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Zionism Explained

Zionism and its relationship to Israel, Palestine and the wider Middle East

Introduction to Zionism

See our Zionism Introduction for a simple outline and useful resources for assignments or private study

"While there are honorable Anti-Zionist positions they are few. On the whole Anti-Zionism is close to, or a mask for, Anti-Semitism."
by John Strawson re: the 2005 UK Boycott of Israeli Universities

Get facts on: Zionism, Anti-Zionism, Academic Boycotts
Learn about: Critisism, Antisemitism, and new Antisemitism



Zionism is the belief in a Jewish homeland for the Jewish people, in Israel.

Zionism is the Jewish people's instantiation of the human right of self determination.
No more, no less.


Some people do not believe that Jews deserve human rights - we call them antisemities. Anti-Zionism, i.e. being against the existance of the homeland for the Jewish people and spreading hate about Israel is considered to be antisemitism under the European Union definition of antisemitism.



Inspiration for Zionism

Before Zionism there was a Kingdom of Jewish people where Israel now stands. In it's center stood Mount Zion, Jerusalem, The Temple. In 586 BCE the Babylonians invaded and the Jews were sent into exile for the first time. It is here that Zionism, the longing to return to Zion begins.

"By the waters of Babylon there we sat and wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our lyres... How can we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land ?" (Psalm 137)

The desire to return was both to Israel in general and to the temple in particular: "If I forget you O Jerusalem , may my right hand forget its skills" (Psalm 137:5)

The Jews returned and life continued until the Romans invade. In 70 CE Rome destroyed The Temple. The Jews revolt against Roman rule. In the Bar Kochba revolt of 132-135CE Roman forces killed an estimated half a million Jews. In 136CE an atempt to erase Judaism from the globe was made. A Pagen temple was erected where The Temple has stood, the Jews were exhiled from their homeland (becoming refugees), and part of the land was renamed Palaestina to ensure people forgot about the Country of the Jews.

Zionism continues

Zionism, the Jewish longing both to return to their homeland and for self determination i.e. to be a nation like any other, continued. Jews maintained a connection with Israel, a few lived there and many went to the Holy Land when they though they were reaching the end of their life. Zionism continued as a dream of the Jewish people until the modern State of Israel was established in 1948. Zionism today is about strengthening the connection between Israel and the Jewish people, and protecting and promoting Jewish cultural. Zionism today continues the tradition of supporting Israel by providing aid for those who need it and to improve the environment.

Attacks on Zionism and the need for Zionism

Some try and make Zionism out to be something different, usually borrowing from such classic antisemitic texts as "the Protocols of the Elders of Zion" (a Russian forgery used to inspire pogroms, and then reused by the Nazis and more recently by Arab states to spread hate of the Jews). Unfortunatly these people are still intent on destroying Jewish culture and the Jewish people. People have been doing this through out history. The Jews usually moved to escape persecution. In todays global world this is no longer possible. The only defense is education so the public know the facts and are not yet again incited to hate of the Jews. The final safety net is the existance of Israel - a country that has since it's foundation been a safe haven for Jews being persecuted around the world. From Ethiopia to Russia, from the expulsion of Jews from Arab states in 1948 to the extraction of the last few Jews in Iraq today... Israel has consistantly welcomed the Jews home in times of crisis.


  Zionism History - A detailed history


Self Determination for the Jewish and Palestinian peoples

Israel's thoughts on self determination for the Jewish an Palestinian peoples, as express in the debate on Self-Determination of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations.

YAAKOV LEVY (Israel) said the story of the modern State of Israel was to a large extent the story of defending the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their homeland, and the right to live in peace and security. Israel respected the right of her neighbours, the Arab States and the Palestinians, to self-determination. Israel expected equal and mutual recognition, not only of the de facto existence of the State of Israel but of her right to self-determination. Israel recognized more than 20 years ago, in the framework of the Camp David Accords negotiated in 1978, the Palestiniansí right to self-determination. The Oslo Peace Process was in fact both a recognition and a realization of the Palestinian's right to self-determination. It was only through such a process that both Israelis and Palestinians could hope to realize their legitimate rights to live side by side in peace and security.

