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Jewish State Party

JEWISH STATE PARTY, Zionist political party formed by dissidents from the *Revisionist movement after the final split between Vladimir *Jabotinsky and most of his colleagues in the leadership of the world movement (at its session in Katowice, April 1933). The new party comprised a number of veteran leaders, including Meir *Grossman, the Hebrew poet Yaakov *Cahan, Richard *Lichtheim, Selig *Soskin, Robert *Stricker, and Jonah Machover, Herzl Rosenblum, and Baruch Weinstein, but only a fraction of the rank and file Revisionists and even less of the membership of the *Betar youth movement, who remained faithful to Jabotinsky. The point over which the members of the Jewish State Party (or the "Grossmanites," as they were popularly called) departed from Jabotinsky and the Revisionist majority was the attitude to the World Zionist Organization (WZO). Whereas Jabotinsky refused to recognize it as the only body representing the Zionist movement, wanted to act independently of it in the international field, and eventually secede from it, Grossman and his colleagues and followers unreservedly recognized the sovereignty and binding political discipline of the WZO. The group first appeared on the Zionist scene immediately after the 1933 split, when it contested the elections to the 18th Zionist Congress in 13 countries and received 11,821 votes, gaining three mandates. During the 18th Zionist Congress, a conference of dissident Revisionists from Austria, England, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Palestine, Poland, Romania, and South Africa officially formed the Jewish State Party. It was recognized by the WZO as a Sonderverband (see *Zionism: Zionist Organization, Organizational Structure) and granted representation on the Board of Directors of the *Jewish National Fund and the *Keren Hayesed. In the elections to the 19th Zionist Congress in 1935, the party received 24,322 votes in 16 countries, gaining nine mandates.

In 1937 the party convoked its first regular conference in Paris. Its rejection of the proposal of the British Royal Commission to partition Palestine led to Lichtheim and Soskin's resignation. In the elections to the Zionist Congress, it received 6,705 votes, gaining only six mandates. In the pre-World War II period, the party numbered some 8,000 registered members, mostly in Poland, Lithuania, and Austria. Following the split in the Revisionist movement in 1933, a group of dissidents from Betar formed a youth movement of the Jewish State Party called Berit ha-Kanna'im (Zealots' Union), with affiliates in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Palestine, and Poland. The first conference of the organization convoked in Lucerne in 1935 elected a high command (mifkadah elyonah) consisting of R. Feldschuh Ben-Shem, N. Netaneli-Rothman, and F. Richter; Y. Cahan was elected its leader (av Berit ha-Kanna'im). In 1930 Weinstein was elected to the Asefat ha-Nivḥarim on the Revisionist slate; after he left the Revisionist fraction in April 1933, he was recognized representative of the Jewish State Party. At the outbreak of World War II the party's activities were paralyzed, and in 1946 it officially ceased to exist by merging with the Union of Zionist Revisionists, which had meanwhile rejoined the WZO under the name United Zionist Revisionists. Many of its leaders and members, however, including M. Grossman, later joined the *General Zionists. The publications of the party were: Unzer Velt, a weekly (Yid., Warsaw, 1936–39); Die Neue Welt, a weekly (Ger., Vienna, 1927–48), superseded by Neue Welt und Judenstaat (Ger., Vienna, 1948–52); and Ha-Mattarah (Heb., Tel Aviv, 1933).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.