Zionism prior to Israel’s establishment was an ideology - The term “Zionism” was coined in 1890 by Nathan Birnbaum 1.
Its general definition means the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel.
Now that Israel exists and the Declaration of Independence 2. specifies the nature of Israel and the enshrinement of human rights guaranteeing equality for all Israeli citizens irrespective of race, colour and religion.
Today with the passing of the superfluous and racist Nation-State Law “This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset 3. It weakens Israel’s Declaration of Independence in as far as equality of all Israeli citizens is concerned.
It specifies the uniqueness of Israel’s Jewish citizens and their right of self-determination Israel's parliament has passed a divisive law declaring that only Jews have the right to “national self-determination” in Israel, prompting angry accusations from Arab citizens that the government is formally codifying racism 4. as well as granting special status to Arabic whatever that means. What about the remaining 20% of Israeli citizens who are not Jewish? Are they not entitled to “self-determination” as Israel’s Jewish citizens? The “special status” in practice is the downgrade of Arabic as an official language.
If after more than 70 years since Israel’s establishment, the present right-wing Israeli Coalition Government deems it necessary to pass a law reiterating what has been obvious since Israel’s establishment that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People.
The unnecessary backlash it has caused in Israel is bad for all Israeli citizens including its non-Jewish citizens.
The reason for passing this Nation-State Law 5. is to placate the ultra-right-wing Zionists in the government as well as the right-wing electorate, including the ultra-Orthodox parties and the ultra-Nationalist Zionist pro-settler Bayit HaYehudi Party that Netanyahu views as a threat to his power base.
The fact that it upset Israel’s non-Jewish citizens does not seem to bother the Netanyahu coalition members.
Zionism today is a dinosaur! What was true prior to Israel’s establishment is not relevant today. Diaspora Jewry has equal rights in almost all the countries of the world. There is no abuse of human rights towards Jews. Anti-Semitism is not the official policy of any country. Most Diaspora Jews are satisfied where they live and have no intention of coming to settle in Israel. In fact, Reform and Conservative Jews have more religious freedom than in Israel, where they are not recognized at all. Reform and Conservative rabbis are not even allowed to marry couples.
The Nation-State Law 6. is further proof that Zionism has become irrelevant today. If laws have to be passed to ensure that Israel is a Jewish Nation State which is an accepted fact without having to be re-iterated by legislation then Israel’s democracy will be weakened and replaced by a macabre mix of religious Orthodox Zionism and right-wing nationalism as well as being a threat to freedom of speech and human rights. It will result in separation of Israel’s population into first-class Jewish Citizens and second class non-Jewish Citizens. This is very reminiscent of apartheid South Africa.
Israel is a recognized state and as such, it should be defined as a state of all its citizens and not just the nation-state of the Jewish people. Zionism today is not the Zionism prior to Israel’s establishment. The desire of the present Israeli Government Coalition to pass laws that are racist to ensure Israel’s Jewishness being superior is proof of the Zionist ideology at the beginning of rigor mortis.
Recommended Reading: The Nation Law and the State we are Becoming by Paul Mirbach
- "Nathan Birnbaum - Jewish Virtual Library." https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/nathan-birnbaum. Accessed 11 Aug. 2018.
- "Israeli Declaration of Independence - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_Declaration_of_Independence. Accessed 11 Aug. 2018.
- 18 Jul. 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-politics-law/israel-adopts-divisive-jewish-nation-state-law-idUSKBN1K901V. Accessed 11 Aug. 2018.
- 19 Jul. 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/19/israel-passes-divisive-law-declaring-jews-have-right-national/. Accessed 11 Aug. 2018.
- "Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_Law:_Israel_as_the_Nation-State_of_the_Jewish_People. Accessed 11 Aug. 2018.
- "Israel's Nation-State Law Angers U.S. Jewish Leaders - The Atlantic." 21 Jul. 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/07/israel-nation-state-law/565712/. Accessed 11 Aug. 2018.