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This article is about the political movement. For the Italian school of town and country planning, see Territorialist School. For other uses, see Territory (disambiguation).

Territorialism, also known as Statism (though not to be confused with the political philosophy of the same name), was a Jewish political movement calling for creation of a sufficiently large and compact Jewish territory (or territories), not necessarily in the Land of Israel and not necessarily fully autonomous.

Development of territorialism[edit]

The first instance of what might be termed Territorism, though the term did not yet exist, much predated Zionism. In 1825 the playwright, diplomat and journalist, Mordecai Manuel Noah - the first Jew born in the United States to reach national prominence - tried to found a Jewish "refuge" at Grand Island in the Niagara River, to be called "Ararat," after Mount Ararat, the Biblical resting place of Noah's Ark. He purchased land on Grand Island - then on the frontier of white settlement - for $4.38 per acre, in order to build a refuge for Jews of all nations.[1] He had brought with him a cornerstone which read "Ararat, a City of Refuge for the Jews, founded by Mordecai M. Noah in the Month of Tishri, 5586 (September, 1825) and in the Fiftieth Year of American Independence." However, the scheme failed to attract Noah's fellow Jews. It began and ended with the ceremonial laying of that cornerstone.

Before 1905 some Zionist leaders took seriously proposals for Jewish homelands in places other than Palestine. Theodor Herzl's Der Judenstaat argued for a Jewish state in either Palestine, "our ever-memorable historic home", or Argentina, "one of the most fertile countries in the world". Many of the socialist Zionist groups were more territorialist than Zionist, such as Nachman Syrkin's Zionist Socialist Workers Party (the Z.S.).

The Jewish Colonization Association, created in 1891 by the Baron Maurice de Hirsch, was aimed at facilitating mass emigration of Jews from Russia and other Eastern European countries, by settling them in agricultural colonies on lands purchased by the committee, particularly in North and South America (especially Argentina).

In 1903 British cabinet ministers suggested the British Uganda Program, land for a Jewish state in "Uganda" (actually in modern Kenya). Herzl initially rejected the idea, preferring Palestine, but after the April 1903 Kishinev pogrom Herzl introduced a controversial proposal to the Sixth Zionist Congress to investigate the offer as a temporary measure for Russian Jews in danger. Notwithstanding its emergency and temporary nature, the proposal still proved very divisive, and widespread opposition to the plan was demonstrated by a walkout led by the Russian Jewish delegation to the Congress. Few historians believe that such a settlement scheme could have attracted immigrants, Jewish financial support, or international political support. Since there was strong support on the part of some members of the Zionist leadership, however, peace was kept in the movement by the time-honored parliamentary maneuver of voting to establish a committee for the investigation of the possibility, which was not finally dismissed until the 7th Zionist Congress in 1905.[2]

In response to this, the Jewish Territorialist Organization (ITO) led by Israel Zangwill split off from the Zionist movement. It attempted to locate territory suitable for Jewish settlement in various parts of America (e.g. Galveston), Africa, Asia, and Australia, but with little success. The ITO was dissolved in 1925.

In pre-1917 the Zionist Socialist Workers Party also took up the idea, combining it with a strong Socialist Revolutionary orientation, and for a time had a considerable influence among Russian Jews.

After the October Revolution there was in the USSR a Territorialist effort in Ukraine, the Crimea and then in a region surrounding Birobidzhan, where a Jewish Autonomous Region was established in 1934.[3] (The Jewish Autonomous Oblast (JAO) (Russian: Евре́йская автоно́мная о́бласть, Yevreyskaya avtonomnaya oblast; Yiddish: ייִדישע אווטאָנאָמע געגנט, yidishe avtonome gegnt‎) is still today an autonomous oblast situated in Russia's far east.) In the United States, the Organization for Jewish Colonization in Russia worked to encourage the emigration and settlement of Jews there.

