Zionism is a strong and powerful word. It’s about something that is much bigger than Israel. It’s not just about Israelis. Whenever you have a strong and powerful word, you’ll always have people who are opposed to it. For people who aren’t strongly committed to something like Zionism, to see people strongly attached to this idea is a scary thing.
If you “like” someone, most people won’t argue against you. But if you “love” or “hate” someone, you’ll have people who argue with you.
I once heard it put (admittedly unfair to Luxembourg): “Nobody loves Luxembourg. Nobody hates Luxembourg.”
Israel is either loved or hated. Nobody just “likes” Israel.
So what to do? The only thing, I believe, is to make sure that those who hate Zionism don’t get to define Zionism for the rest of us. If we let others define who we are, then what are we?
Let the lovers of Zion (and I might add that love of Zion includes a healthy dose of criticism) be the ones who get to define it.