Anti-Arabism: Wikis


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Photo showing an anti-Arab sign in a bar in Pattaya Beach, Thailand

Anti-Arabism or Arabophobia is consistent advocacy of discrimination, prejudice, hostility, or genocide toward Arabs. Arabs are people of any race whose native language is Arabic. People of Arabic origin, in particular native English and French speakers of Arab ancestry in Europe and the Americas, often identify themselves as Arabs. Anti-Arabism is commonly confused with Islamophobia.[1] There are prominent non-Muslim minorities in the Arab world. These minorities include Arabic-speaking Christians in Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, among other Arab countries. There is also a sizable minority of Arab Jews.


Historical anti-Arabism

Anti-Arab prejudice has been prominent throughout the Western world, notably in Europe and the Americas, for centuries. In Spain, all non-Catholics, including Muslim Arabs, have been targeted since the 15th century fall of Granada, the last Arab state in Al-Andalus. Arab converts to Christianity, called Moriscos, were expelled in 1492 from Spain to North Africa after being condemned by the Spanish Inquisition. The Spanish word "moro", meaning moor, carries today a negative meaning.[2] Although ethnically different than the Arabs in Spain at the time, the term Moro was also used pejoratively[citation needed] by the Spanish since the 16th century to refer to Muslim tribal groups in the Philippines; the term indios was used to refer to Christianized tribal groups.[citation needed]

After the annexation of the Muslim-ruled state of Hyderabad by India in 1948, about 7,000 Arabs were interned and deported.[3]

The Zanzibar Revolution of January 12, 1964 ended the local Arab dynasty. As many as 17,000 Arabs were exterminated by the descendants of black African slaves, according to reports, and thousands of others were detained and their property either confiscated or destroyed.[4][5][6]

In The Arabic Language and National Identity: a Study in Ideology, Yasir Suleiman notes of the writing of Tawfiq al-Fikayki that he uses the term shu'ubiyya to refer to movements he perceives to be anti-Arab, such as the Turkification movement in the Ottoman Empire, extreme-nationalist and Pan-Iranist movements in Iran and communism. In al-Fikayki's view, the objectives of anti-Arabism are to attack Arab nationalism, pervert history, emphasize Arab regression, deny Arab culture, and generally be hostile to all things Arab. He concludes that, "In all its various roles, anti-Arabism has adopted a policy of intellectual conquest as a means of penetrating Arab society and combatting Arab nationalism."[7]

Modern anti-Arabism


Anti-Arabism is a major element of movements known as Berberism that are widespread mainly amongst Algerians of Kabyle and other Berber origin.[8] It has historic roots as Arabs are seen as invaders that occupied Algeria and destroyed its late Roman and early medieval civilization that was considered an integral part of the West; this invasion is considered to have been the source of the resettlement of Algeria's Berber population in Kabylia and other mountainuous areas. Regardless, the Kabyles and other Berbers have managed to preserve their culture and achieve higher standards of living and education when compared to Algerian Arabs.[9] Furthermore, many Berbers speak their language and French; are non religious, secular, or Evangelical Christian; and openly identify with the Western World. Many Berber Nationalists view Arabs as a hostile people intent on eradicating their own culture and nation. Berber social norms restrict marriage to someone of Arab ethnicity, although it is permitted to marry someone from other ethnic groups.[10] According to Lawrence Rosen, ethnic background is not a crucial factor in marriage between members of each group in North Africa, when compared to social and economic backgrounds.[11] There are regular Hate incidents between Arabs and Berbers and Anti-Arabism has been accentuated by the Algerian governments anti-Berber policies and violent actions as well as by Islamist (Arab) terror acts against Berbers.[citation needed] Contemporary relations between Berbers and Arabs are sometimes tense, particularly in Algeria, where Berbers rebelled (1963–65, 2001) against Arab rule and have demonstrated and rioted against their cultural marginalization in the new founded state.[12][13] The Anti-Arab sentiments among Algerian Berbers (mainly from Kabylia) were always related to the reassertion of Kabylian identity. It began as an intellectual militant movement in schools, universities, and popular culture (mainly nationalistic songs).[14] In addition to that, the authorities’ efforts to promote development in Kabylia contributed to a boom of sorts in Tizi Ouzou, whose population almost doubled between 1966 and 1977, and to a greater degree of economic and social integration within the region had the contrary effect of strengthening a collective Amazigh consciousness and Anti-Arab sentiments.[15]

