There seems to be a lot of confusion within the Christian community about Israel, about Jews, and about Zionists in particular.
The word Jew is listed 32 times in the KJB, 10 of which are in the Old Testament. The ancient Hebrew for Jew is Yhuwdiy meaning a descendent of the tribe of Judah. It has no other meaning. In the New Testament, the Greek word for Jew is Ioudaios meaning belonging to Judah in the sense of land or country or, being of the tribe of Judah by birth.
What once described only an ethnicity, or in the Greek a place of habitation, became known as a religion of the 12 tribes as they wandered throughout the world. Judaism as a religion is basically a simple way of life of observing the traditional rituals ordained in the Torah.
Zionism itself is not a religious movement; it is but one faction within the Jewish Community. One might say that all Zionist are Jews but not all Jews are Zionists.
The Zionist movement came about in Europe in the late nineteenth century from a desire to end the exile of the Jewish people. It was a revolutionary movement that asserted a right to statehood, self-determination, self-defense, and self-empowerment, in the historic Jewish homeland. In its most basic form Zionism is the idea that Jews can self-determine in the land of Israel before the Messiah arrives.
There are many misconceptions and lies about Zionism. The first is that while they wanted to settle the Holy Land they were more than willing to settle in East Africa and Cyprus. While it is true these locations were considered as temporary asylums to alleviate the suffering of Russian Jews, those lands were never accepted as a permanent location. Another myth claims that Zionist aspired to extend the borders of Israel throughout the Middle East because their constitution doesn’t define their border. First and foremost, Israel doesn’t have a constitution. And, most constitutions, including our own, does not define borders.
Anti-Zionism is often used as a euphemism to conceal a thinly veiled hatred of Jews. It is a prejudice against the Jewish movement for self-determination and the right of the Jewish people to a homeland in the State of Israel. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.” To oppose Zionism is to refuse to accept its political offspring, Israel, as a legitimate entity.
Zionism reversed Jewish historical passivity to persecution and asserted the Jewish right to self-determination and independent survival. This is why anti-Zionists see it as a perversion of Jewish humanism. Zionism entails the difficulty of dealing with sometimes impossible moral dilemmas, which traditional Jewish passivity in the wake of historical persecution had never faced. By negating Zionism, the anti-Semite is arguing that the Jew must always be the victim, for victims do no wrong and deserve our sympathy and support.
“Israel errs like all other nations: it is normal. What anti-Zionists find so obscene is that Israel is neither martyr nor saint. Their outrage refuses legitimacy to a people’s national liberation movement. Israel’s stubborn refusal to comply with the invitation to commit national suicide and thereby regain a supposedly lost moral ground draws condemnation. Jews now have the right to self-determination, and that is what the anti-Semites dislike so much.” Emanuele Ottolenghi