Who is a Zionist?

The issue of who is a Zionist has come to the forefront in the past week or so, thanks to Bat-Zion Susskind-Sacks  who has decided that only Jews can be Zionists and is working very hard on non-Jews to declare they are ‘pro-Zionist’ and not ‘Zionist’. This I might add is causing a good deal of anger among non-Jews and my fear is it will alienate them.

I’d be interested in getting some discussion going on it and hearing people’s views.

There is some discussion on the link above, but unless you are a ‘friend’ you won’t be able to access the entire conversation. Not that one really needs that,  there is ample posted to get the gist of it, with the comments being telling.

“Bat Zion Susskind-Sacks you fail to see that people who truly love the Jews and support their right to self determination in their own land, do so, not out of a sense of self entitlement, or a desire to usurp that which belongs to the Jews, but they do so purely out of love.”


ive tried as a christian who also loves israel because i love a jew named yeshua and stand with u. but bat your just an idiot.”

What an insult this is to the millions of non-Jews who are Zionists, many being more fervent in their love of Israel than Jews.

The comments below the article and on the Jerusalem Post article  “Zionism and Judaism the heart and soul of Israel, the Jewish state ” are quite telling also.

“Bat Zion I wonder if you have read this article about the Jewish Anna Baltzer.Perhaps its time you confronted Anna Baltzer rather than pick on the non Jewish supporters of Israel.”


“as a Jew I am ashamed of your “argument” one can be whatever he/she wants to be.”


“I will respectfully disagree, however, about your claim that non-Jews cannot be Zionists. You don’t have to be a part of that link (land and people) to RECOGNIZE the link, and that is what Zionism is – the recognition of that link. So just as a man can be a feminist (he can believe wholeheartedly that women and men are equal, despite our differences, and that we deserve equal treatment under the law and by society), so, too, a non-Jew can be a Zionist.”


“Once you take out from the formula every one that isn’t Jew,is almost racism, and for sure Ignorance, do you have any idea how you make non Jews that support Israel, many times much more then Jews? For example the Brave teenager @Mohammad Zoabi, that is fighting the ignorance of his own people , opening his heart and showing his love to Israel, do you know the damage that you did with your ignorant and shallow article ???”

This final couple of lines in one person’s comments pretty much says it all as far as I am concerned

“And I find your follow-up comments, that we are somehow “giving away” our Zionist identity to non-Jews, utterly bizarre. I would LOVE for tens of millions, hundreds of millions, billions of people say “I am a Zionist”, because by doing so, they say “I am standing up in support of Israel”.”

A Zionist in my way of thinking is a person who believes and supports the fact that Israel is the home of the Jewish people.

A pro-Zionist is a person who supports or believes that a Zionist supports Israel as the home of the Jewish people.

The Jewish Virtual Library –  “A Definition of Zionism”

The term “Zionism” was coined in 1890 by Nathan Birnbaum.

Its general definition means the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. 

Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Zionism has come to include the movement for the development of the State of Israel and the protection of the Jewish nation in Israel through support for the Israel Defense Forces.

Haaretz writesDefining Zionism: The Belief That Israel Belongs to the Entire Jewish People.

A Zionist is a person who accepts the principle that the State of Israel doesn’t belong solely to its citizens, but to the entire Jewish people. The practical expression of this commitment is the Law of Return.

Only a person who supports and affirms the Law of Return is a Zionist, and anyone who rejects the Law of Return is not a Zionist.

Zionism – Wikipedia

The common denominator among all Zionists is the claim to Eretz Israel as the national homeland of the Jews

The Iron Age kingdom of Israel (blue) and kingdom of Judah (tan), with their neighbours (8th century BCE), based on Biblical accounts.

and as the legitimate focus for the Jewish national self-determination. It is based on historical ties and religious traditions linking the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.

Zionism is a nationalist and political movement of Jews and Jewish culture that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel (roughly corresponding to Palestine, Canaan or the Holy Land).

