquer, A History of Zionism (New York: Holt, Winehart & Winston, 1972), p. 77 ↩
- W. Laquer, Ibid., p. 78 ↩
- D. Vital, op. cit., pp. 173-4 ↩
- D. Vital, Ibid., p. 174 ↩
- D. Vital, Ibid., p. 186 ↩
- L. Kochan, Russia In Revolution: 1890-1916 (New York: New American Library, 1966) p. 4 ↩
- L. Schapiro, op. cit., p. 156 ↩
- L. Schapiro, op. cit., p. 154 ↩
- L. Greenberg, op. cit., Vol, II, p. 142 ↩
- H. Kohn, "Zion and the Jewish National Idea," in The Menorah Journal, Autumn-Winter 1958 ↩
- A. Ha'am, Nationalism and The Jewish Ethic (New York: Schocken Books, 1962) p.79 ↩
- A. Hertzberg, op. cit., pp. 71-2 ↩
- D. Vital. op. cit., p. 199 ↩
- D. Vital, Ibid., p. 199 ↩
- S.M. Poppelt Zionism in Germany: 1897-1933 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1977), p56 ↩
- A. Hertz berg:, op. cit., p. 65 ↩
- E. Mendelsohn, op. cit., p. 156 ↩
- A. Hertzberg, "Ideological Evolution," in Zionism (Jerusalem: Israel Pocket Library, 1973), p. 21 ↩
- J. Geffen, op. cit., p. 199 ↩
- N. Wischnitzer, To Dwell In Safety: Jewish Migration Since 1800 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1948), p. 71 ↩
- P. Loewenberg, op. cit., pp. 157-60 ↩
- B. Vital, op. cit., p. 341 ↩
- D. Vital, Ibid., p. 247 ↩
- A. Bein, Theodor Herzl (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1941) p. 237 ↩
- H.J. Tobias, op.cit., p. 249 ↩
- L. Simon, "Herzl and Ahad Ha'am" in R. Patai. ed, Herzl Yearbook, Vol. 3 (New York: Herzl Press. 1960) pp. 150-1 ↩
- L. Simon, Ibid., p. 149 ↩
- K. Pinson, ed., Nationalism and History: Essays on Old and New Judaism by Simon Dubnow (New York: Atheneum, 1970) p. 137 ↩
- K. Pinson, Ibid., p. 99 ↩
- K. Pinson, Ibid., p. 218 ↩
- H. Wistrich. "Marxism and Jewish Nationalism," in Jewish Journal of Sociology, Vol. 17. No. 1, pp. 46-7 ↩
- K. Pinson, op.cit., p. 230 ↩
- K. Pinson, Ibid., p. 39 ↩
- H.J. Tobias, op.cit., p. 127 ↩
- I. Getzler, Martov (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1967) p. 62 ↩
- H.J. Tobias , op.cit., p. 281 ↩
- R. Wistrich, op.cit., p. 48 ↩
- A. Gal, Socialist-Zionism (Cambridge: Schencken Publishing Co., 1973) p. 6 ↩
- A. Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea, p. 332 ↩
- N. Syrkin, "The Jewish Problem and the Jewish-Socialist State," in A. Hertzberg, ed., The Zionist Idea, p. 348 ↩
- "Soclalist-Zionism," in Zionism (Jerusalem: I.P.L. 1973) p. 71 ↩
- B. Borochov. op.cit., p. 149 ↩
- S. Bardin, op.cit., p. 58 ↩
- S. Bardin. Ibid., p. 59 ↩
- A.D. Gordon, Selected Essays (New York: Arno Press. 1973) pp. 42-3 ↩
- S. Bardin, op.cit., p. 64 ↩
- S. Bardin. Ibid., p. 76 ↩
- I. Patkin, op.cit., p. 144 ↩
- B. Borochov, op.cit., p. 28 ↩
- A. Hertzberg, "Non-Zionism and Anti-Zionism," in Zionism (Jerusalem; I.P.L. 1973) p. 75 ↩
- E. Mendelsohn, "Jewish and Christian Workers in the Pale of Settlement," in Jewish Social Studies, Vol. 30, No. 4. p. 250 ↩
- J.S. Curtiss, An Appraisal of the Protocols of Zion (New York: Columbia Univ. Press 1942) pp. 1-2 ↩
- S. Baron, and G. Wise, ed., Violence and Defense in the Jewish Experience (New York: Schocken Books, 1971) pt 177 ↩
- H.N. Bialak, "City of Slaughter," in R. Chazan and M. Raphael, ed., Modern Jewish History: A Source Reader (New York: Schocken Books, 1971) p. 116 ↩
- S. Baron, op.cit., p, 141 ↩
- I. Scapiro, op.cit., p. 167 ↩