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Nahum Syrkin

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Nahum Syrkin or Nahman Syrkin (1868-1924) was a political theorist and founder of Labour Zionism. Born in Russian Empire (now territory of Belarus), Syrkin was influenced by Zionism and socialism in his youth and dedicated himself to synthesising the two concepts (a task in which he was joined by Ber Borochov though unlike Borochov he was not a Marxist) . He was a leader of the socialist Zionist faction at the First Zionist Congress in 1897 and was an early proponent of the Jewish National Fund. He was also the first person to propose that emigrants to Palestine form collective settlements.

Syrkin worked to establish socialist Zionist groups throughout central Europe. After studying and working in Germany and France, Syrkin returned to Russia after the 1905 Revolution. He subsequently moved to the United States where he became the leader of the Poale Zion party in America.

In 1919, Syrkin was a member of the American Jewish delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference. He was also a leading figure in the World Poale Zion conference that year and was given the task of visiting Palestine to develop a plan for kibbutz settlement. He intended to return to Palestine but died of a heart attack in 1924 in the US.

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