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Grossman, Meir

GROSSMAN, MEIR

GROSSMAN, MEIR (1888–1964), Zionist leader. Born in Temryuk in the Krasnodar Territory, Russia, Grossman at an early age became a contributor to the Russian press. For a while he lived in Warsaw, where he began contributing to the Yiddish press. In 1913 he went to Berlin to study, becoming a member of the central committee of *He-Ḥaver, the Zionist students' society, and editing its Russian and Hebrew organs.

On the day that World War i broke out, Grossman left for Copenhagen, and worked there as a correspondent for the Russian daily Russkoye Slovo. A few months after his arrival he began the publication of a Yiddish daily, Kopenhagener Togblat (later renamed Yidishe Folkstsaytung). At *Jabotinsky's suggestion he published a Yiddish fortnightly, Di Tribune, dedicated to publicizing the cause of a Jewish Legion, a World Jewish Congress, and equal rights for Jews. Jabotinsky also persuaded him to move to London, which he did in the fall of 1916, publishing Di Tribune there as a daily. The campaign for a Jewish Legion did not, however, yield immediate results, and when the paper closed, Grossman returned to Copenhagen.

After the February 1917 Revolution in Russia, Grossman returned to Petrograd, where he became a contributor to Petrograder Togblat, the daily founded by Yiẓḥak *Gruenbaum. After the October Revolution he was asked to move to Kiev and there edited several periodicals: Der Telegraf, a daily, together with Naḥman *Syrkin; Oyf der Vakh, Zionist weekly; and Die Velt, another daily. He was a member of the executive committee of Ukrainian Zionists, took part in the National Jewish Assembly and in the work of the Provisional National Council, and was a deputy of the Rada, the national council of the independent Ukraine. When hostilities broke out and the Bolsheviks invaded the Ukraine, Grossman, together with Abraham Coralnik, was sent abroad to inform the world of the situation and appeal for help. In London and in the United States, Grossman and Coralnik created aid organizations for Ukrainian Jews (1919).

At the end of 1919, Grossman joined Jacob *Landau, in establishing the Jewish Correspondence Bureau for the dissemination of news of Jewish interest. This bureau eventually became the *Jewish Telegraphic Agency (jta). Grossman left the jta in 1928 as a result of differences with Landau. In 1925 he had founded the Palestine Bulletin, an English-language daily in Jerusalem, which in 1932 became the Palestine Post (later the Jerusalem Post). After the 1920 riots in Palestine, Grossman criticized Weizmann's policies and called for his resignation. When Jabotinsky left the Zionist Executive and eventually founded the *Revisionist Party (in 1925), Grossman became one of his early supporters and was appointed deputy chairman of the new party's world center. In 1933 the party split on the issue of secession from the Zionist Organization; Grossman headed the minority, which opposed Jabotinsky and which was in favor of remaining in the *Zionist Organization. He then established the *Jewish State Party.

In 1934 he settled in Palestine, where he became the manager of Bank le-Hityashevut Amamit. In 1937 he caused a sensation at the Zionist Congress by reading from its rostrum confidential minutes of Weizmann's talks with the British colonial secretary, Ormsby-Gore, in which Weizmann promised to influence the Zionist movement in favor of the partition plan of Palestine, though the Zionist General Council had adopted a resolution against the plan. Grossman's "suspension from membership in the Zionist General Council" by the Zionist court, for having disclosed confidential Zionist documents, caused a stir in the Jewish press the world over, particularly in the London Jewish Chronicle. He spent the World War ii years in the United States. After the war the two factions of the Revisionist Party were reunited, and Grossman attended the Zionist Congress as a representative of the united party. He did not, however, join the *Ḥerut Party, and preferred to join the *General Zionists, becoming one of its representatives in the Executive of the Zionist Organization (1954–60). When the General Zionist Party merged with the Progressive Party to form the Liberal Party, Grossman again did not follow his party's decision and resigned from the Zionist Executive. He continued his journalistic work and also participated in the activities of various public institutions. He took special interest in the situation of Soviet Jews and promoted the publication of Russian-language periodicals in Israel (Vestnik Izraila, and Shalom).

bibliography:

Tidhar, 4 (1950), 1927–28; lnyl, 2 (1958), 359–60.

[Israel Klausner]

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