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Territorialism and the ICOR “American Commission of Scientists and Experts” to the Soviet Far East

Territorialism and the ICOR “American Commission of Scientists and Experts” to the Soviet Far East

Chapter:
(p.107) 7 Territorialism and the ICOR “American Commission of Scientists and Experts” to the Soviet Far East
Source:
1929
Author(s):
Henry Srebrnik
Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814720202.003.0008

This chapter examines how the Birobidzhan project and its doctrine of Territorialism helped the Association for Jewish Colonization in the Soviet Union (ICOR), an American Communist “front” group founded in 1924 to support Jewish agricultural colonization in the new Soviet Union, thrive during the 1930s. The Birobidzhan project can be understood in the context of Territorialism, a form of Jewish nationalism that called for the establishment of a sovereign Jewish collective in a suitable territory anywhere in the world, and not necessarily in Israel. The Jewish Communists envisioned the creation of a “new” Jew in the Soviet Far East, rather than in Palestine. This chapter begins with an overview of the origins of the ICOR before turning to a discussion of the American Commission of Scientists and Experts' assessment of Birobidzhan and how it had convinced many Jews in the United States that Birobidzhan was a viable enterprise.

Keywords:   agricultural colonization, Birobidzhan, Territorialism, Association for Jewish Colonization in the Soviet Union, Soviet Union, Jewish Communists, Soviet Far East, American Commission of Scientists and Experts, Jews

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