Hufschmid's main page
My page that references this article
The following article has been erased or moved. It is still in the google cache here.
This page at claims to have a copy, but their link doesn't seem to be working.

A Definition:
Who is a Zionist?

The question who is a Zionist is often a sterile debate over semantics, rather than one of any substance. The controversial Israeli author, A. B. YEHOSHUA, sorts his way through to a conclusive definition.

A. B.   Yehoshua 

Publish date: 
8 - Apr - 2003

Originally published as: 
Zionism: Recipe for the Jewish Future published by the Union of jewish Students.

"Zionist" and "Zionism" are very confused concepts. Here someone speaks in the name of "authentic" Zionism, there in the name of "humanistic" Zionism, another speaks in the name of "great" Zionism, and yet another in the name of "original" Zionism.

The time has come, it seems, to lay down precisely and clearly a realistic formal definition of this term. Definitions on the order of "the link between the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel" will not help us understand why, for example, we consider the Neturai Karta anti-Zionists, even though they would wholeheartedly subscribe to the above formula, nor why Zionists who do not at all believe in the Torah of Israel and certainly do not follow its commandments are considered Zionists.

Trivial definitions such as "the belief in the Jewish people's existence in Eretz Israel" or "the struggle for the State of Israel's existence" do not provide any inkling of why Zionism was condemned in the United Nations by a country such as Sweden. A Swede is permitted to love his people and country and a Jew is forbidden to love his country?!

A definition such as "the right of the Jewish people to all of Eretz Israel" would place someone like Ben-Gurion outside the bounds of Zionism, for he was prepared to relinquish those parts of Eretz Israel taken in the Six-Day War.

The definition advanced by the Zionist left -"the national liberation movement of the Jewish people" -is altogether muddied. I do not know from whom the Jewish people is to be liberated. From the Americans? The British? And what about Israel itself? Are we not liberated?

Others maintain that a Zionist is someone who comes to settle in Eretz Israel. If so, what about all those who were born here: are they not Zionists? Confusion arises from each of these definitions...

I will here try to propose formal and precise definitions of this concept. Up until the establishment of the State of Israel a Zionist was defined as "a person... who wants to establish a Jewish State in Eretz Israel.' ,

The key word in this definition is State. Underlying the Zionist outlook was the ambition to establish a State. Zionism needed full sovereignty more than any other national movement because it demanded the right of unlimited immigration and unlimited settlement, and these could be realized only under full sovereignty.

Obviously there were differences over the tactics to adopt to achieve the goal. Some made no bones about it, others wanted to keep quiet until a Jewish majority was created in Eretz Israel. Some thought in terms of a bi-national State, others about partition and still others about all of Eretz Israel.

There were socialist, religious, bourgeois and nationalistic Zionists. Each had his own dream and ideology, but common to them all as Zionists was the final goal of the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz Israel.

Once the State was established it could be said that Zionism was "over" for it had accomplished its mission. The mountain climber ceases to be a mountain climber once he reaches the summit. And so the definition had to be changed.

The desire to establish a Jewish State in Eretz Israel could no longer define the Zionist, for the State had already been established. The post-1948 definition is therefore the following: A Zionist is a person who accepts the principle that the State of Israel belongs not only to its citizens, but also to the entire Jewish people.

That is the definition and what is most important in it is, in my view, the last point, that the Zionist regards the State of Israel as belonging to the Jewish people as a whole.

Zionism is not a total ideology. If someone says he is a Zionist, he has still said very little about himself. He still has to clarify his position on his relationship to society, on the problem of the territories, on the questions of religion and State, on the problem of social inequalities and other things. Zionism cannot substitute for an ideology, such as socialism, liberalism, or religiosity…