From Soviet Bloc Support for Israel to the Undeclared Wars
Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 5:00pm
Margaret Clapp Library Lecture Room
"Changing Political Coordinates of Anti-Zionism in Germany: Nazism, Communism and the Far Left."
During World War II and the Holocaust, the Nazi regime waged war not only against the Jews but also against the Zionist project. It sought and found allies such as Arab leaders and militant Islamists who collaborated with the Nazi regime. Anti-Zionism was thus viewed by many as a reactionary phenomenon inseparable from the history of Nazism and anti-Semitism.
In 1967, during and after the Six Day War, antagonism to Zionism and Israel as well as support for the Arab states and Palestinian armed organizations became a major current within the West Germans’ radical left and the several terrorist organizations that emerged in the 1970s. Based on research in the now available archives of the East German, West German, US and United Nations files, it is now possible to document the last decades of the Cold War when the East German government and the West German far left were engaged in an “undeclared war” with Israel.
Jeffrey Herf, an American Historian whose expertise lies in ideas and politics of modern European history and Nazi Germany, will present results of the recent research on the changing political coordinates of anti-Zionism and antagonism to Israel in German history after the Holocaust. In Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture, and Politics and Weimar and the Third Reich, Herf coined the term “reactionary modernism” to describe the “great enthusiasm for modern technology with a rejection of the Enlightenment and the values and institutions of liberal democracy" that characterized Nazi Germany.