A Personal Face to the Father of Modern Zionism


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Herzl was keenly cognizant that massive funding was essential to ensuring that his plan for Jewish statehood would come to fruition, so he attempted to solicit commitments from such financiers as French railroad tycoon and philanthropist Baron Moritz de Hirsch, who agreed to meet with Herzl in Paris. Ultimately, doors were figuratively slammed in his face by de Hirsch and the Rothschilds, who were overtly circumspect of what they perceived as his seemingly vague and unrealistic notions. Newsreel footage of Herzl’s one and only trip to Palestine left the viewer sharing Herzl’s melancholia over the abject poverty and destitution that he witnessed amongst the Jewish population at that time.

As time passed, significant percentages of Jews, both religious and secular alike, would come to shower Herzl with well-deserved plaudits, and they even bestowed a degree of reverence on him as a harbinger of the Jewish redemption from exile. Totally immersed in his mission, Herzl met with kings, heads of state, prime ministers, ambassadors, government ministers and even the pontiff in Rome in order to obtain legitimate rights to the land of Israel and to facilitate Jewish immigration there.

Having no other option, Herzl used his own money to set up his infrastructure, which included the launching of a Zionist newspaper, the creation of the World Zionist Organization, and the first World Zionist Congress, held in Basel, Switzerland in 1897. Feeling a terrible sense of urgency for his people and having no other viable recourse, Herzl took a great risk when he proffered the idea of establishing a Jewish state in Uganda to the Congress delegates. He was met with visceral acrimony along with a litany of ad hominem attacks by such iconic Zionist leaders as Chaim Weizman and others like him. Deeply perturbed by the lack of appreciation from his contemporaries, Herzl nonetheless girded his loins and changed his tune. He now would not settle for any other land for the Jewish nation other than the biblical land of Israel.

While Herzl remains a controversial figure to this very day (especially in religious Jewish circles) for his adamant secularism, it is noteworthy to mention that the film reveals that on the Shabbat prior to the first Zionist Congress, Herzl joined the delegation at an Orthodox synagogue for services. When called up to the Torah, without being prompted, Herzl recited the blessing in perfect Hebrew and with sincere dedication.

Herzl’s final work was a novel titled “Altneuland” (Old New Land), which gloriously envisaged a thriving and prosperous autonomous Jewish homeland in ancient Israel. It was in these pages that Herzl penned the words that he will eternally be remembered for: “Im tirtzu ain zo aggada” (“If you will it, it is no dream”).

Kudos to Moriah Films, director Richard Trank and Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for preserving the legacy of Theodor Herzl on film for generations to come. No doubt, this pulsating and highly original documentary will leave us moved by the unwavering dedication of one man’s vision that changed the course of Jewish history.

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  • http://vnnforum.com DeShawn

    Looks like a Devil to me. Zionism is a form of jewish supremacism.

    • awarthurhu

      "jewigh supremacism" = red flag for neo-Nazi, common term used by David Duke. Very easy to identify neo-Nazi tolls, they out themselves so obviously.

    • Bubba

      You got a real purdy mouth, boy!

      I bet you can squeal like a piggy too!

  • Rothschild

    I have no great love for this man called Herzl; his racist nationalism is dangerous… I say this as a half Jew in the middle of this war between the Jews and the Islamic countries….I would much rather watch a movie about a religious Zionists, such as Rabbi Samuel Mohilever a humble intelligent Zionist… and if the Jews really wanted peace they would open up a yeshiva, and teach the world about the ancient Hebrews; that is open to religious Jews, secular Jews, non Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims.

    I think that's what Rabbi Mohilever and Rothschild wanted to do when they wanted a Zionist country called Israel in the historical past…but…fanatical, racist, Marxist Zionist nationalists, like Herzl whitewashed them, and are trying to rewrite history.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Ratchild, Since you consider nationalism dangerous, you are against any form of "palestine" too.

      Happy Eternal Nakba Ratchild!

