Skip to main content Accessibility help
Undeclared Wars with Israel
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 4
  • Export citation
  • Recommend to librarian
  • Buy the print book

Book description

Undeclared Wars with Israel examines a spectrum of antagonism by the East German government and West German radical leftist organizations - ranging from hostile propaganda and diplomacy to military support for Israel's Arab armed adversaries - from 1967 to the end of the Cold War in 1989. This period encompasses the Six-Day War (1967), the Yom Kippur War (1973), Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and an ongoing campaign of terrorism waged by the Palestine Liberation Organization against Israeli civilians. This book provides new insights into the West German radicals who collaborated in 'actions' with Palestinian terrorist groups, and confirms that East Germany, along with others in the Soviet Bloc, had a much greater impact on the conflict in the Middle East than has been generally known. A historian who has written extensively on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, Jeffrey Herf now offers a new chapter in this long, sad history.


'An excellent review of the growing hostility of the German left towards Israel during the last fifty years.'

Walter Laqueur

'A critical book at a critical moment. By examining the Cold War politics of the German left toward Israel, Jeffrey Herf unlocks the origins of contemporary global strategies aimed at Israel’s delegitimization, as well as the fusion of anti-Zionism with antisemitism. A remarkable array of sources, from secret police and intelligence files to acrimonious UN debates, makes this book especially authoritative.'

Norman J. W. Goda - author of Tales from Spandau: Nazi Criminals and the Cold War

'Jeffrey Herf's Undeclared Wars with Israel greatly enhances our understanding of the shadowy proxy wars fought in the Cold War's closing decades. It commendably sheds new light on the communist bloc's efforts to covertly undermine Israel and diminish western influence in the Middle East. Herf systematically documents both the arms transfers and clandestine support given to an international terrorist campaign that unrelentingly targeted Israel but also de-stabilized the region and convulsed the globe.'

Professor Bruce Hoffman - Director, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University, Washington DC

'Jeffrey Herf's superb book recounts a deeply troubling episode of the Cold War. He shows how East Germany's Communist regime waged a prolonged, violent campaign against Israel, often with sinister anti-Semitic overtones. Unlike the democratic government in West Germany, which took many important steps to atone for the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes, the East German Communists refused to accept any responsibility for the Holocaust and instead provided arms, training, and support to those who wanted to kill Jews and wipe Israel off the map.'

Mark Kramer - Director, Cold War Studies, and Senior Fellow, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, Massachusetts

'Voluminously documented, [Herf's] new study is the most comprehensive inventory yet of how much of what - treaties, speeches, editorials, state visits, General Assembly votes, military and technical training, academic exchanges, and even enumerated bullets - East Germany did to make Arab friends and influence Arab people. From the late 1960s to the memorable autumn of 1989, a parade of Arab leaders, military and technical delegations, scientists, and aspiring revolutionaries visited East Germany for acclaim, legitimacy, all possible instruments of both hard and soft power, and even access to the West via East Berlin. Meanwhile East Germany offered a home away from home to fugitive West German lefties.'

David Schoenbaum Source: H-Diplo

'This groundbreaking book demands to be read, for its advances a deeper understanding of the Cold War period and the Leftist war on Israel. If Germany is serious about grappling with its past, a German publisher will swiftly translate Herf's comprehensive study.'

Benjamin Weinthal Source: The Weekly Standard

‘Jeffrey Herf shines a searchlight into dark episodes into Germany’s troubled past.’

Colin Shindler Source: The Jerusalem Post

'Herf has mined numerous important archives and German-language materials … a landmark of scholarship on this understudied and tragic episode of German-Jewish relations.'

Jeffrey Kopstein Source: Journal of Cold War Studies

'Jeffrey Herf has produced not only a prodigiously researched indictment but also a timely reminder. As he writes at the very end of his book, although they have been defeated, the communists and radical leftists in Germany ‘left behind a toxic ideological brew. Their distortions about the history of the state of Israel, their extensive use of terrorism, and their justifications for it have cast a long and destructive shadow over politics and political culture in the Middle East, in Germany, and around the world.'

Allan Arkush Source: Jewish Review of Books

'Herf has written an important study of a difficult and multidimensional chapter in the history of Germans and Jews, interweaving political and military history in East Germany, the rise and self-immolation of the New Left in the West, the vicissitudes of Arab and Palestinian terrorism, and the efforts of Jews, in Israel and in Germany, to survive.'

Russell A. Berman Source: Holocaust and Genocide Studies

'Herf has written a readable and informative study of the GDR’s position toward Israel, which adds a new chapter to the research of the history of German-Israeli relations. It is based on a large corpus of primary sources and is methodologically well composed. Undeclared Wars with Israel will be a useful source for those studying German and Israeli history, the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the history of international relations, and the history of the European left.'

Philipp Lenhard Source: H-Judaic

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.


