Eder, Montague David

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EDER, MONTAGUE DAVID (1865–1936), Zionist leader, psychoanalyst, and physician. Born in London into an assimilated family, Eder devoted himself to the medical care of the poor in London's slums and mining villages, becoming a member of the Labour Party. One of the first British psychoanalysts and protagonists of Sigmund Freud, together with Ernest Jones he founded the Psychoanalytical Association in England in 1913. Eder also established a children's clinic and founded and edited the journal School Hygiene. His interest in Jewish affairs was aroused by his cousin, Israel *Zangwill, and his brother-in-law, Joseph *Cowen. Eder joined the Jewish Territorialist Organization (jto) and participated in a mission on its behalf to Cyrenaica to evaluate the possibilities for Jewish settlement there. In 1918 he was invited by Chaim *Weizmann to join the *Zionist Commission for Palestine, as a representative of jto and as medical officer. He arrived there in 1918 and stayed for over four years, becoming an enthusiastic Zionist. He played akey role in the Commission, being its only member to extend his stay after 1918. He conducted the negotiations with the military and civil administration of Palestine and helped actively in the absorption of the first groups of immigrants of the Third *Aliyah, displaying great understanding for their pioneering spirit. Eder was a member of the Zionist Executive 1921–23 and 1922–28, first in Jerusalem and later in London. His kinship with the Soviet diplomat Maxim *Litvinov (to whom he was related through his wife) enabled him to visit the Soviet Union in 1921, where he tried, unsuccessfully, to achieve some degree of legal status for the work of the Zionist Organization there. Upon his return to Britain, Eder was active on behalf of the Hebrew University, the Political Department of the Zionist Executive, and the British Zionist Federation, which he headed for a short time in 1930. An agricultural farm for the training of Palestine pioneers, established in 1935 in Ringelstone, Kent, was called the David Eder Farm.


David Eder, Memoirs of a Modern Pioneer (ed. by J.B. Hobman, with foreword by S. Freud, 1945). add. bibliography: odnb online.

[Getzel Kressel]