    • PaulRevereNow

      The historical reality was that Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem supported destitute Jews, during Herzl's lifetime, well before Rothschild was PERSUADED to do so; Rothschild simply didn't care about his starving co-religionists in the Holy Land.(Not surprising, since he thought of himself as an assimilated German Jew) Herzl's crusade showered the light of day on the haughty, condescending attitudes of wealthy European Jews towards the starving Zionists. You don't know history at all.

    • ziontruth

      "I say this as a half Jew…"

      There's no such thing. One born to a Jewish mother or undergone Orthodox conversion is a Jew, and anyone else is a non-Jew.

      "…and if the Jews really wanted peace they would open up a yeshiva, and teach the world about the ancient Hebrews;…"

      Speaking of the ancient Hebrews, did you ever read the book of Joshua? Judaism isn't a branch of humanism, you ought to know.

      "…Marxist Zionist nationalists…"

      Oxymoron. You're either a Marxist or a nationalist (Zionism being the special Jewish case). You can't be both, because anti-nationalism is a core Marxist doctrine. In fact, that's the main reason why Marxists are today at the forefront of anti-Zionism—for being a case where the "rightful course of history" was "reversed," in that a stateless nation regained statehood instead of being dissolved into the Brotherhood of Man™.

      Of course, it is true that a great many of the late 19th- and early 20th-century Zionists were socialists, left-wingers. But this older, nationalist Left, the same kind that FDR was a member of, is different from, and in opposition to, the Marxist, treasonous branch of the Left.

    • ziontruth

      "I say this as a half Jew…"

      There's no such thing. One born to a Jewish mother or undergone Orthodox conversion is a Jew, and anyone else is a non-Jew.

      "…and if the Jews really wanted peace they would open up a yeshiva, and teach the world about the ancient Hebrews;…"

      Speaking of the ancient Hebrews, did you ever read the book of Joshua? Judaism isn't a branch of humanism, you ought to know.

      "…Marxist Zionist nationalists…"

      Oxymoron. You're either a Marxist or a nationalist (Zionism being the special Jewish case). You can't be both, because anti-nationalism is a core Marxist doctrine. In fact, that's the main reason why Marxists are today at the forefront of anti-Zionism—for being a case where the "rightful course of history" was "reversed," in that a stateless nation regained statehood instead of being dissolved into the Brotherhood of Man™.

  • Rothschild

    I'm not a Palestinian; but I do think that criticism of their Islam has turned into a viscous defamation of their spirituality, and I receive the same amount of anti-Semitic attacks, then you Jews over there
    in Israel do, because I am half Jew.

    You Jews are sinning against God (Jehovah) by worshiping things worse then the Idolatry of things made our of metal and stone , but also the earthy idols of nation and race…you are becoming card carrying Nazis… the Nazis worshiped the same gods, idols.

    • reader

      You're half witted, but completely 100% incoherent.

    • awarthurhu

      equates Jews to Nazis and/or apartheid = red flag for neo-Nazi
      rothschild attack on Jews = red flag for neo-Nazi
      siding with palestine / Islamists = red flag for neo-Nazi
      attacking good guys = red flag for bad guy

      • Rothschild

        I am not a Palestinian sympathizer, or Neo Nazi sympathizer…I'm a liberal pacifist….most Jews are not pacifists, but are liberals; but if the Jews became pacifists they could successfully oppose their terrorist neighbors, and the terrorists around the world.

        I used Simone Weil as an example of one of many types of pacifism…all of which could be used to fight terrorism…the Jews, having anything to do with Herzl is dangerous, because Nazism is a form socialism, and with the Jews using that form of Zionism, and Judaism they are becoming Nazis themselves; and also it is strategically not even good for their fight with terrorism, because the Gestapo was easily able to penetrate the communist resistance groups during world war 2, and the current terrorists, the militant Black September like Middle East terrorists simply copy and paste the tactics of the Nazi tactics; of PSYOPS, for example.