British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Summary of World Broadcasts, Part 4, The Middle East and Africa Library of Congress, (microfiche)
The Papers of Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Manuscript Reading Room)
National Archives and Records Administration of the United States, College Park, Maryland (NACP)
General Records of the Department of State, Record Group (RG) 59
Central Foreign Policy Files, Diplomatic Records, Electronic Telegrams, 1/1/1973–12/31/1973
Central Foreign Policy Files, Diplomatic Records, Electronic Telegrams, 1/11974–12/31/1974
CIA Records Search Tool CREST (CIA database of declassified intelligence documents)
Hearings, Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, Emergency Security Assistance Act of 1973, 93rd Congress (November 30 and December 3, 1973)
Außereuropäische Abteilung
Abteilung Arabische Staaten Gesamtarabische Fragen
Abt. Naher- und Mittlereer Osten
Abteilung UNO. [United Nations]
Aktivitäten der Ständigen Vertretung der DDR bei den Vereinten Nationen, 1974–1975
Abteilung Recht
Berichte und Positionspapiere zu den 28.-34. UNO-Vollversammlungen, 6. Kommitte, 1973–1979
Bestand 83, Referat 511, Strafrecht, Steurer-und Zollercht, 1952–1972, 1973–1994
Bestand 530: Terrorismus
Bestand 36, Naher Osten und Nordafrika
Bestand 38, Referat 210, Außenpolitische Fragen, die Berlin und Deutschland als Ganzes betreffen, Beziehungen DDR zu 3. Staaten / Länder
Bestand 130, Referat IB4 92.-82.00 SB
Bestand 2, Büro Staatssekretäre (014), 1949–1998
Bestand 1, Büro Bundesminister (010)
Ermittlungsverfarhen gegen Sufian Radi Kaddoumi und Musa Badawi Jawher, Ersaztakten, Hauptakten, Bd II, III, IV, 61/51/22/ Js 2/76
General Assembly, Official Records (some online, some on microfiche at UN Archive, New York, or at United Nations depositories)
Records of the Security Council sessions are online; many but not all records of General Assembly Sessions are also available in the online Official Documents System
Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,
Letters to the Secretary General and to the President of the Security Council by Member States UN Official Documents System (online)
United Nations, online Official Documents System (ODS): /
Also see UN Yearbook for citations to documents in ODS system
Al Ahram
Allgemeine unabhängige jüdische Wochenzeitung
Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte
Berliner Allgemeine jüdische Wochenzeitung
Die Welt
Die Zeit
Deutschland Archiv
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Frankfurter Rundschau
Jerusalem Post
Jüdische Allgemeine Wochenzeitung
Jüdischer Presse Dienst, Informationen des Zentralrats der Juden in Deutschland
Kommunismus und Klassenkampf
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
Neues Deutschland
Palastina Blatt
Der Spiegel
Süddeutsche Zeitung
Voice of Palestine (Cairo, Damascus, Beirut and clandestine broadcasts).
Washington Post
Akten zur Auswärtigen Politik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bde. 5–25, (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1965–1984)
Allertz, Robert with Gerhard Neiber, Die RAF und das MfS (Berlin: Edition Ost, 2008)
Axen, Hermann, Ich war ein Diener der Partei: Autobiographische Gespräche mit Harald Neubert (Berlin: Edition Ost, 1996)
Bator, Wolfgang and Bator, Angelika, eds., Die DDR und die arabischen Staaten Dokumente 1956–1982 ([East] Berlin: Staatsverlag der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, 1984)
Ben-Natan, Asher, Die Chutzpe zu Leben: Stationen meines Lebens (Dusseldorf: Droste, 2003)
Der Blues: Gesammelte Texte der Bewegung 2. Juni ([West] Berlin: 1982
Biographical Register, Department of State, United States of America
Dokumente zur Außenpolitik der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik ([East] Berlin: Staatsverlag der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik)
Der Einigungsvertrag: Vertrag zwischen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Deutschen Demokratische Republik über die Herstellung der Einheit Deutschlands (Munich: Goldmann Verlag, 1991)
Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), United States Government, FBIS Daily Reports, Eastern Europe; Middle East; Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa, Library of Congress,, onsite online access
Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1969–1976, Volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Nina Howland and Craig Daigle, eds., (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 2011)
Frangi, Abdallah, Der Gesandte: Mein Leben für Palästina: Hinter den Kulissen der Nahost-Politik (Munich: Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, 2010)
Die Früchte des Zorns: Texte und Materialien zur Geschichte der Revolutionären Zellen und der Roten Zora, Band I, (Edition ID-Archiv: Berlin, 1993)
International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, The Military Balance, 1967–1980
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Historical Documents:
Klein, Hans-Joachim, Rückkehr in die Menschlichkeit: Appell eines ausgestiegenen Terroristen (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1979)
Kraushaar, Wolfgang, ed. Frankfurter Schule und Studentenbewegung: Von der Flaschenpost zum Molotowcocktail 1946 bis 1995: Chronik, 2 vols. (Hamburg: Rogner & and Bernhard, 1998)
Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI (website)
Protokolle der Volkskammer der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik 10 Wahlperiode (5. April bis 2. Oktober 1990), Band I–III, Nachdruck (Bonn: Deutscher Bundestag; Leske and Budrich, 2000)
Quellen zur Geschichte des Parlamentarismus und der Politischen Parteien, Vierte Reihe 13/VI, Der Auswärtige Ausschuβ des Deutschen Bundestages, Sitzungsprotokolle, 1969–1972, Erster und Zweiter Halbband, Hölscher, Wolfgang, et al., eds., (Dusseldorf: Droste Verlag, 2007)
Rote Armee Fraktion: Texte und Materialien: Texte und Materialien zur Geschichte der RAF (Berlin: ID Verlag, 1997)
Sindermann, Horst, Alles für das Volk – alles mit dem Volk: Ausgewählte Reden und Aufsätze (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1985)
Stoph, Willi, Zur weitern Entwicklung der Sozialistischen Gesellschaft in der DDR: Reden und Aufsätze (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1974)
Tlass, Mustafa Tlass, The Matzo of Zion (Damascus: Tlass Publishing House, 1991)
Verfassungsschutzbericht, (Bonn: Bundesinnenministerium, 19681980)
Verhandlungen des deutschen Bundestages (1965–1989)
Wolf, Markus, Man without a Face: The Autobiography of Communism's Greatest Spymaster (New York: Times Books/Random House, 1997)
Yearbook of the United Nations, 1967–1990


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.