Jews in the Russian Empire

Political Activity and Emigration, cont.

Mass demonstration...

Clandestine meeting...

Placard commemorating
the uprising...

The question of a national territory for Jews separates the Bundists from the Zionists. After the pogroms and the May Laws of the 1880s, many Jews no longer see any point in the struggle for emancipation within Russian society and turn after the publication of Herzl's "Der Judenstaat" in 1836 to Zionism instead. The largest Zionist party, Poalei Zion ("Workers of Zion"), founded in 1906, is Marxist in orientation and defines the establishment of a socialist-Jewish autonomous state in Palestine as its ultimate goal.

Of all the Jews active in politics, a relatively small number join the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party; most of them join the Menshevik faction after the party splits. On the eve of the Revolution, the Bolshevik party has about 23,000 members, of which 364 are Jews.

The most widespread response, though, to the continued discrimination can be found in the mass emigration of Jews to America and Western Europe. Between 1881 and 1914, more than 2 million Jews leave Russia.

Map: Jewish Emigration from Russian 1880-1928
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