Few political terms have such a hazy and imprecise definition in popular discourse as “Zionism.” In part, this is due to the political agenda. Auto-Emancipation has 4 ratings and 0 reviews. A literature on the psychosis of Jew-hatred. Leon Pinsker: Auto-emancipation and self-help In September , a pamphlet entitled “Auto-emancipation! An appeal to his people by a Russian Jew ”.

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It is everywhere considered natural that he should fight for these interests, alone or in conjunction with others.

It lacks that autochthonous life which is inconceivable without a common language and customs and without cohesion in space. They would aim chiefly and especially at creating a secure and inviolable home for the surplus of those Jews who live as proletarians in the different countries and are a burden to the ato citizens. In this respect there would prob- ably commend themselves most highly those two lands, 26 situated in opposite parts of the world, which have lately vied with each other for first place in creating two opposite currents in the Jewish emigration.

Auto-Emancipation by Leon Pinsker

We must set out with pinker and self-denial and God will help us. We must not persuade ourselves that humanity and enlightenment alone can cure the malady of our people. At the very outset we expect a great outcry.

The demands of individual self-preservation necessarily sup- press in the germ every national thought, every united movement. Since those days a generation has passed, and Zionists are now confronted by problems for which neither Pinsker nor Herzl could offer a solution. In the pamphlet, he describes anti-Jewish attacks as a psychosis, a pathological disorder and an irrational phobia.

At present we still live under the lei sion of the evili you have inflicted upon us. We know not ;insker whether it be East or West.


We feel not only as Jews; we feel as men. Thus for eighteen centuries we have lived in dis- grace, without a single earnest attempt to cast it off! We have sunk so low that we become almost jubilant when, as in the West, a small fraction of our people is put on equal footing with non-Jews.

The general law does not apply to the Jews, as strangers in the true sense of the word. Emancipatioon time has come for a sober and dispassionate realization of our true position.

Pimsker must seek our honour and our salvation not in self-deceptions, but in the restoration of our national ties. In the great, wide world there was no place for us. Meanwhile the Jewish refugees, with the very funds collected for their immigration, are being — “repatriated”!

Texts Concerning Zionism: “Auto-Emancipation”

With the total lack of foresight, reasonable consideration, and wise unity, it was impossible to rec- ognize in the chaos of wandering, famishing fugitives a movement with any prospects whatever, directed to- ward a clearly marked goal. Thanks to their ready adaptability, they have all the more easily acquired the alien traits of the people among whom their fate has thrown them. Pinsker had originally been an assimilationist, calling for greater respect of human rights for Jews in Russia.

The problem with searching later on, for example in the early s, can be seen by examining the World Zionist Congress. Seeking to maintain our material existence, we were compelled very often to forget our moral dignity. We think, however, that only thoughtless childhood could be diverted by the sight of shipwrecked voyagers who desire to build a little boat in order to leave inhospitable shores. This change cannot be brought about by the civil emancipation of the Jews in this or that state, but only by the auto-emancipation of the Jewish people as a nation, the foundation of a colonial community belonging to the Jews, which is some day to become our inalienable home, our country.


Only when this bask is established, when the equality of the Jews with the other nations becomes a fact, can the problem presented by the Jewish Question be consid- ered solved.

We must not shut our eyes to this natural force, which works like every other elemental force ; we must take it into account.

We must first of all desire to help ourselves and then the help of others is sure to follow. In the seemingly irrelevant circumstances, that the Jews are not regarded as an independent nation by other nations, rests in part the secret of their abnormal position and of their endless misery.

The general law does not apply to the Jews as true aliens, but there are everywhere laws for the Jewsand if the general law is to apply to them, a special and explicit by-law is required to confirm it.

If we emancipaiton ill-treated, robbed, plundered, outraged, we do not dare defend ourselves, and, worse still, we look upon it almost as a matter of course.

As soon as asylum is found for our poor people, for the refugees whom our historic and predestined fate will always create for us, we shall also rise in the estimation of the nations. The consciousness of the people is awake.

And even the few who were so fortunate as to reach their goal, the longed-for haven, found it no better than the dangerous road. At the very dmancipation we must be prepared for a great outcry. Address at the First Zionist Congress.