Zionism and Judaism – Why Jews are Zionists

There is a lot of confusion as to what Zionism is and what it isn’t. The anti-Zionist movement tries to paint the movement with the broad brush of racism, when in fact that is not at all what Zionism is. Let’s start by saying this: Jews are Zionists. We don’t all have perfect knowledge, but we do all have faith that the Jewish people have a historic right to our homeland. Those of us lucky enough to be Israeli citizens may express that faith by living there, but those who live abroad can also help support Zionist causes through supporting Israel. Many Jews believe God promised Abraham a land between Egypt and Iraq (not just Israel/Palestine) and still others believe that a sovereign Jewish state is simply the best way for Jews to protect themselves from their enemies who are constantly trying to destroy them in one way or another (read Mein Kampf if you want more insight into how Hitler viewed Jews). There are many reasons for being Zionist, but I think we can agree on one thing: Zionism isn’t about hating other people – it’s about loving ourselves and protecting ourselves from hate.”

Zionism is the national movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel.

In 1897, Theodor Herzl published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), which argued that anti-Semitism could only be overcome if Jews had their own state. He formed the World Zionist Organization two years later to promote this idea among world Jewry; by 1914 it had attracted some 6 million adherents worldwide who were eager to live there someday—so much so that they agreed to pay an annual tax toward realizing this goal until they did so. Their vision was realized when Israel declared independence on May 14th, 1948 after nearly 2 millennia of exile from their ancestral homeland due to ongoing persecution by non-Jews living around them throughout history.*

Jews are zionists for different reasons, but mostly because it is an expression of our faith.

Zionism is a religious movement. It does not have any political, race, or nationality. Zionism is not an organization, but rather the idea of Jews returning to their homeland where they can live in peace with other people. Zionists do not advocate war with anyone or any country. They are against wars because they believe that God wants us all to live in peace. Jews should be able to practice their religion freely and safely wherever they choose to live; this includes Israel as well as anywhere else on Earth where Jews choose to make their home.

A zionist is someone who believes that there should be a state for all Jews around the world where they can live without fear of persecution or discrimination because they are Jewish (or anything else).

Jews do not need to live in Israel to be zionists, nor do all zionists want to live there.

But what is Zionism? There are three main ways to define it:

  • A Jewish state in Israel
  • The belief is that Jews have a right to self-determination and should live in their own country.
  • An ideology of nationalism holds that Jews are a nation with a right to self-determination and should live in their own country.

Jews are Zionists because it is a logical way to connect to our long history.

The Jewish people have a long history that runs back to our ancestors’ time in Egypt. We have been thrown out of more countries than any other people on Earth, and many times we have been forced to leave our homes with little or no notice. Nowhere was this more true than during World War II when Jews were forced from their homes in Europe by the Nazis who wanted to kill them all.

But where did Zionism come from? Why did Jews want to return to Israel? In fact, there are four main reasons why Jews wanted their own homeland:

  • To connect with our long history as a people;
  • To connect with our faith;
  • To connect with our ancestors;
  • And simply because we are Jews

You can be a Zionist and support a two-state solution, you don’t need to be rich or live in Israel.

You can be a Zionist and support a two-state solution, you don’t need to be rich or live in Israel.

However, if you believe that Zionism is only about supporting the State of Israel’s right to exist, then you’re fundamentally misreading what Zionism is. If Zionism were merely about supporting the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, then anyone who supports the existence of any other country could also call themselves Zionists. But this isn’t the case: when people talk about being “pro-Israel,” they are talking about something more than just supporting its right to exist as an independent nation-state; they are referring specifically to Jews and their interests. That being said, it would not be inaccurate for someone who wasn’t Jewish (or at least not ethnically Jewish) to identify themselves as “Zionist.” Conclusion

I leave you with these powerful words from the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai: “Zionism is the Jewish people’s achievement. It is a part of our history, culture, and tradition, like music, poetry, and painting. We are proud of this collective accomplishment, which has enabled us to restore our language and revive Hebrew.”

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