With anti-Semitism at record highs in the United States and around the world, many prefer to focus purely on right-wing and neo-Nazi Jew-hatred, rather than on the larger problem: Hatred of Jews and the Jewish state in the Arab and Muslim world, home to a population of hundreds of millions.
Unfortunately for the truth, the intersectionalist left is quick to oppose factual evidence of widespread Muslim anti-Semitism, using accusations of Islamophobia. Indeed, many on the left dismiss racism on the part of “oppressed people of color” as an impossibility—a philosophical contradiction.
Yet the increase in anti-Semitic attacks against Jews worldwide—especially those associated with attacks against Israel and its supporters—is disproportionately driven by Muslims.
Hate crimes against Jews in the United States spiked to 222 during the two weeks of fighting in May between Hamas and Israel (compared with 127 in the previous two weeks). This increase has been uniformly attributed to pro-Palestinian supporters. As Anti-Defamation League (ADL) president Jonathan Greenblatt noted, “no one was wearing MAGA hats,” referring to the pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Hate crimes against Jews in the United States had already increased by 14 percent in 2019. By far the highest number of U.S. religion-based hate crimes are anti-Semitic, though Jews make up only 2.4 percent of the population.
It’s especially curious that so many social justice warriors—who fiercely decry racial bigotry in every form—actually sympathize with Hamas’s efforts to kill Jews and destroy the only Jewish state. Indeed, Palestinians in Gaza and Judea-Samaria (the West Bank) rank as the most anti-Semitic population on earth, with some 93 percent harboring extreme anti-Jewish beliefs.
The ADL also recently released a report on seven Arab and Muslim countries documenting incitement to hatred and violence against Jews during the recent Israel-Hamas conflict.
The countries were Egypt, Kuwait, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, all of which are allies of the United States. The report focused on anti-Semitism and incitement among politicians and state-sponsored clerics.
The report documents many outrageous examples of anti-Semitism, including Turkey’s President Recep Erdoğan claiming in a May 17 speech that Jews “are only satisfied by sucking blood.” Such language is reminiscent of blood libels that swept Europe during the Middle Ages, leading to pogroms and expulsions. Blood-libel pogroms reached the Arab and Muslim world in the last few centuries, the most famous of which took place in Damascus in 1840.
Ever since the advent of Islam, Jews were tolerated as second-class citizens—known as dhimmis—at best, and at worst were subjected to massacres and subjugation. Even during the life of the Muslim prophet Muhammed, Jews had to surrender to Islam or be killed, and many indigenous Jewish tribes in the Arabian Peninsula were murdered or forcibly converted during the early years of Muslim conquest.
The Koran and Hadith are full of negative statements and even incitement against Jews—often calling Jews “apes and swine” and “cursed.” The most famous exemplary Hadith is used by Hamas in its official covenant: “Judgment day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Muslims will kill the Jews and the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees. The rocks and trees will cry out, ‘Oh Muslim, oh faithful servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.’”
Preeminent Middle East historian Bernard Lewis writes that Muslims have held negative stereotypes regarding Jews through most of Islamic history. These negative stereotypes have once again arisen, and were widely witnessed during the recent conflict.
Across the world, in places like Brussels, London and Vienna, Muslims were filmed at rallies shouting in Arabic: “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning!” The chant relates to an event in the seventh century when Muslims massacred and expelled Jews from the town of Khaybar, located in modern-day Saudi Arabia. This battle cry exemplifies hatred against Jews today among parts of Muslim communities, in which old religious-based wars infect current religious beliefs.
Furthermore, the thin line between criticism of Israel and Jew-hatred simply vanishes when violent demonstrations target synagogues and Jewish communities. One of the most infamous instances in the recent conflict was when a “pro-Palestinian car rally” drove through a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in London with one participant on a megaphone shouting: “F–k the Jews; rape their daughters.” In Los Angeles and New York, marauding gangs of Muslims prowled the streets seeking to identify Jews before attacking them.
During surveys undertaken between 2014 and 2019, “Extreme Antisemitism”—defined by ADL as agreement with at least six of 11 anti-Semitic stereotypes—is two to four times more common among Muslims than non-Muslims, worldwide and regionally, including within Muslim diaspora populations in Western Europe, and the United States.
The world’s 16 most anti-Semitic countries are all in the Muslim Middle East, where 74 percent to 93 percent of the overwhelmingly Muslim denizens of these nations exhibit extreme anti-Semitism—Judea-Samaria/Gaza (Palestinians) 93 percent; Iraq 92 percent; Yemen 88 percent; Algeria 87 percent; Libya 87 percent; Tunisia 86 percent; Kuwait 82 percent; Bahrain 81 percent; Jordan 81 percent; Morocco 80 percent; Qatar 80 percent; United Arab Emirates 80 percent; Lebanon 78 percent; Oman 76 percent; Egypt 75 percent; Saudi Arabia 74 percent.
These clear patterns should influence American foreign policy, as well as immigration policy—including integration training of new immigrants.
As anti-Semitism spirals out of control, we cannot allow Jew-hatred to be appropriated to support a “borrowed” political agenda, such as opposition to Israel’s policies—or its very existence. While many on the left are extremely vocal when calling out anti-Semitism on the right, they are largely silent about Muslim and Arab anti-Semitism, especially when couched as anti-Zionism. It’s time also to acknowledge frankly that anti-Zionism is simply a form of anti-Semitism
If we are going to truly combat anti-Semitism, we should be unafraid of false accusations of racism or “Islamophobia” meant to obfuscate reality. Indeed, it behooves us to publicize and analyze the roots of anti-Semitism in Islam. Those who demand social justice, and those who have been deprived of it, deserve a true accounting of history, in which the treatment of Jews—subjugated and oppressed for centuries by Muslims—is acknowledged openly today.
James Sinkinson is president of Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which publishes educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.