Judaism, Zionism: What's The Difference?
Updated: Mar 13
“You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” John 4:22 NASB
This distinction will become increasingly valuable to know as time passes. In light of seeing the recent trends on social media regarding “Jews” and antisemitism, a baseline comparison and contrasting of Judaism and the Zionist ideology is timely. If one is looking for justification for antisemitism, they will find none here. The subject is a vast one with much more to grow from beyond this article. By the end of the read, we will be able to draw at least one line in the sand between them.
Judaism is the expression of monotheistic religious worship of the God of Abraham, with texts comprised of the Word of the Torah (the Torah also translates to “The Law”, sometimes referring to the first five Books of Moses, aka Mosaic Law). The complete Torah and the Old Testament of Christianity are both made of the same Holy Scripture, and are in reverence to the same Holy Father. In the context of Zionism, the Jewish people were granted a series of Covenants (Genesis 12, 15, 17) by the Holy Father to Abraham, and with it the Covenant of the Promised Land (Genesis 15). According to scripture, God will deliver the Land to the people of Israel unconditionally, as in the Jewish people do not need to worry about aspiring to political independence by worldly devices, but only waiting for the Father to fulfill His Word and keeping His Commandments. Remaining humble and standing aside for God to offer Redemption is the orthodox, or some may insist correct, approach to understanding the Covenant of the Promised Land.
Why mention this? Oftentimes, Zionism is treated in accordance to the assessment that the political movement itself is the fulfillment of the Jewish Promised Land. This is debatable, considering that if God has Will for something to happen, provided His characterization as Almighty also in the Torah, a physical political party comprised of imperfect people, as we all are, is an unlikely instrument of choice for the circumstance. The matter of “who or Who” ought to carry out the emancipation of the Jewish people is generally where the divide begins.
Zionism is the political movement that strives to establish the Jewish homeland in the Holy Land of Israel. In 1897, Theodor Herzl and others collaborated the official formation of the Zionism movement with the First Zionist Congress held in Basel, Switzerland. Out of this came the Basel Program, which includes the goals of promoting Jewish settlement in Palestine, which at that time was under Turkish-Ottoman rule. By the Second Congress, plans were already being laid out to pressure the Turkish government and other “colonization societies” into supporting the goals of the movement, as prescribed by the Congress. The conglomerate lives on today as the World Zionist Congress, with its 37th conference having transpired in 2015.
How is it relevant? To be direct: Modern Zionism has many actors within it, and most are not Jewish; the key point of this article. Scholar and Rabbi David Weiss has attested that Zionism was met with disapproval internationally by Rabbinical authorities for its contradictions with the Mosaic Commandments, including, but not limited to, murder and theft. Michael Walzer, an American leading public intellectual, has considered the movement to be a