The Controversy of Zion

by Douglas Reed

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Chapter 26

The Heresy of Dr. Herzl

For the six years from 1897 to 1903 Dr. Theodor Herzl of the Vienna Neue Freie Presse was a world figure of an entirely new kind. He had created Zionism as an organized political force (and it was to be the death of him, as of some others who followed him on that path). He had launched it among the affairs of the West like a Chinese cracker. Yet he was an insubstantial shadow, the product of the cafés, of Sacher Torte and Kaffee mit Schlagsahne. He was like a man used for his “connections” by an astute company promoter and discarded when the flotation was well launched. He was never truly the leader and began to realize that, with a shock of alarm, at his first congress of 1897, when “there rose before our eyes a Russian Jewry, the strength of which we had not even suspected”; by 1904 the full realization of his captivity had killed him.


He once wrote that at Basel in 1897 “I founded the Jewish state … I hounded the people into the state sentiment and conveyed to them the emotion that they were the national assembly.” The next six years showed, in actual events, what Leon Pinsker had meant in 1882 by “exerting irresistible pressure upon the international politics of the present.”


Herzl, the Budapest-born Viennese journalist, began a triumphal tour of the great capitals; he was launched on a glittering flight, as from trapeze to trapeze, through the haut monde. Emperors, potentates and statesmen received him as the spokesman of all the Jews and the contrast between what they thought and what he must have known is impressive for, as his first lieutenant, Max Nordau, said after his death,: “Our people had a Herzl but Herzl never had a people”; the Talmudic rabbinate in the East, which scorned this false Messiah, stood between him and any mass following.


The world in which he moved seemed firm and well founded. The Widow at Windsor and the Old Gentleman at Schoenbrunn were beloved by their peoples; the Young Man in Berlin was growing older and mellowing; the Czar was still the father of his people; men's right to process of law was everywhere being asserted; gradually industrial serfdom was giving way to better conditions. But everywhere the rulers and politicians knew and feared the danger that this process, calculably good if given time, would be arrested and destroyed by the world-revolution, for by this time Weishaupt's secret society had grown, through Disraeli's “network of secret societies,” into the Communist party organized in all countries.


Herzl's method was to exploit this general fear for his particular end, the Jewish State. He offered domestic peace if it were supported and revolution if it were not and he claimed to speak in the name of all the Jews. It is, of course, implicit in this that he knew the revolutionary leadership to be Jewish, and he thus confirmed, several decades later, what Disraeli and Bakunin had said. His belief in the method he used is expressed in his famous phrase, “When we sink we become a revolutionary proletariat; when we rise there rises the terrible power of




our purse.”


Thus he told a Grand Duke of Baden that he would diminish revolutionary propaganda in Europe in proportion to the support that his territorial ambition received from high authority. Then he was received by the behelmeted Kaiser, mounted on a charger, at the very gates of Jerusalem, and the emperor agreed to present to the Sultan Herzl's proposal for a Zionist chartered company in Palestine under German protection. When nothing came of this Herzl threatened the Kaiser, too, with revolution: “If our work miscarries, hundreds of thousands of our supporters will at a single bound join the revolutionary parties.”


Then in Russia he was received by the Czar himself, to whom he spoke in similar terms. About this time the third Word Zionist Congress was held and the decision was taken that every Jew who became a member acknowledged the sovereignty of the still mythical Jewish State. Rabbi Elmer Berger says despondently that therewith “ghettoized, corporate Jewish existence became a reality again and now existed upon a greater scale that it had ever before achieved.”


Next Herzl saw another potentate, the Sultan of Turkey. Nothing tangible came of all these journeys, but the great coup was at hand, for Herzl then transferred his activities to England. There, too, he evidently had access to the highest places, for one of the decisive actions of world history was prepared, British folk who were then in their cradles, and their children and grandchildren were to be caught up in the consequences of those unrecorded interviews.


Who enabled Dr. Herzl from Vienna to command reception by the great in all countries, and who ensured that they should listen to demands that were imperious, and intimidatory as well? Obviously “kingly portals” (his own phrase) would not have opened to him merely because he had called a meeting of 197 men at Basel and this had passed a resolution. Others, more powerful than he, must have interceded to set aside porters, doormen, footmen, secretaries, chamberlains and all those whose task it is to keep importuners from their masters.


