Anti-Palestinianism or anti-Palestinian sentiment, also called anti-Palestinian racism,[1] refers to prejudice, collective hatred, and discrimination directed at the Palestinian people for any variety of reasons. Since the mid-20th century, the phenomenon has largely overlapped with anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians today are Arabs and Muslims.[1][2] Historically, however, anti-Palestinianism was more closely identified with European antisemitism, as far-right Europeans detested the Jewish people as undesirable foreigners from Palestine.[3][4] Modern anti-Palestinianism—that is, xenophobia with regard to the Arab people of Palestine—is most common in Israel,[a][better source needed] the United States,[2] and Lebanon,[5] among other countries.

Pakistani author and professor Sunaina Maira,[6] citing American professor of Islamic studies Shahzad Bashir in the context of labelling, states: " important aspect of anti-Palestinianism, that is, the moral panic whipped up about the "radicalization" of Muslim and Arab American youth is often accompanied by the charge that they are automatically anti-Semites if they are critical of the Israeli state's policies."[7]

Prevalence by country


In 2018, author and political activist Yves Engler criticized the New Democratic Party (NDP) for its conduct in respect of the Palestine Resolution that called for support of efforts to ban "settlement products from Canadian markets, and using other forms of diplomatic and economic pressure to end the [Israeli] occupation.".[8] Engler said it "demonstrated the need to directly confront anti-Palestinianism within the party."[9][b]

In 2020, the University of Toronto allegedly blocked the hiring of Valentina Azarova as director of the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) due to her pro-Palestinian activism. Dania Majid, president of the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association (ACLA), described this as an example that "anti-Palestinian racism is alive and well" in Canada.[12]

In 2023, the principal of Park West School in Halifax, Nova Scotia, apologized after Palestinian students were told they couldn't wear the keffiyeh during the school's culture day. Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists protested the banning of the keffiyeh as an act of anti-Palestinian racism in front of the Department of Education building in Halifax.[13][14]


In May 2021, the French interior minister Gérald Darmanin requested that the police ban a pro-Palestinian protest in Paris. The Parisian journalist Sihame Assbague described the decision as an expression of "French colonial solidarity with the Israeli occupation forces."[15]


Mati Shemoelof in +972 Magazine said Anti-Palestinian sentiment is common in Germany. The German left, particularly the Antideutsch movement, has been noted for anti-Palestinian sentiment. Many pro-Israel non-Jewish Zionists on the German left regard being anti-Palestinian as connected to their solidarity with Jews.[16]

In 2019, the Bundestag declared the BDS movement to be a form of antisemitism. In response, the BDS movement condemned the motion as anti-Palestinian. The Palestinian B.D.S. National Committee issued a statement declaring the motion an "anti-Palestinian...McCarthyite and unconstitutional resolution passed by the German Parliament."[17][18] British musician Brian Eno has argued that pro-Palestinian artists are subjected to "censorship and inquisitorial McCarthyism" due to the actions of the German government and anti-Palestinian groups.[19]

On the 75th anniversary of Israel's independence, or for Palestinians the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, prominent German politician Ursula von der Leyen referred to Israel as a "vibrant democracy" in the Middle East that made "the desert bloom" in remarks criticized by the foreign ministry of the Palestinian Authority as a "propagandist discourse" propagating an "anti-Palestinian racist trope" and a 'whitewashing' of Israeli occupation.[20][21][22]

Germany's relationship with Palestine has been highlighted as "complex". At present, Germany's political class exhibits a "zealous identification with Israel" that is "often explained in terms of the country's past". Alternative readings, however, view this trend as a "qualitatively new phenomenon in Germany largely unrelated to moral considerations pertaining to the Nazi era".[23] Hannah C. Tzuberi argues that German manifestations of "anti-antisemitism" (which has been described as "a defining marker of post-war German identity")[24] can go beyond the identification of Germans with Jews, sometimes leading to the identification of German gentiles as Jews, and the identification of Germany as Israel.[25]


Further information: Israel and apartheid, Israeli demolition of Palestinian property, and Palestinian enclaves

See also: Roof knocking

Graffito in Turmus Ayya, left by Israeli settlers: "Take revenge against the goyim."

