Poale Zion

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Poale Zion

 

(PZ; Workers of Zion), a coalition of petit bourgeois Jewish nationalist organizations that attempted to combine the ideas of socialism with Zionism. PZ groups arose in the early 20th century in a number of countries. In Russia one of the first PZ groups was formed in 1901 in Ekaterinoslav; most groups operated in the Ukraine. Stressing the nonindustrial, artisan character of the Jewish proletariat under tsarism, the PZ rejected the possibility that the masses of Jewish working people would be drawn into large-scale industry. From this the PZ concluded that the emigration of the Jewish people to Palestine was a necessity. The PZ position would have diverted the Jewish masses from the tasks of revolutionary struggle.

Between 1904 and 1906 the PZ groups gave rise to the Zionist Socialist Labor Party, the Socialist Jewish Labor Party, and the Jewish Social Democratic Labor Party, which retained the name of the PZ (JSDLP-PZ). During the period of reaction from 1908 to 1910, the PZ in effect turned into agents of Zionism among the Jewish working people and, masking their actions under a pseudo-Marxist phraseology, actively advocated the isolation of Jewish workers from the general Russian proletarian movement. Representatives of the PZ also participated in international Zionist congresses.

The PZ movement did not have a significant influence on the masses of Jewish workers. In 1917 the JSDLP-PZ numbered about 15,000 members. It met the October Revolution of 1917 with hostility, and in 1918 it supported the counterrevolutionary Central Rada and Ukrainian Directory. In August 1919, PZ groups organized the Jewish Communist Party-PZ. Some of the latter’s members, mostly workers, were admitted to the RCP(B) in December 1922. The party’s right wing continued to disseminate nationalist propaganda. The PZ degenerated into an anti-Soviet organization and was banned in 1928.

References in periodicals archive ?
It was in her sister's home that she was first exposed to socialism and Zionism; when she returned to Mlwaukee at age 17, she became active in Poalei Zion, "Workers of Zion"--a worldwide movement of Marxist Zionist Jewish workers.
Poalei Zion stated that, "history of all hitherto existing societyis the history of class and nations struggles." At the core of Poalei Tzion ideology was the conquest of the "land along the conquest of work." In other words, Poalei Tzion supported and promoted the dispossession of Palestinian natives from their land as well as their working places.
The dailies I will discuss are the two socialist newspapers: Di tsayt, published from August 1920 to April 1922 by the Labor Zionist movement, Poalei Zion; and the much more successful Forverts (Jewish Daily Forward), founded in 1897, which was the most important Yiddish newspaper in the United States and also the most widely circulated foreign-language newspaper in the country.
The two largest organizations, the Arbeter-ring (Workmen's Circle), which had ideological ties to the Bund and was associated with the Forverts, and the Yidishnatsyonaler arbeter farband (Jewish National Worker's Alliance or, colloquially, "the Farband"), with strong ideological and organizational ties to Poalei Zion, did not admit women as members.
(21.) Rachel Rojanski, "At the Center or on the Fringes of the Public Arena: Esther Mintz-Abetson and the Status of Women in American Poalei Zion, 1905-1935," Journal of Israeli History 21 (Spring/Autum 2002): 40-41.
In a series of published letters and essays that appeared in Der forverts and the Poalei Zion newspaper Die zeit (The Times), Shohat, Medem, and other veterans of the Zionist-socialist skirmishes that colored Jewish life in revolutionary Russia debated anew questions of nationalism vs.
Shohat also devoted her considerable energies to cultivating the active support of American Poalei Zion. Though numerically insignificant compared to the 150,000 member strong Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), including Hadassah, and smaller than Mizrahi's 18,000 members, Shohat believed that the Labor Zionists could act as an effective pressure group within American Zionism.
Poalei Zion considered a tailor who supported their party and attended the Nizhnii-Riabatskaia Street synagogue a worker, but treated the non-socialist Zionist leatherworker praying beside him as a petty-bourgeois.
Labor Zionists, or Poalei Zion, is a familiar, and in some ways quintessentially American, tale.
Seeking to establish for Poalei Zion a measure of popularity that the statistical evidence does not seem to bear out, Raider maintains that "Labor Zionism's growing influence on the popular level can be discerned" from the history of the American regiments of the Jewish Legion, the Jewish military force that helped England capture Palestine from the Turks in World War I.
In Palestine itself, the Zionist left and right battled over the future makeup of the state-to-be, but, as Aryeh Goren noted in a recent essay, such debates were "beyond the ken or care of most American Zionists, except for some intellectuals and the socialist Poalei Zion [Labor Zionists], who were more European than American." For the overwhelming majority of American Zionists, Goren writes, "their nonideological, philanthropic Zionism had little room for such issues as the type of settlers needed in Palestine, how they should be trained, what their ultimate purpose should be, and whether a national kibbutz or a federation of independent kibbutzim was preferable."(4)
Ilan Kaisar, by contrast, argues that "the Poale Zion-Zeire Zion leadership was unprepared to change the socialist Zionist ideology that appealed to the Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Eastern Europe and adapt it to meet the interests of a wider public." They "devoted too little effort and only limited resources" to the League for Labor Palestine, which Poalei Zion had established in 1932 for the ostensible purpose of reaching the second-generation, English-speaking American Jewish public.