JABOTINSKY, ZE'EV. (1880-1940). Influential Russian-Jewish Revisionist Zionist leader. TLS. (“V. Jabotinsky”). 1p. 4to. Paris, November 11, 1927. On the French and Hebrew letterhead of the Revisionist Zionist Alliance. To CHAIM BELILEVSKY (?-?), Berlin businessman, philanthropist and member of the Executive Committee of the World Zionist Organization. In German with translation.

“Today I am delighted to tell you that Dr. Schechtmann [sic.] accepted our offer to take over the senior position in the Rasswjet's editorial department. In this way, the paper gets one of the best workers in Jewish journalism as editor-in-chief.

I would like to make sure that the payment of Dr. Schechtmann’s salary is never going to depend on the swings of the actual income of the Rasswjet. Even though the paper's readership is currently rising, I am a journalist, who is too old to describe this source at such an early stage as “fool proof.” And “fool proof” is exactly what I am looking for in this case, as this is about a man, who has a wife and two children, who cannot have a side-line (this was our main condition) and who is so essential for our cause.

There is one source, which all of us and I personally regard as very safe: that is the commitment of Ch[aim]. Beliliewsky [sic.].

Therefore, I ask you, honoured sir, and friend, for a formal statement that you are going to explicitly reserve your generous and magnanimous monthly contribution to our party funds to cover for the costs of Dr. Schechtmann’s salary, which in English is called ‘an earmarked donation…’”

Born Vladimir Zhabotinsky in Odessa, Jabotinsky received a secular Russian education, dropping out of school at age 17 to become a newspaper correspondent and earning a reputation for his dispatches from Italy. His work brought him under the scrutiny of the Tsarist police who imprisoned him for several months after he published an anti-establishment article. Following the 1903 Kishinev pogrom, Jabotinsky became a Zionist, learned Hebrew, changed his name from Vladimir to Ze’ev and organized the militant Jewish Self-Defense Organization to help protect Russian Jewish villages against ever increasing violence. A passionate orator, he traveled widely in Russia and Europe as an advocate for Zionism while stressing the need to learn Hebrew. However, unlike the more moderate Zionists, Jabotinsky was skeptical that Jews could live peacefully in the territories they had settled and focused on self-defense rather than assimilation.

Jabotinsky settled in Palestine, where, in 1920, he was elected to the first Assembly of Representatives. That same year, the threat of Arab riots near Jerusalem led him, once again, to organize a defense organization. He was subsequently arrested by the British for illegal possession of weapons but served just a few months of his 15-year sentence. He quickly grew disillusioned with the British administration of Palestine, parted ways with Chaim Weizmann and formed the Alliance of Revisionists-Zionists and the related youth movement, Betar, whose goal was to establish a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River. He continued to work toward that goal and lectured around the world despite his banishment from Palestine in 1930; his influence on Israeli politics continues to this day.

Rassviet or Rasswjet (The Dawn) was a Russian-Jewish newspaper that started in 1860. It was reinvented several times and from 1924-1934 was published in Paris as the journal of the revisionist Zionist leadership, read by 30,000 Russian speaking Jewish subscribers around the world. During 1924, Jabotinsky operated the weekly newspaper alone and used the journal to champion the cause of Revisionists Zionism. Joseph Schechtman (1891-1970) met Jabotinsky as a youth in Odessa where he was involved in the Zionist youth movement and later served as Jabotinsky’s secretary. In 1920, Schechtman left Russia, remaining active in Ukrainian Zionism while a student in Berlin and, in 1922 began co-editing Rasswjet. with Jabotinsky. In 1925, he co-founded in Paris World Union of Revisionist Zionism. His senior position at Rasswjet was short-lived as he became editor of the Yiddish weekly Der Noyer Veg in 1929 while continuing his relationship with Jabotinsky. During the early 1930s, Schechtman served on the executive committee of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) but in 1935 he and Jabotinsky both quit the group to found the New Zionist Organization. After his 1941 immigration to the United States, he became a prominent figure in the New Zionist Organization of America (NZOA) and Association of American Zionists-Revisionists, co-founded the Bureau for Study of Population Migration and worked with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) on refugee matters during the last days of World War II. He also wrote several books on human migration and refugees, Zionism, Russian Jewry, and the 1956 biography The Vladimir Jabotinsky Story.

Folded with some paper tape support on the verso – in very good condition. [indexhistory] [indexJudaica]

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