Antisemitism in the Arab world  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Traditionally, Jews in the Muslim world were considered to be People of the Book and were given dhimmi status. They were afforded relative security against persecution provided they did not contest the inferior social and legal status imposed on them. Such protection was missing for non-Christians in most of Europe until the institutionalisation of equality after the French Revolution.

Antisemitism in the Arab world has increased greatly in modern times, for many reasons: the breakdown of the Ottoman Empire and traditional Islamic society; European influence, brought about by Western imperialism and Arab Christians; Nazi propaganda; resentment over Jewish nationalism (see Zionism); and the rise of Arab nationalism.

While there were antisemitic incidents in the early twentieth century, antisemitism increased dramatically as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict. After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Palestinian exodus, the creation of the state of Israel, and Israeli victories during the wars of 1956 and 1967 were a severe humiliation to Israel's opponents - primarily Egypt, Syria and Iraq. However, by the mid 1970s the vast majority of Jews had left Arab and Muslim countries, moving primarily to Israel, France and the United States. The reasons for the exodus are varied and disputed.

By the 1980s, according to Bernard Lewis, the volume of antisemitic literature published in the Arab world, and the authority of its sponsors, seemed to suggest that classical antisemitism had become an essential part of Arab intellectual life, considerably more than in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century France, and to a degree that has been compared to Nazi Germany.

The rise of political Islam during the 1980s and afterwards provided a new mutation of Islamic antisemitism, giving the hatred of Jews a religious component.

In their 2008 report on contemporary Arab-Muslim antisemitism, the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center dates the beginning of this phenomenon to the spread of classic European Christian antisemitism into the Arab world starting in the late 19th century. In 2014 the Anti-Defamation League published a global survey of worldwide antisemitic attitudes, reporting that in the Middle East, 74% of adults agreed with a majority of the survey's eleven antisemitic propositions, including that "Jews have too much power in international financial markets" and that "Jews are responsible for most of the world's wars."

Pre-state antisemitism

While antisemitism has increased in the wake of the Arab–Israeli conflict, there were pogroms against Jews prior to the foundation of Israel, including Nazi-inspired pogroms in Algeria in the 1930s, and attacks on the Jews of Iraq and Libya in the 1940s. In 1941, 180 Jews were murdered and 700 were injured in the anti-Jewish riots known as the Farhud. Four hundred Jews were injured in violent demonstrations in Egypt in 1945 and Jewish property was vandalized and looted. In Libya, 130 Jews were killed and 266 injured. In December 1947, 13 Jews were killed in Damascus, including 8 children, and 26 were injured. In Aleppo, rioting resulted in dozens of Jewish casualties, damage to 150 Jewish homes, and the torching of 5 schools and 10 synagogues. In Yemen, 97 Jews were murdered and 120 injured.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Antisemitism in the Arab world" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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