I was thinking about “Anti-Zionism” and it seems to me to be an inaccurate, not to say disingenuous phrase, at least in it’s current usage. Does anyone actually refer to themselves as a “Zionist”? It seems to me that this is used as an intended slur by those who describe themselves as “Anti-Zionist”. Ian Buruma in the Guardian was surprised to find Tom Paulin, in a letter to the Guardian criticising him, referring to “Buruma’s Zionist credentials”
I would describe “Zionism” as the movement to set up a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Well guess what: it succeeded. It is an historical term. It would seem to me to be analogous to “Abolitionism”, i.e those who wanted to abolish slavery. Well slavery was abolished and nobody goes round calling each other “Abolitionist” or “Anti-Abolitionist”
For what it’s worth I don’t consider myself a “Zionist” as I would define it, that is because, despite the Holocaust, it doesn’t seem compelling to me that there was a necessity for setting up a Jewish state in Palestine and I certainly wouldn’t condone the terrorism of Shamir’s Irgun gang in attempting to bring this about. That is not to say that I think the establishment of Israel was wrong, or that actual Zionists were wrong to have this project. Having said that, I do consider myself to be pro-Israel. It is a free, vibrant, democratic state and it is surrounded by mortal enemies.
It is one thing to say that you are agnostic about how a state came to exist, or even to say that you thought it’s establishment was wrong, it is another thing entirely to say that you think this state should be destroyed. It seems to me that the position of “Anti-Zionists” is not simply “Israel shouldn’t have been established as it was” but “Israel should be destroyed”. It is more accurate, but sounds a lot less philosophical, to describe this view as “Anti-Israel”. Which other country in the world faces this? There is no worldwide “Anti-Gallicist” movement which seeks to destroy France.