Zionism has a bad name – on American college campuses, in leftist political circles, in the Arab World, at the United Nations, among anti-Semites who frequently invoke the Z-word as rhetorical cover for their own bigotry.
The dictionary definition of Zionism is very clear: “a movement for the re-establishment and the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel.”
As a self-described Arab-American Christian Zionist, I’m comfortable with that definition. It’s accurate. I don’t know why anyone who supports the self-determination of persecuted people, systematically forced from their homeland only to face oppression, discrimination, hatred, forced relocation, unspeakable violence and even genocide where they sought refuge could not be a Zionist.
“Zion,” just to be clear, means Jerusalem – the capital city of Israel or Judah for more than 1,000 years before the diaspora of 70 AD and, once again today, the capital city of Israel. It has never served as the capital of any other nation in history.
That begs the question: Why are there so many anti-Zionists in the world?
Let’s look at how the anti-Zionists define the term. For example, take Al Jazeera, the most watched television “news” network in the Middle East, one started, it should be pointed out, by the kingdom of Qatar, an officially Islamic government whose constitution is based on Shariah law.
Here’s how Al Jazeera, which feigns neutrality, objectivity and balance in its “newscasts,” defines Zionism: “A colonial movement supporting the establishment by any means necessary of a national state for Jews in historic Palestine.” (Emphasis added.)
That definition is a complete and purposeful distortion of history, truth and reality because of the words and phrases I have emphasized. Neither the Zionist movement nor the Israeli state has ever sought to “colonize” another people and certainly not “by any means necessary.” And lastly, by referring to “historic Palestine,” this suggests the name chosen for Israel by its Roman conquerors was a legitimate nation-state of some other ethnic or religious group. It was not. In fact, Jews continuously lived in the land from 70 AD through 1948 – and they were, in fact, the people who most frequently called themselves “Palestinians” through the time of the rebirth of the state of Israel.
More to the point, the Al Jazeera definition insinuates that Jews sought to displace the non-Jewish population of “Palestine” and later the reborn state of Israel. In fact, it has always been the other way around, with Arab states and Arab Palestinians trying to eradicate the Jews from their original homeland, even after it had been restored 70 years ago. Israeli Arabs have voting rights, serve in the Knesset, are free to practice their faith and have free speech and free press rights unequaled anywhere else in the Arab-Muslim world.
Of course, Al Jazeera will never tell you that. Neither will CNN, the New York Times, the United Nations, left-wing college professors at American universities supported by large grants from Middle East oil powers or those anti-Semites who prefer to call themselves “anti-Zionists.”
That’s part of the reason I consider myself an Arab-American Zionist. Now, let me briefly explain why I embrace Zionism as a Christian – a sold-out follower of the Jewish Jesus. I believe the return of Jewish populations from all over the world and restoration of Israel is God’s plan, as the Hebrew prophets foretold. In other words, Israel’s unique resurrection from the “dead” after nearly two millennia is stark evidence His people remain “the apple of His eye,” as Scripture tells us in Deuteronomy 32:10, Lamentations 2:18 and Zechariah 2:8.
Lastly, I want to provide you with a resource that can serve as an antidote to the confusion sown by media, academia and leftist and Muslim propaganda about Zionism.
Zionism U is the brainchild of journalist David Isaac, who serves as the project’s executive director, and my dear friend, the late Herbert Zweibon, who chaired Americans for a Safe Israel until his death in 2011.
“These films and their accompanying lesson plans are meant for everybody. It’s what motivated us to include an entire series on Christian Zionism, which has a long and rich history all its own,” Isaac says. “Keep in mind that the state of Israel is unique in history – an exiled nation for nearly 2,000 years successfully reconstituted itself in its ancestral land. It’s never been done before. It was something new under the sun. That alone makes it worth studying.”
If this subject is confusing to you, if it’s fascinating to you, if it’s an enigma to you, I urge you to watch history unfold before your eyes and decide for yourself if you, too, are a Zionist.