I was sitting waiting at the Pakistani hairdresser where I read one of there Islam pamphlets. I don't want to go into the sordid details but in this pamphlet it kept on using the word Zionist in a really derogatory manner.

So I'm just curious if calling a Jew a Zionist is a racial slur or does it have some other meaning I'm unaware of. Just so I know not to use it if it is a bad word.

  • 4
    I'm not sure this is on topic... – Double AA Oct 25 '15 at 16:59
  • 1
    I think that there are good answers to this, but I am afraid it is an off topic question (about the meaning of a word, though the meaning might have some connection to Judaism). Looking for advice before answering. – rosends Oct 25 '15 at 16:59
  • @Emetv'Shalom כל הפוסל במומו פוסל. – Zev Spitz Oct 25 '15 at 20:46
  • @Emetv'Shalom you may want to consider making that comment an answer. – Neil Meyer Oct 26 '15 at 10:32
  • I don't see how this does not relate to Judaism as the Off topic message says. – Neil Meyer Oct 26 '15 at 15:20

The anti-Semites have used the word "Zionist" instead of Jew in order to pretend that they are not anti-Semites (which itself is a way of hiding the original word Judenhass which means Jew hatred). If used as a slur Zionist just shows the ignorance of an anti-Semite. It really means the belief that Jews have the right to return to their homeland of Israel (Eretz Tzion - the Land of Zion) (called "Palestine" by the British Mandate following the Roman attempt to deny the existence of Israel).

See the definition


Zi·on (zī′ən) also Si·on (sī′ən) n.


a. The historic land of Israel as a symbol of the Jewish people.

b. The Jewish people; Israel.

  1. A place or religious community regarded as sacredly devoted to God.

  2. An idealized, harmonious community; utopia.

[Middle English Sion, from Old English, from Late Latin Siōn, from Greek Seiōn, from Hebrew ṣiyyôn; see ṣwn in Semitic roots.]

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Zion (ˈzaɪən) or Sion n

  1. (Bible) the hill on which the city of Jerusalem stands

  2. (Judaism) Judaism

a. the ancient Israelites of the Bible

b. the modern Jewish nation

c. Israel as the national home of the Jewish people

  1. (Ecclesiastical Terms) Christianity heaven regarded as the city of God and the final abode of his elect

  2. (Sociology) any form of social organization, way of life, or life after death regarded as an ultimate goal

  3. (Ecclesiastical Terms)

a. a religious community or its site, regarded as chosen by God and under his special protection

b. an ideal theocratic community, esp any of the Christian Churches regarded as such a community

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003


In the Torah, Zion is another name for Jerusalem or the Temple Mount, specifically the Chamber of Hewed Stone where the Great Sanhedrin resided. Nowadays, it is a term referring to a political movement based on the settling and building up of the land of Israel by jews. This political movement is divided into two parts, one which is secular, and one which is religious. The secular part created the idea of this political movement, and religious jews became part of it later on. Both groups played an important role in founding the modern state of Israel. The religious part of this movement believes that the modern state of Israel is the first part of the messianic era.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .