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A Jewish socialist critique of Zionism, from 1906

Jewish Marxists have always rejected Zionism. In 1906, Chaim Jakov Gelfand, a leading member of the Bund, published this polemic in Die Neue Zeit, the theoretical journal of the German Social Democracy.

Chaim Jakov Gelfand 5 July 2024

A Jewish socialist critique of Zionism, from 1906

Jewish Marxists have always rejected Zionism. In 1906, a leading member of the Bund published this polemic in Die Neue Zeit, the theoretical journal of the German Social Democracy. "A national economy would mean a territory where the Jewish people — and in the capitalist mode of production: the Jewish bourgeoisie — form the majority and oppress peoples who are in the minority, just as they have been oppressed until now." "Do the Zionist socialists intend to introduce … exceptional laws for immigrant, non-Jewish workers?"

 

Many people claim that Zionism and Judaism are identical, as if the Jewish people, for thousands of years, had obviously longed to return to Jerusalem. Yet Zionism is a relatively new political movement — a product of the era of bourgeois nationalism and colonialism. Theodor Herzl's programmatic manifesto only appeared in 1896, at a time when Jewish socialist groups had been active in London and other cities for more than two decades. Long before anyone thought of colonizing Palestine, Jewish revolutionaries had been fighting for socialism.

Zionism was far from hegemonic among Europe's Jews. In the largest Jewish communities, in the Pale of Settlement on the western edge of the Tsarist Empire, far more Jewish people were drawn to socialism. The most important organization of the Jewish proletariat was the General Jewish Labour Bund in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia, or the "Bund" for short. The Bund opposed the Zionist program of emigration with a program of class struggle and "doikayt," or hereness.

Herzl's Zionism was bourgeois, and he sought support from the Tsar's antisemitic ministers, the organizers of terrible pogroms — he saw they had a common interest in getting Jews to leave the Empire and stay away from revolutionary organizations. After the 1905 revolution, the rise of class struggle in Russia and the radicalization of Jewish workers led to the emergence of various hybrid forms of socialism and Zionism. "Socialist Zionism" was founded by Ber Borochov, and its most important organization was Poale Zion (The Workers of Zion).

Poale Zion had a contradictory program: sometimes it said that Jewish workers should focus on emigrating to Palestine in order to build a socialist society there; at other times its emphasized class struggle, while the construction of a Jewish national home in the Holy Land was declared to be a goal for the distant future. Due to this contradiction, Poale Zion did not last long; after the Russian Revolution, the left wing joined the Communist International, while the right wing became a reformist and colonialist party that founded the State of Israel.

In this 1906 essay, Chaim Yakov Gelfand, a leading member of the Bund, explained why socialist Zionism was a reactionary utopia. Socialism and Zionism were fundamentally incompatible: the former depended on the political independence of the working class, whereas the latter required long-term collaboration with both the Jewish bourgeoisie and with the imperialist colonial powers. This text appeared in Die Neue Zeit, the theoretical journal of the German Social Democracy, edited by Karl Kautsky. In his own book on the question from 1914, Kautsky also declared that oppressed Jewish workers should aim for a "revolution in Russia" instead of emigration to Palestine.

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Gelfand's essay is tragically prophetic. Even in 1906, it was clear that Palestine was far from uninhabited, and that the establishment of an exclusively Jewish nation-state would inevitably lead to conflicts with the indigenous population. Marxists understood that colonization would create new forms of oppression and also new hatred against Jews. Gelfand made clear that a Jewish state could only be built in cooperation with imperialism and would therefore never be socialist.

It's interesting to read about the progressive ideals of sections of the early Zionist movement, prior to the foundation of the State of Israel. The contradictions of this "socialist" colonial project proved to be insurmountable. Over the decades, numerous young Jewish activists turned away from socialist Zionism and joined the Trotskyist movement — in some cases only after arriving in Palestine.

The most famous of them is undoubtedly Abraham Leon, a scholar-warrior who wrote a Marxist history of the Jewish people while leading the underground fight against the Nazis in Belgium, before being murdered at Auschwitz at 26. Left-wing Zionists from Berlin such as Martin Monath and Rudolf Segall also became Trotskyists — the former in exile in Belgium, the latter while working at a kibbutz in Palestine. Both, like many other former Zionists, became leaders of the Fourth International.

Today, the internationalist traditions of Jewish revolutionaries are being erased. This text, in its first English translation, is a reminder that Zionism is only a small and controversial part of Jewish history. Jewish-led protests against the war in Gaza are reviving these internationalist traditions.

