The concept of Zionism holds a vital place in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Often characterized as Nationalist Zionism, Religious Zionism and Political Zionism; this is an ideology that supports the demand of Jews to return to their “historical homeland” called Zion which is defined as the Land of Israel. According to the prominent Jewish figures, Zionism is a movement, both religious and political, whereby a socialistic model state for Jews is to be established on the land of Palestine.
The religious roots if Zionism can be found in Judaism while it was developed in a political movement by Moses Hess, a mentor of Karl Marx in socialism. In his book, Rome and Jerusalem, published in 1862, he laid down the foundations for Zionism. However, Theodor Hertzl is considered the official founder of this socialist ideology who gave an even more practical plan for the colonization of Palestine in his book, The Jewish State published in 1896. He stated Hess’s book as a source for everything one needs to know about Zionism. According to him “race, people and nation all merge in Zionism to create socialism.”
A crucial role in colonization was played by Eastern European Marxist Jews who were led by Israel’s founding father, Ben Gurion. The socialist kibbutzim stated that only Jews could become the members and so it led to the Nakba cataclysm, paving way to the theft of the land and ethnically cleansing of around 750,000 Palestinians off their land. These Palestinians and their new generations still live in exile and are denied return by the UN. In the US, Zionism became a major force after the six-day war mainly through their influence on the media and film industry, as well as banking and the academic sphere.
The Belfour Declaration, which was signed in 1979 by Lord Rothschild and Britain’s foreign minister paved the way for giving “national identity to the Jewish group through a Jewish state in the land of Palestine.” In the beginning, it earned only a little support among the European Jews as well among the Jews who were based in German concentration camps during WWII. The exodus of Jews from Germany served as a major factor in promoting Zionism. Although the colonization of Palestine had started since the end of the nineteenth century, Zionism got a political breakthrough especially after the World War II with the 1948 declaration of a Jewish state in Israel.
While most religious Jewish groups consider Zionism as a development that have positive impact on their religion, there are also some groups like Neturei Karta who see Zionism incompatible with Judaism as they carry the view that creation of a Jewish state cannot be done by the people as in the case of Israel and is only the work of God.
At present, Zionism is one of the most dominant ideologies in the western world. Israelis have been unleashing brutal force on the innocent Palestinians for many years on the name of Zionism and the concept has been wrongly used to initiate neo-colonial wars and to control people’s thoughts by putting restrictions on the freedom of speech. This concept is misused by powerful authorities to secure a new world order by bringing up conflicts and wars with and between various religions, cultural and ethnic groups. A closer look at the history reveals that Zionists are the Big Brother of the world who has used this concept as an excuse to capture the Palestinian land. However, growing criticism has somewhat convinced them to present more realistic translation of the Zionist agenda.