Soviet anti-Zionism was a propaganda doctrine promulgated in the Soviet Union during the course of the Cold War, which intensified after the 1967 Six Day War. It was officially sponsored by the department of propaganda of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and by the KGB. It alleged that Zionism was a form of racism, and argued that Zionists were similar to Nazis. The Soviet Union framed its anti-Zionist propaganda in terms of the ideological doctrine of Zionology, in the guise of a study of modern Zionism.
From late 1944, Joseph Stalin adopted a pro-Zionist foreign policy, apparently believing that the new country would be socialist and would speed the decline of British influence in the Middle East. Accordingly, in November 1947, the Soviet Union, together with the other Soviet bloc countries voted in favor of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, which paved the way for the creation of the State of Israel. On May 17, 1948, three days after Israel declared its independence, the Soviet Union officially granted de jure recognition of Israel, becoming only the second country to recognise the Jewish state (preceded only by the United States' de facto recognition) and the first country to grant Israel de jure recognition.
In his 1969 book Beware! Zionism, Yuri Ivanov, Soviet Union's leading Zionologist, defined modern Zionism as follows:
- Modern Zionism is the ideology, a ramified system of organisations and the practical politics of the wealthy Jewish bourgeoisie which has closely allied itself with monopoly circles in the USA and other imperialist countries. The main content of Zionism is bellicose chauvinism and anti-communism.
Soviet leaders insisted that Soviet anti-Zionism was not anti-Semitic. As proof, they pointed to the fact that several notable Zionologists were ethnic Jews representing an expert opinion. Many - including some within the Soviet Union itself - argued that Zionology exhibited anti-Semitic themes. For example, in November 1975, the leading Soviet historian and academic M. Korostovtsev wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Central Committee, of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Suslov, regarding the book The Encroaching Counter Revolution by Vladimir Begun: "...it perceptibly stirs up anti-Semitism under the flag of anti-Zionism."
Some Zionology books, "exposing" Zionism and Judaism, were included in the mandatory reading list for military and police personnel, students, teachers and Communist Party members and were mass published.
The third edition of the thirty-volume Great Soviet Encyclopedia (Большая Советская энциклопедия, БСЭ), published in 1969-1978, qualifies Zionism as racism and makes the following assertions:
- "the main posits of modern Zionism are militant chauvinism, racism, anti-Communism and anti-Sovietism"
- "the anti-human reactionary essence of Zionism" is "overt and covert fight against freedom movements and against the USSR"
- "International Zionist Organization owns major financial funds, partly through Jewish monopolists and partly collected by Jewish mandatory charities", it also "influences or controls significant part of media agencies and outlets in the West"
- "serving as the front squad of colonialism and neo-colonialism, international Zionism actively participates in the fight against national liberation movements of the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America"
- "A natural and objective assimilation process of Jews is growing around the world."
The official position of the Soviet Union and its satellite states and agencies was that Zionism was a tool used by the Jews and Americans for "racist imperialism." The meaning of the term Zionism was defined by the ruling Communist Party of the Soviet Union: "the main posits of modern Zionism are militant chauvinism, racism, anti-Communism and anti-Sovietism... overt and covert fight against freedom movements and the USSR."
"In late July 1967, Moscow launched an unprecedented propaganda campaign against Zionism as a "world threat." Defeat was attributed not to tiny Israel alone, but to an "all-powerful international force." ... In its flagrant vulgarity, the new propaganda assault soon achieved Nazi-era characteristics. The Soviet public was saturated with racist canards. Extracts from Trofim Kichko's notorious 1963 volume, Judaism Without Embellishment, were extensively republished in the Soviet media. Yuri Ivanov's Beware: Zionism, a book essentially replicated The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, was given nationwide coverage."
A similar picture was drawn by Paul Johnson:
- the mass media "all over the Soviet Union portrayed the Zionists (i.e. Jews) and Israeli leaders as engaged in a world-wide conspiracy along the lines of the old Protocols of Zion. It was, Sovietskaya Latvia wrote 5 August 1967, an 'international Cosa Nostra with a common centre, common programme and common funds'".
The Israeli government was also referred to as a "terrorist regime" which "has raised terror to the level of state politics." Even regarding the Entebbe hostage crisis, Soviet media reported: "Israel committed an act of aggression against Uganda, assaulting the Entebbe airport."
Paul Johnson and other historians have also argued that United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 of 10 November 1975 that equated "Zionism" with "racism" was orchestrated by the Soviet Union. Resolution 3379 was pioneered by the Soviet Union and passed with numerical support from Arab, Muslim and African states amidst accusations that Israel was supportive of the apartheid regime in South Africa. Though ten days before the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Soviet sponsored United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/86 was adopted on 16 December 1991 which revoked the determination in Resolution 3379.
- "...By its nature, Zionism concentrates ultra-nationalism, chauvinism and racial intolerance, excuse for territorial occupation and annexation, military opportunism, cult of political promiscuousness and irresponsibility, demagogy and ideological diversion, dirty tactics and perfidy... Absurd are attempts of Zionist ideologists to present criticizing them, or condemning the aggressive politics of the Israel's ruling circles, as antisemitic... We call on all Soviet citizens: workers, peasants, representatives of intelligentsia: take active part in exposing Zionism, strongly rebuke its endeavors; social scientists: activate scientific research to criticize reactionary core of that ideology and aggressive character of its political practice; writers, artists, journalists: fuller expose anti-populace and anti-humane diversionary character of propaganda and politics of Zionism..." (highlights in original)
Also, at the same time, the CPSU set up the Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public as an anti-Zionist propaganda tool.