 

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Poale Zionism: A New Tendency Among Russian Jews

In the last period of revolutionary ascent in Russia, a new tendency has emerged among Russia's Jews — Poale Zion (The Workers of Zion), whose adherents often call themselves "Zionist socialists." As we will show, this is not actually a new trend, but rather our old, familiar Zionism seeking to adapt itself to the revolutionary mood nolens volens, and therefore draping itself in red rags and even calling itself the "Jewish Social Democratic Workers’ Party." Since this name is apt to sow confusion among comrades who are not familiar with the life of the Jewish working masses, it may be of some interest to assess whether and to what extent the Zionist socialists can lay claim to the term socialist.

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The Zionist socialists declare historical materialism to be the basic principle from which they proceed,[1] and accordingly they base their doctrine on the economic situation of the Jewish people and particularly of the Jewish proletariat. They conclude that Jews form a minority of the population everywhere, and that in the Golus countries,[2] Jewish production, Jewish capital, and as a result, the Jewish proletariat are small and insignificant in comparison with their non-Jewish counterparts. In all capitalist nations, the proletariat, in the course of capitalist development, seizes an ever-greater share of the economic power and thus approaches socialism; the Jewish proletariat, in contrast, has no hope of ever taking economic power into its own hands. According to the Zionist socialists, the Jewish petty bourgeoisie, just like the petty bourgeoisie in the countries where he lives, is drawn into the maelstrom of capitalist development and must become a proletarian, a wage labourer. In the view of Zionist socialism, however, he has neither the strength nor the chance to do so. His Jewishness weighs on him like a curse: the competition from non-Jewish workers and the antisemitism of the ruling classes mean that the Jewish craftsman and the Jewish merchant cannot become wage laborers, and that the Jewish masses do not proletarianize themselves. This is the source of the Jewish masses' misery, which is why no normal working class can be formed among the Jews. Even the existing Jewish wage laborers are not real proletarians, in the Zionist socialists' eyes, because the factory remains closed to them and is reserved for Christian workers. In these desperate conditions, the Jewish craftsman has no choice but to emigrate, even though emigration is also made more difficult for him every day. The Zionist socialists see the cause of all these abnormal phenomena in the fact that the Jews have no national economy; so, in order to remedy this problem, such an economy must be created. But, since this is quite impossible in the Golus countries, there is logically only one solution left: to acquire a free territory where Jews form the majority, where conditions for a free socio-political life exist, where Jewish production run exclusively by Jewish labour is possible. Only under these conditions would a normal Jewish working class emerge, which would then have the strength to build socialism. The means to achieve this goal are provided by capitalism itself: emigration. The Jewish masses are already emigrating, but unconsciously, so to speak; the Zionist socialists aim to give this movement a goal, an ideal, to organize it. But this organization of emigration has to be understood in the sense that, in order for it to benefit the Jewish masses, these masses have to organize themselves according to their class interests where they live, that is, in the Golus countries. This would transform them, and above all the proletariat, into a socio-political force capable of realizing socialism on the one hand and Zionism on the other. Hence the ambivalent character of Zionist-socialist activity. The Zionist socialists declare that their primary method is class struggle: as they say quite correctly, much time will pass before Zionism can be realized, and until then, the Jewish proletariat in the Golus countries has to organize itself and wage its class struggle together with the proletariat of other nations — the struggle against capitalism, for a democratic order, and against the remnants of feudal conditions such as Russian absolutism. Their secondary method is specifically Zionist work: this means making the Jewish masses understand that their situation in the Golus countries is an abnormal one. This Zionist work also incudes "free negotiations with the representatives of states pursuing colonial policies" in order to acquire a free territory, and of course also the procurement of the necessary funds.

This is a brief sketch of the socialist Zionists' theory; it must be added, however, that there is no lack of confusion among their ranks, such that one encounters fundamentally different interpretations of the same facts, as well as the most colourful theories.

As historical materialists, the Zionist socialists proceed from the economic situation of the Jewish people; but they describe this situation incorrectly, which leads them to quite different conclusions than an attentive and unprejudiced observer would draw. The most striking point in their arguments is the absence of a normal Jewish working class, and the lack of the necessary conditions for the normal proletarianization of the Jewish middle classes. All their ideas rest on these two assertions; if they fall, then the whole Zionist edifice falls with them. We shall now proceed with a critique of these theses.

According to the Zionist socialists, the Jewish working class is not normal; the Jewish workers are not "real" proletarians, since they do not work in factories. Here, we have a complete mix-up of two terms: proletarians and factory workers. Following the generally accepted theory, a proletarian is anyone who does not own the means of production, sells his labour power, and produces surplus value for the capitalist who employs him; both the factory worker and the artisan fall under this scientific definition. For the Zionists socialists, however, the latter is not considered a real proletarian because he does not stand at the machine. In this way, a great number of Jewish wage laborers are excluded from the ranks of the proletariat. According to the statistics of the JKA,[3] there are 500,986 craftsmen in Russia, including 259,396 masters, 140,528 journeymen, and 101,062 apprentices, i.e. almost half of the craftsmen are pure proletarians. Of these, 38 percent are employed in the garment sector, 11.6 percent in the food industry, and 17 percent are tanners, so almost 67 percent belong to those branches of industry where, even in capitalistically advanced countries, the machine is still a long way from celebrating its triumphal procession.

The Zionist socialists claim that Jewish capital is small and insignificant compared to non-Jewish capital; here, again, they are only thinking of the factory. Manufacture and cottage industry are also capitalist forms of production, albeit at a lower level, and it is precisely these forms that are predominant in Jewish industry. Striking proof can be found in the fact that Jewish craftsmen work for the most distant powers: they have to deal with purchasers, intermediaries, and wholesalers, and have largely lost their independent character. Here are just a few examples. In Radom (Poland), shoes valuing one million are shipped to all corners of Russia every year. In Brzeziny (Piotrków Governorate, Poland), tailors work for purchasers, who then sell the wares to wholesalers who come for this purpose from southern Russia, the Caucasus, or even Transcaucasia. Grodzisk (Warsaw Governorate) sells stockings to the interior of Russia with the help of intermediaries all year round. Vitebsk sends carpentry and tanned hides abroad. In Lithuania, glove makers, carpenters, and wood turners send their products to the farthest markets. In Southern Russia, a number of small towns produce several types of shoes that successfully compete with the best Warsaw and Petersburg manufacturers and enjoy a great demand across Russia. In light of all these facts, thousands and thousands of those whom the Zionist socialists consider independent craftsmen should in fact be counted among the proletariat, and they belong to its most miserable and exploited layers.

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As far as Jewish factory workers are concerned, the JKA counts 34,000 of them. Yet it is of the utmost importance to emphasize that the statistics used by the Zionist socialists are completely missing data on the Kherson Governorate with Odessa, as well as on the whole of Poland with cities such as Warsaw, Łódź, Pabianice, Zgierz, Zduńska Wola, and numerous others. Thus, the most important centres of Jewish industry, where many thousands of Jewish factory workers are employed, are not taken into account. As a result, the number of Jewish factory workers is likely much higher than the JKA and the Zionist socialists assume. The percentage of Russian factory workers in relation to the entire Russian population is 1.5 percent (130 million inhabitants and 2 million workers); the Jewish population of Russia is 5 million, so accordingly the number of Jewish factory workers should amount to 75,000. If we consider the enormous arithmetical errors contained in the JKA statistics, we can assume that the real number of Jewish factory workers is likely no lower than this figure and might actually exceed it. In any case, the number of Jewish craftsmen is considerably higher in absolute and relative terms than the number of Jewish factory workers. Let us now examine the causes of this.

The Zionist socialists claim that this is caused by the fact that the Jewish masses, the Jewish middle class, the small craftsmen, and shopkeepers, are not proletarianizing. Their thinking is as follows: in the course of economic development, artisanal work is replaced by machine production; but, since the Jews have no access to the factories, their path to proletarianization and to factory work is blocked, so the craftsman lumpenizes [pauperizes] or emigrates. The Zionist socialists' citation of economic development, however, is not as correct and certainly not as "Marxist" as it might seem at first glance: they present the matter as if artisanal work were directly transformed into machine industry, which is not the case at all. They completely ignore the transitional forms of capitalistically exploited cottage industry and manufacture; as we have already seen, however, it is precisely those forms that are particularly well represented among Jewish industry. Furthermore, the Zionist socialists say that Jews are often not hired in the factories. This is true, but there can be different explanations for this; the Zionist socialists do not even look for one. They simply say: "That's the way it is and will always be in the Golus countries." Their lack of dialectical thinking is immediately obvious. From our perspective, the causes can be found right on the surface of Jewish life in Russia; they are entirely political in nature. Above all, restrictions on freedom of movement must be taken into account. Jews are crowded into a restricted Pale of Settlement; in this district, however, they are not allowed to live in the flat open countryside, and are thus excluded from all rural enterprises, such as sugar refineries, distilleries, brickworks, sawmills, and others, as well as from agriculture proper. It goes without saying that under these conditions of being crowded into the cities, a fierce competition develops and not everyone finds work in large-scale urban industry. In fact, this is self-evident, and this is why so many Jews are dependent on crafts, petty trade, etc. The Jewish craftsman is permitted by law to emigrate to the Russian interior, but this is of little practical value to him, since he always has to fear expulsion at the first setback that prevents him from practicing his trade, such as illness, unemployment, and the like; he can live in the Russian interior only as long as he is active in his profession, while remaining exposed to petty harassment that constantly threatens his existence.