Arabophobia can be seen at different levels of intellectual, social, and cultural life of some Berbers. After the Berberist crisis in 1949, a new radical intellectual movement emerged under the name L'Académie Berbère. This movement was known by its adoption and promotion of Anti-Arab and Anti-Islam ideologies especially amongst immigrant Kabyles in France and achieved a relative success at the time.[16]

In 1977, the final game of the national soccer championship pitting a team from Kabylia against one from Algiers turned into an Arab-Berber conflict. The Arab national anthem of Algeria was overwhelmed by the shouting of Anti-Arab slogans such as "A bas les arabes" (down with the Arabs).[17]

The roots of modern day Arabophobia in Algeria can be traced back to multiple factors. For some, Anti-Arabism movement among Berbers is part of the legacy of French Colonization or manipulation of North Africa. As from the beginning, the French understood that to attenuate Muslim resistance to their presence, mainly in Algeria, they had to resort to the divide and rule doctrine. The most obvious divide that could be instrumentalized in this perspective was the ethnic one. Therefore, France employed some official colonial practices to tighten its control over Algeria by creating racial tensions between Arabs and Berbers and between Jews and Muslims.[18] Others argue that the Berber language and traditions are deeply rooted in the North African cultural mosaic; for centuries, Berber culture has survived conquests, repression, and exclusion from different invaders: Romans, Arabs, and French. Hence, believing that its identity and specificity were threatened, the Berbers took note of the political and ideological implications of Arabism as defended by successive governments.[19] Gradual radicalization and Anti-Arab sentiments began to emerge in Algeria and among the hundreds of thousands of Berbers in France who had been in the forefront of the Berber cultural movement.[17]


Cronulla riots in Sydney, Australia in December 2005.

The Cronulla riots in Sydney, Australia in December 2005 have been described as "anti-Arab racism" by community leaders.[20] NSW Premier Morris Iemma said the violence revealed the "ugly face of racism in this country".[21]

A 2004 report by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission said that more than two-thirds of Muslim and Arab Australians say they have experienced racism or racial vilification since the September 11 attacks and that 90% of female respondents experienced racial abuse or violence.[22]

Czech Republic

In September 2008, Muslims complained about anti-Arabism and Islamophobia in the Czech Republic.[23]


France used to be a colonial empire, with still great post-colonial power over its former colonies, using Africa as a reservoir for labor, especially in moments of dire need. During World War I, reconstruction and shortages made France bring over thousands of African workers. Out of a total of 116,000 workers from 1914–1918, 78, 000 Algerians, 54, 000 Moroccans, and Tunisians were requistioned. Two hundred and forty thousand Algerians were mobilized or drafted, and two thirds of these were soldiers who served mostly in France. This constituted more than one-third of the men of those nations from ages 20–40.[24] According to historian Abdallah Laroui, Algeria sent 173,000 soldiers, 25,000 of whom were killed. Tunisia sent 56,000, of whom 12,000 were killed. Moroccan soldiers helped defend Paris and landed at Bordeaux in 1916.[25]

After the war, reconstruction and labor shortages necessitated even larger number of Algerian laborers. Migration (or the need for labor) was reestablished at a high level by 1936. This was partly the result of collective recruitments in the villages conducted by French officers and representatives of companies. Labor recruitment continued throughout the 1940s. Africans were mostly recruited for dangerous and low-wage jobs, unwanted by ordinary French workers.[26]

