Anti-Palestinianism, or anti-Palestinian racism,[1] refers to prejudice and discrimination against Palestinians by groups, individuals, or governments. As a prejudice directed at an Arab group that is predominantly Muslim, it overlaps with anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia.[1][2] The phenomenon is common in Israel,[a] the United States,[2] and Lebanon,[3] among other countries.

Emad Moussa, writing on Mondoweiss, says that anti-Palestinianism is a form of bigotry, "a multi-layered form of prejudice, inseparable from the overall anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment in the West".[4] Pakistani author and professor Sunaina Maira,[5] citing historian 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".[6]

By location


In September 2021, the Arab Australian Federation (AAF) produced a document titled the "Sydney Statement on anti-Palestinianism". The statement was created as a response to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's Working Definition of Antisemitism. The document claims that the statement was necessitated by "decades of discrimination against the Palestinian people", reflected through "Israel's military occupation of Palestinian land", the plight of Palestinian refugees, attacks against Palestinian life and property, and widespread anti-Palestinian stereotyping. The statement also claims that anti-Palestinianism "target[s] media, institutions, students and academics if they criticise Israel or sympathise with the Palestinian people". The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) called the statement "odd and concerning", claiming that the statement entails a "broad and opportunistic appropriation of international rights" to suit a "self-serving narrative".[7][8][9][10]


In 2020, the Austrian Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the BDS movement.[11] The BDS movement condemned the resolution as "anti-Palestinian" and "anti-democratic".[12][13][14]


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.".[15] Engler said it "demonstrated the need to directly confront anti-Palestinianism within the party."[16][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.[19]

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.[20][21]


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."[22]


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.[23]

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."[24][25]

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.[26]

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.[27][28][29]

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 the trend as a "qualitatively new phenomenon in Germany largely unrelated to moral considerations pertaining to the Nazi era".[30]


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

See also: Racism in Israel


Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are treated as second-class residents. Palestinians in Lebanon are denied citizenship, restricted from certain jobs, excluded from formal education, and forced to live in refugee camps.[31]

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.[32]

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.[32]

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."[33]

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.[34] 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."[35]

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.[36][37]


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.[38]

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:[39]

We usually see brands standing against anti-Semitism, but it's also time we see brands standing against anti-Palestinianism.[40]

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.[41][42]

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"[43] or "digital occupation".[44]

Facebook has been accused of anti-Palestinian bias by digital rights activists.[45] Other websites accused of anti-Palestinian bias include Zoom, YouTube, Twitter, and PayPal.[46]

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"[17][18]


  1. ^ a b Abu-Laban & Bakan 2021, pp. 143–149.
  2. ^ a b Beinart 2021.
  3. ^ Moor 2010.
  4. ^ Moussa 2021.
  5. ^ "Canary Mission". Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  6. ^ Maira 2016, p. 150.
  7. ^ Maynard 2021.
  8. ^ Moselmane 2021a.
  9. ^ Moselmane 2021b.
  10. ^ Arab Aus Fed 2021.
  11. ^ Embassy of Austria 2020.
  12. ^ Palestinian BDS National Committee 2020.
  13. ^ MEMO 2021.
  14. ^ IMEMC 2020.
  15. ^ O'Keefe 2018.
  16. ^ Engler 2018.
  17. ^ Aivalis 2021.
  18. ^ NDP Palestine Res 2021.
  19. ^ Gadzo 2020.
  20. ^ "Apology following dispute during school's culture day falls short, say protesters". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  21. ^ "Palestinian scarves controversy at Nova Scotia school prompts calls for public apology". Global News. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  22. ^ AJE: French ban 2021.
  23. ^ Shemoelof 2021.
  24. ^ Nasr & Alkousaa 2019.
  25. ^ Bennhold 2019.
  26. ^ Eno 2021.
  27. ^ "EU's 'Israeli independence' message rebuked in Palestine". Al Jazeera.
  28. ^ "Palestinians condemn EU's von der Leyen for 'racist trope'". BBC.
  29. ^ "Von der Leyen's Israel comments provoke Palestinian ire". Politico.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ Khoury 2017.
  32. ^ a b Saad 2021.
  33. ^ "Israel: Whose Country Is It Anyway?". No Status Quo. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  34. ^ Elassar 2021.
  35. ^ Pilkington 2021.
  36. ^ Kennedy & Trivedi 2021.
  37. ^ Kane 2021.
  38. ^ Haber 2016.
  39. ^ Abdelkader 2021.
  40. ^ Alz & Ayoub 2021.
  41. ^ Ontiveros 2015.
  42. ^ LeVine 2015.
  43. ^ Zahzah 2021.
  44. ^ Brooking & Campbell 2021.
  45. ^ El-Haroun 2021.
  46. ^ Tahhan 2021.


Further reading