It goes on to say –

The common denominator among all Zionists is the claim to Eretz Israel as the national homeland of the Jews and as the legitimate focus for the Jewish national self-determination. It is based on historical ties and religious traditions linking the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. Zionism does not have a uniform ideology, but has evolved in a dialogue among a plethora of ideologies.

Nowhere does it say that non-Jews cannot be be Zionists?

Sheri Oz of ‘Israel Diaries‘ has written an excellent piece on this very issue on IsreallyCool and again the comments are particularly telling.

She writes:

A fierce debate has been going on in a corner of Facebook about whether or not non-Jews can call themselves Zionists. Until this moment, I was unaware that there was a problem. But my hackles were raised when a blogger I know was recently lambasted in the comments below his post for referring to himself as a Zionist even though he is not a Jew. I strongly disagree with what he had written in that particular post but it did not, for me, deny him the right to call himself a Zionist.

In fact, last summer I noticed a small number of Christian and Moslem citizens of Israel declaring themselves proud Israeli Zionists and this has been a source of joy for me. Since then that number has been gradually increasing. And we see more and more people from the most unexpected places (Egypt, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, for example) standing up for Israel, some of them calling themselves Zionists and some simply pro-Israeli. But an alarm has apparently sounded in some quarters, and there are a number of Jews who object strongly: non-Jews, they insist, can call themselves pro-Zionists; they can never be considered Zionists. Only Jews are Zionists.

This discussion was continued on the public Facebook page of Bat-Zion Susskind-Sacks. Some of the protestations against non-Jews calling themselves Zionists were quite shrill.

Where do the many Arab/Muslim and Christian Zionists fit in? Personally on Facebook I have many friends across the Middle East and further afield who aren’t Jewish but identify strongly with Zionism. Indeed many here in Australia, including a very good Christian friend in Adelaide, who calls herself a ‘mad Zionist’

What about Muhammad Zoabi, who labels himself as an Israeli/Arab/Zionist/Muslim?

He has written an article named “I have risked my life”

I have risked my life

Got disowned by many of my family.

Been almost killed.

Fled the country and could barely live as a teenager.

Came back home, knowing that its still dangerous, knowing that my life would never be the same.

I am still being threatened and harassed by many of those who’re against the simple right of the Jewish people to have a state of their own. It’s not only me being harassed and threatened, almost every non Jew who dares to stand with the Jewish people and their right to be an independent nation amongst the nations of the Earth put their lives at risk.

And all of that was because I dared to speak my truth.

It’s all because I dared to proudly and with no hesitation say that I am in indeed a proud Arab, but also a proud Israeli Zionist!

But apparently I am not a Zionist according to Bat-Zion Susskind-Sacks, who writes,

“One cannot, I am afraid, be a Zionist without being Jewish. One can, however, be a non – Jewish supporter of Zionism…”

I do not think it courageous, loving or honourable to blog behind a computer telling people who or what they are not. It is hurtful and destroys people and it is not the first time. As a proud Zionist I want to end hatred and speak of courage.

Read on… http://israelseen.com/2015/08/29/muhammad-zoabi-i-have-risked-my-life/



Check Also

From Israel: Please Note: The Spots Are Still the Same!!

I have drawn my title, as many of you will surmise, from the Hebrew prophet …


  1. Thanks for the thorough explorations of this topic. As to who is a Zionist, it might be helfpful along the way to answer the question, “Who is a Jew?” It is a simpler question but equally thorny. For example, is Bob Dylan a Jew? How about Marx? Can a person be born “a Jew” and lose their Jewishness by conversion to , say , Buddhism?
    I am reminded of the same issue in Alcohoics Anonymous, “Who is an alcoholic?” This is a significant question in the context of Alcoholics Anonymous and membership in AA. Their solution is that you are a member if you say you are.
    It might be helpful to think of these terms a social constructs, not biological or genetic constructs Suppose someone is”born Jewish” , halachically, and supports the right of return and the rights of Jews to live in their native land, Israel. If they convert to Buddhism and still maintain their political views on the State of Israel, did they stop being Zionists?Similar questions abound as to who is a native American with the right to live on tribal land,
    But the issue of Judaism is much more complex as is the definition of Zionism.. Personally, as a Zionist who does not practice the Jewish religion, I am pleased whenever I encounter other Zionists, regardless of their religious beliefs.
    We don’t need to be alienating friends. God knows we don’t have enough as it is.