At this point the present narrative enters the most secret and jealously guarded field of all. The origins of the world-revolution, its aims and the Jewish assumption of its leadership may now be shown from the mass of documentary evidence which has accumulated; the existence of Disraeli's “network,” spreading over the superficies of the earth, is known to all; the nature of the “revolutionary proletarist” is clear. But there is also that second network, of influential men at the higher level where “the power of the purse” may be used to exert “irresistible pressure on the international politics of the present” through rulers and politicians. This network of men, working in all countries to a common end, is the one which must have enabled Herzl to penetrate, with his demands, to the highest places.


All experienced observers know of the existence of this force at the highest level




of international affairs. The Zionist propagandists pretend that Jewish opposition to Zionism came only from “Jewish notables,” “Jewish magnates” and “rich Jews” (these phrases repeatedly recur, for instance in Dr. Weizmann's book). In fact the division in Judaism was vertical, among rich and poor alike, and though the majority of Western Jews were at that time violently opposed to Zionism the minority contained rich and notable Jews. Only these can have enabled the spectre of Zionism, in the person of Dr. Herzl, to make its sudden, Nijinski-like leap into courts and cabinet-rooms, where he began to go in and out as if he were born to privilege. Those who helped him were plainly in alliance with the one compact, organized body of Zionists: the Talmudic communities in Russia.


Dr. Kastein says that the “executive” set up by the 197 men at Basel “was the first embodiment of a real Jewish international.” In other words, something that already existed received a visible expression. A “Jewish international” was already in being and this was powerful enough to command royal, princely and ministerial audiences for Dr. Herzl everywhere.


Of this international “network” of like-thinking men at the highest level, in Dr. Herzl's day, the student may only make a picture by carefully piecing together significant glimpses and fragments (its existence and concerted actions in our time are plainly demonstrable, as this book in its later chapters will show, from the growing mass of literature). For instance, Dr. Weizmann says he told Dr. Herzl that Sir Francis Montefiore (a leading Jew in England) was “a fool,” whereon Herzl answered, “He opens kingly portals to me.” Again, one Baron de Hirsch was Herzl's chief financial backer and supporter. Of this Baron de Hirsch Count Carl Lonyay (quoting from documents in the secret archives of the Imperial Court at Vienna) says that Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, wishing to make provision for a woman friend before his suicide at Mayerling, obtained 100,000 gulden “from the banker, Baron Hirsch, in return for an act of friendliness he had performed in December, when he invited the banker to meet the Prince of Wales” (the future Kind Edward VII).


Baron de Hirsch, in the sequence to this introduction, became an intimate of the Prince of Wales, and private banker and financial adviser to the future King of England. He was also brother-in-law of a Mr. Bischoffsheim of the Jewish financial house of Bischoffsheim and Goldschmidt in London, of which a very rich German-born Jew, Sir Ernest Cassel, was a member. Sir Ernest, as Mr. Brian Connell says in a biographical study, fell heir to Baron de Hirsch's friendship with the future king: “where Hirsch had been an intimate, Cassel was to become Edward VII's closest personal friend.” He was indeed the last of the king's intimates to see him alive, the king, on the day of his death, insisting on keeping an appointment with Sir Edward and rising to dress himself for the purpose.


In the sequence to this account Mr. Connell says: “The small international fraternity of which he” (Sir Ernest Cassel) “became perhaps the leading member




were all men with backgrounds similar to his own, people whom he approached in the course of his extensive travels. There was Max Warburg, head of the great private banking house in Hamburg; Edouard Noetzlin, honorary president of the Banque de Paris et des Pays Bas, in Paris; Franz Philippson in Brussels; Wertheim and Gompertz in Amsterdam and, above all, Jacob Schiff of the firm of Kuhn, Loeb and Company in New York. Ties of race and interest bound these men together. The web of their communications quivered at the slightest touch. They maintained between them an incredibly accurate network of economic, political and financial intelligence at the highest level. They could withdraw support here, provide additional funds there, move immense sums of money with lightning rapidity and secrecy from one corner to another of their financial empires, and influence the political decisions of a score of countries.”