This large number of immigrants was of great help for France's rapid post-World War II economic growth. The 1970s were marked by recession followed by the cessation of labor migration programs and crackdowns on illegal immigration. During the 1980s, political disfavor with President Mitterrand's social programs led to the rise of Jean-Marie Le Pen and other far right French nationalists. The public increasingly blamed immigrants for French economic problems. In March 1990, according to a poll reported in Le Monde, 76% of those polled said that there were too many Arabs in France while 46% said there were too many blacks; 39% said they had an "aversion" to Arabs and 21% had an aversion to blacks.[27] In the following years, Interior Minister Charles Pasqua was noted for dramatically toughening immigration laws.[28]

In May 2005, riots broke out between North Africans and Romani people in Perpignan, after a young Arab man was shot dead and another Arab man was lynched by a group of Roma.[29][30]

Chirac's controversial "Hijab ban" law, presented as secularization of schools, was interpreted by its critics as an "indirect legitimization of anti-Arab stereotypes, fostering rather than preventing racism."[28]


The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran provides for the teaching of non-Persian languages and non-Persian media and equal rights, without privileging any race, color, or linguistic group (see: Current policy towards ethnic minorities in Iran). Arabs are therefore granted legal equality with other Iranian ethnic groups. However, human rights group Amnesty International claims that in practice, Arabs are among a number of ethnic minorities that are disadvantaged and suffer discrimination by the authorities.[31] Separatist tendencies in Khuzestan exacerbate this. How far the situation facing Arabs in Iran is related to racism or simply a result of policies suffered by all Iranians is a matter of debate (see: Politics of Khuzestan). Iran is a multi-ethnic society with its Arab minority mainly located in the south.[32]

It is claimed by some, that anti-Arabism in Iran may be related to the notion that Arabs forced Persians to convert to Islam in 7th century AD (See: Muslim conquest of Persia). Author Richard Foltz in his article "Internationalization of Islam" states "Even today, many Iranians perceive the Arab destruction of the Sassanid Empire as the single greatest tragedy in Iran's long history.[33] (See also: Anti-Persian sentiments) Following the Muslim conquest of Persia, many Iranians (also known as "mawali") came to despise the Umayyads due to discrimination against them by their Arab rulers. The Shu'ubiyah movement was intended to reassert Iranian identity and resist attempts to impose Arab culture while reaffirming their commitment to Islam.

More recently, anti-Arabism has arisen as a consequence of aggression against Iran by the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. During a visit to Khuzestan, which has most of Iran's Arab population, a British journalist, John R. Bradley, wrote that despite the fact that the majority of Arabs supported Iran in the war, "ethnic Arabs complain that, as a result of their divided loyalties during the Iran–Iraq War, they are viewed more than ever by the clerical regime in Tehran as a potential fifth column, and suffer from a policy of discrimination."[34] However, Iran's Arab population played an important role in defending Iran during the Iran-Iraq War and most refused to heed Saddam Hussein's call for an uprising and instead fought against their fellow Arabs.[35] Furthermore, Iran's former defense minister Ali Shamkhani, an Ahwazi Arab, was chief commander of the ground force during the Iran-Iraq War as well as serving as first deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

In a report published in February 2006, Amnesty International claimed that the "Arab population of Iran is one of the most economically and socially deprived in Iran" and that Arabs have "reportedly been denied state employment under the gozinesh [job placement] criteria." Furthermore, it states

land expropriation by the Iranian authorities is reportedly so widespread that it appears to amount to a policy aimed at dispossessing Arabs of their traditional lands. This is apparently part of a strategy aimed at the forcible relocation of Arabs to other areas while facilitating the transfer of non-Arabs into Khuzestan and is linked to economic policies such as zero-interest loans which are not available to local Arabs.[31]

Critics of such reports have pointed out that they are often based on sketchy sources and are not always to be trusted at face value (see: Criticism of human rights reports on Khuzestan). Furthermore, critics point out that Arabs have social mobility in Iran, with a number of famous Iranians from the worlds of arts, sport, literature, and politics having Arab origins (see: Famous Iranian Arabs) illustrating Arab-Iranian participation in Iranian economics, society, and politics. They contend that Khuzestan province, where most of Iran's Arabs live, is actually one of the more economically advanced provinces of Iran, more so than many of the Persian-populated provinces.