In general, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is hardly mentioned by Israeli textbooks or by high school matriculation examinations, according to a study by Professor Avner Ben-Amos of Tel Aviv University. The lives and perspectives of Palestinians are rarely mentioned, an approach he terms “interpretive denial.” In most Israeli textbooks, “the Jewish control and the Palestinians’ inferior status appear as a natural, self-evident situation that one doesn’t have to think about."[26]

According to the Ben-Amos study, one of the main civics textbooks used in Israeli high schools fails to address at all the limited rights of the millions of Palestinians living in the West Bank under Israeli military occupation. The more general issue of the occupation was addressed in a previous edition of this textbook but the Israeli debate regarding the occupation was shrunk to a few sentences in the most recent edition under right-wing education ministers. Another Israeli civics textbook completely omits discussion of the dispute over the occupied territories. In civics high school matriculation tests over the past 20 years, no question appeared on the limiting of the Palestinians’ rights. The geography matriculation exams ignore the Green Line and the Palestinians.[27]
In 1994, a Jewish settler in the West Bank and follower of the Kach party, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.[28][29] During his funeral, a rabbi declared that even one million Arabs are "not worth a Jewish fingernail".[30][31][32] Goldstein was immediately "denounced with shocked horror even by the mainstream Orthodox",[33] and many in Israel classified Goldstein as insane.[34] The Israeli government condemned the massacre and made Kach illegal.[35] The Israeli army killed a further nine Palestinians during riots following the massacre,[36] and the Israeli government severely restricted Palestinian freedom of movement in Hebron,[37] while letting settlers and foreign tourists roam free,[38] although Israel also forbade certain Israeli settlers from entering Palestinian towns and demanded that those settlers turn in their army-issued rifles.[39] Goldstein's grave has become a pilgrimage site for Jewish extremists.[40]
Swedish volunteer Tove Johannson (pictured) suffered a broken cheekbone from a hit in the face with a bottle by an Israeli settler in Hebron on November 18, 2006. She and other European members of the International Solidarity Movement sought to escort Palestinian children home from school.[41][42]

Palestinians are the target of violence by Israeli settlers and their supporters, predominantly in the West Bank. In November 2021, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz discussed the steep rise in the number of incidents between settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank, many of which result from attacks by residents of illegal settler outposts on Palestinians from neighboring villages.[43] Settler violence also includes acts known as price tag attacks that are in response to actions by the Israeli government, usually against Palestinian targets and occasionally against Israeli security forces in the West Bank.[44]

Palestinian police are forbidden from reacting to acts of violence by Israeli settlers, a fact which diminishes their credibility among Palestinians.[45] Between January and November 2008, 515 criminal suits were opened by Israel against settlers for violence against Arabs or Israeli security forces; 502 of these involved "right wing radicals" while 13 involved "left wing anarchists".[46][47] In 2008, the senior Israeli commander in the West Bank said that a hard core of a few hundred activists were involved in violence against the Palestinians and Israeli soldiers.[48] Some prominent Jewish religious figures living in the occupied territories, as well as Israeli government officials, have condemned and expressed outrage over such behavior,[49] while religious justifications for settler killings have also been given.[50] Israeli media said the defense establishment began taking a harder line against unruly settlers starting in 2008.[51] In 2011 the BBC reported that "vast majority of settlers are non-violent but some within the Israeli government acknowledge a growing problem with extremists."[44] UN figures from 2011 showed that 90% of complaints filed against settlers by Palestinians with the Israeli police never led to indictment.[44]

In the 21st century, there has been a steady increase in violence and terror perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.[51] In 2012, an EU heads of mission report found that settler violence had more than tripled in the three years up to 2011.[52] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) figures state that the annual rate of settler attacks (2,100 attacks in 8 years) has almost quadrupled between 2006 and 2014.[53] In 2021, there was yet another wave of settler violence which erupted after a 16-year-old settler died in a car chase with Israeli police after having hurled rocks at Palestinians. So far it has resulted in 44 incidents in the span of a few weeks, injuring two Palestinian children.[54] In the latter parts of 2021, there has been a marked increase in settler violence toward Palestinians, condemned at the United Nations Security Council.

This violence increased further following the election of a far-right government in 2022 which proposed to expand Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories, as well as the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October 2023.


Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are treated as second-class residents.[5] Palestinians in Lebanon are denied citizenship, restricted from certain jobs, excluded from formal education, and forced to live in refugee camps.[55] Anti-Palestinianism was a common sentiment in a number of Lebanese factions during the Lebanese Civil War; it was particularly prominent among Lebanese Christians fighting for the right-wing Lebanese Front against the Palestine Liberation Organization and various left-wing factions. Instances attesting this phenomenon include the Sabra and Shatila massacre, in which the Lebanese Forces massacred hundreds or thousands of Palestinians (along with Lebanese Shia Muslims) with support from the Israel Defense Forces in the city of Beirut.

United States

American public opinion has tended in favor of Israel and against Palestinians for a number of years, although pro-Palestinian sentiment has increased in the United States during the 21st century.[56]

In 2021, according to Gallup, only 25% of Americans sympathized more with Palestinians than with Israelis, with 58% sympathizing with Israel, and only 34% of Americans believed that the United States should place more pressure on Israel in regards to the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, 52% of Americans supported an independent Palestinian state. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to have pro-Palestinian sentiments.[56]

In her 1990 essay "Israel: Whose Country Is It Anyway?", the Jewish-American writer Andrea Dworkin wrote that American Jews are raised with anti-Palestinian sentiment, which she describes as "a deep and real prejudice against Palestinians that amounts to race-hate."[57]

In May 2021, the Tayba Islamic Center in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn was vandalized with anti-Palestinian graffiti reading "Death 2 Palestine". The incident was investigated by the NYPD as a hate crime.[58] Student leaders at the University of Michigan issued a statement denouncing the anti-Palestinian sentiment they alleged had been allowed to "run rampant" on campus, stating that Palestinian students had been "profoundly marginalized through censorship and threats."[59]

In November 2021, Palestine Legal filed a complaint with Washington, D.C.'s Office for Human Rights against George Washington University, alleging that the university had discriminated against Palestinians in its offering of trauma services.[60][61]

On 9 November 2023, a former leader of the University of Connecticut's pro-Palestine campus group, who had graduated in 2022, spoke out about threatening voicemails she had received, as her number was still publicly listed on the group's website. One particular voicemail she received was from a number in Oklahoma and contained racial slurs, called her a terrorist, and said "I can't wait to see you dead". The school's Muslim Student Association received an email mocking dead Palestinians, and the messages were reported to the FBI, campus and state police.[62]


Opponents of anti-Palestinianism sometimes allege that it is as serious a moral failing as antisemitism, but believe that anti-Palestinianism goes unrecognized or underrecognized within Western societies.[63]

After fashion retailer Zara condemned anti-Palestinian comments made by one of its senior designers in June 2021, the East Jerusalem born and raised model Qaher Harhash said the fashion industry should stand up against anti-Palestinian sentiment:[64]

We usually see brands standing against anti-Semitism, but it's also time we see brands standing against anti-Palestinianism.[65]

In 2015, Spanish BDS activists accused the Jewish-American rapper Matisyahu of being anti-Palestinian and temporarily succeeded in having his appearance at the Rototom Sunsplash festival cancelled.[66][67]

Digital anti-Palestinianism

The censorship of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian voices on the internet, particularly on social media, has been referred to as "digital apartheid"[68][69] or "digital occupation".[70]

Facebook and Instagram has been accused of anti-Palestinian bias by digital rights activists.[71] Other websites accused of anti-Palestinian bias include Reddit,[72] YouTube, Twitter, and PayPal.[73]

See also


  1. ^ "For much of the 20th century, mainstream American and Israeli public discourse did not even tolerate the word "Palestinian." In The Question of Palestine, published in 1979, Edward Said observed that, "merely to mention the Palestinians or Palestine in Israel, or to a convinced Zionist, is to name the unnameable." (Beinart 2021)
  2. ^ The 2021 NDP convention passed a resolution which made it official NDP policy to require "An end to Canada's support for illegal settlements" and "Suspending the flow of weapons to and from Israel until Palestinians are free"[10][11]


