In the year 1897 the first Zionist Congress convened in Basel, Switzerland. This event is generally credited with being the pivot on which the rebirth of Jewish nationalism turned. Theodore Herzl, a Hungarian Jew, was elected president of the organization, a position which he held until the time of his death.
The rebirth of international Jewry did not occur in a day. Years were required to work up the interest and mould the sentiment which was expressed on that occasion. Prior to this gathering there had been years of planning. Jewish leaders in different parts of the world had conceived simultaneously, the plan of uniting their dispersed nation into one solid mass.
No doubt such a herculean task involved the exchange of many letters and several personal conversations through the channels of the international Kahal. The men who were directing this undertaking were figures of outstanding prominence in the political, economic and religious circles of the world. It was not an easy task to pull the loose ends of the scattered nation together and breathe new life into its organism.
Would it be a misuse of words to designate men who were capable of performing such a feat as "Wise Men"? Would it be erroneous to call the written records of their deliberations, "Protocols"? Would it be wrong to refer to their finished plans as the "Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion"? That such a group of international Jews did actually collaborate over a period of years in planning the rebirth of the nation is a well attested fact. That some of them were actuated by sinister motives is evident. That the spirit of the Talmud and the occultism of the Kahal were manifested, is equally evident.
Looking toward the West we discover that powerful Jewish movements had been established, over a period of years, in both the United States and the countries of Europe. Nathan Birnbaum, the man who created the name Zionism, had formed an organization called the Kadimah with headquarters in Vienna. Its avowed aim was to build a Jewish center in Palestine from which the world should be ruled through the three spheres of politics, economics and religion. According to his plan, members of the race were to be "planted" in every nation for the purpose of determining the policies of the nations.
A similar movement had taken form in Russia, with its base in Odessa, under the leadership of a vicious fanatic by the name of Asher Ginzberg. He founded his order in 1889 and called it the "Sons of Moses". Ginzberg also used the name Ahadhaam and was known among his intimate followers as the "King of the Jews". These are the kind of men who blended their efforts for the purpose of building their people into a united body. As previously indicated, their advance preparations could be legitimately called Protocols since the dictionary definition of this word is, "The preliminary sketch or draft of an official document".
The strange thing about the whole matter is not that such documents as the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion should have been written; the miracle is that they should have ever reached the public eye. But frequently, in history, we find that plans have miscarried or providences have occurred, in which carefully hidden and secret schemes have leaked out.
An instance of this kind occurred in the year 1785 when a man by the name of Jacob Lang was struck dead by lightning while walking with Adam Weishaupt, the founder of the Illuminati. When Lang's body was being prepared for burial, certain incriminating papers were found in his clothing which gave away many vital secrets of the organization. As a result, the property of the Illuminati was confiscated by the Bavarian government and a ban was placed upon its activities.
At different times in Jewish history other Protocols have been issued by leaders as in the year 1492 when Chemor, Chief Rabbi of Spain, wrote for advice to the Grand Sanhedrin located in Constantinople. He received the following instructions which may truly be called a fifteenth century Protocol, "Beloved brethren in Moses, we have received your letter in which you tell us of the anxieties and misfortunes which you are enduring. We are pierced by as great pain to hear it as yourselves.
"The advice of the Grand Satraps and Rabbis is the following:
"1. As for what you say that the King of Spain obliges you to become Christian: do it, since you cannot do otherwise.
"2. As for what you say about the command to despoil you of your property: make your sons merchants that they may despoil, little by little, the Christians of theirs.
"3. As for what you say about making attempts on your lives: make your sons doctors and apothecaries, that they may take away Christians' lives.
"4. As for what you say of their destroying your synagogues: make your sons canons and clerics in order that they may destroy their churches.
"5. As for the many other vexations you complain of: arrange that your sons become advocates and lawyers, and see that they always mix in affairs of State, that by putting Christians under your yoke you may dominate the world and be avenged on them.
"6. Do not swerve from this order that we give you, because you will find by experience that, humiliated as you are, you will reach the actuality of power.
"(Signed) Prince of the Jews of Constantinople."