Understanding Zionism: What It Is and What It Isn’t

Muslim intellectual urges fellow Muslims to cease their erroneous view of Israel, the Jews and Islam

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The following is a commentary by Turkish Muslim intellectual Adnan Oktar admonishing the Muslim world to stop viewing Zionism as a source of evil.

Zionism, named after Mount Zion in Israel, stands out among the hundreds of the world’s nationalist movements. It is all too often attributed to evil conspiracies and placed at the center of all malevolence; this inexplicable attitude is never seen in regard to other nationalist movements.

Its actual aim, however, is to bring together the Jewish people who have long been scattered around the world, under the same state. The Jewish Diaspora wanted to establish their own state in their hereditary lands. In our day, the antagonism towards them, in other words anti-Semitism, has been re-branded as anti-Zionism. Anti-Semitism targets all Jews because of their nationality. Though the land upon which Israel is established is ringed by 22 Arab states, all of whom are tied to their ethnic origins, the Jewish people’s gathering together and establishment of their own state has always been a subject of dispute. 

Yet Israel is considered as a port in a storm for millions of Jewish people. The State of Israel’s position as a safe home for Jews would be better appreciated considering nearly one million Jewish people, leaving all of their assets behind, were forced to emigrate from Arab countries in the aftermath of the 1948 war.

Israel, unlike many Arab countries, consists of people with various faiths and diverse ethnic backgrounds. One-fifth of its population is Arab, while the entire population is composed of over 70 ethnic origins and cultures with 35 different languages and dialects. It is worth mentioning that Arabic is also an official language alongside Hebrew in this country. 

Despite some generally-accepted misperceptions in the Middle East, Zionism is not an undertaking devised for world domination. After all the suffering and persecution they went through over the centuries, the Jewish nation’s only goal is to live safely in the lands where their forefathers lived.

The Jewish people have been a part of this land for 3,500 years, and were expelled from their homes long ago by the oppressive hand of the Roman Empire. The emergence of the State of Israel serves as the realization of this small nation’s dreams of a homeland where they can ultimately live in safety and govern themselves. 

It is highly surprising, but also true, that many Muslims are even incognizant of the actual meaning of Zionism. Instead, they prefer to define Zionism as “an evil system which aims to destroy the world order” and erroneously believe that Zionism is the source of all evil in the world. Moreover, many Muslims are under the illusion that anti-Israelism is a part of devotion to God. 

Muslims should know that advocating for the rights of the Palestinian people does not necessarily mean adopting an anti-Semitic ideology. Israel’s right to exist, as with any other country in the world, is beyond dispute. Moreover, the recognition of Israel’s right to exist would surely stop the bloodshed that has been ongoing for centuries. Jewish or not, murdering innocent people or promoting the expulsion of people from their ancestral homeland just because they are Jews is not in line with the ethics of the Qur’an. 

Just as we find in international law, Islam also has a principle of “individual criminal responsibility”. An entire community can never be found guilty as a whole. Every society has its good and evil people. Incriminating or punishing them all without differentiating between the innocent and the guilty is entirely unacceptable. God explicitly grants the Jewish people the right to live in the Holy Land:

Remember when Moses said to his people, “My people! Remember God’s blessing to you when He appointed prophets among you and appointed kings for you, and gave you what He had not given to anyone else in all the worlds. My people! Enter the Holy Land which God has ordained for you. Do not turn back in your tracks and so become transformed into losers.” (Qur’an, 5:20-21) 

God also informs us in the Qur’an – and this is also promised in the Torah (Deuteronomy 30) – that the scattered Jewish people shall gather during the End Times:

…We said to the tribe of Israel after that, “Inhabit the land and, when the promise of the hereafter comes, We will produce you as a motley crowd.” (Qur’an, 17:104)

It is highly significant to see a promise made by God 3,000 years ago coming true and witnessing what was foretold by the Prophet Abraham and the Prophet Moses, God revealed that “The Jews will be in those lands” thousands of years ago, and we can see that miracle coming to fruition now.

If the Arab-Muslim world recognizes Israel’s right to exist as an independent and sovereign state, this century-long bloodshed will surely cease. The greatest benefit here would certainly come to the Palestinian people, who have been greatly distressed due to war and security precautions. 

It is of critical importance to note once again that there is currently a profound misconception in the Islamic world with regards to Zionism and this biased point of view has turned into a misplaced fear of Jewish people over time. Many Muslims are ignorant of the fact that by objecting to the Jews’ right to exist, they are in fact rebelling against the verses of the Qur’an. Explaining Zionism in an accurate way and ending this cycle of hatred against a people who, like Muslims, are also believers in the One True God, is incumbent upon true Muslims.


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