At Camp David in July 2000, these issues had been discussed and an agreement with Israel's Palestinian brothers had been so close. An agreement would have given genuine expression to the aspiration of both peoples to live peacefully side-by-side. Unfortunately, as the record clearly showed, it was the Palestinian Authority's leadership's choice not to consummate these negotiations, neither at Camp David nor later at Taba in January 2001, but instead to resort to a course of continuous violence in order to force Israel's hand to make further concessions, contrary to every agreement negotiated and signed between Israelis and Palestinians. Agenda item No.5 on self-determination must not be a cause within the Commission for continuous attacks on Israel and its policy. Israelís position remained that self-determination must be achieved through direct, peaceful negotiations between two sides.

Source: UN HRC document: HR/CN/1003, 21 March 2003


Articles on Zionism

Commemorating November 29, 1947 The role of the UN vote and Zionism in creating Israel - by Benjamin Netanyahu
Zionism explained from a UK left perspective - Forums
Reclaiming Zionism's Good Name and Proud History: A Challenge for the Jewish Intelligencia - Gil Troy
The Zionist-Nazi "alliance" lie
Why I am a Zionist - by Gil Troy
Anti-Zionism is Racism - Judea Pearl
Zionism is Beautiful - Forums
Zionism and Israel - word association - Forums
Zionism is not a 'settler-colonial undertaking' - By David Hoffman
A Forum Explanation of Zionism
Zionism and Race By Fred E. Foldvary
Needed: Real Zionist Education, Not Hasbara - By Gil Troy
Urban Kibbutz Socialist-Zionist Pioneering in Israeli Cities
Jerusalem is a Jewish Issue: Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish State not just Israel - Ted Belman
A history of Muslim antisemitism and anti-Zionism


External Sources

Recommended sources on Zionism

On the subject of Zionism we recommend the following sites:

Wikipedia article about Zionism - A comprehensive article including the history of Zionism as well as links to specific topics and articles about anti-Zionism.
Zionism - Table of contents at the Jewish Virtual Library
Zionism article at Infoplease
Zionism - Definition and Brief History - A balanced article that covers the definitions and history of Zionism as well as opposition to Zionism and criticisms by Arabs,† Jewish anti-Zionists.
Zionation - Progressive Zionism and Israel Web Log A community blog updated regularly
Labor Zionism - Early History and Critique - Contribution of Labor Zionism to the creation of the Jewish state, and problems of Labor Zionism in a changing reality.
Essential Texts of Zionism
Jewish Agency Zionism pages - Links to basic information about Zionism from the Jewish Agency
Ambassador Herzog explains Zionism in the UN


US Library of congress on Zionism
The US Library of congress has a comprehensive and balanced set of articles about Zionism:
Zionist Precursors - US Library of Congress
Political Zionism - US Library of Congress
Cultural Zionism - US Library of Congress
Labor Zionism - US Library of Congress
Revisionist Zionism - US Library of Congress


Zionism advocacy sites
Active Zionism - A Zionist advocacy site with many useful links
Realistic Religious Zionism - moderate religious Zionist Web site
Zionism- 100 Years - Selected Materials - Israel Ministry of Information

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Zionism Sources

Know what Zionism is, or only the propoganda?

When talking about people's political views the best bet is to ask them.

Articles Our collection on Zionism, Israel, and Anti-Zionism

Definitions A collection of definitions of Zionism

Zionism in brief A brief into to Zionism

Zionism Blog Discussion and commentary





Zionism On The Web Directory

Learn more about this site at our Zionism Main page. Comment and add your thoughts to our Zionism and Israel discussion forums. See our Resource Centers on the British Academic Boycott of Israel, and the Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism Resource Center, and the special section on the Palestinian state. Learn more from our articles on Zionism in the commentary collection. Extend your learning through out links about Zionism or at our Zionism links directory.


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