Let us return to the old question, why exactly is Zionism not racism? The US ambassador to the UN decried the Z-R resolution by asserting that Jews are a religion, not a race. That definition ignores the regrettable majority of atheist Jews and flies in the face of the 1947 polemics. Then the Arabs asserted that Jews are a religion rather than a nation, and as such are not “entitled” to a state. Atheist Jewish leaders vehemently opposed the religious connotation, and claimed nationhood.

Fine, Jews are not a race, but would it have been better if Zionism were defined as chauvinism instead of racism?

Dictionaries insist that racism denotes a sense of superiority; Jews may claim they only want isolation, but such approach is senseless. No one wants to be inferior to others. Any nationalism, Jewish included, is based on the assumption that one’s own nation is somehow better than others. The nature of the perceived superiority could be different: cultural in France, political in the United States, religious in Israel. It is not enough to say that people wish to preserve their identity: they must actually believe that their identity is better. People who prefer pears over apples are convinced that pears are more tasty, though objectively pears and apples cannot be valued by taste. There is no shame in considering your nation to be better than others, just as you can extol your own fiancee’s non-existent virtues.

Racism (or chauvinism, for that matter) is merely an attitude. It cannot be good or bad: only actions, or at least actionable thoughts, can be defined in terms of good or evil.

There is a crucial difference between racism and, for example, communism. Theoretically, both are mere schools of thought, and cannot be evil. Yet, our gut feeling is that communism is inherently evil. Why so?

Thoughts tend to be implemented. Racism and chauvinism, if applied in a homogenous territory, harm almost no one. Racism only becomes problematic when the targeted territory includes significant non-homogenous populations, such as blacks in Alabama, or when it is applied internationally to justify colonialism. No such homogeneity exists in economic matters. Communists cannot find a territory economically homogenous enough that their arrangement harms almost no one. Intellectual and behavioral racism is a very far cry from racial discrimination. Communism’s very implementation is unavoidably oppressive.

So yes, Zionism, if not racism, is chauvinism. But so is every national movement and every stripe of nationalism. Instead of refusing to acknowledge this fact, we must concentrate on making sure that our chauvinism does not evolve into national or racial discrimination. And the only way to practice our nationalist beliefs freely yet make them harmless to others is by relocating Israeli Arabs to a state of their own where they have already refused citizenship to Jews.