"Also, surely this whole ‘right to self-determination’ thing only works for people living in a particular territory? How can a Ukranian or American Jew from Kiev or New York have a right to ‘self-determine’ in a country half-way around the world?"
@MDM, by most, your question would be perceived as rhetorical; by a minority, it would not be. This cuts to the heart of so-called “religious Zionism”; and provides cover, too, for the convenient but entirely spurious charge that opposition to Zionism represents an assault on Jews collectively since (there being no homogenous Jewish ethnicity or “race” in the anthropological sense) the determinant of whether or not someone is and identifies as a Jew is primarily one of matrilineal religious heritage. If Zionism is criticised, questioned or de-legitimised, the critic is thereby attacking the essence of Jewishness itself as well as opposing God’s will.
At its conception and in its 19th Century infancy, Zionism was a secular political ideology; “religious Zionism”, as refined and articulated by Rabbi Rav Kook, post-dated these roots and was a rationalisation serving further to motivate and internationalise the movement for the colonial settlement of Palestine. In colloquial terms, Rabbi Kook’s theological message was that God had given the land of Palestine to the Jews in "perpetuity" (until Judgment Day) and reclaiming it - including by emigrating to it - was the will of God and the duty of Jews everywhere. Furthermore, those who made Aliyah for secular reasons were unwittingly doing God’s bidding by settling the land.
Kook’s handy spiritual “gloss” on a pre-existing political ideology thus forged a blunt but powerful weapon that is wielded indiscriminately by Zionists of both “religious” and of more-than-ordinarily-secular stripes to bludgeon and silence opposition.
All this nonsense about “Zionist” and “Zio- (suffix of your choice, including “pathy”, “think”, etc.)” being cover for anti-Semitism is exactly that; iow, bullsh*t! Zionism, as I've said ad nauseam here and elsewhere, is a political ideology, not a religion or some form of “ethnic” identity. This ideology, which has spawned the colonialist, supremacist project in Palestine, is rooted in flawed premises, false assertions and the misrepresentation of historical timelines and of previously-prevailing demography. Its results have been dispossession, displacement, occupation, murder, injustice and tyranny.
Trying to turn the Zio-word into a latter-day “N” word in order to place it off-limits and render it a taboo is another attempt to stifle criticism of the ideology itself. It is an extension of the familiar conflation of criticism of Israel/Israeli policies and behaviour with anti-Semitism; and it won’t work! What it WILL do is further debase and devalue the public perception of risks posed by genuine anti-Semitism, namely an irrational animus against Jews qua Jews for which, in the United Kingdom at least, there are already adequate legal protections and remedies in the extant, broader anti-racism and anti- hate crime legislation.
What if 59 percent of British Jews identify as Zionists? It means that by arguing against Zionism or even insulting the ideology (plenty of people insult Fascism, Marxism, globalism, élitism, liberalism, etc.), I am opposed to the support of 59 percent of British Jews for Zionism. What it DOESN'T mean is that I hate 59 percent of British Jews because of their Jewish faith/their identification of themselves as Jewish.
The Chief Rabbi, along with his predecessor, Jonathan Sacks, needs more carefully to study his history to know that, after Zionism was born and was learning to walk, although had not reached the adolescent stage of sending more than a handful of colonists to Palestine, many prominent, assimilated Jews chose very much to separate their Judaism from Zionism. They perceived the latter as a threat to their continued acceptance in British and other European societies where they had achieved economic security, position and participation in government or state institutions, not to mention in some cases earned titles of nobility for political or philanthropic efforts. Their homes were the countries in which they lived and they had had no appetite for Zionism to cast the un-wished for shadow of suspected divided loyalty over them and their families.
Some even foresaw and demurred at the prospect of what would befall the indigenous non-Jews in Palestine if the Zionist colonial project, with its supremacist tenets, proceeded.