“Ties of race and interest … web … network … intelligence at the highest level … move immense sums of money … influence political decisions …”; there can be no reasonable doubt that this was the “Jewish international” of which Dr. Kastein wrote and the mechanism which operated, across all national boundaries, to support Dr. Herzl. Nothing less could explain the action which the British Government took and if there was doubt earlier, about the concerted action of this force, above and distinct from nations, the events of our mid-century have removed it. With such a power behind him Dr. Herzl was in a position to make demands and utter menaces. The powerful men who formed this international directorate (the term is not too large) at that time may not, as individuals, have believed in Zionism, and may even have been privately opposed to it. In the present writer's belief even they were not powerful enough to oppose, or to deny support to, a policy laid down by the elders of Jewry.


While the consequences of Dr. Herzl's journeys were secretly taking shape, he continued his travels. He took an innocent pride in his sudden elevation and liked the elegance of society, the tailcoats and white gloves, the chandeliers and receptions. The Talmudic elders in Russia, who had grown up to the kaftan and earlocks and were preparing to overthrow him, disdained but made use of this typical figure of “Western emancipation.”


In 1903 he had astonishing experiences, resembling those of Sabbatai Zevi in 1666. He went to Russia and on his progress through Jewish cities was the object of Messianic ovations from the unenlightened masses. On this occasion he sought to persuade de Russia to bring pressure on the Sultan, in the matter of his proposal for a chartered company in Palestine. He made some impression on the Russian Minister of the Interior, von Plehve, to whom he said that he spoke for “all the Jews of Russia.”


If he believed that he was soon undeceived. He did something that shows him either to have been recklessly brave or else quite unaware of what truly went on around him (this happens sometimes with such men). Presumably in order to strengthen his case with von Plehve, with whom he must have used the “Zionism




or revolution” argument, he urged the Jews in Russia to abstain from revolutionary activities and discussed their “emancipation” with the Russian authorities!


Thus he wrote his own political death warrant, and indeed he soon died. To the Talmudic elders this was heresy; he had entered the forbidden room. They had been working to prevent Jewish emancipation in Russia, because they saw in it the loss of their power over Jewry. If his negotiations with the Russian Government succeeded, pacification in Russia would follow, and that would mean the end of the propagandist legend of “Jewish persecution” in Russia.


When he returned to address the Sixth Congress of his World Zionist Organization his fate rose to meet him in the form of a compact mass of Russian Jews no longer merely “humiliating” to him, but menacing. At this moment of his fiasco he thought he had the ace of trumps in his pocket and he produced it. As a result of those interviews in London and of the “irresistible pressure” which supported him, the British Government had offered Dr. Herzl of the Vienna Neue Freie Presse a territory in Africa, Uganda!


If history records a stranger thing, I have not discovered it. Yet the trump card proved to be a deuce. 295 delegates voted to accept the offer, but 175 rejected it; clearly Dr. Herzl did not speak for “all Jews.” The great majority of the 175 Noes came from the Jews of Russia. The huddled Jewish throngs there had hailed Herzl as the Messiah; these 175 emissaries of the Eastern rabbinate imprecated him, for Uganda meant the ruin of their plan. They cast themselves on the floor in the traditional attitude of mourning for the dead or for the destruction of the temple. One of them, a woman, called the world-famous Dr. Herzl “a traitor” and when he was gone tore down the map of Uganda from behind the speakers' dais.


If what he said and wrote was fully candid, Dr. Herzl never understood why the Jewish emissaries from Russia refused to consider any other place than Palestine, and if that is so he must have been most guileless. He had built up his entire movement on the claim that “a place of refuge” was directly needed for “persecuted Jews,” and these were the Jews of Russia; Jews were fully emancipated elsewhere. If that was true, then any good place would do, and he had now procured one for them; moreover, if any of them preferred to stay in Russia, and his negotiations with the Russian Government succeeded, they could have all they wanted in Russia too!


From the point of view of the Talmudic rabbinate in Russia the matter was entirely different. They, too, had built up the legend of “persecution in Russia,” while they worked against emancipation there, but this was for the purpose of fulfilling the ancient Law, which meant possession of Palestine and all subsequent things that the Law ordained. Acceptance of Uganda would have meant Doomsday for Talmudic Judaism.


Dr. Weizmann describes Dr. Herzl's final humiliation. After the vote Herzl




went to see the Jews from Russia, who had turned their backs on him and walked out, in their committee room. “He came in, looking haggard and exhausted. He was received in dead silence. Nobody rose from his seat to greet him, nobody applauded him when he ended … It was probably the first time that Herzl was thus received at any Zionist gathering: he, the idol of all Zionists.”


