In 1975, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution slandering Zionism by equating it with racism. In his spirited response to the resolution, Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Chaim Herzog noted the irony of the timing, the vote coming exactly 37 years after Kristallnacht.
Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, which holds that Jews, like any other nation, are entitled to a homeland.
History has demonstrated the need to ensure Jewish security through a national homeland. Zionism recognizes that Jewishness is defined by shared origin, religion, culture and history.
The realization of the Zionist dream is exemplified by more than four million Jews, from more than 100 countries, including dark-skinned Jews from Ethiopia, Yemen and India, who are Israeli citizens. Approximately 1,000,000 Muslim and Christian Arabs, Druze, Baha'is, Circassians and other ethnic groups also are represented in Israel's population.
Many Christians have traditionally supported the goals and ideals of Zionism. Israel's open and democratic character and its scrupulous protection of the religious and political rights of Christians and Muslims rebut the charge of exclusivity.
The Arab states define citizenship strictly by native parentage. It is almost impossible to become a naturalized citizen in many Arab states, especially Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Several Arab nations have laws that facilitate the naturalization of foreign Arabs, with the specific exception of Palestinians. Jordan, on the other hand, instituted its own "law of return" in 1954, according citizenship to all former residents of Palestine, except for Jews.
The presence of thousands of black Jews in Israel is the best refutation of the calumny against Zionism. In a series of historic airlifts - labeled Operations Moses (1984), Joshua (1985) and Solomon (1991), Israel rescued almost 42,000 members of the ancient Ethiopian Jewish community.
To single out Jewish self-determination for condemnation is itself a form of racism. "A world that closed its doors to Jews who sought escape from Hitler's ovens lacks the moral standing to complain about Israel's giving preference to Jews," wrote noted civil rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
The 1975 UN resolution was part of the Soviet-Arab Cold War anti-Israel campaign. Almost all the former non-Arab supporters of the resolution have apologized and changed their positions. When the General Assembly voted to repeal the resolution in 1991, only some Arab and Muslim states, as well as Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam were opposed.