Another recurring Zionology theme was the allegation of secret ties between the Nazis and the Zionist leadership. The thesis of 1982 doctoral dissertation of Mahmoud Abbas, a co-founder of Fatah and one of the leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian National Authority who earned his Ph.D. in history at the Oriental College in Moscow, was The Secret Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement. According to HNN, "Abbas claimed in his work that the Zionist leadership was interested in convincing the world that a large number of Jews were killed during the war in order to “attain larger gains” after the war and to "divide the booty." Abbas’ primary claim in his thesis is that the Zionist movement and its various branches worked hand in hand with the Nazis against the Jewish people, collaborating with them for the Jews’ destruction because the Zionist leaders viewed “Palestine” as the only legitimate place for Jewish immigration." The doctoral thesis was published as a book in 1984 under the title The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism.
In March 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev became the Secretary General of the CPSU and in April he declared perestroika. It took more than six years before Moscow consented to restore diplomatic relations with Israel on October 19, 1991, just 2 months prior to the collapse of the USSR and ten days before the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Soviet sponsored United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/86 was adopted on 16 December 1991 which revoked the determination in Resolution 3379, which had called Zionism a form of racism.
- Soviet Union and the Arab–Israeli conflict
- Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public
- History of the Jews in Russia and Soviet Union
- Jackson-Vanik amendment
- Rootless cosmopolitan
- Doctors' plot
- Hashim S. H. Behbehani (1986). The Soviet Union and Arab nationalism, 1917-1966. Routledge. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-7103-0213-7.
- Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (1987) p.527
- UN General Assembly Resolution 181 Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Recognition of Israel JSTOR - The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 4, No. 3, July 1948.
- CAUTION: ZIONISM! Essays on the Ideology, Organisation and Practice of Zionism.
- (in Russian) Сионизм (Большая советская энциклопедия) (Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition. 1969-1978)
- Howard Sachar, A History of the Jews in the Modern World (New York: Knopf, 2005) p.722
- Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (1987) p.575-576
- Newspaper Novoye Vremya, cited in edition Välispanoraam 1981 (Foreign Panorama 1981), (Tallinn, 1982) p.156
- UN General Assembly Resolution 3379, Racial Discrimination (Council on Foreign Relations, November 10, 1975)
- Lewis, Paul (December 17, 1991). "U.N. Repeals Its '75 Resolution Equating Zionism With Racism". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 11, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
- David Seddon (2004). A political and economic dictionary of the Middle East. Taylor & Francis. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-1-85743-212-1. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
- The David S Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies - Bush at Auschwitz: Troubling Contradictions
- History News Network - Was Abu Mazen a Holocaust Denier?, 28 April 2003
- The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism by Mahmoud Abbas. ASIN B007OKKE9Q
- Abraham Cooper Portraits of Infamy: a study of Soviet antisemitic caricatures and their roots in Nazi ideology. Los Angeles: Simon Wiesenthal Center, 1986.
- Presented to the Helsinki-process discussions on security and cooperation in Europe, Berne, May 1986. Contains illustrations of Soviet antisemitic caricatures, sometimes almost identical to Nazi caricatures, especially those from Der Stürmer. Compares Soviet and Nazi use of classical antisemitic themes such as dehumanization of Jews, the Jew as warmonger and greedy manipulator, the world Jewish conspiracy, etc. Points to the Soviet identification of Israelis with Nazis.
- Semyon Reznik The Nazification of Russia: Antisemitism in the post-Soviet era. Washington, DC: Challenge Publications, 1996.
- William Korey Russian Antisemitism, Pamyat, and the Demonology of Zionism. Chur (Switzerland): Harwood Academic Publishers for the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1995.
-  Judaism Without Embellishments by Trofim K. Kichko, published by the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, 1963
- Quote: "It is in the teachings of Judaism, in the Old Testament, and in the Talmud, that the Israeli militarists find inspiration for their inhuman deeds, racist theories, and expansionist designs..."
- A worldwide outcry forced the Communist Party's Ideological Commission to acknowledge in April 1964 that the book "might be interpreted in the spirit of antisemitism." But on January 20, 1968, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU) Pravda Ukrainy gave notice that the Supreme Council of the CPU has awarded Kichko with a diploma of honor. His other book, Judaism and Zionism (1968), spoke of "chauvinistic idea of God chosenness of the Jewish people... and the idea of ruling over other people of the world"
- The Encroaching Counter Revolution by Vladimir Begun, Minsk, 1974
- Alleges that the Torah is an "unsurpassed textbook of bloodthirstiness and hypocrisy, treachery, perfidy and vile licentiousness."
- Zionism in the service of Anti-Communism by V.V. Bolshakov
- Contains accusations of Zionists of having "served Hitler’s Fifth Column in order to establish Nazi German domination of the world."
- Beware! Zionism, by Yury Ivanov, Evgeniy Evseev, 1969.
- The text in Russian on a Russian ultra-nationalist website.
- National Security Strategy: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1964-2001 (PDF) by Prof. Branislav L. Slantchev, (Dept. of Political Science, UC San Diego) March 15, 2005
- Israeli Studies on the Post-Soviet Space by Yury Korogodsky (Euro-Asian Jewish Congress)
- (in Russian) Few Words on Anti-Zionism by Yury Korogodsky
- (in Russian) Two Myths by Yury Korogodsky
- (in Russian) The Official Soviet Anti-Semitism in the Post-Stalin Period by Andreas Umland (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Vol. 7, 2002, Issue 2, Spring) (also at )