What is Zionism? Meaning explained – The US Sun

Posted By on October 15, 2021

FOR Jews, Jerusalem is a symbol of the return to Zion, their ancient homeland.

But criticism of Zionism is often slammed as anti-Semitic. So what exactly is it?


Zionism is a "movement to create a Jewish state in the Middle East, roughly corresponding to the historical land of Israel, and thus support for the modern state of Israel.

"Anti-Zionism opposes that," says BBC News.

Zionism is Israels national ideology, explains Vox.

It adds: "Zionists believe Judaism is a nationality as well as a religion, and that Jews deserve their own state in their ancestral homeland, Israel, in the same way the French people deserve France or the Chinese people should have China.

"Its what brought Jews back to Israel in the first place, and also at the heart of what concerns Arabs and Palestinians about the Israeli state."

The Zionist movement works for the return of the Jewish people to Israel and the maintenance of Jewish sovereignty there.

The Week describes Zionism as "a religious and nationalist ideology".

The publication adds that Zionism has "facilitated the creation of a Jewish state in modern-day Israel based on both ancestral and biblical ties to the region."


In the Hebrew Bible, the word Zion refers to Jerusalem, and the movement is identified with the city and the land that surrounds it.

The modern idea of a return to Zion Jerusalem or the Holy Land has been around since the 1800s.

The birth of Zionism in Europe in the late 19th century led to a concentrated effort by Jews to return to their ancient homeland after a 2,000-year exile, explains The Conversation.

Back then, European Jews facing anti-Semitism began to contemplate a Jewish nation-state in the land of their biblical forefathers.


Austrian journalist Theodor Herzl wrote in an 1896 manifesto of The Jewish State, and built what would become the international Zionist movement.

That dream culminated with Israeli independence in 1948, when the fledgling country emerged as a refuge for the worlds Jews in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

According to one theoretical concept, since the state of Israel was established, Zionism had achieved its goal and that was it.

"But thats not the way it was, said Tom Segev, an Israeli historian and author who has written books about early Israel.

Today, he said, Zionism has become an equivalent to patriotism, as he criticised this approach for ignoring the key issue of resolving the conflict with the Palestinians.


Leader of the Israeli Green Party, Stav Shaffir, spoke about the true meaning of Zionism in a parliamentary speech.

She said: Real Zionism is solidarity not only in battle, but also in the day-to-day. Looking after each other.

Thats what Zionism is: to take care of the future of Israels citizens in the hospitals, in the schools, on the roads, and in social welfare.

"Thats Zionism, and youre destroying it, she accused her colleagues on the right.

Ex-Education Minister Shai Piron of the centrist Yesh Atid Party has bristled at the use of Zionism by left and right alike, saying: Zionism is far more than what they say. They are using this for political reasons.

Zionism is our story, the Jewish story."


Both Israelis and Palestinians declared their right to establish their capital in Jerusalem, writes Dan Arbell, at the Centre for Israeli Studies, American University.

He adds in The Conversation: "For Jews, Jerusalem is a symbol of the return to Zion, their ancient homeland.

"It is not only a religious symbol, but also a symbol of Jewish sovereignty.

"For Palestinians, Jerusalem is equally important, as both a religious and political symbol."

In the US, the Jewish Voice for Peace writes: "Many have claimed that our peoples relationship to the land of Israel is far more complicated than a narrow nationalist vision can allow, or that we are religiously forbidden, at this time, from setting up a Jewish state in the holy land.

"And many have protested Israels dispossession of the Palestinians indigenous to the land of Israel."

What is Zionism? Meaning explained - The US Sun

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