Some critics of the Iranian government contend that it is carrying out a policy of anti-Arab ethnic cleansing.[36][37] While there has been large amounts of investment in industrial projects such as the Razi Petrochemical Complex,[38] local universities,[39][40][41] and other national projects such as hydroelectric dams (such as the Karkeh Dam, which cost $700 million to construct) and nuclear power plants,[42] many critics of Iran's economic development policies have pointed to the poverty suffered by Arabs in Khuzestan as proof of an anti-Arab policy agenda. Following his visit to Khuzestan in July 2005, UN Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing Miloon Kothari spoke of how up to 250,000 Arabs had been displaced by such industrial projects and noted the favorable treatment given to settlers from Yazd compared to the treatment of local Arabs.[43]

However, it is also true that non-Arab provinces such as Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, Sistan and Baluchestan Province, and neighboring Īlām Province also suffer high levels of poverty, indicating that government policy is not disadvantaging Arabs alone but other regions, including some with large ethnically Persian populations. Furthermore, most commentators agree that Iran's state-controlled and highly subsidized economy[44][45] is the main reason behind the inability of the Iranian government to generate economic growth and welfare at ground levels in all cities across the nation, rather than a state ethnic policy targeted specifically at Arabs; Iran is ranked 156th on The Heritage Foundation's 2006 Index of Economic Freedom.

In the Iranian education system, after primary education cycle (grades 1-5 for children 6 to 11 years old), passing some Arabic courses is mandatory until the end of secondary education cycle (grade 6 to Grade 12, from age 11 to 17). In higher education systems (universities), passing Arabic language courses is selective.[46][47]


See also: Israeli Arab Discrimination and Israeli settlements, Palestinians, and human rights

Vandalized grave. The graffiti says "death to the Arabs" by an unknown.

Characterizing the anti-Arabism of Oriental Jews (Mizrahi and Sephardic) as "vociferous", Conor Cruise O'Brien in The Siege: The Saga of Israel and Zionism writes that, "Anti-Arabism is, for obvious reasons, very widespread in Israel, among all Jews."[48]

During the latter part of the Arab riots in October 2000 events, thousands of Jewish Israelis counter-rioted in Nazareth and Tel Aviv, throwing stones at Arabs, destroying Arab property, and chanting "Death to Arabs".[49] Haaretz editorialized that that year's "Yom Kippur will be infamous for the violent, racist outburst by Jews against Arabs within Israel".[50]

The Israeli political party Yisrael Beiteinu, whose platform includes the redrawing of Israel's borders so that about 500,000 Israeli Arabs would be outside them, and under the jurisdiction of a future Palestinian State, won 15 seats in the 2009 Israeli elections; increasing its seats by 4 compared to the 2006 Israeli elections. This policy, also known as the Lieberman Plan, has been described as "anti-Arab" by The Guardian.[51] Israeli Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz, referring to Yisrael Beiteinu, has said "Anyone who opposes racism must not let the extreme right-wing bloc run Israel"[52] Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of Yisrael Beiteinu, was later given the position of Minister of Strategic Threats by Ehud Olmert. Guardian columnist Jonathan Steele has described Lieberman's politics as "anti-Arab racism", quoting Arab MK Ahmad Tibi who has released statements describing Lieberman as "a very dangerous and sophisticated politician who has won his support through race hatred".[53]

Some Israeli politicians and leaders have used negative language when discussing Arabs and Palestinians. In 2004, Yehiel Hazan, a member of the Knesset, declared at the Knesset that "The Arabs are worms. You find them everywhere like worms, underground as well as above." and went on to describe them as "murderers" and "terrorists".[54][55] Rafael Eitan, former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, said on 12 April 1983 that Palestinians who endanger cars on the road should be treated aggressively and their freedom of movement should be narrowed until they will be like "drugged cockroaches in a bottle". In 2004, then Deputy Defense Minister Ze'ev Boim asked "What is it about Islam as a whole and the Palestinians in particular? Is it some form of cultural deprivation? Is it some genetic defect? There is something that defies explanation in this continued murderousness."[56]

