Jewish movements in the 20th century aiming to establish an autonomous settlement of Jews in a sufficiently large territory "in which the predominant majority of the population shall be Jewish." In contrast to Zionism, Territorialism regarded Ereẓ Israel as one of these territories but not the only one. Any other attempts in the past and present by Jews or non-Jews, by organizations or governments, to assist in finding a refuge for oppressed Jews do not fall within the scope of Territorialism as defined above. They are dealt with under separate headings (see Agricultural Settlement, *Migration, *Jewish Colonization Association (ica), *Birobidzhan, *Crimea, Baron Maurice de *Hirsch, *Evian Conference, Paul *Friedmann, Davis *Trietsch, *Madagascar Plan).
Territorialism was a child of the Zionist movement. It came into existence after the death of Theodor *Herzl, during the Seventh Zionist Congress (Basle, July/August 1905), which decided not to proceed with the Guas Ngishu projects in East Africa (commonly called the *Uganda Scheme) offered by the British Government in 1903 for an autonomous Jewish settlement. Twenty-eight delegates who refused to accept the rejection of the British offer withdrew from the congress, and with additional delegates met in a separate conference (July 30 and August 1) where they decided to secede from the Zionist Organization and to establish an independent Jewish Territorial Organization (abbr. ito). Israel *Zangwill, their leader, at first opposed secession but accepted it after the general meeting of the Anglo-Palestine bank had refused to expand its activities beyond the Palestine area. He became president and remained in that capacity until the dissolution of the ito in 1925. The first conference in Basle defined the objects of ito as follows:
i. To procure a territory upon an autonomous basis for those Jews who cannot, or will not, remain in the lands in which they at present live. ii. To achieve this end the Organization proposes (a) to unite all Jews who are in agreement with this object; (b) to enter into relations with Governments and public and private institutions; (c) to create financial institutions, labor-bureaus, and other instruments that may be found necessary.
It appeared at first that a peaceful coexistence of the ito and Zionist Organization was possible. ito was one of the few movements which participated in the Brussels Conference (Jan. 29, 1906) called by the Zionist Organization to discuss a constructive solution of the Jewish migration problem. But the conference ended without any tangible results and the two movements quickly drifted apart. Subsequently, in the first few years, ito constituted a definite threat to the Zionist Organization, and bitter controversies ensued between the two movements in meetings and in the Jewish press.
ito secured the collaboration of a great number of influential Jews and some leading Zionists all over the world. Among the latter were Israel *Jasinowski, Max *Mandelstamm (Russia), Karl Jeremias, Alfred *Klee (Germany), and Nahum *Slouschz (France). Some anti-Zionist leaders joined, for instance, Lucien *Wolf, obviously with a view to fight Zionism from this newly created platform. Some Socialist Zionists, headed by Nachman *Syrkin and the *Zionist Socialists in Russia (abbr. ss), also known as Zionist Territorialists, also joined the ito. Within a short time ito established numerous branches all over the world and, in Russia alone, over 280 emigration centers. The headquarters were in London. It concentrated organizational activities in various commissions among which the international council, consisting of 31 members, attended to political and administrative work, while suitable territories were selected by a geographical commission, consisting of such prominent men as Lord *Rothschild (England), Paul *Nathan and James *Simon (Germany), Max Mandelstamm (Russia), and Daniel *Guggenheim, Judge Mayer *Sulzberger, and Oscar S. *Straus (U.S.).
ito's first efforts were directed to a continuation of the negotiations with the British Government regarding East Africa. However, notwithstanding the sympathies for ito expressed publicly by members of the government (as for instance, Winston S. *Churchill, Lord Elgin, Herbert Gladstone), no success accompanied these negotiations. Further attempts were made to procure "ito Land" in Angola (1907), Cyrenaica (1908), Mesopotamia (1909), as well as in Australia, Mexico, and many other localities. "There was not a land on earth that we did not think about," Zangwill confessed years later. All these attempts ended in failure. The only practical success of ito was the establishment of an assembly-point in *Galveston (Texas). This, however, constituted an abandonment of the original program which aimed at a compact autonomous settlement, because Galveston served as a transition harbor for individual Jewish immigrants on their arrival from Europe, whence they were sent to southern and western areas of the United States and thus diverted from New York and other crowded centers in the east. The scheme was financed by Jacob H. *Schiff ($100,000), and Lord Rothschild of London and Baron Edmond de Rothschild of Paris ($10,000 each). During World War i, ito at first declined cooperation with the Zionists in England but after the issuance of the *Balfour Declaration (1917), the ito delegated David *Eder to join the *Zionist Commission, in Jerusalem simultaneously ceasing any activities of its own. In 1925 it was formally disbanded.
