It is often said that Theodor Herzl is the “Father of Zionism.” According to numerous sources, however, the Zionist movement was born in 1881 in Russia prior to Herzl’s rise to prominence.
Zionism originated in the Ḥibbat Zion [Love of Zion] movement which came into being after the pogroms of 1881–83. A few of the hundreds of thousands of Jews who left for overseas turned toward Ereẓ Israel [Land of Israel] and established the first settlements there. Ḥovevei Zion [Lovers of Zion] societies in Russia propagated the idea of this settlement and raised funds for its maintenance.
The movement gained great impetus with the appearance of Theodor Herzl, the convention of the First Zionist Congress in Basle, and the founding of the World Zionist Organization (1897). [See Encyclopedia Judaica entry published on the Jewish Virtual Library]
In the years following the First Zionist Congress, the movement appeared to make little progress.
On January 25, 1904 – the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul – Theodor Herzl, with the assistance of an Austrian papal portraitist by the name of Count Lippay, managed to gain an audience with Pope Pius X, wherein the Zionist sought the Holy Father’s support for his movement.
In Herzl’s own words as recorded in his personal diary, their interaction (with a conversation spoken in Italian) proceeded, in part, as follows:
Yesterday I was with the Pope … I arrived 10 minutes ahead of time and didn’t even have to wait … He received me standing and held out his hand, which I did not kiss. Lippay had told me I had to do it, but I didn’t. I believe that I incurred his displeasure by this, for everyone who visits him kneels down and at least kisses his hand.
Note the sheer arrogance of the man! If not out of respect for the Holy Father himself – of whom he was about to request a monumental favor – a decent person would have adhered to the protocol if for no other reason than as an expression of gratitude toward Count Lippay who deigned to arrange for the audience.
Herzl goes on:
He seated himself in an armchair, a throne for minor occasions. Then he invited me to sit down right next to him and smiled in friendly anticipation. I began:
“I thank Your Holiness for the favor of according me this audience.”
“It is a pleasure,” he said with kindly deprecation.
I apologized for my miserable Italian, but he said:
“No, you speak very well.”
So much for Herzl’s belief that he had incurred the Holy Father’s displeasure (which he later described as his possible annoyance) for failing to kiss the papal ring. That Herzl imagined as much revealed him as a worldly man who had grossly overestimated the weight of his own stature.
I briefly placed my request before him. He, however, possibly annoyed by my refusal to kiss his hand, answered sternly and resolutely:
“We cannot give approval to this movement. We cannot prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem—but we could never sanction it. The soil of Jerusalem, if it was not always sacred, has been sanctified by the life of Jesus Christ. As the head of the Church, I cannot tell you anything different. The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people … This very day the Church is celebrating the feast of an unbeliever who, on the road to Damascus, became miraculously converted to the true faith. And so, if you come to Palestine and settle your people there, we shall have churches and priests ready to baptize all of you.”
This is how a true Roman Pontiff speaks to the Jews. Yes, with sternness and resoluteness, but ultimately, with truth and charity, calling their attention to Christ and His Church that they may be saved.
Note three important points expressed by the Holy Father, the same that have no place whatsoever in Conciliar-Jewish dialogue:
– Without any equivocation whatsoever he refers to Catholicism as “the true faith.”
– He makes plain the Church’s commitment to its mission: We stand ready to baptize all of you.
– Lastly, he not only refuses to support the Zionist cause, but also declares more broadly, “We cannot recognize the Jewish people.”
With respect to the latter point, it must be said that there is no longer any such thing as “the Jewish people,” there are only Talmudists and those calling themselves Jews. [For expedience, I will refrain from prefacing every mention of “Jews” with the qualifier “self-identified.”]
As Pope Pius X explained to Herzl without apology:
“The Jewish religion was the foundation of our own; but it was superseded by the teachings of Christ, and we cannot concede it any further validity. The Jews, who ought to have been the first to acknowledge Jesus Christ, have not done so to this day.”
How differently the leaders of the conciliar counterfeit church behave in their subservience to the Jews of our day!
If nothing else can be said of Theodor Herzl, the man had chutzpah, a Yiddish word for boldness, whether admirable or not.
It was on the tip of my tongue to say, “That’s what happens in every family. No one believes in his own relatives.” But I said instead: “Terror and persecution may not have been the right means for enlightening the Jews.”
Herzl’s juvenile attempt to deflect blame for the Jews’ failure to embrace the Messiah was met with a history lesson.
But he rejoined, and this time he was magnificent in his simplicity:
“Our Lord came without power. He was poor. He came in peace. He persecuted no one. He was persecuted. He was forsaken even by his Apostles. Only later did he grow in stature. It took three centuries for the Church to evolve. The Jews therefore had time to acknowledge his divinity without any pressure. But they haven’t done so to this day.”