In Hebron, the slogans "Arabs to the crematoria" and "Arabs - sub-humans" were once spray-painted on a wall by an unknown, and anti-Arab graffiti has been spraypainted in Jerusalem.[57] Leftists have noted that this graffiti remains for long periods of time compared to others, and have therefore painted swastikas beside the graffiti in order to hasten the city to take action.[58]

The article "The Arab Image in Hebrew School Textbooks" by professor Dan Bar-Tal of the Tel Aviv University makes a study of 124 textbooks used in Israeli schools and reports that "over the years, generations of Israeli Jews were taught a negative and often delegitimizing view of Arabs." The two main traits of Arabs in the textbooks are "primitiveness, inferiority in comparison to Jews" and "their violence, to characteristics like brutality, untrustworthiness, cruelty, fanaticism, treacherousness and aggressiveness." In the 1980s and 1990s "Geography books for the elementary and junior high schools stereotype Arabs negatively, as primitive, dirty, agitated, aggressive, and hostile to Jews … history books in the elementary schools hardly mention Arabs … history textbooks of the high schools, the majority of which cover the Arab-Jewish conflict, stereotype the Arabs negatively. Arabs are presented as intransigent and uncompromising."[59][60]

The Bedouin claim they face discrimination and have submitted a counter-report to the United Nations that disputes the Israeli Government's official state report. They claim they are not treated as equal citizens in Israel and that Bedouin towns are not provided the same level of services or land that Jewish towns of the same size are and they are not given fair access to water. The city of Be'er Sheva refused to recognize a Bedouin holy site, despite a High Court recommendation.[61]

Israeli Arabs complain of racism and discrimination and community leaders have said they will draw up a blacklist of grievances. The decision to draw up this list was taken after the terrorist attack of Eden Natan-Zada. "This was a planned terror attack and we find it extremely difficult to treat it as an individual action", Abed Inbitawi, an Israeli-Arab spokesman, told The Jerusalem Post. "It marks a certain trend that reflects a growing tendency of fascism and racism in Israeli society generally as well as the establishment towards the minority Arab community", he said.[62]

Often Israeli-Arab soccer players face chants from the crowd when they play such as "No Arabs, No Terrorism".[63]

Abbas Zakour, an Arab Member of the Knesset, was stabbed by a gang speaking Russian-accented Hebrew who shouted anti-Arab chants. The attack was part of a "stabbing rampage" and was described as a "hate crime".[64]

In 2006, a research institute poll reported that 41% of Israelis were in favour of Arab-Israeli segregation, 40% believed "the state needs to support the emigration of Arab citizens", and 63% believed Arabs to be a "security and demographic threat" to Israel. The data went on to report more than two thirds would not want to live in the same building as an Arab, 36% believed Arab culture to be inferior, and 18% felt hatred when they heard Arabic spoken.[51]

In 2007 the Association for Civil Rights in Israel released a report claiming that the expression of anti-Arab views had doubled, and anti-Arab racist incidents had increased by 26%.[65] The report quoted polls that suggested 50% of Jewish Israelis do not believe Arab citizens of Israel should have equal rights, 50% said they wanted the government to encourage Arab emigration from Israel, and 75% of Jewish youths said Arabs were less intelligent and less clean than Jews.

The Arab Association for Human Rights reported in 2008 that several parent removed their children from a daycare centre in Israel after they found out that a 16 month old boy was an Arab.[66]

The Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel reported a tenfold increase in racist incidents against Arabs in 2008. Jerusalem reported the highest number of incidents. The report blames Israeli leaders for the violence, saying "These attacks are not the hand of fate, but a direct result of incitement against the Arab citizens of this country by religious, public, and elected officials".[67]

In March 2009, following the Gaza War, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) drew criticism when several young soldiers had T-shirts printed up privately with slogans and caricatures that were deemed offensive to Palestinians.[68][69][69][70]