  2. Steve Blowers

    Excellent article. I have in recent months, become quite discouraged in many ways in my support of Israel. To finally be told that I am not allowed to be a Zionist by a member of the nation I love and support was the last straw. Thank you Shirlee for bringing together these different threads. I am now encouraged and proud to call myself a Zionist.

  3. To call someone a pro-zionist means they support me, because I’m a zionist 🙂 I’m a proud, mad Zionist who will continue to stick up for Israel and support the right of the Jewish people to return and live in their legal and historical homeland.

    I don’t think anyone is splitting hairs over what an anti-Zionist is and I really think this campaign of Bat-Zion Susskind-Sacks is divisive and a complete waste of time.

    Thanks Shirlee for this article and for being someone who unites those who champion the wonderful cause of supporting Israel.

    • Thanks Tania. Love you and love all you do for Israel as non-Jewish ZIONIST

    • I agree that it is a waste of time and energy. I like your comment about how nobody is “splitting hairs over what an anti-Zionist is”.

  4. Limiting who Zionists are, is the absolute definition of stupidity. I was born of Jews. But I am an atheist and a Zionist.

    If you start saying non-Jews cannot be Zionists, by natural extension, the slippery slope would lead you to declare that only a “right” type of Jew can be a Zionist.

    Zionism is a political ideology. It has no genetic inheritance.

  5. Excellent article and well done for speaking out Shirlee. These dear people must be appreciated for their brave stance which often alienates them from their own culture. What an arrogant approach! I am glad so many people are speaking out.

  6. Thanks for the above post Shirlee. I believe in the right of Jews to control their own destiny as a people, which makes me a Zionist and my own religion / nationality has no relevance at all to that discussion. period. I was going to write a longer response, but the more thought I put into it, the sillier Bat Zion’s position looked. I think her comments have been insulting and divisive.

    • Thanks . Appreciated.
      Good put more in because she gets in deeper and deeper with every word. She is causing a great deal of harm.
      Goodnight it’s way past midnight

  7. This woman insults the many wonderful people who support the rights of Jews to their ancestral land. Of couse such people are Zionists; the question should never have even been raised.

  8. People who think like Bat Zion Susskind-Sacks do damage to Jews and do damage to Israel. As Secretary of the Australia Israel Friendship Assoc, I can attest to the fact that our members, many of them non-Jewish, are the most ardent Zionists I have ever met. I feel a deep respect and admiration for them; they are Zionists out of conviction, but those of us who are Jewish more or less automatically become Zionists – unless we have a mental aberration and become ashamed Jews,joining the racist anti-Israel brigade!

    • She is causing huge problems and won’t back down and posting the most ridiculous things rather than saying she is sorry

  9. I had no idea about the existence of this discussion at all. On reading it through, what an utter blithering idiot is this Bat-Zion (ironic name given the topic) Susskind-Sacks. Where on earth does she get her ideas and who gave her the right to bestow the honorific of “Zionist” or “pro-Zionist” on anyone?

    As far as I’m concerned, as a Jewish Israeli verbrentte (mad keen) Zionist, I say that anyone who supports the idea that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish nation is a Zionist.

    There is no difference between being a Zionist and a pro-Zionist. They are one and the same.

    We have few enough supporters as it is without alienating our most faithful supporters.

    Kol hakavod Shirlee on bringing this subject to the fore and reaffirming our love and gratefulness for our non-Jewish supporters – who are as Zionist as any of us.

  10. What bothers me is that the question of Zionism should be an issue at all.

    As far as I am concerned the movement for Jewish nationalism fulfilled itself in May of 1948.

    Many countries had nationalist movements, but as far as I know only the Jewish nation feels compelled to maintain the nationalist movement far after the nation created its state.

