Jewish Autonomism

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Jewish Autonomism was a non-Zionist political movement that emerged in Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century. One of its major proponents was a historian and activist Simon Dubnow, who also called his ideology folkism.

Simon Dubnow

The Autonomists believed that the future survival of the Jews as a nation depends on their spiritual and cultural strength, in developing "spiritual nationhood" and in viability of Jewish diaspora as long as Jewish communities maintain self-rule, and rejected assimilation. Autonomists often stressed the vitality of modern Yiddish culture.

Various concepts of the Autonomism were adopted in the platforms of the Folkspartei, the Sejmists and socialist Jewish parties such as the Bund.

Some groups blended Autonomism with Zionism: they favored Jewish self-rule in the diaspora until diaspora Jews make Aliyah to their national homeland in Zion.

The movement's beliefs were similar to those of the Austromarxists, who advocated national personal autonomy within the multinational Austro-Hungarian empire, and cultural pluralists in America, such as Randolph Bourne and Horace Kallen.

In 1941, Simon Dubnow was one of thousands of Jews murdered in the Rumbula massacre. After the Holocaust, the notion of Autonomism practically disappeared from Jewish philosophy.

It is not connected to the contemporary political movement autonomism.

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