Let’s start with a definition:

Zionism. / (ˈzaɪəˌnɪzəm) / noun. a political movement for the establishment and support of a national homeland for Jews in Palestine, now concerned chiefly with the development of the modern state of Israel. a policy or movement for Jews to return to Palestine from the Diaspora.

On paper, that sounds very reasonable doesn’t it? What could be wrong with Jews wanting to have their own homeland, where they can be free from their history of discrimination and persecution?

The problem is not with the general concept of Zionism but with the implementation of that idea.

In practice, Zionism has been implemented by:

  • taking land from hundreds of thousands of people who were already living there
  • denying that event took place (the Nakba)
  • institutionally denying Palestinians and other ethnic groups equal rights
  • occupying and restricting life, liberty, and prosperity in the West Bank and Gaza
  • continually expanding and extending illegal settlements in both regions
  • pervasively dehumanizing a targeted ethnic group

I could add many more offenses to that list, but note that last point is, ironically, the very problem Zionism was created to prevent.

Zionism is, in principle, a benign doctrine espousing a dream for the Jewish people. But in practice, it is implemented by a set of hostile, repressive, racist policies that sublimate and dehumanize Palestinian people. For that reason, I’m an anti-Zionist.

So, to answer the question in the title of this article…It’s not ok to create a land where Jews are free of persecution if doing so requires creating a land where another ethnic group has to endure persecution. That’s not antisemitic. It’s pro-justice.