  • Rothschild

    This is not only from me but other researchers of opposition to Nazis by pacifists, that believed in non-violent ways to oppose the Nazis in Germany, and by the French Resistance, such as by Simone Weil… How are you super Jews, any different, then a Nazi that would throw me into the ovens because I'm a half Jew…because of your inaction? and not politically correct enough; not a super Jew, so as to be a Israeli citizen, if the…terrorists start knocking on my door, which they have by the way..right out of the movie “Munich” style but without the guns… even though I qualify as one because grandfather is a Jew, I would still be allowed entry by any country, even Israel, when and if the s***t hits the fan, in the US.

    Simone Weil

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simone_Weil

    The Hebrews took for their idol, not something made of metal or wood, but a race, a nation, something just as earthly, their religion is essentially inseparable from such idolatry, because of the notion of the 'chosen people'

    Simione Weil

    • awarthurhu

      pro-palestine person claiming to be jew or US military = red flag for neo-Nazi
      9-11 truther blaming Israel or US = red flag for neo-Nazi

    • PaulRevereNow

      You sound as if you're very uncomfortable with the fact that your grandfather was a Jew; and tell me…what does the insulting phrase "Super Jew" mean?

      • Rothschild

        Well, many on here equate my interpretation of my Jewishness of me as being inferior to theirs; even when I told them, I'm only interpreting it from primarily a historical, political, and social context; but because I'm a spiritual person, that actually likes Judaism (though I will not convert) I'm open to change…so I'm more then wiling to let some rabbis censor my interpretation of the historical and political parts of my history when before, I could even think; when some of my Jewish relatives made it political, by getting into a fight with some of my other Jewish relatives, that wanted my role with the Jews to be social and religious (not spiritual) on a secular level… but it became political, and it was never intended to be political then , and it still political etc., ..so I assume because as most tell me, I'm inferior, that they must be a type of super Jew…. but I'm open to change this belief, once I start actually talking with Jews about this hopefully in Israel. For around two years.

        • PaulRevereNow

          You don't have to agree with anyone politically to convert to Judaism; Judaism knows no political parties.

          • Rothschild

            A five page written document my grandfather had written, concerning me, is amazing…it was meant to be secret, maybe three or four people were ever intended to read it…it specifies, every specific role, others that come into contact with me are to act, even in future scenarios, as if I was some sort of king.

  • Schlomotion

    I will see this movie. It is bound to be informative, but I suspect it will fail as social commentary.

    • reader

      Did you plus yourself for being incredibly profound? Just curious.

  • Suzanne

    Where do we get to see this movie? It sounds very interesting!

  • John

    The movie was playing at the Quad Cinema in Manhattan. Not sure if it still is however. Here is the link to the movie web site:
    http://www.itisnodream.com/site/c.8gLPK4MHLgIUF/b

  • John

    I find it interesting that those Orthodox Jews who despise Herzl for his purported secularism, at one time lauded him as a messianic figure and supported his quest for a Jewish homeland.

  • Bert

    Those with diseased souls will naturally fling garbage at Herzl just as evil will naturally attack good.
    Two quotes from Herzl's writings come to mind.
    "Zionism means coming home to Judaism even before coming home to the Jewish state."
    He wanted the following to be written on his tombstone: "Here lies a man who had too high an opinion of the Jewish People." (A cry of pain for the terrible treatment he often experienced from the very people he tried to help.)

    • John

      Interesting that you mention that Herzl wanted those words on his tombstone. After he was accused of betraying the Jewish people by considering the notion of establishing Uganda as a Jewish state, he rightfully bemoaned the fact that those very Jewish leaders at the World Zionist Congress never even displayed a modicum of appreciation to him to trying to save them from the same fate as Alfred Dreyus. The only reason he considered Uganda is because he truly believe time was running out for the Jews of Europe. He believed that their end was near. It was as if he was watching a drowning man and had to save him.

  • Ghostwriter

    Well,the assorted anti-Jewish nuts have come out for this article:Schlomotion,DeShawn,and the newest one,Rothschild. Their Jew hatred is disgusting as it is tiresome.