• June 27, 2019

Few political terms have such a hazy and imprecise definition in popular discourse as “Zionism.” In part, this is due to the political agenda. Leon Pinsker: Auto-emancipation and self-help In September , a pamphlet entitled “Auto-emancipation! An appeal to his people by a Russian Jew ”. Key words: Zionism, Russian empire, Leon Pinsker, Jewish emancipation. “Read today this foundation to reclaim the national-civil (auto)emancipation of.

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If the Jews could be equally distributed among all the peoples of the earth, perhaps there would be no Jewish question. This issue of Auto-Emancipation is based on the second edition of the English translation by Dr. These publications are fundamental documents of the modern Jewish Nation- al Movement and represent three stages of its develop- ment.

Auto-Emancipation | work by Pinsker |

The extent and the manner in which this antipathy is shown depends of course upon the cultural status of each people. And as our claims diminished, our dignity vanished away.

We have lately emahcipation very bitter experiences in Russia, We are both too many and too few; too many in the southwestern provinces, in which the Jews are allowed to reside, and too few in all the other provinces, where they are forbidden.

To the cause of self-emancipation we must devote all our powers, unaffrighted by the’ length of the road stretching quto us and by its besetting perils-for other road there is none. The nations have never to deal with a Jewish nation but always with mere Jews.

Auto-Emancipation – Wikipedia

But the Western Jews have again learned to suffer the cry, “hep! Today, when our kinsmen in a small part of the earth are allowed to breathe freely and can feel more deeply for the sufferings of their brothers; today, when a number of other subject and oppressed nationalities have been allowed to regain their independence, we, too, must not sit a moment longer with folded hands; we must not consent to play forever the hopeless role of the “Wandering Jew.

It was a dream of short duration. If one considers that in the last thirty-eight years the population of the United States of America has risen from seventeen millions to fifty millions, and that the increase in population for the next forty years will probably continue in the same proportion, it is evident that immediate action is necessary, if we do not desire to eliminate for all time the possibility of establishing in ipnsker New World a secure refuge for our unhappy brethren.


More difficult than anything else will be the satisfaction of the first and most essential con- dition, the national resolution ; for we are, to our sor- row, a stiff-necked people. He called on Jewish leaders to convene and address the problem.

What emancipatioh it to find us a: He is more like a beggar; and what beggar is welcome!

Instead of the many refuges which we have always been accustomed to seek, we would fain have one single refugethe existence of which, however, would have to be politically assured. Presently he will interpose a “What you say is fine, but.

In Auto- Emancipation, Pinsker diagnosed the Jewish problem and set out his remedy on a “territorial” basis. The general law does not apply to the Jews, as strangers in the true sense of the word. Messianic Moreover, the belief in a Messiah, the be-: In it, he makes it clear that the Jews must cease being “only Jews” and become a nation, through cultural revival, and then and only then would they be able to build a Jewish national home in Palestine: Such work could not find favor with a man like Pinsker.

And even the few who were so happy as to reach the goal of their desires, the longed-for haven, found the latter no whit better than the dangerous road. But legal emancipation is not social emancipation, and with the proclamation of the former the Jews are still far from being emancipated from their exceptional social position.

They play a more important part than those peoples in the life of the civilized nations, and they have deserved more from humanity; they have a past, a history, a common, unmixed descent, and an inde- structible vigor, an unshakable faith, and an unexam- emanciptaion history of suffering to pinsmer the peoples have sinned against them more grievously than against any other nation.

At first glance, our building would appear from this standpoint to be a house of cards to divert children and wits.

Returning to Zionism’s roots: Leon Pinsker, Auto-Emancipation and the real meaning of Zionism

If no notice is taken of our descent and we are treated like others born in the country, we express our gratitude by actually turning renegades. Shut your eyes and hide your head like an ostrich — there is to be no lasting peace unless in the fleeting intervals of relaxation you apply a remedy more thoroughgoing than those palliatives to which our hapless people have been turning for years. Assuredly, many a Jew, who is still bound to his old home by an unenviable occupation, would gladly grasp the opportunity to throw out an anchor to pnsker by such a deed and to escape those sad emanncipation so numerous in the immediate past.


We did not perceive that unworthy tactics, though forced upon us, have lowered us still more in emahcipation eyes of our opponents, that we were only the more exposed to humiliating contempt pinxker outlawed existence, which has at length become our baleful heritage. The letter shows clearly that Achad Haam was not opposed to practical Zionism and settlement in Palestine.


What wonder that a people who have allowed themselves to be trampled upon for dear life’s sake, and have learned to love the very feet that trample upon them, should fall a prey to the utmost contempt! No matter how much the nations are at variance in their relations with one another, no matter how diverse in their instincts and aims, they join hands in their hatred of the Jews; on this one matter all are agreed.

In the apparently insignificant circumstance, that the Jews are not considered an independent nation by other nations, rests in part, the secret of their anom- alous position peon of their endless misery.

The children of modern civilization among our people esteem their dignity no less highly than our oppressors do theirs. Far from generous in supplying the needs of the colonies, they were all the more lavish of advice and opinions.