It was also the last time. Within the year Dr. Herzl was dead, at the age of forty-four. No conclusion can be offered about his death. Judaist writers refer to it in cryptic terms. The Jewish Encyclopaedia says it was the result of what he endured and other authorities make similarly obscure, though significant, allusions. Those who during the centuries have been the object of anathema or excommunication by the ruling sect often have died soon and wretchedly. The student comes to feel that in this matter he approaches mysterious things, closed to all ordinary research.


The curious thing is that Herzl's intimate, right-hand man and leading orator saw the shape of things, at that time and to come, with complete clarity. He displayed a foreknowledge as great as that of Leon Pinsker when he depicted the series of events to which Pinsker's “irresistible pressure on international politics” would lead. At the very congress where Herzl suffered his humiliation Max Nordau (an alias or pseudonym; his name was Suedfeld) gave this exact prognosis:


“Let me tell you the following words as if I were showing you the rungs of a ladder leading upward and upward: Herzl, the Zionist congress, the English Uganda proposition, the future world war, the peace conference where, with the help of England, a free and Jewish Palestine will be created(1903). Here spoke the initiate, the illuminate, the man who knew the strength and purpose of “the international.” (Max Nordau helped the process, the course of which he foretold, by writing such best-sellers of the 1890's as Degeneration, in which he told the West that it was irredeemably corrupt). Even Max Nordau did not spell out his conclusion to its logical end. Another delegate did that, Dr. Nahum Sokoloff, who said: Jerusalem will one day become the capital of world peace.” That the ambition is to make it the capital of the world is clear in 1956, when the Western governments stand in daily fear of its annexation to the Zionist state; whether mankind would find it to be the capital of peace remains to be seen.


After Dr. Herzl died Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the later Zionist leader, led the attack on the Uganda offer and at the Seventh Congress, of 1905, the acceptance, at his instigation, was revoked. From that moment Zionism was the instrument of the Talmudic rabbinate in the East.


The story of the Uganda offer and its scornful rejection shows the indifference of the ruling sect to the welfare and the wishes of the Jewish masses, for whom they pretended to speak; indeed, when the matter is carefully considered “hostility” suggests itself as a truer word than “indifference.” This is seen by examining, in turn, the feeling expressed towards the offer by the three main




groups of Jews: those of the West, those of Russia, and (a section of Jewry never even mentioned in all these loud exchanges) the Jews already in Palestine.


The Jews of the West at that time were strongly opposed to Zionism as such, whether it led to Uganda, Palestine or anywhere else; they just wanted to stay where they were. The Jews of Russia were depicted as needing simply “a place of refuge” from “persecution,” and if that was true, Uganda might have appealed to them; anyway, the frenzied ovations with which they received Dr. Herzl suggest that they would have followed any lead he gave, had the rabbinate allowed them. That leaves the Jews who were already in Palestine.


This one community of original Jews was ardently in favour of removal to Uganda, as research discovers, and for this reason they were denounced as “traitors” by the Judaized Chazars from Russia who had taken over Zionism! This is what the Zionist Organization at Tel Aviv still was saying about them in 1945:


“It was a degrading and distressing sight to see all these people who … had been the first to build up the Jewish Palestine of that day, publicly denying and repudiating their own past … The passion for Uganda became associated with a deadly hatred for Palestine … In the community centres of the first Jewish colonies young men educated in the Alliance Israelite schools denounced Palestine as ‘a land of corpses and graves,' a land of malaria and eye-diseases, a land which destroys its inhabitants. Nor was this the expression of a few individuals. Indeed, it was only a few individuals here and there … who remained loyal … The whole of Palestine was in a state of ferment … All opposition to Uganda came from outside of Palestine. In Zion itself all were against Zion.”


What the masses of people wanted, Jewish or Gentile, was from 1903 of no account. Acceptance or refusal made no difference; the offer had been made, and by it the West and its future were involved in an enterprise foreseeably disastrous. As Dr. Weizmann says, a British government by this act committed itself to recognize the Talmudists from Russia as the government of all Jews; thereby it also committed future generations of its people, and the similar commitment of the American people was to follow a decade later, when the path had been prepared.


Out of that act of 1903 came the beginning of this century's tribulations. The story of Zion thereafter became that of Western politicians who, under “irresistible pressure,” did the bidding of a powerful sect. 1903 was the conspiracy's triumphant year, and for the West it was to prove as ominous as 1914 and 1939, which years both took their shape under its shadow.