I respectfully disagree with this Ms. Christison's description of Zionism as an inherently racist ideology. I find it surprising that a CIA Political Analyst of such expertise fails to grasp the concept that not all political movements are monolithic. Zionism, in its simplest form, is that Jews should have sovereignty and their own nation state, not that they are more worthy of sovereignty and a nation state than others. The vast majority of Jews are Zionist, though their ideologies and perception of how Israel should operate and what its borders should be differ. To say that Zionism is always equal to racism is to say that every mainstream movement of Judaism is racist, and the vast majority of Jews are racist and ethnic supremacists. This is obviously not true, and an ironic generalization. So the reality is more complex than Christison indicates.
She is confusing basic Zionism (which has several different streams, some tolerant and some harmful) with radical Israeli Nationalism. Nationalism is found in fringe elements of virtually every country-America certainly has its nationalists who believe so firmly in American exceptionalism as to think themselves and their military might to be superior to other countries, and to think that they have the right to assert their superiority at will. Many European countries have their own version of this, as well.
Are many policies of the current Israeli government objectionable? Of course, it would be unreasonable for me to deny this. Is there arguably a history of ethnic cleansing involved in the creation of the Israeli state? Unfortunately, like the foundation of many countries, yes. Does poor foreign and domestic policy undermine a country's entire right to exist? No. If it did, there would be very few countries who can truly be considered legitimate.
Is creating a country on the basis of ethnic identity, as in the case of Zionism, inherently discriminatory? No, not if handled correctly. Israel is not alone in its status as a country who defines itself based on ethnic criteria, it shares this trait with such friends and rivals as: Turkey, Ireland, Finland, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and others. All of these states feature citizenship and immigration law similar to Israel's, in that people of the state's ethnic identification living abroad can get immediate or very rapid citizenship. If the Palestinians are able (as they should be) to have their rightful sovereignty as well, they will also have a state based on ethnic identity, like Israel.
Nor is it illegitimate to a country to be founded for a specific religion--Pakistan has a right to exist, and so does India. If ethnic nationalism and religious nationalism are acceptable, what is unacceptable about a country whose foundation is based upon an ethno-religious identity such as Judaism?
I see very few people denying Ireland's using an argument similar to the ones which deny Israel's legitimacy--and yet it separated from England due to ethnic and religious differences, and a desire to escape political persecution because of these. This is not an illegitimate reason for Ireland to exist, and it's not an illegitimate reason for Israel to exist either.
Does Israel have domestic and foreign policy problems that need to be addressed? Of course. Israel needs desperately to change the way it treats the Palestinians if it wants to remain a stable country. People adhering to the doctrine of Revisionist Zionism and far-right streams of Religious Zionism (the one which progressives should identify as the stream which they should truly take issue with, as opposed to the more liberal and rational Labor Zionism of Herzl) have come into power because of a broken electoral system and a wrongful redefinition of Zionism, largely driven by an external redefinition by anti-Zionist commentators. By saying that all Zionists believe in a philosophy which undermines the Palestinians' basic right of sovereignty and seeks a plan of violent expansion, foreign observers like Ms. Christison are speeding along this harmful redefinition of Zionism. But a broken electoral system and policy that is both harmful to its own citizens and those of other countries is not a reason to deny the Jewish people a right to a state entirely. If it was, it would be pretty hard to argue that countries like America, with it's controversial military intervention, and unaddressed social and economic inequalities should exist either.