Herzl’s recollection of his audience with Pope St. Pius X as recorded in his diary (linked above) is worthy of reading in its fullness, but at this, let us take a step back in time prior to their meeting.
Beginning in the late 19th century, Britain, in an attempt to safeguard its commercial interests in Africa, exercised control over what was called the East Africa Protectorate (later, Kenya). Development of the region, however, proved more difficult than imagined due to Britain’s inability to convince Europeans to settle there.
In 1903, Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary of the Protectorate, conceived of the notion of offering the land to the Jews, and he proposed the idea to Theodor Herzl. As described in an article published by Jewish Action, the magazine of the Orthodox Union:
On Sunday, August 23, 1903, Herzl stunned the nearly 600 delegates of the Sixth Zionist Congress with his proposal to settle Jews in East Africa. The proposal led to heated, often acrimonious, debate among both the Zionists and the East African settlers. It also spawned numerous articles, editorials and letters in the Anglo and Jewish press.
Herzl was on board with Chamberlain’s idea, mainly as a means of providing refuge as quickly as possible for Jews living under harsh conditions in other nations, including Russia.
Even so, the Zionists in Russia, the birthplace of the movement, were dead set against it. They were determined to press forward, and exclusively so, with the notion that the Jews were entitled to take possession of Ereẓ Israel, the program of which Pope St. Pius X said the Church cannot give approval and could never sanction.
Get that? The Church – the true Church of Christ, that is – could never sanction the Jews taking possession of Palestine.
In May of 1917, the first month during which Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the three shepherd children in Portugal, the seventh conference of the Zionists of Russia met in Petrograd, just as Jewish youth groups were forming in many Russian towns in hopeful preparation for settlement in Palestine.
The movement was going nowhere fast. Behind the scenes, however, a plan was unfolding that would change history.
In 1916, just as the British were on the verge of conceding WWI to the Germans, Zionists with connections in the United States intervened, proposing a plan to the Brits that would allow them to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. In exchange for a promise to entice the U.S. to enter the war on the side of Great Britain, the Zionists demanded that Britain take steps after the war to help them secure possession of Palestine.
This resulted in the famous Balfour Declaration, a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour addressed to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, declaring Britain’s support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” and pledging that the British government “will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.”
It wasn’t until November of 1917, one month after the great Miracle of the Sun during Our Lady’s final apparition at Fatima, that news of the Balfour Declaration reached Russia. This, of course, reinvigorated the Russian Zionists, strengthening their resolve to take possession of Palestine.
During the apparition of July 13, 1917, Our Lady told the Fatima seers that if people did not stop offending God, He would punish the world “by means of war, hunger and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.”
“Russia will be the instrument of chastisement chosen by Heaven to punish the whole world if we do not beforehand obtain the conversion of that poor nation,” Our Lady said.
“To prevent this,” the Blessed Virgin continued, “I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart,” and she promised that if only this solitary request be met, Russia would be converted, and a period of peace would be given to the world.
If, however, her request was ignored, Our Lady warned:
Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be annihilated.
Fast forward to the spring of 1929.
The Revisionist newspaper – edited by Russian Zionist Ze’ev Jabotinsky – ran a long campaign claiming Jewish rights over the Western Wall on the Temple Mount. The newspaper even went so far as to call for “insubordination and violence,” encouraging Jews in Palestine to continue protesting and demonstrating until the Wall is “restored to us.” (see Philip Mattar, “The role of the Mufti of Jerusalem in the political struggle over the Western Wall, 1928–29,”)
Jewish historian Benny Morris concurred:
Right-wing Zionists began to demand Jewish control of the Wall: and some even publicly advocated rebuilding the Temple, confirming Muslim fears. The crisis simmered until summer 1929. (see Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict)
It was at this time – June 13, 1929, to be precise – that Our Lady formally made her as yet unmet request for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.
Two months later, in late August of 1929, tensions between the Zionists and the Arabs in the Holy Land came to a violent head with the Buraq Uprising (aka the 1929 Palestine riots), resulting in Muslims and Jews killing one another over access to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Volumes could be written on the violence and unrest that has plagued this region ever since.
With this limited historical review in mind, especially in light of current events, one might well wonder if Zionism – a movement founded in Russia and exported therefrom – is among the “errors of Russia” about which Our Lady forewarned.
While this is debatable, it must be said that properly speaking Zionism is not a “Jewish” movement at all, nor is Israel a “Jewish state,” rather both are products of “the synagogue of Satan, those who say they are Jews and are not” (cf Apoc. 3:9).
Furthermore, that Zionism is not of God is beyond any and all dispute, as are its machinations, its methods, and its fruits – theft, war, persecution, and death.
As such, the only Catholic response to Zionism in general, and the present situation in the Holy Land in particular, is summed up well in the response of Pope St. Pius X to Theodor Herzl. In short: