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Simon, Julius


SIMON, JULIUS (1875–1969), Zionist leader and economist. Simon was born in Mannheim, Germany but was an American citizen because his father had participated in the American Civil War. At the height of his economic activities in Germany, particularly in banking, Simon became associated with the Zionist movement, especially after the "practical" Zionist trend began to prevail (1911). During World War i he engaged in banking in Switzerland and Alsace and became associated with the management of the *Jewish National Fund and its director, Nehemia de *Lieme, with whom he worked on its behalf in The Hague. After World War i he was invited by Chaim Weizmann to direct the economic activities of the Zionist Organization and devise economic plans for the period following the Balfour Declaration. It was then that he began to identify with the economic ideas expounded by the U.S. Zionists under the leadership of Louis D. *Brandeis. At the Zionist Conference in London, in July 1920, this group succeeded in appointing him to the Zionist Executive. Together with de Lieme and Robert Szold, he was sent to Palestine (November–December 1920) for the purpose of reorganizing the activities of the Zionist Organization. The report published by this committee (1921), with its scathing criticism of the work of the Zionist Organization and the Zionist Commission, aroused the opposition of Weizmann and the labor sector, as well as that of European Zionists. Its conclusions were not endorsed by the 12th Congress (1921), and Simon and the Brandeis group resigned from their posts in the Zionist Organization. They continued, however, to engage in economic activities in Palestine.

Between the two world wars Simon lived for a time in Jerusalem and later in the United States. He headed the *Palestine Economic Corporation, which played a prominent role in various economic projects in Palestine and remained active in economics until his death. His writings included Die Juden und die Gebildeten unserer Tage ("The Jews and the Educated of Our Days," 1916) and Preparatory Steps for the Jewish Colonization of Palestine (n.d.).


R. Weltsch, in: mb (Sept. 7, 1945).

[Getzel Kressel]

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