Another important cause can be found in the obstacles that Jews face in their educational endeavours: almost all educational institutions cannot admit more than a certain, very sparingly measured percentage of Jews; this is especially the case in technical education, which is almost completely inaccessible to Jews. They are also barred from working for the civil service, the Zemstvos, and the municipal administrations, with only minor exceptions; and this applies not only to liberal professions like doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc., but also to positions on the railroads, in state enterprises, for the vast majority of municipal companies, etc. In addition, there is the antisemitism of the ruling classes and — although this might seem strange — the revolutionary spirit of the Jewish working masses, which leads to the fact that even Jewish factory owners often prefer Christian workers, since they provide cheaper and also more willing labour power.

It requires an incredible dose of political short-sightedness and ignorance to claim that things will always remain like this. It is as clear as day that all the factors holding back the proletarianization of the Jewish masses are products of the Russian autocracy and will disappear with its fall, and with the introduction of a democratic order. When the last remnants of feudal-absolutist conditions are swept aside, the special laws against Jews will also fall, as will all barriers blocking the development of Russian capitalism, which will rush forward with giant strides and pull the masses of the Jewish population into its maelstrom; then the Zionist socialists, if they have not yet disappeared from the face of the earth, will have no reason to complain about the insufficient proletarianization of the Jewish middle class.

For the Zionist socialists, however, the cause of the abnormal situation of the Jews in the Golus countries (actually, in Russia, since their whole theory is tailored to Russia) lies somewhere else — anywhere besides politics. Instead, they see the root of the problem in the fact that the Jews have no national economy. They have never defined what they actually mean by this term, which is why different interpretations are possible. If a national economy is one that is self-sufficient, needing neither export nor import, and thus forming a kind of closed economy-in-kind, then this form has long since been overtaken by economic development; no nation and not one state has such a closed economy. We are in the period of the world economy, not the national economy, and attempting to build up the latter means seeking an ideal from the past, not from the future. If, however, the Zionist socialists understand a national economy to be one that is run only by Jewish forces, that is based only on Jews, then this reveals an astounding naiveté regarding political economy; the Zionist socialists' goal is therefore that the Jewish worker should be abused only by Jewish capitalists, and that the "free country" should be exploited only by Jewish capital, and drenched only with Jewish sweat. Do the socialist Zionists not realize that the capitalist takes money wherever he finds it? When he sucks the worker's blood, it makes no difference what national colours that blood has. Or do they believe that the Jewish capitalist, "for the sake of the sacred national cause," will not use cheaper Bedouin or immigrant labour in the hopes of profit? Or do the Zionist socialists intend to introduce a settlement district for Bedouins and exceptional laws for immigrant, non-Jewish workers?

We can assume that a national economy means a territory where the Jewish people — and in the capitalist mode of production: the Jewish bourgeoisie — form the majority and oppress peoples who are in the minority, just as they have been oppressed until now.

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Capitalist development itself, according to the Zionist socialists, is pressing towards this goal, toward the acquisition of a free territory with a national economy since it is leading the Jewish masses to emigrate. For us, in contrast, it is clear that emigration depends entirely on political factors, on the Russian autocracy: after every new persecution of Jews, emigration swells considerably, as could be seen after the terrible October massacres. We can therefore confidently predict that with the fall of absolutism, and with the introduction of a democratic order, Jewish emigration will decline far below its current level. So, we cannot consider this the slightest proof of the need for a national economy.

But the Zionist socialists believe that a national economy is absolutely indispensable for the Jewish people, who are otherwise doomed to political and economic ruin. In order to achieve this lofty ideal, they want to organize the Jewish emigration that is already taking place, promising to give it a goal: the ideal of a "free territory" and a "secure home."

