Wikipedia Distorts Meaning of “Zionism” (Updated)

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Just yesterday, my brother from another mother Thani tweeted

Thani tweet

He has a point. And as if on cue, a reader tip alerted me to the Wikipedia definition of “Zionism”



Zionism (Hebrew: צִיּוֹנוּת‎ Tsiyyonut [tsijoˈnut] after Zion) is both an ideology and nationalist movement among the Jewish people that espouses the re-establishment of and support for a Jewish state centered in the area roughly corresponding to Canaan, the Holy Land, or the region of Palestine, but whose borders as the Land of Israel would encompass a much larger area.

The implication is clear: Zionists have an agenda to reestablish “Greater Israel.” This is a pernicious lie, and one that is oft repeated by the Israel-haters.

If you want a better definition of Zionism, History.com puts it simply and accurately:

Zionism is a movement to recreate a Jewish presence in Israel. The name comes from the word “Zion,” which is a Hebrew term that refers to Jerusalem.

This is it in a nutshell: the realization of the Jewish aspiration to have self-determination in their ancient homeland, or at least part thereof.

As Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentions on its website

The establishment of the State of Israel marked the realization of the Zionist goal of attaining an internationally recognized, legally secured home for the Jewish people in its historic homeland, where Jews would be free from persecution and able to develop their own lives and identity.

It could hardly be clearer. Israel is the realization of the goal of “Zionism.” It is not some partial goal, which will only be attained once we conquer further territories, as the Wikipedia definition suggests.

One of Wikipedia’s “sources” is Gideon Biger,The Boundaries of Modern Palestine, 1840-1947, Routledge, 2004, ppl.58-63:

“Unlike the erarlier literature that dealt with Palestine’s delimitation, the boundaries were not presented according to their historical traditional meaning, but according to the boundaries of the Jewish Eretz Israel that was about to be established there. This approach characterizes all the Zionist publications at the time. . .when they came to indicate borders, they preferred the realistic condition and strategic economic needs over an unrealistic dream based on the historic past.’ This meant that planners envisaged a future Palestine that controlled all the Jordan’s sources the southern part of the Litanni river in Lebanon, the large cultivatable area east of the Jordan, including the Houran and Gil’ad wheat zone, Mt Hermon, the Yarmuk and Yabok rivers, the Hijaz Railway, embracing territories beyond Palestine proper just as Herzl envisaged.”

Note the acknowledgment here that the early “modern” Zionists preferred the realistic condition and strategic economic needs over an unrealistic dream based on the historic past. This actually goes dead against the Wikipedia definition it is supposed to be reinforcing.

If you ask anyone who considers themself a Zionist whether they are aiming for “Greater Israel”, I am guessing no fewer than 98% would respond in the negative. If you ask anyone who considers themself a Zionist whether they want peace with their neighbors, I am guessing no fewer than 98% would respond in the affirmative. The disagreements arise over the best way to attain that peace.

As the reader who alerted me to the Wikipedia definition wrote

As a frequent wikipedia editor, it is rife with extreme antisemitism against Jews as a people, and constantly edit wars are being waged by mainly Arabic and far-Leftist masses.

Unfortunately, it seems to be a war we are losing.

Updated: In response to this post, A Wikipedia editor writes in the comments:

I have deleted the statement “but whose borders as the Land of Israel would encompass a much larger area” as according to an IP editor it is not supported by any of the provided sources. I have left a message stating that if anyone wishes to reinstate the statement, they should indicate precisely where in the sources they got the statement from. It hasn’t been part of the article all that long anyway – no more than a few weeks as far as I can see. Regards Romomusicfan (a Wikipedia editor)

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A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media