In March 2009 a series of Arab cultural events titled "Jerusalem, the capital of Arab culture" which were scheduled to be held in Jerusalem, Nazareth, and other parts of the country by the Palestinian Authority was banned by Avi Dichter the Internal Security Minister of Israel. Nazareth Arab Mayor Ramiz Jeraisi criticized the move as anti-Arab and compared Dichter to Avigdor Lieberman. According to Dichter, the events would constitute a violation of the interim agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.[71]

In June 2009, Haaretz reported on the widespread phenomenon of Israeli Border Police forcing Palestinians to humiliate themselves on camera and then publishing the video on YouTube. The police forced the Palestinians to sing anti-Arab songs with lyrics such as "Let every Arab mother know that the fate of her children is in the hands of the Company". The YouTube videos are popular in Israel and have attracted many anti-Arab comments written in Hebrew such as "Stinking Arab".[72]

In June 2009, Haaretz reported that Israel's Public Security Minister, Yitzhak Aharonovich labeled an undercover police officer a "dirty Arab" whilst touring Tel Aviv. Aharonovich is a member of the controversial far-right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party that has been accused of racist policies.[73]

Persecution of mixed Arab-Jewish couples

Many Israeli Jews oppose mixed relationships, particularly relationships between Jewish women and Arab men. A 2007 opinion survey found that more than half of Israeli Jews believed intermarriage is equivalent to “national treason”. A group of 35 Jewish men, known as "Fire for Judaism”, in Pisgat Zeev have started patrolling the town in an effort to stop Jewish women from dating Arab men. The municipality of Petah Tikva has also announced an initiative to prevent interracial relationships, providing a telephone hotline for friends and family to "inform" on Jewish girls who date Arab men as well as psychologists to provide counselling. The town of Kiryat Gat launched a school programme in schools to warn Jewish girls against dating local Bedouin men.[74][75]

In February 2010 Maariv has reported that the Tel Aviv municipality has instituted an official, government-sponsored "counselling program" to discourage Jewish girls from dating and marrying Arab boys. The London Times has also reported on a vigilante parents’ group policing the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev to intimidate and discourage local Arab-Jewish couples. The Jewish anti-missionary group Yad L'Achim has also performed paramilitary ”rescue operations” of Jewish women from non-Jewish husbands and celebrates the "rescued women" on their website. [76]


In October 2006, the government of Niger announced that it would deport the Arabs living in the Diffa region of eastern Niger to Chad.[77] This population numbered about 150,000.[78] While the government was rounding Arabs in preparation for the deportation, two girls died, reportedly after fleeing government forces, and three women suffered miscarriages. Niger's government had eventually suspended the controversial decision to deport Arabs.[79][80]

United Kingdom

In 2008, a Qatari 16-year-old was killed by a racist mob in Hastings, East Sussex.[81]

United States

Anti-Arabism in the United States dates to 1784.[82]

William A. Dorman, writing in the compedium The United States and the Middle East: A Search for New Perspectives (1992) notes that whereas "anti-Semitism is no longer socially acceptable, at least among the educated classes. No such social sanctions exist for anti-Arabism."[83]

In the 1970s, a prominent libertarian author, scholar and philosopher, Ayn Rand, advocated strong anti-Arab sentiment following the Arab-Israeli War of 1973: "The Arabs are one of the least developed cultures. They are typically nomads. Their culture is primitive, and they resent Israel because it's the sole beachhead of modern science and civilization on their continent. When you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter who they are."[84]

During the 1991 Gulf War, anti-Arab sentiments increased in the United States.[85] Arab Americans have experienced a backlash as result of terrorist attacks, including events where Arabs were not involved[citation needed], like the Oklahoma City bombing, and the explosion of TWA Flight 800.[86] According to a report prepared by the Arab American Institute, three days after the Oklahoma City bombing "more than 200 serious hate crimes were committed against Arab Americans and American Muslims. The same was true in the days following September 11."[86]

