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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Grant us but our independence, allow us to take care of ourselves, give us but a little strip of land like that emanipation the Serbians and Romanians, give us a chance to lead a national existence and then prate about our lacking manly virtues! Among the living nations of the earth the Jews are as a nation long since dead.

Without plan, purpose, or unity, the last emigration must be regarded as a complete failure in having disappeared without a trace, but it has taught us what we should do and not do in the future. We have found our bitterest opponents, indeed, in a large part of the press, which might be supposed to possess education; the unfortunate situation of the Russian Jews is due, rather, purely and simply to the operation of those general forces, a consequence of human nature which we have previously discussed.

Therefore, we must see to it that the surplusthe unassimilable residue, is removed and elsewhere provided for. We are now passing through such a moment. Its Selected selection is, of course, of the first and highest importance, and must not be left to off-hand decision or to certain preconceived sympathies or indi- viduals, as has, alas, happened lately.

We probably lack a leader of the genius of Moses — his- tory does not grant a people suctTguides repeatedly. Leon Pinsker, Auto-Emancipation and the real meaning of Zionism.

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. It is true that our loving protectors have always taken good care that we should never get out of breath and recover our self-respect. They do not see how glad one is to decline Jewish companionship.

Texts Concerning Zionism: “Auto-Emancipation”

These and a thousand and one other charges against an entire people have been proved groundless. Instead of the many refuges which we have always been accustomed to seek, we would fain have one single refuge, the ex- istence of which, however, would have to be political- ly assured. In the last emigration no sign of progress toward a better state of things is to be observed.


Lek Jewish people has no fatherland of its own, though many motherlands; no center of focus or gravity, no government of its own, no official representation. The emancipation of the Jews naturally finds its justification in the fact that it will always be consid- ered to have been a postulate of logic, of law, and of enlightened self-interest.

We should not persuade ourselves that humanity and enlightment will ever be radical remedies for the malady of our people.


Happily, linsker stand somewhat differently now. The apparent fact that we can mix with nations only slightly offers a further obstacle to the establishment of amicable relations. We know well the great history of the sufferings of our people and we; would be the last to make our fore- fathers responsible for it.

Of course, the establishment of a Jewish refuge cannot come about without the support of the governments. But how can we find that haven without Uccasion sen jj n g ou j- an expedition?

It is precisely the great misfortune of our race that we do not constitute a nation, but are merely Jews. We know not even whether it be East or West. Our fatherland — the other man’s country; our unity-dispersion; our solidarity — the battle against us; our weapon — humility; our defense — flight; our individuality — adaptability ; our future — the next day.

The demands of individual self-preservation necessarily sup- press in the germ every national thought, every united movement. It would be a euphemism to call it emigration.

Messianic Moreover, the belief in a Messiah, the be-: That is all the more reason why we should strain every emanciaption to the task of ending our national misery in honorable fashion. It lacks most of the essential attributes by which a nation is recognized. 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.


That is all the more reason why we should strain every energy to the task of ending our national misery in honorable fashion.

Like the squaring of the circle it remains pinsjer, but unlike it, continues to be the ever-burning question of the day.

The events of the last few years in enlightened Germany, in Roumania, in Hungary, and especially in Russia, have effected what the far bloodiest persecutions of the Middle Ages could not. But this aimless wan- dering in the labyrinth of exile, to which our people have always been lfo, does not cause them to advance a step ; they rather sink deeper in the sticky morass of their wanderings.

Auto-Emancipation – Wikipedia

Yet nowhere did they succeed in obtaining from their fellow-citizens recognition as natives of equal status. Now, is the Jew subject to this general law to the same extent as the other nationalities? Or will we rather use this respite to draw the proper from the accumulated experience, in order that we may escape the new blows which are ahto to come! At emanncipation glance, our building would appear from this standpoint to be a house of cards to divert children and wits.

Our fatherland is the other man’s country ; our unity — dispersion, our solidarity — the general hostility to us, our weapon — humility, our defense — flight, our individuality — – adaptability, our future — to-morrow. Until it is realized, the desires and ideals of the nations must be limited to establishing a toler- able modus vivendi. If so, all the better, but first of all, we must determine — and this is the crucial point — what country is access- ible to us, and at the same time adapted to offer the Jews of all lands’ who must leave their homes a secure and unquestioned refuge, capable of being made pro- ductive.

The extent and the manner in which this antipathy is shown depends of course, upon the cultural status of each people.