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Is asking someone if they are a Zionist considered offensive? Is it equivalent to asking someone about their religious or political affiliations?

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  • THE JEWISH CHRONICLE ONLINE: thejc.com/comment-and-debate/columnists/61813/…
    – user66974
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 13:08
  • In the US, asking someone if they're a Democrat can be considered offensive.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 13:09
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    Perhaps this question can be better answered on the Judaism stack, Mi Yodeya?
    – Dan Bron
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 13:59
  • @DanBron, seems more of a political question to me than a question about Judaism. But really, I'm just trying to assess whether that term is considered offensive. Apparently, even Jew is offensive, and Jewish should be used instead.
    – Mike
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 14:59
  • @Mike Yeah, all I'm saying is that the people in the best position to give you an authoritative answer about whether Jewish people consider the word offensive hang out over at Mi Yodeya. If you feel like it's more of a language question than a religious question, you might prefer to ask on their Meta? BTW, the Mormons also set out to establish a Zion (that's also what they called their promised land).
    – Dan Bron
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 15:03

1 Answer 1

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Zionism is a political ideology, not a religious ideology, whose basic premise is that the Jewish people have the right to self-determination and their own state in the Land of Israel. Within this political ideology, there are devoutly religious Zionists and ardently secular Zionists, and everything in between. There are also devout Jews are are non-Zionist, or anti-Zionist. And, to complete the picture, there are also Christian and Muslim Zionists out there (just surf around a bit...).

So Zionism is a political ideology that an individual may subscribe to, regardless of the person's religion, race, sex, etc. Is it offensive? It depends on the relevant society: if members of a society tend to divulge information about their political beliefs, then no, it is not. It's like asking someone if they're a Marxist, a socialist, an anarchist, and so on.

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    It should be noted that a distressingly large group of people use the term "zionism" without actually understanding what it means -- much as they fail to understand either communism or socialism -- and treat it simply as a term of opprobrium, or think it represents some sort of conspiracy, or something like that. If you're going to use the word at all, understand its connotations, denotations, and hazards first.
    – keshlam
    Commented May 19, 2015 at 1:06

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