According to a 2001 poll of Arab Americans conducted by the Arab American Institute, 32% of Arab Americans reported having been subjected to some form of ethnic-based discrimination during their lifetimes, while 20% reported having experienced an instance of ethnic-based discrimination since September 11. Of special concern, for example, is the fact that 45% of students and 37% of Arab Americans of the Muslim faith report being targeted by discrimination since September 11.[86]

According to the FBI and Arab groups, the number of attacks against Arabs, Muslims, and others mistaken as such rose considerably after the 9/11 attacks.[87] Hate crimes against people of Middle Eastern origin or descent increased from 354 attacks in 2000, to 1,501 attacks in 2001.[85] Among the victims of the backlash was a Middle Eastern man in Houston, Texas who was shot and wounded after an assailant accused him of "blowing up the country"[86] and four immigrants shot and killed by a man named Larme Price who confessed to killing them as "revenge" for the September 11 attacks.[88] Although Price described his victims as Arabs, only one was from an Arab country. This appears to be a trend; on account of stereotypes of Arabs, several non-Arab, non-Muslim groups were subjected to attacks in the wake of 9/11, including several Sikh men attacked for wearing their religiously-mandated turban.[89]

Earl Krugel and Irv Rubin, two leaders of the Jewish Defense League, described by the US Department of Homeland Security as a terrorist organization,[90] planned to bomb Arab-American Congressman Darrell Issa's office and the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, California. The two were arrested as part of a sting operation when they received a shipment of explosives at Krugel's home in L.A. Krugel was murdered in November 2005 while in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Phoenix. His conviction, which was under appeal at that time, was dismissed in U.S. District Court. Rubin committed suicide in 2002 while in Federal Bureau of Prisons custody in Los Angeles.[91] Arabs allege that the JDL was involved in the 1985 bombing of ADC leader Alex Odeh. The FBI has failed to make any arrest in Odeh's case.[92]

Stephen E. Herbits, the Secretary-General of the New York–based World Jewish Congress made several racist remarks and ethnic slurs in an internal memo against the president of the European Jewish Congress Pierre Besnainou: "He is French. Don’t discount this. He cannot be trusted, ... He is Tunisian. Do not discount this either. He works like an Arab."[93] The World Jewish Congress in Israel has condemned the statements as both hateful and racist. "It appears that the struggle in the World Jewish Congress has now turned racist, said MK Shai Hermesh (Kadima), who heads the Israeli board of the WJC. Instead of creating unity among the Jewish people, this organization is just creating division and hatred."[94]

Conservative pundit and author Michelle Malkin has accused the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of exaggeration and questioned the existence of a post-September 11, 2001 attacks anti-Arab hate crime epidemic. She says that the "hype artists" and "book-cookers" of ADC reported that "a Muslim student was pelted with eggs at Arizona State University", but that of two such incidents logged at the university, one was a "complete hoax", and the other was not considered a hate crime by police.[95]

In 2004, highly popular American radio host Michael Savage described Arabs as "non-humans", said that Americans want the US to "drop a nuclear weapon" on an Arab country; and advocated that people in the Middle East be "forcibly converted to Christianity" to "turn them into human beings". Savage characterized Israel as "A little country surrounded by racist, fascist bigots who don't want anyone but themselves living in that hell hole called the Middle East."[96]

Western media

Parts of Hollywood are regarded as using a disproportionate number of Arabs as villains and of depicting Arabs negatively and stereotypically. According to Godfrey Cheshire, a critic on the New York Press, "the only vicious racial stereotype that's not only still permitted but actively endorsed by Hollywood" is that of Arabs as crazed terrorists.[97]

Like the image projected of Jews in Nazi Germany, the image of Arabs projected by western movies is often that of "money-grubbing caricatures that sought world domination, worshipped a different God, killed innocents, and lusted after blond virgins."[98]

The 2000 film Rules of Engagement drew criticism from Arab groups, described as "probably the most racist film ever made against Arabs by Hollywood" by the ADC.[97] Paul Clinton of The Boston Globe wrote "at its worst, it's blatantly racist, using Arabs as cartoon-cutout bad guys".[97]