  1. ^ a b Abu-Laban & Bakan 2021, pp. 143–149.
  2. ^ a b Beinart 2021.
  3. ^ Kant, Immanuel (1974): Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View. Translated by Mary J. Gregor. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, cited in Chad Alan Goldberg, Politicide Revisited. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  4. ^ Gelbin, Cathy S.; Gilman, Sander L. (2017). Cosmopolitanisms and the Jews. University of Michigan Press: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0472130412.((cite book)): CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  5. ^ a b Moor 2010.
  6. ^ "Canary Mission". Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  7. ^ Maira 2016, p. 150.
  8. ^ O'Keefe 2018.
  9. ^ Engler 2018.
  10. ^ Aivalis 2021.
  11. ^ NDP Palestine Res 2021.
  12. ^ Gadzo 2020.
  13. ^ "Apology following dispute during school's culture day falls short, say protesters". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  14. ^ "Palestinian scarves controversy at Nova Scotia school prompts calls for public apology". Global News. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  15. ^ AJE: French ban 2021.
  16. ^ Shemoelof 2021.
  17. ^ Nasr & Alkousaa 2019.
  18. ^ Bennhold 2019.
  19. ^ Eno 2021.
  20. ^ "EU's 'Israeli independence' message rebuked in Palestine". Al Jazeera. 27 April 2023.
  21. ^ Knell, Yolande (27 April 2023). "Palestinians condemn EU's von der Leyen for 'racist trope'". BBC.
  22. ^ Lynch, Suzanne (27 April 2023). "Von der Leyen's Israel comments provoke Palestinian ire". Politico.
  23. ^ Fischer, L. (2019). "Deciphering Germany's Pro-Israel Consensus". Journal of Palestine Studies. 48 (2): 26–42. doi:10.1525/jps.2019.48.2.26. S2CID 159195502.
  24. ^ Judith Gruber (2021). "At the Intersection of Racial and Religious Othering: Theologies of Interreligious Dialogue as a Performance of White Christian Innocence?". Answerable for our Beliefs. Peeters. ISBN 978-90-429-4742-9.
  25. ^ Tzuberi, Hannah C. (2020). ""The Sun Does Not Shine, It Radiates": On National(ist) Mergings in German Philosemitic Imagery of Tel Aviv". In Reuveni, Gideon; Franklin, Diana (eds.). The Future of the German-Jewish Past: Memory and the Question of Antisemitism. Purdue University Press.
  26. ^ Haaretz, 21 June 2020 In Israeli Textbooks, the Palestinians Are All but Invisible: A Study by Avner Ben-Amos of Tel Aviv University Shows that the Occupation is Rarely Mentioned in History, Civics or Geography Textbooks
  27. ^ Haaretz, 21 June 2020 In Israeli Textbooks, the Palestinians Are All but Invisible: A Study by Avner Ben-Amos of Tel Aviv University Shows that the Occupation is Rarely Mentioned in History, Civics or Geography Textbooks
  28. ^ Gurvitz, Yossi (8 April 2012). "Jewish soldiers refuse to share Seder table with Druze comrades". 972mag. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  29. ^ Israel Shahak. "The Real Significant of Baruch Goldstein". The Unjust Media. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015.
  30. ^ Kraft, Scott (28 February 1994). "Extremists Pay Tribute to Killer of 48 at Funeral". Los Angeles Times. p. A1.
  31. ^ Brownfeld, Allan C. (March 1999). "Growing Intolerance Threatens the Humane Jewish Tradition". Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: 84–89. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  32. ^ Emran Qureshi; Michael Anthony Sells (2003). The new crusades: constructing the Muslim enemy. Columbia University Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-231-12667-0.
  33. ^ The ethics of war in Asian civilizations: a comparative perspective By Torkel Brekke, Routledge, 2006, p.44
  34. ^ Wilson, Rodney (2007). "Review Article: Islam and Terrorism". British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 34 (2): 203–213. doi:10.1080/13530190701427933. S2CID 144867169.
  35. ^ Haberman, Clyde (14 March 1994). "Israel votes ban on Jewish groups linked to Kahane". The New York Times.
  36. ^ Surkes, Sue (28 February 2014). "The Goldstein massacre and the danger of escalation". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  37. ^ AYELET WALDMAN (2014). "The Shame of Shuhada Street". The Atlantic.
  38. ^ Aditi, Bhaduri (21 May 2006). "Fabled town, divided and bruised". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2009. Still fresh in the memory of almost all the inhabitants was the Goldstein case of 1994, when a two-week curfew was imposed on the 1,20,000 [sic] Palestinian residents of the city, but not on the 400 Jewish settlers of H2.
