Argentina, Jewish Colonization Association


During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the Jewish Colonization Association undertook the most ambitious agricultural project in Jewish history. The aims of the JCA project were simple and staggering: the relocation of millions of Russian Jews to the Argentine countryside, to be effected over the course of twenty-five years. Adjudged by its own epic ambitions, the colonization effort was an epic failure. Not only did it fail in its stated intentions (the transplantation of millions of Jews), but the colonization venture also failed to provide the thousands of Jewish colonists with self-sufficiency and social well-being, the pursuit of which propelled them to Argentina in the first place. Historiographically, the failure of the JCA colonies has been attributed to disagreements between the colonists and the JCA administration. While grossly ineffective JCA policies contributed to the decline of the colonies, in reality the agricultural colonies failed because of a combination of circumstantial "geoeconomic and sociopolitical factors" well outside the control of the protagonists.