    For example, the movement for Italian nationalism was known as Risorgimento (the Resurgence). I am pretty sure that no one in Italy still thinks of themselves as members of this movement because the issue is resolved.

    This is the way I think of Zionism.

    As with Italy, the question of the Jewish State of Israel, is done.

  11. the Jewish prophet Isaiah relates G-d’s message: “And say to Zion, you are My people” (51:16). This should be very clear: Zion = the Jewish people, the land of Israel and Jerusalem. Zion does not equal non-Jews who “love” or support Israel. It is wrong for Christians to attempt to Christianize Zionism by calling themselves “Christian Zionists”. This is just another link in a long tradition of Christians trying to usurp Jewish identity. The answer is very simple. Zion means the Jewish people, the land of Israel, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. It is mentioned 108 times in our Tanach. This name is not “up for grabs” for whoever loves or supports Israel. It is our Jewish identity. In Psalms it says we are the “children of Zion” and no, no ,mo, Christians cannott “share” that identity with us!!! No way!! We have enough problems with missionaries (even from CUFI< John Hagee, the ICEJ and others. Please see JewishIsrael.com) and Christians constantly trying to blur the lines between us.
    Zion is the Jewish people. Only Jewish people can be Zionists. If a non-Jew really loves and supports Israel they will respect Jewish identity.

    • Jews Down Under

      We will leave this in situ as we feel plenty of people will answer it.
      However it is a requirement of this web site that you use a name when posting. Under normal circumstances it would have been removed.

    • I think that the above is perfectly valid commentary.

      I can neither agree, nor disagree, with “a yid” because I never argue with anyone’s religious perspective.

      It is true, of course, that Zion refers to the Jewish people and the land of the Jewish people, Israel.

      It refers to our home and to who we are.

      • Mike,
        Zion may refer to Jews, but Zionism is a whole other issue.

        “Zionism is a nationalist and political movement of Jews and Jewish culture that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel ”

        Nowhere does it say that Jews CANNOT be Zionists. That’s the issue at hand.

        This ‘person’ says “Christians to attempt to Christianize Zionism by calling themselves “Christian Zionists”. This is just another link in a long tradition of Christians trying to usurp Jewish identity. ”
        What a load of hogwash.

        Read this http://www.israeldiaries.com/guest-post-why-do-i-call-myself-a-christian-zionist/

    • Morry Sztainbok

      @ a yid

      I have a number of problems with what you say. The first is one of definitions. The term “Zionism” is modern, coined by Nathan Birnbaum in 1890. The “ism” represents “a belief in”, so, unlike the word “Zion” that you use, the term Zionist originally encompassed all the people who believed in a Jewish return to Zion, and now has devolved to supporters of Israel, regardless of who they are. This includes people in the Jewish community who represent an entire spectrum of opinion, from the virulently anti-Zionist Satmar and Bund, to the Zionist organisations and youth movements on the other end.

      There is a problem with pulling words apart, because they are not defined by their parts. On a daily basis I encounter Jew haters who claim not to be “antisemites” because they themselves are Semitic. It just doesn’t work that way. The word “antisemitism” was coined with a specific meaning, just as the word “Zionism” was. I truly wish that the Jews were Zionists, sadly they’re not, even if they parallel both Zion and Israel in the liturgy.

  12. For me Zionism is as natural as breathing. The local branch of WIZO was founded in the family home living room when I guess I was about six or seven. I remember that group of ladies and their regular fun filled meetings in that room as they got on with the serious business of raising funds for Israel and becoming firm friends.

    The other day someone in a speech offered a definition of a Zionist. It was short and to the point. Someone who supports the idea of Israel. I found myself nodding.

    I can tell you for certain that not all those ladies in the living room, and there were a few, were Jewish. One was a practising Catholic.

    There have been non-Jews who have been Zionists from the start and this should be applauded and their courage shown the respect it deserves. They share in the risks and the rest that goes with it all and without any personal obligation at all. They stand with the other Zionists.

