Zionism was founded in the late 19th century, mainly by secularist Jews as a response to anti-semitism and persecution of Jews in Russia. It encouraged Jewish immigration to Ottoman Palestine until finally in 1948, the state of Israel was born. "Aliyah" (think hijrah) to the Land of Israel is a recurring theme in Jewish prayer. In current day, the world's Jews are about equally settled betweeen Israel and America.
All Zionism is not equal. Categories of Zionism include: labor, liberal, nationalist, and religious - with the religious category coming on board last. According to Wikipedia, "In the 1920s and 1930s Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (the first Chief Rabbi of Palestine) and his son Rabbi Zevi Judah Kook saw great religious and traditional value in many of Zionism's ideals, while rejecting its anti-religious undertones. They taught that Orthodox (Torah) Judaism embraces and mandates Zionism's positive ideals, such as the ingathering of exiles, and political activity to create and maintain a Jewish political entity in the Land of Israel. In this way, Zionism serves as a bridge between Orthodox and secular Jews."
But not all Jews believe in and embrace the concept of Zionism; many Jewish groups are strongly anti-Zionism. The ultra-orthodox Jews (Haredi) reject Zionism as a doctrine and some among them reject the establishment of a religious state as being against Jewish laws. Haredi Jewish communities are non-Zionist but willing to participate in Israeli coalitions. A minority of other Orthodox Jews, (the Satmar Hasidim and the small Neturei Karta group) are strongly anti-Zionist.
But the biggest bone of contention between the Zionist Jews and Jews from other places (including America), was/is that the Zionists view aliyah as a duty of every Jew. Rejection of life in the diaspora is a central assumption in Zionism; living in the diaspora is seen to be restrictive of the full growth of Jewish individual and national life. Jews who refused to make aliyah to Israel were seen as not being "real" Jews.
This attitude is the one that dredged up feelings for me from my life as a Jew. Particularly, about the arrogant question of "Who is a Jew?" and the resulting stereotypes and divisions among Jews in America (and elsewhere) and Zionists.
Add to that the fact that Jews did not enjoy the popularity in America that they do nowdays when I was a young girl. Synagogues were fire bombed on a regular basis. Jewish men with long beards and sidelocks were accosted and assaulted on a regular basis. Having a Jewish name sealed your fate and kept you back from opportunities and even jobs. Even living in a Jewish neighborhood didn't guarantee peace. I remember going to the commercial district of the Jewish neighbood of Skokie (near Chicago) with my dad on the weekends. We would get out of the car and do shopping. When we returned, we would often find anti-semitic literature under our car windshield wipers.
So, when I read the article, it was refreshing:
Zionism is not neccesarily Judaism. To be against Zionism IS NOT anti-semitic. It IS anti-Zionism.
I consider myself ethnically Jewish. Even though I have reverted to Islam, I am still an ethnic Jew. My people have a culture - language, genetics, food, music, and yes, some of us practice the Jewish religion. More importantly, some of us don't ... (even us Muslims). If an ethnic Arab Muslim were to leave Islam, wouldn't they still be an Arab?
Many people say there is no such thing. That if you are a Jew, you practice the Jewish religion. Nonsense. Not all Jews practice Judaism, but they still identify as being a Jew. Even the "secular" Jews will tell you that they are every bit a Jew. No one has the right to say who is or who is not a Jew.
The big problem the Zionists are facing is how to deal with all of the non Jews who consider themselves Israelis. How does a Muslim Israeli fit into their dream of a Jewish national homeland? And now, there are many evangelical Christians immigrating to Israel.
What will the face of the future Zionist Israel look like?