In the face of the looming Nazi genocide, Isaac Nachman Steinberg established the Freeland League for Jewish Territorial Colonization in the United States in 1935. This organization attempted, unsuccessfully, to pursue Jewish autonomy by obtaining a large piece of territory in sparsely populated areas in Ecuador, Australia, or Surinam. One of the more well-known ventures was the Kimberley Plan, to secure land in Australia.[4] The Kimberley Plan was officially vetoed on 15 July 1944 by Australian Prime Minister, John Curtin, who informed Steinberg that the Australian government would not "depart from the long-established policy in regard to alien settlement in Australia" and could not "entertain the proposal for a group settlement of the exclusive type contemplated by the Freeland League".[5]

After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Steinberg criticized the exclusivist politics of the Israeli government and continued his attempts to create a non-nationalist Jewish settlement in some other region of the world. After Steinberg's death in 1957 the Freeland League was led by Mordkhe Schaechter, who gradually changed the focus of the organization to more cultural, Yiddishist goals.

Territorialism in popular culture[edit]

The 2007 alternate history detective story The Yiddish Policemen's Union by American author Michael Chabon, inspired by the 1939 Slattery Report and based on the premise that after World War II, a temporary Yiddish-speaking settlement for Jewish refugees was established in Alaska in 1941 while the State of Israel was destroyed shortly after its creation in 1948, can be considered a Territorialist alternate history (though the writer does not necessarily share the ideology of the Territorialist movement).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Image of the City of Ararat (Grand Island, NY) Image in 1825, a Pivotal Year on the Niagara Frontier on New York Heritage
  2. ^ Seventh Congress - Basle, 1905 (Jewish Virtual Library)
  3. ^ Territorialism (Jewish Virtual Library)
  4. ^ A Jewish colony in the Kimberleys
  5. ^ Steinberg, Isaac Nachman (1888 - 1957) by Beverley Hooper, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16, Melbourne University Press, 2002, pp 298-299. Online Ed. published by Australian National University

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorialism — Please support Wikipedia.
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KXLF Butte News
Thu, 28 May 2015 07:37:30 -0700

That stampede might have been considered standard terrace fare, a token act of territorialism and intimidation, but it led innocent fans to flee in terror. "Some tried to climb a wall to escape. The wall crumbled. Thirty-nine people were crushed to death.
 
Inside Higher Ed
Wed, 27 May 2015 00:18:37 -0700

I'm quite certain that on our university campuses the mincing jaws of bureaucracy and petty territorialism eviscerate many of our promising ideas before we have the opportunity to enact and test those ideas. Once an initiative has been successfully ...

The Times and Democrat

The Times and Democrat
Thu, 07 May 2015 22:15:00 -0700

There was territorialism, and I had to tear it down. I took a whole year to do a Bible study on Ephesians, which dealt with the origin, purpose and function of the church," Gainey said. "The church is the body of Christ designed to do God's will for ...

Herald

Herald
Thu, 21 May 2015 19:14:45 -0700

Almost 35 years later, with three teens towering around us and a 20-year-old due home from abroad soon, I'm coming to the conclusion that this 'bedroom territorialism' is, in fact, a sort of cycle - one that eases as we grow into our 20s and 30s, only ...

Cherry Hill Courier Post

Cherry Hill Courier Post
Wed, 13 May 2015 11:14:07 -0700

I'm afraid the answer boils down to old-fashioned territorialism. The VA system is a monolithic entity with a $56 billion budget. Officials don't want to change. They know that given the option, many of those who rely upon this shoddy service will go ...

Latin American Herald Tribune

Latin American Herald Tribune
Fri, 22 May 2015 08:00:00 -0700

... such as: socio-economic conditions, territorialism, participation in previous admission processes and extracurricular activities (i.e. community work that may be subject to the recognition of the Ministry of Higher Education, or that of Science and ...

The Age

The Age
Tue, 05 May 2015 18:01:11 -0700

Of course, there's history to this knee-jerk territorialism. State governments of both hues have fiddled the boundaries so long and hard that most citizens enter the fray with allegiances already locked in. But what if, coolly, one attempted to design ...
 
Who's Who Legal
Mon, 11 May 2015 16:16:36 -0700

Immigration lawyers have a key role to play in resolving the conflict between narrow-minded territorialism and a global world of ideas advancing at lightning speed, and therefore have an indelible responsibility to bring their unique knowledge and ...
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