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Agud(D)at Ha-Soẓyalistim Ha-Ivrim

AGUD(D)AT HA-SOẒYALISTIM HA-IVRIM

AGUD(D)AT HA-SOẒYALISTIM HA-IVRIM ("Hebrew Socialist Union"), first Jewish socialist workers' organization; founded in London, England, functioning from May to December 1876. Its 38 members were workers, mainly tailors and cabinetmakers, mostly from Russia. The leading founder and secretary of the union was A.S. *Liebermann. His closest associate was V. Smirnov, secretary of the revolutionary Russian periodical Vpered ("Forward"). Lazarus Goldenberg was an active member. The minutes book was written in Yiddish, the statutes also in Hebrew. The aim of the Union was to spread socialist ideas among Jewish workers, to organize them to fight "oppressors," and to establish contact with other workers' organizations. The Union's attempts to establish Jewish trade unions failed. Some of its members with cosmopolitan leanings questioned the existence of the Union as a specifically Jewish organization, while others, such as Liebermann and L. Weiner, from the socialist circles of Vilna, believed in the right of Jewish workers to appear as Jews independently. In their opinion, the purpose of the London Union was to encourage similar organizations in all the Diaspora. The Union met with opposition from the leaders of the London Jewish community, and the Jewish Chronicle even accused it of missionary intent. This pressure and internal dissension led to its dissolution. Some of its members later became active in the Jewish workers' movement in England.

bibliography:

E. Tcherikower, in: yivo, Historishe Shriftn, (1929), 468–594; L. Gartner, Jewish Immigrant in England (1960), 103–6; Sapir, in: International Review of Social History, 10, pt. 3 (1935), 1–17; Elman, in: jhset, 17 (1951–52), 57–58, passim; Mishkinsky, in: Journal of World History, 11, nos. 1–2 (1968), 284–6. add. bibliography: G. Alderman, Modern British Jewry (1992), 169–72.

[Moshe Mishkinsky]

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