Independent of ito and with less organizational ability and success was the "Allgemeine Juedische Kolonisations-Organisation" (abbr. aiko) which was initiated by Alfred *Nossig soon after the revolution of the Young Turks in 1908. Nossig also seceded from the Zionist Organization, of whose General Council he was a member, to pursue his activities independently. aiko rejected the national and political aspect of Zionism and differed from ito insofar as it sought a compact Jewish settlement in Palestine, Syria, and the Sinai Peninsula only, and did not emphasize the autonomous aspect. On the other hand, it did not reject autonomy should it develop through gradual immigration into the area. aiko was established in Berlin and was joined by a number of prominent persons in Germany and other countries (primarily in Austria, England, Poland, and Russia). It counted among its members leading Zionists such as the future president of the Zionist Organization Otto *Warburg, Adolf Friedemann, Moses *Gaster, and Selig Eugen *Soskin, as well as some leaders of the Orthodox *Agudat Israel. However, these Zionists soon left aiko because of its anti-Zionist stance. Unlike ito, however, aiko never became a threat to the Zionist Organization. It created subsidiary institutions: the Orient Colonising Company (London, 1909), the Juedisches Hilfskommittee Roter Halbmond fuer Palaestina, and the Deutsch-Israelitisch-Osmanische Union (both in Berlin, 1915). aiko tried to reopen negotiations with the British Government (1911) regarding settlement in the Sinai Peninsula (contemplated and abandoned in 1902–03 by Herzl), and before (1909) and during World War i with the Turkish authorities for a compact settlement in Palestine; but it failed. aiko's only practical result was the financial assistance rendered in the land acquisition for *Kefar Uriyyah. An "international Colonization Conference" called by aiko in 1914 had to be canceled owing to the outbreak of the war. The organization was dissolved in 1920.
After the Balfour Declaration (1917) and in the 1920s the efforts of Jewish settlement centered on Palestine. The economic crises resulting from the world depression in 1929–32, as well as the increase of antisemitic policies, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, greatly stimulated the urge of Jewish emigration. These conditions and the restricted immigration quotas to Palestine led to a revival of territorialist activities. The ascent of Nazism in Germany considerably speeded up this revival, and in various parts of the world Jewish groups were established which sought to alleviate these conditions by territorialist methods.
International Jewish Colonization Society
Shortly before World War ii efforts were made to centralize all territorial and settlement activities into one organization to comprise all groups seeking autonomous or compact Jewish settlements as well as individual settlement schemes. On the initiative of Daniel Wolf in Amsterdam, the "International Jewish Colonization Society" was formed in November 1938. A number of important individuals and organizations, for instance, the "Freeland League" (see below), the ica, and others, agreed to associate themselves with these efforts. The society's aim was "to finance settlements of Jews in suitable areas in the world." As this also included Palestine, Zionists agreed to cooperate. At a conference in London (Dec. 4, 1938) a representative international board was elected to head the society's activities. A number of prominent non-Jews also agreed to serve on the board. Some substantial amounts were raised, most of which had been used for investigations in various territories throughout the world regarding their suitability for Jewish settlement. The only area that promised certain possibilities was Surinam; but it came to nothing. (This proposal was reopened in 1948 by the Freeland League.) The outbreak of World War ii brought the society's activities to an abrupt end.
On July 26, 1935, representatives of a number of societies met in London and established the "Free Land Movement, a League for Territorial Organizations," which subsequently became the Freeland League for Jewish Territorial Colonization. Its purpose was defined as:
aiming to find and obtain large scale room in some sparsely populated area for the Jewish masses where they could live and develop according to their own views and culture and religion.
The league thus did not expressly demand autonomy, but did not exclude it. Simultaneously the league made its position clear toward Zionism and Palestine, stressing that its work applies "to those Jews who seek a home and cannot or will not go to Palestine." In contrast to pre-World War i conditions, Zionists did not oppose these activities, recognizing a justification of some temporary alleviation of Jewish misery if it was attainable. All the efforts of the league ended in failure. It negotiated for settlements in Angola (1938), Ecuador (1935), Kimberley, Australia (1938–44), and Surinam (1948), and sent out commissions to investigate these and other territories for their suitability for compact settlement. However, in all instances, the governments concerned declined to accept large Jewish immigrant groups in their territories. The Freeland League had its first headquarters in London (1935–41) and since then in New York. Its moving spirits and leaders were *Ben-Adir (Abraham Rosin) and Isaac Nachman *Steinberg. After the latter's death (1957) the leadership fell to Mordkhe Schaechter. Although without an obvious purpose and without pursuing practical settlement efforts, the league still (1971) maintained a central office in New York and published Oyfn Shvel, a bimonthly (from 1941); Freeland (from 1944); Boletin (from 1957); and Freyland (from 1957).
R.J.H. Gottheil, Zionism (1914), 135–42; M. Simon (ed.), Speeches, Articles and Letters of Israel Zangwill (1937), 231–328; A.G. Duker, in: Contemporary Jewish Record, 2 (March–April 1939), 14–30; Ben-Adir, in: The Jewish People Past and Present, 2 (1948), 305–22; M. Wischnitzer, To Dwell in Safety (1948), index; C. Weizmann, Trial and Error (1949), 117, 148–9, 204; O.K. Rabinowicz, Winston Churchill on Jewish Problems (1956), 185–95; idem, in: Herzl Yearbook, 1 (1958), 30–31, 72–74, 79; J. Leftwich, Israel Zangwill (Eng., 1957), 216–39; A. Tartakower, Ha-Hityashevut ha-Yehudit ba-Golah (1959); M. Syrkin, Nachman Syrkin (Eng., 1961), 86–108; Yiẓḥak Nachman Steinberg Gedenk-Bukh (Yid., 1961).
[Oskar K. Rabinowicz]
"Territorialism." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 17, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/territorialism
"Territorialism." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved June 17, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/territorialism