But they also want to organize the Jewish masses and especially the Jewish proletariat in the Golus countries. They believe this is how the proletariat will develop the strength to build socialism, on the one hand, and to acquire a "free territory" on the other. "The road to socialism is class struggle," proclaim the Zionist socialists, and they act as if these mere words were enough to call themselves social democrats. Not the word, but the deed is proof of a social-democratic spirit, and we shall see that their deeds in the class struggle leave much to be desired.

Where do the Zionist socialists want to build socialism? Of course, not in the Golus countries, where the Jewish proletariat can never seize economic power, but rather in a "secure homeland," in a free territory. Thus, class struggle in Russia is supposed to lead to socialism in Palestine or Uganda!

The class struggle can only thrive and bear fruit where the masses themselves live. It can only grow on the soil of production and can only lead to the transformation of production into a socialist form; another goal, another result is alien to it. Class struggle in the Golus countries can only lead to socialism in these countries, but it is impossible to build Zionism through class struggle. Zionism is a goal that is alien to the working masses; their interests are firmly rooted in the country that is their home now. They know that their class struggle will build socialism here, in the Golus, and then the Golus ceases to be a Golus; so why should they care about Zion? And why should the proletariat be torn away from the land where it has settled, where it has steeled its socio-political strength, and transplanted into new conditions of existence? Why should it allow many years to pass before it adapts to these new conditions and takes up class struggle anew, so that it can finally begin to build socialism? The proletariat can win socialism sooner and with less effort in the old country. We have not even mentioned the fact that the Zionist socialists are contradicting themselves: on the one hand, they claim that the Jewish proletariat in the Golus countries cannot become a socio-political force, and on the other hand, they think that it can gain such strength that it would be capable of building socialism even in distant Palestine, while simultaneously acquiring a "free territory."

While the Zionist socialists attempt to foist a goal on the workers' movement that is alien to its very nature, they lapse — despite boasts about the purity of their social-democratic doctrine — into the most vulgar petty-bourgeois socialism. The goal of Zionism, the "free territory," is a goal "shared by other classes of the Jewish people." ("Declaration," p. 13). How fierce, how relentless can the class struggle be against classes that share a common goal, a common ideal, with the proletariat, with whom the proletariat, according to the Zionist socialists, should march hand in hand toward this goal?! And with whom should the proletariat unite in order to realize Zionism? The Zionist socialists answer: with the general Zionist organization. We would add: with the organization of the "Jewish artisans and shopkeepers," since "most adherents of Zionism are at present recruited from the petty bourgeoisie" ("Declaration," p. 9). The Zionist socialists do not seem to be conscious of the fact that the class struggle of the Jewish proletariat would lose its ferocity and ruthlessness in the case of unification with such elements.

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Which means should the proletariat — in agreement with the petty bourgeoisie, of course — use to acquire a "free territory"? The Zionist socialists propose, first and foremost, "free negotiations with representatives of those states pursuing colonial policies." Diplomatic negotiations with states, with bourgeois governments — this is what these "social democrats" are calling for! The proletariat — and bourgeois diplomacy! Proletarian struggle that seeks to destroy the entire existing social order — and bargaining with bourgeois governments to purchase a piece of land! The proletariat can approach a government only with demands, not with requests. "Give it to me, or I'll take it myself!" — this is the only form of diplomacy that is not at odds with the proletarian class struggle.

We know that "making the Jewish masses conscious of their abnormal situation in the Golus countries" is among the Zionist socialists' foremost tasks. The Zionist socialists are working with fiery enthusiasm, and they spare no effort to gain a foothold in the Jewish proletariat and to win political influence there. In vain: the Jewish proletariat is deaf to the lures of the Zionist socialists; only isolated workers, still unaware of their true class interests, have been charmed by them. The masses are and remain under the leadership of the "Bund," which emerged from the masses and remains closely linked to them, and which is the true representative of the interests of the Jewish proletariat. Like no other social democratic party, it understands the inner workings of Jewish life, and therefore understands the petty-bourgeois nature of the Zionist socialists. From their very first appearance, the Bund fought them with vigour and with ever greater success. We concede that the Zionist socialists defend themselves tooth and nail, and in their desperate situation they resort to the most unpleasant methods: they call the "Bund" a party of "assimilationists," they attempt to disrupt its work with all means at their disposal, and they do not even shy away from slander; the correspondence from numerous organizations published in the "Latest News of the Bund" is overflowing with accounts of such heroic deeds by the Zionist socialists. In their work to "enlighten," the Zionist socialists go even further: by giving free rein to their downright pathological national sentiment, they carry out openly chauvinistic propaganda among the masses. They arouse hostile feelings against the Christian population, and they make the Jewish working masses distrustful of their Russian comrades. We will include quotes from various Zionist-socialist manifestos to ensure that our assessment does not appear unfounded:

