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Biography - Leon (Yehuda - Lieb) Pinsker

Biography - Leon (Yehuda - Lieb) Pinsker

Leon Pinsker (1821-1891) was a medical doctor and leader of the assimilationist movement among Russian Jewry, and a frequent contributor to Rassviet, the assimilationist weekly published in Odessa. Assimilationists were convinced that the future of Russian Jews lay in integration with Russian society at large. However, a violent pogrom in Odessa in 1871 led Pinsker to understand that Jews would never be secure in Russia.

After more than a decade of thought, and following more serious, government-inspired violence,† Pinsker traveled to Europe where he tried unsuccessfully to popularize the idea that Jews need to organize a national movement, he returned to Odessa, where he wrote Selbstemanzipation (Auto-Emancipation) . The essay declared that Jews would never be the social equals of gentiles as long as they did not have a state of their own, and called for a meeting of Jewish leaders to consider the problem. Pinsker was willing to settle for a Jewish homeland in a country other than Palestine. The pamphlet was initially ignored. But following a series of† pogroms, it attracted attention at least in Russia, and Pinsker was subsequently chosen to head the Chovevei Tzion (Lovers of Zion) movement that was organized in Russia to unite a network of underground Zionist study circles.

Pinsker died in Russia in 1891. His remains were brought to Palestine in 1934 and reburied in The Cave of Nicanor near to Mount Scopus in Jerusalem. The yishuv of Nahalat Yehudah near Rishon Le≠zion is named after him, as well as streets in several towns in Israel.

More Israeli and Zionist Biographies The Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Zionism and Israel

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Wikipedia article about Zionism - A comprehensive article including the history of Zionism† as well as links to specific topics and articles about anti-Zionism.

Zionism - Table of contents at the Jewish Virtual Library

Zionism article at Infoplease

Zionism - Definition and Brief History - A balanced article that covers the definitions and history of Zionism as well as opposition to Zionism and criticisms by Arabs,† Jewish anti-Zionists.

Labor Zionism - Early History and Critique - Contribution of Labor Zionism to the creation of the Jewish state, and problems of Labor Zionism in a changing reality.

The US Library of congress has a comprehensive and balanced set of articles about Zionism:

Zionist Precursors - US Library of Congress

Political Zionism - US Library of Congress

Cultural Zionism - US Library of Congress

Labor Zionism - US Library of Congress

Revisionist Zionism - US Library of Congress

Jewish Agency Zionism pages - Links to basic information about Zionism from the Jewish Agency

Ambassador Herzog explains Zionism in the UN


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