Zionism - the Integral Component of Jewish Identity that Jews are Historically Pressured to Shed

By Alyza D. Lewin - President and General Counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Centre for
Human Rights Under Law, and co-founder and partner of Lewin & Lewin, LLP

The yearning and determination of Jews to re-establish their Jewish homeland in the Land of lsrael is "Zionism" - an integral component of Jewish identity. lt is more than the political movement launched in the 1800's.The deep religious, ancestral, and ethnic connection of Jews to the Land of lsrael is as old as Abraham and the Bible. Jewish messianic movements brought Jews to lsrael between the 13th and 19th centuries, proving the Jews' historic sense of peoplehood and their belief in the "ingathering of the exiles." Only in the 18th century did Jews first shed this element of Jewish identity because European governments demanded this surrender in exchange for citizenship.
Why are Jews demonised and marginalised today when they express support for lsrael? lt is a modern manifestation of the antisemitic pressure on Jews to shed the national and ethnic part of their Jewish identity. Discrimination against anyone who observes the Jewish Sabbath, wears a kippah, or maintains a kosher diet is universally recognised as antisemitism. lt is equally antisemitic to marginalise or harass Jews for expressing the Zionist component of their Jewish identity. lsolating and dehumanising Zionists is akin to branding Jews with a virtual "yellow Star of David." To ensure that history does not repeat itself, we must forcefully condemn this modern mode of antisemitism.

In this article Alyza D. Lewin explores this topic.

The Louis D. Brandeis Center, Inc. is an independent, non-partisan institution for public interest advocacy, research and education. The Center’s mission is to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and to promote justice for all.