Zionism is a Jewish nationalist movement that has had as its goal the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews. Having created this state, national aspirations conflict with those of the surrounding Arab countries and the Palestinian Arabs who live either within Israel or exiled elsewhere. The conflict is originally based on territorial dispute but has become divided on religious and ideological grounds: in the first instance Judaism against Islam (including all Muslims, not just Arabs), and in the second, capitalism versus communism, because of the very close affiliations of the USA with Israel and the sympathy of western Europe for the Jewish national state.
Zionism originated in eastern and central Europe in the latter part of the 19th century and was in many ways the continuation of the ancient and deep felt nationalist attachment of the Jews and of the Jewish religion to Palestine, where the hills of ancient Jerusalem were called Zion. The Jewish state of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948 and immediately recognized by the USA. The first official foreign support for a Jewish state came from the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour, in a international declaration which called for the establishment of a Jewish "national home" in Palestine and under which Jewish immigration was encouraged.
Sympathy for Zionism may exist among Jewish communities worldwide, but the embodiment of the idea lies solely within the Jewish state. Armed conflict between the Arab countries and Israel has existed since 1967, with support from the USA to Israel and from the USSR to the Arab countries. American citizens may take Israeli citizenship and fight in the Israeli army without giving up their American nationality – a provision which applies to no other country.