International Jewish Labor Bund
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The International Jewish Labor Bund was a New York-based international Jewish socialist organization, based on the legacy of the General Jewish Labour Bund founded in the Russian empire in 1897 and the Polish Bund that was active in the interwar years. The IJLB is composed by local Bundist groups around the world. It was an "associated organisation" of the Socialist International, similar in status to the World Labour Zionist Movement or the International League of Religious Socialists. The World Coordinating Council/Committee of the Jewish Labor Bund was dissolved in New York in the mid-2000s., although local Bundist groups or groups inspired by the Jewish Labor Bund still exist in France, the UK, Australia and the State of Israel.
The Polish Bund had established a representation in New York in 1941, where it began publishing Unser Tsait. In 1947, a conference was held in Brussels at which the World Coordinating Committee of Bundist and Affiliated Socialist Jewish Organizations was founded (i.e. the IJLB). Emmanuel Novogrodski was the secretary of the IJLB until 1961. Novgrodski had been the secretary of the Polish Bund and participated in setting up its New York representation. Early 1948, the Polish Bund withdrew from the World Coordinating Committee.
The IJLB was admitted with an observer statute on the June 1947 Zürich Conference of the reconstituted Socialist International and as an "associated organization" at the Frankfurt founding Congress of the new Socialist International in 1951.
In 1997 commemorative events were organized to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Bund in New York City, London, Warsaw, Paris and Brussels, where the chairwoman of the Belgian chapter, herself 100 years old, was present.
Summary of the Bund's Ideology
In 1958 the Jewish Labor Bund released a pamphlet commemorating the organization's 60th birthday. In it, the Bund sums up its ideology in seven points.
1. Jews are dispersed throughout the World, and are a distinct nationality, though without a common state. They will remain in this situation in the foreseeable future. They cannot be remade into a one-state nation.
2. The State of Israel does not represent the entire Jewish People. It does not solve the Jewish problem. Even now, the population of Israel is less than 15 percent of the worlds Jewry. Consequently, Israeli leaders are not in a position to assert Zionist claims of leadership over world Jewry, and their policies of Hebraization of Jewish life and of downgrading all Jewish communities outside of Israel (including those in democratic countries, such as the U.S.A) as places of exile are harmful and fallacious.
3. The key to the safety and the future of the Jews in Israel is peace with the Arabs. To achieve it, concessions on both sides are needed. Israel should recognize the moral right of the Arab refugees to repatriation and compensation. The Arab nations should recognize the existence of Israel. The United Nations should do their utmost to put an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict which invites Russian penetration into this turbulent region and is a menace to world peace.
4. The overwhelming majority of the Jewish people live outside of Israel; almost half of all Jews live in the United States. Jewish problems must be solved in the countries in which the Jews live.
5. Assimilation is an escape for individuals, not a solution for a whole people with a distinctive national culture and identity. Pluralism is the life-blood of real democracy, and this principle applies to national and cultural life within countries as well.
6. Jewish national problems arising within the countries where Jews reside can be solved on the basis of freedom and democracy – more securely, by democratic Socialism – which will guarantee Jews the rights of freedom and equality, including the right to a free, autonomous self-determination to maintain their own Jewish identity and national culture. Within the Jewish community the Bund strives for a secularized Jewish culture in the Yiddish language.
7. Two criteria of Jewish policies – one for Israel, another for the Diaspora - should not be followed. Wherever Jews live – whether as a national minority throughout the world or as a majority in Israel – Jewish policy, certainly Jewish Socialist policy, should be based on the same principles of freedom, democracy, international justice and brotherhood. Reconciliation of the claims of the Jewish people with the rights of other people is the essence of the Bund approach to Jewish problems, an approach which brings into harmony the Bund’s Jewish national program with the spirit of democratic Socialist internationalism.
Position towards the State of Israel
The Bund was against the UN vote on the partition of Palestine and reaffirmed its support for a One-state solution, i.e. a single binational state that would guarantee equal national rights for Jews and Arabs and would be under the control of superpowers and the UN.
The 1948 New York Second World Conference of the International Jewish Labor Bund condemned the proclamation of the Jewish state, because the decision exposed the Jews in Palestine to a danger. The conference was in favour of a two nations state built on the base of national equality and democratic federalism.
The 1955 Montreal Third World Conference of the IJLB decided that the creation of the Jewish state was an important event in the Jewish history. The state might play a positive role in the Jewish life but a few necessary changes were needed. The participants of the conference demanded:
- a) the authorities of Israel should treat the state as a property of the Jews of all the world
- b) but it would mean that the affairs of Jewish community in Israel should be subordinate to the affairs of the world Jewry.
- c) the policy of the state of Israel would be the same towards all citizens regardless their nationality.
- d) Israel should tend to peace relationships with Arabs. It required to stop a territorial expansion of Israel and bring a solution of the problem of Palestinian refugees.
- e) Yiddish should be taught at all education institutions and would get all rights in public life.