  39. ^ Haberman, Clyde (3 March 1994). "West Bank Massacre; Israel Eases Curfew in Territories; Ensuing Riots Deepen Pessimism". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 23 November 2015. Faced with rage in the territories and its own revulsion over the Hebron massacre, the P.L.O. has dug in on its demands that all settlers be disarmed and that an international force be created to protect Palestinians. Mr. Rabin has said no to both demands. But he [Rabin] has imposed tougher measures against a relatively small number of the most militant settlers, which, while far from what the Palestinians want, represents a significant shift for the Government. Several days after ordering the arrest of five people faithful to the anti-Arab preaching of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, the army began today to carry out other measures, telling 18 settlers to stay out of Arab towns and to turn in their army-issued rifles.
  40. ^ "Graveside party celebrates Hebron massacre". BBC News. 21 March 2000. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  41. ^ "Swedish human rights worker viciously attacked by Jewish extremists in Hebron". 18 November 2006. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  42. ^ "Amnesty International's annual report on Israel and the Occupied Territories". 24 May 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  43. ^ Harel, Amos (19 November 2021). "Settler Attacks on Palestinian Spike, Reflecting Israel's Systemic Failure". Haaretz. Retrieved 21 November 2023.
  44. ^ a b c Donnison, Jon (17 November 2011). "Concerns over rising settler violence in the West Bank". BBC. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  45. ^ Daniel Byman, A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism, Oxford University Press/Saban Center, Brookings Institution, 2011 p. 292: 'Palestinian police are barred from responding to settler violence. This policy reduces friction between settlers and Palestinian authorities, but it decreases the overall credibility of the PA, which cannot defend its people from settler harassment and violence.'
  46. ^ "Violence by Extremists in the Jewish Settler Movement: A Rising Challenge". The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 25 November 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  47. ^ Constance B. Hilliard, Does Israel have a future?: the case for a post-Zionist state, Potomac Books, Inc., 2009 p. 59.
  48. ^ "'Hundreds join' settler violence". BBC. 2 October 2008.
  49. ^ Weiss, Efrat (20 June 1995). "Rabbi slams Jewish 'hooligans' - Israel News, Ynetnews". Ynetnews. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  50. ^ Amitai Etzioni, Security First: For a Muscular, Moral Foreign Policy, Yale University Press, 2008 p. 119.:'Others have justified violence against Arabs by citing the rule from the Talmud: "If a man comes to kill you, rise early, and kill him first."
  51. ^ a b Anshel Pfeffer,Top IDF officer warns: Settlers' radical fringe growing, Haaretz 20 October 2009.
  52. ^ Hider, James (21 March 2012). "Israel 'turning blind eye' to West Bank settlers' attacks on Palestinians". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  53. ^ Chaim Levinson, Gili Cohen and Jack Khoury , 'Palestinian mosque set on fire in suspected hate crime,' at Haaretz, 15 January 2014. 'The annual totals are up from 115 in 2006 to 399 in 2013..'
  54. ^ Times of Israel Staff. “5-Year-Old Palestinian Boy Hurt by Rock Thrown at Car in Reported Settler Attack.” The Times of Israel, January 22, 2021. Times of Israel
  55. ^ Khoury 2017.
  56. ^ a b Saad 2021.
  57. ^ "Israel: Whose Country Is It Anyway?". No Status Quo. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  58. ^ Elassar 2021.
  59. ^ Pilkington 2021.
  60. ^ Kennedy & Trivedi 2021.
  61. ^ Kane 2021.
  62. ^ Wendling, Mike (9 November 2023). "Muslim students at University of Connecticut received threats over Israel-Gaza war". BBC News. Retrieved 9 November 2023.
  63. ^ Haber 2016.
  64. ^ Abdelkader 2021.
  65. ^ Alz & Ayoub 2021.
  66. ^ Ontiveros 2015.
  67. ^ LeVine 2015.
  68. ^ Zahzah 2021.
  69. ^ "Israel's digital apartheid is silencing Palestinians". openDemocracy. 20 May 2021.
  70. ^ Brooking & Campbell 2021.
  71. ^ El-Haroun 2021.
  72. ^ Richard Silverstein (7 March 2022). "OPT: Reddit allegedly censors pro-Palestine news and threads by users violating its own online democracy slogan". United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
  73. ^ Tahhan 2021.


Further reading