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NEWSPAPERS SERVING ZIONISM IN ISTANBUL AND SALONIKA, 1908-1914 / עתונים בקושטא ובסלוניקי בשירות הציונות, 1908-1914

אסתר בנבסה, חיים בן-עמרם and Esther Benbassa
Kesher / קשר
No. 4 (נובמבר 1988), pp. 11-21
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23895523
Page Count: 11
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Abstract

In the aftermath of the changes within the Ottoman Empire following the 1908 "Young Turks" revolution, elements within the Zionist movement sought to establish a network to distribute propaganda and information. Designed to operate within the Empire's boundaries, the network included newspapers. Victor Jacobson, Vladimir Jabotinsky and Richard Lichtheim were among the notable Zionists by whose efforts Zionism was widely publicised in Turkey's Jewish and general press until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. To effect their purpose, the Zionist representatives in Turkey published their own newspaper, "Hamevasser" and gave financial support to Jewish and non-Jewish journals so that these would be sympathetic to Zionist aspirations. Their primary targets were the Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) language Jewish papers of Istanbul and Salonika, followed by the French language Turkish press. Their most interesting and exciting connection was with the non-Jewish "Le Jeune Turc" (The Young Turk) of Istanbul whose readership was the Empire's intellectual elite and its ruling class. The contents of its columns were discussed by the major political parties. Ostensibly owned and edited by Jalal Nuri, a Turk, the paper's real support came from Jacobson and Jabotinsky to whom Nuri turned over the paper at some point. The Jewish French language "L'Aurore" (The Dawn) also received Zionist funding and was popular with those educated Jews who had graduated from Alliance schools. The paper crusaded against the community's conservative institutions and against its Chief Rabbi, Chaim Nahum. The Zionists' own paper, Hamevasser (The Herald) was in Hebrew. Its readers were mainly the orthodox Jewish communities of the Empire and included the Jewish settlers of Palestine. Whereas the other papers publicised Zionism only indirectly, Hamevasser went into some detail about Zionist policies. It is difficult to explain why the owners and editors of non-Jewish papers accepted Zionist funding. Their motivation was probably financial, although there was Zionist sympathy in some cases. The editors of the Zionist supported Jewish press however, most of whom were Alliance graduates, perceived new possibilities in Zionism that their own "fossilized" institutions could not provide. These men sought to revitalize Jewish life and Zionism seemed to be what they sought at that period.

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