Executives of the World Coordinating Committee
Executive of the World Coordinating Committee in 1957: David Meier, Abraham Stolar, Emanuel Sherer, Emanuel Novogrodski, Benjamin Tabatchinski, Pinchas Schwartz, Leon Oler, Alexander Erlich, J.S. Hertz, Joseph Gutgold, Hershel Himelfarb, Baruch Shefner
Members of the World Coordinating Committee 1957:
Peretz Guterman, F. Shrager, Leon Stern (all three from France), Meyer Treibeer, Berl Fuchs (both from Brazil), Berl Rosner (England), Tschechanowski (Belgium), Shimon Yezher, Tuvie Meisel (both from Mexico), Kowalsman (Uruguay), Alexander Mints, Dr. M. Peretz (both from Argentina), S. M. Oshry, M. L. Polin, Ch. S. Kasdan (all from USA), Artur Lermer, Manie Reinhartz (both from Canada), Paul Olberg (Sweden), Bunem Wiener, Mendel Kosher, (both from Australia), Bentzl Zalwitz, Pesach Burshin, Israel Artuski (all three from Israel)
- 1947 Brussels
- 1948 New York
- 1955 (April 8–15) Montreal
- 1965 New York
- 1972 New York
- 1985 New York
Bund groups continue to meet in the United Kingdom (Jewish Socialists' Group), France (Centre Medem – Arbeiter Ring), Denmark, Canada, USA, Australia (Jewish Labour Bund, Inc and S.K.I.F.), Argentina, Uruguay and Israel (Arbeter-ring in Yisroel – Brith Haavoda).
From 1959–1978 the Bund operated a summer youth camp called Camp Hemshekh in the Catskills region of New York State. The surviving youth movement of the Bund, S.K.I.F., also ran summer camps in Canada and in Melbourne, Australia. Today, S.K.I.F. operates in Melbourne, Australia, and in France since 1963 as the Secular Club of Jewish Children (French: Club laïque de l’Enfance juive, CLEJ).
The IJLB published in New York a monthly journal in Yiddish, Unser Tsait. It also published the Jewish Labor Bund Bulletin and the Bulletin of the Jewish Youth Movement. Its Australian and Israeli chapters have their own magazines, Unser Gedank and Lebns Fragn.
In 1957, for the sixtieth years of existence of the Bund, the IJLB published a commemorative book in Yiddish and English with photographs, Der Bund Un Bilder, 1897-1957.
- Socialist International, member parties
- YIVO Archives, Fruma Mohrer, and Marek Web. Guide to the YIVO Archives. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1998. pp. 43-44
- Meyer, Peter. The Jews in the Soviet Satellites. [Syracuse, N.Y.]: Syracuse University Press, 1953. p. 303
- "Internationale Sozialistentagung in Zuerich vom 6. bis 8. Juni 1947". Sozialistische Mitteilungen (in German). London: London Representative of the German Social Democratic Party (100). June 1947. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- Grabsky, August (August 10, 2005). "The Anti-Zionism of the Bund (1947-1972)". Workers' Liberty. Retrieved 2009-11-10.
- see the poster
- French: Union des progressistes juifs de Belgique, 100e anniversaire du Bund. Actes du Colloque, Minorités, Démocratie, Diasporas, Bruxelles, UPJB, 1997, ISSN 0770-5476
- Jewish Labor Bund 1897-1957. New York, N.Y.: International Jewish Labor Bund, 1958. OCLC 948867081.[page needed]
- e.g. author of A Bundist Comments on History as It Was Being Made, 2008
- "Benjamin I. Nadel". legacy.com. 2014-12-30. Retrieved 2017-12-23.
- Hertz, Jacob Sholem (1958). Unser Tsayṭ, ed. Der Bund in bilder, 1897-1957 (in Yiddish and English). New York.
- see Yiddish: Tsṿeyṭe Ṿelṭ-ḳonferents fun "Bund" : forgeḳumen in Nyu-Yorḳ fun 1ṭn biz 8ṭn Oḳṭober, 1948 : disḳusye-arṭiḳlen un genoyer barikhṭ fun der ḳonferents. צווייטע וועלט־קאנפערענץ פון ״בונד״ : פארגעקומען אין ניו־יארק פון 1טן ביז 8טן אקטאבער, 1948 : דיסקוסיע־ארטיקלען און גענויער באריכט פון קאנפערענץ
- see Statements and resolutions adopted by the Third World Conference of the Bund : April 8-15, 1955, Montreal, Canada
- Jewish Socialists' Group, Who we are - JSG affiliations
- Centre Medem - L’Union des socialistes juifs Bund en France
- See Club laïque de l’Enfance juive, in the French-language wikipedia
- American Jewish Yearbook (PDF). 2003.
- Jacob Sholem Hertz, ed. (1958). Der Bund Un Bilder, 1897-1957 - The Jewish Labor Bund, a pictorial history, 1897-1957 (in Yiddish and English). New York: Unser Tsayṭ.
- Jewish Labor Bund Bulletin 1947-1953
- Twenty Years with the Jewish Labor Bund: A Memoir of Interwar Poland, by Bernard Goldstein, edited and translated from the Yiddish by Marvin Zuckerman, Purdue University Press, 2016.
- The International Jewish Labor Bund after 1945: Toward a Global History by David Slucki, 2012