Jack Shaheen, in his book Reel Bad Arabs,[99] surveyed more than 900 film appearances of Arab characters. Of those, only a dozen were positive and 50 were balanced. Shaheen writes that "[Arab] stereotypes are deeply ingrained in American cinema. From 1896 until today, filmmakers have collectively indicted all Arabs as Public Enemy #1 – brutal, heartless, uncivilized religious fanatics and money-mad cultural "others" bent on terrorizing civilized Westerners, especially [Christians] and [Jews]. Much has happened since 1896… Throughout it all, Hollywood's caricature of the [Arab] has prowled the silver screen. He is there to this day – repulsive and unrepresentative as ever."[100]

According to Newsweek columnist Meg Greenfield, anti-Arab sentiment presently promotes misconceptions about Arabs and hinders genuine peace in the Middle East.[98]

Groups that advocate for Arabs

United States

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) was founded in 1980 by United States Senator James Abourezk. It describes itself as the largest Arab-American grassroots civil rights organization in the United States. On March 1, 2010, Sara Najjar-Wilson replaced former Democratic US Congresswoman Mary Rose Oakar as president. ADC claims that is at the forefront in addressing anti-Arabism - discrimination and bias against Arab Americans.[101]

Founded in 1985 by James Zogby, a prominent Democrat, the Arab American Institute (AAI) states that it is a partisan non-profit, membership organization and advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. that focuses on the issues and interests of Arab-Americans nationwide. The AAI also conducts research related to anti-Arabism in the United States. The Anti-Defamation League identifies the Arab American Institute as an anti-Israel protest organization. [102] According to an AAI 2007 poll of Arab-Americans:

Experiences of discrimination are not uniform within the Arab American community, with 76% of young Arab Americans (18 to 29 years old) and 58% of Arab American Muslims reporting that they have “personally experienced discrimination in the past because of [their] ethnicity,” as opposed to 42% of respondents overall... . Comparisons with previous AAI polls in which this same question was asked indicate a rise in experiences of discrimination amongst young Arab Americans.[103]

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is an Islamic organization in North America that was created in June 1994.[104][105] It has been active against anti-Arabism as well.[106]

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which was founded to combat antisemitism and other forms of bigotry, actively investigated and spoke out against the rise in anti-Arab hate crimes following the September 2001 terrorist attacks.[107] In 2003, the ADL urged the Speaker of the United States' House of Representatives to approve a resolution condemning bigotry and violence against Arab-Americans and American Muslims. The American Jewish Committee, and American Jewish Congress have issued similar responses.[108] In 2004, the ADL national director issued the following statement: "we are disturbed that a number of Arab Americans and Islamic institutions have been targets of anger and hatred in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks."[109][110]

In the 1990s, the Anti-Defamation League clashed with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in a legal dispute regarding sensitive information the ADL had collected about ADC members' positions on the Arab-Israeli conflict. In 1999, the dispute was finally settled out of court without any finding of wrongdoing.[111] In 2001 the ADL attempted to bar Arab members of CAIR from attending a conference on multicultural inclusion. In 2007 the ADL accused the Council on American-Islamic Relations of having a "poor record on terrorism."[112] CAIR, in turn, accused the ADL of "attempting to muzzle the First Amendment rights of American Muslims by smearing and demonizing them". When the case was settled, Hussein Ibish, director of communications for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), stated that the ADL had gathered data "systematically in a program whose clear intent was to undermine civil rights and Arab-American organizations".[111]

See also: The ADL files controversy

United Kingdom

In Britain, the Greater London Council (GLC) and Labour Committee on Palestine (LCP) have been involved in fighting anti-Arabism through the promotion of Arab and Palestinian rights. The LCP funded a conference on anti-Arab racism in 1989.[113] The National Association of British Arabs also works against discrimination.[114]

United Nations

The final outcome document of the Durban Review Conference organized by the UN Human Rights Council, April 21, 2009, Deplores the global rise and number of incidents of racial or religious intolerance and violence, including Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Christianophobia and anti-Arabism [115]


See also


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