The approach of the East German political elite to Zionism had its ideological background in the communist approach to the "Jewish question," antisemitism, and nationalism, while the most important criterion in shaping attitudes towards Israel was the incorporation of me GDR Middle East policy into the foreign policy of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Like other communist parties, the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) characterized Zionism as bourgeois nationalism and chauvinism. In addition, the East German political elite followed its own political interests. It would be a simplification to identify anti-Zionism with antisemitism, but one cannot ignore that anti-Zionism promoted antisemitic stereotypes and prejudices and kept old antisemitic views alive; antisemites could veil their anti-Jewish attitudes behind an anti-Zionist cover. Some Jewish and non-Jewish communists, leaders of Jewish communities, and representatives of the churches did not accept the official propaganda and policy, but their voices were not heard in public.


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