The Grodno [Belarus] Committee of the Zionist socialists writes:

 

The possibility to massacre us stems from the fact that we are scattered across the globe, and that we live in small numbers among other peoples who see us as foreigners. And as long as we are weak, there will always be wicked souls who will take advantage of our weakness; we will always be scapegoats made to suffer for the misdeeds of others. If we want to abolish this possibility, we must concentrate ourselves in one place and create a secure home. This is what Zionism aims to do, the only solution to the Jewish question.

 

The Yekaterinoslav Committee [Dnipro, Ukraine] writes in its appeal "To All Jewish Workers":

 

The Jewish proletariat must envy its oppressed comrades, the proletariat of other nations.

 

Truly, a strange interpretation of the call: "Proletarians of all nations, unite!", a quote that adorns all Zionist socialist publications.

The Vilnius group of Zionist socialist students addresses the Jewish student youth as follows:

 

Not only the forces of darkness have used the Jews for their ends and continue to use them. They are not the only ones for whom the Jew is a scapegoat. Even the progressive forces have granted themselves the right to regard the Jews not as an end unto themselves, but only a means to achieve their (the progressives') ends. …The Russian revolutionaries of the "Narodnaya Volya" have set the Russian masses against the Jews. … The representatives of the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party are fighting the "Bund" because it diverts the Jewish intelligentsia away from work among the Russian masses. … Down with the shameful Golus! Long live national freedom!

 

Generally, whichever product we take from the Zionist-socialist literary genre, they always impress upon the Jewish worker that the source of all evil is not the capitalist order, not exploitation, and that the basis of all national oppression, in turn, is not the bourgeois order; instead, they place the entire blame on a subordinate factor, the Jewish dispersal among foreign peoples. They never cease arguing that there can be no unity, no solidarity between Jewish workers and workers of other nationalities, because the Jewish workers are "weak," and because the non-Jewish workers are in the majority and oppress the Jews.

After all this, there can be no doubt regarding the answers to the following questions: Do the Zionist socialists enlighten the proletariat or cloud its class consciousness? Do they have the slightest right to call themselves "Social Democratic Workers’ Party"? On this there cannot be two opinions.

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However much the Zionist socialists clamour and cry that Zionist socialism is a product of the abnormal conditions of Jewish people around the world, it is clear to any close observer that this is only an echo of the lamentations of the Jewish petty bourgeoisie in Russia. The revolutionary streak that the old Zionism has recently given itself in Russia owes its origins to the revolutionary mood now prevailing there. The old political Zionism has long since fallen into decay, and the ground beneath its feet is shaking. It was good enough only as long as the Jewish masses were content to look toward heaven and sigh; but now that even the petty bourgeoisie has become somewhat revolutionary under the impact of the heroic struggle of the proletariat, Zionism has also had to follow the movement. In order to avoid losing its unreliable supporters and to win new adherents among the rapidly rising proletariat, it is hanging a cloak over its shoulders that has been patched together from "proletarianization", "class interests," "social democratic standpoint," "socio-political forces," etc., which is intended to cover up the old, rotten, and mouldy political Zionism.

The Zionism of the Zionist socialists was caused by the depressed economic and political situation of Russia's Jews. The revolutionary veneer of the Zionist socialists owes its origins to the emancipatory movement in Russia. With the fall of absolutism, when the persecution of Jews has ceased and the emancipatory movement has reached its goal, Poale Zionism will lack any basis and will sink irretrievably into the sea of oblivion.

 

A.L. [Chaim Jakov Gelfand], "Der Poalei-Zionismus. Eine neue Strömung russischen Judentum," in: Die neue Zeit, Bd. 1, Heft 25 (1906), p. 804-813.

 

Translated by Nathaniel Flakin

 

 

[1] Our comments are based primarily on the "Declaration" published by the Central Committee of the Poale-Zionist Party. [This document could not be found —trans.]

[2] Countries where the Jews dispersed after the destruction of Jerusalem. [Yiddish for Diaspora —trans.]

[3] General Jewish Colonization Society. Unfortunately, there are no official statistics about the Jewish population in Russia, and therefore we have to make do with the figures collected by private individuals via surveys. [Presumably, a reference to the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA) — trans.]

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