    Of course they are Zionists

    The honest truth is that if it wasn’t for the link I would have no idea at all who Bat Zion Susskind-Sacks was. I guess you can tell from the name that she is not Catholic. Apart from that? Nope. I’ve got nothing.

    Thanks to the link now I know.

    She’s a public figure. Or should that be Public Figure?

    Anyway its a profession even if its definition is in the eye of the beholder.

    A bit like “Zionism” really.

    This is a stupid controversy that does not deserve oxygen. It’s a pity this thing has come up at all. It adds nothing to anything. Some will try to blow this up as if it was something serious but you can be certain their motives are malign.

    They always do that.

  13. Steve Blowers

    Bat Zion Susskind-Sacks diatribe about who is, or isn’t a Zionist is the latest in a long line of, what she feels, are necessary markers to lay down about who can love the Jews and Israel, and how they may do so. Shirlee Finn kindly posted a link above to a piece which I wrote in response to someone’s question about why I am a Zionist. It is my personal testimony. Let me clarify, I am not Jewish, I am English, a Christian and I am a Zionist. The view expressed by “a yid” is common one. I’m tempted to wager that “a yid” is a nom de plume for BZ.

    In the past year I have come up against this attitude of, “you may love us but you must respect our identity.” To me, it goes without saying that if you love a person, or a people, then respect goes hand in hand with that. To not respect is not showing love. To have to state the obvious speaks to me of deep insecurity. I have come to understand that the Jews have multiple reasons for feeling insecure but they have built a strong, proud nation, in Israel with the means to protect themselves from a hostile world. The building of this nation is practical Zionism and and deserves huge respect. It has inspired me and I do what I can to speak up for Israel and the Jews. I support Israel and as others here point out, that makes me a Zionist.

    BZ should never have raised this issue. It makes me very sad. I have had many disagreements with her, she sees me as one out to “steal Jewish souls.” There are many like me, who love the Jews. I don’t want anything in exchange and I certainly don’t seek Bat Zion’s approbation.

  14. According to narrow minded, intellectually insufficient application of Birnbaum’s noun “Zionist”, Ms Susskind is not only right but a genuine champion of damaging absurdities.

    According to the very structure of the Jewish State , to which Zionism singularly applies, Israel comprises and functions by the grace of Hashem LEGALLY with a variety of non Jews living in Israel as Israeli citizens and thus contributing to its strength and infinite continuity. All those non Jewish Israeli citizens, some of whom take part in all aspects of Israel’s existence, serving in the army, administration, cultural life etc., not only have the same rights as those Jews who enjoy the right of return and stay, but, as non Jews they ensure that Zionism is a concrete realisation. How can, then, anyone dismiss them as non Zionists !!! Implicitly, like the Jews outside Israel ,so non Jews living outside Israel who support Israel in the same manner as the Jews living outside Israel, are logically , entitled to the quality of being Zionists. especially when they themselves, completely aware of the term and commitments , call themselves Zionists. This is not just a matter of sympathy and appreciation, but one of common sense, logic and fairness.

  15. It was an Irish man by the name of Col.John Henry Patterson who led the first Jewish army,1916/17 (the Thirty-eighth and Thirty-ninth Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers) since the Bar Kochba rebellion in 136CE, Orde Wingate, an Englishman help form the Haganah, Rev. William Heckler a German clergyman was instrumental in Herzl’s meeting with heads of State, Lord Shaftesbury argued for the restoration of Israel in the British Parliament long before Balfour and the famous Declaration of Nov 1917, C.H. Spurgeon, an English preacher, preached on the restoration of Israel, I could go on. I wonder, were this non-Jews Zionists or pro-Zionists?

  16. Hi,Bat-Zion Susskind-Sacks has a public facebook page where everyone can comment.One doesn’t have to be her facebook friend.This is the page

    • I know that Fiona but she removes what is not to her liking.
      I posted something that showed she was wrong and it went very quickly
      I have been told that on her other page she is posting lies about me and Steve Blowers