Throughout Zionism's history, there have been many Jews who took the view that establishing a Jewish state was against the interests of the Jewish people for a variety of reasons. When Chaim Weizmann was working to secure British support for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the former Ottoman territory of Palestine at the conclusion of World War I, he was confronted by opposition from many of the Jews who were part of the United Kingdom's social and economic elite. Mostly assimilated into the upper echelons of British society, these Jews felt that the establishment of a Jewish homeland would alienate them from the United Kingdom, forcing them to choose between their British and Jewish identity and calling into question their loyalty to the UK. Indeed, many Zionists working in the United States during the interwar period faced similar opposition from mainstream U.S. Jews, who feared that supporting the Zionist movement would alienate them from the society in which they had successfully assimilated or were assimilating into.
The Zionists who did not face such opposition were people like Ze'ev Jabotinsky, working to promote Zionism in Tsarist Russia, where Jews were not assimilated as a matter of government policy and national identification and were singled out for pogroms, systemic discrimination and were virulently hated by significant portions of the Russian and then Soviet population. Jews were confined to the Pale of Settlement, allowed to live only on the outskirts of the Russian Empire, away from Russia's cultural and political centers. Unsurprisingly, when the Zionist enterprise succeeded in establishing the state of Israel, Jews from places like the Soviet Union left as quickly as they could (when they were allowed to) in large numbers for free nations like the United States and Israel.
Yet, anti-Zionism among the Jewish populations in the United States and Western Europe continues to be a significant political view, usually paired with a left of center ideology that has sharpened into a focus on the plight of the Arabs displaced by the establishment of Israel. Indeed, the leftist and Arab media blitz, portraying Israel as a successor to apartheid South Africa, which is the source of all problems and oppression in the Middle East, has fed into the anti-Zionist idea, that the establishment of the State of Israel was wrong and that its "oppression" of the Arabs, who are the "rightful" inhabitants of the region, does not justify the continuation of the Zionist enterprise. My thoughts on this position are described in many of the posts here, but relevant portion for this discussion is that to such people, the very idea of Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East is anathema, and no proposed borders or peace agreements absent the dismantling of Jewish sovereignty would satisfy such critics, despite their attempts to cloak such views.
Contextually, while antisemitism is still rampant in Europe, the Middle East and many parts of the United States, Jewish people, especially those living in the United States, feel a level of security that unequaled in Jewish history. And why not? There has been comparatively little institutionalized antisemitism in the United States, Jews have been wildly successful in a variety of fields in America and today have significant influence in both business and politics. And yet, it is easy for us to gloss over and forget America's less than stellar track record of dealing with minorities in its midst. Native Americans, blacks and Japanese can all speak to exceptions to America's noted "tolerance" and "freedom," times where America as both a people and a government turned against a minority and neither America's constitutional protections nor America's legacy of democratic ideals could stop it. Indeed, in many areas of business and academia, Jews were subject to persistent discrimination for many years as part of a calculated effort to keep them from the echelons of power.
American Jews have the luxury of being able to be anti-Zionist in a way that few Jews in history have. They have this luxury, the same luxury they had when Israel was established in 1948 or even when emigration from Tsarist Russia to Ottoman Palestine began at the turn of the 20th century. They did not have to flee institutionalized antisemitic persecution and no large scale immigration from the United States to Israel ever took place. Yet, in the short history since Zionism's founding in the late 19th century, antisemitic pogroms in Tsarist Russia and the Holocaust both saw significant anti-Jewish action at a government level against a people who were powerless to resist and had nowhere to run. Contemporaneously with Israel's founding, antisemitic government policy spiked among Arab nations. The Nazis felt at ease with their Final Solution because they were convinced of the world's indifference to what happened to European Jewry by the failure of the Evian Conference to find a place for Jewish refugees to go. There was no Jewish state then that could stand up and say "yes, we will take them" when no other nation would.
All of this is not to say that Zionism is "for" all Jews in the sense that there remain vibrant Jewish communities outside of Israel in the United States, Iran, France and the United Kingdom (though French and British Jewry declines each year with rising Islamic and European antisemitism). And, many would argue that the expulsion of long standing Jewish communities across the Middle East was just a response to the injustice of the establishment of a Jewish state on Arab land, but that narrative only confirms my long held belief that the Arabs were only willing to tolerate those Jewish communities so long as they were politically powerless and nonthreatening minorities. The establishment of Jewish sovereignty of any kind represented an upheaval of the traditional role of Jews as dhimmi. Anti-Zionism is necessarily based on the same rationalization, that it is better not to rock the boat, not to risk identifying oneself as not American, British, French, Iranian or otherwise. The problem is, of course, that history has shown that absent absolute concealment, even the most secular, the most non-religious and the most assimilated Jew has been identified, scapegoated, persecuted, expelled or even killed. The fundamental anti-Zionist belief is in the kindness of strangers, a kindness that history has shown can quickly disappear. The Zionists understood one thing very clearly, even before the Holocaust, that their greatest chance to survive and thrive away from antisemitic recriminations that had developed and grown over centuries was to seize control of their own destiny by establishing their own sovereignty in their ancestral land. Nothing less could guarantee their safety.