The current Iranian regime, and many other middle eastern Muslim regimes regularly call for the destruction of Israel and slaughter of all the Jews, from CNN:

A new document by Iran's supreme leader calling for the elimination of Israel shows that world powers must not rush into a deal on the country's nuclear program despite an upcoming deadline, Israel's Prime Minister said Monday.

These Middle Eastern Muslim nations have also tried to invade Israel on two separate occasions.

Why do some Muslims have so much hate for Jews? Is it geopolitical, cultural or purely religious? And in what way (if at all) does the Muslim faith require or promote hatred towards Jews?

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    Wikipedia has a very extensive article on it with many references. I've scrolled through it a bit but I can't really come up with a concise answer. It's probably a good start for anyone wanting to write an answer.
    – JJJ
    Jul 7, 2019 at 4:29
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    Four upvotes for this? It's a broad, generalizing, and negative statement about Muslims that lacks nuance and is clearly trying to promote a belief rather than get useful answers. If the question wants to know why specific Muslim governments are anti-Israel or anti-Jewish, it should ask that. If it wants to know why the rate of anti-Semitism in the Middle East is "X%", it should ask that. As it is it's not asking either of those things.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jul 7, 2019 at 5:04
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    Rather more than two occasions, I'm afraid. But I think you have to start by looking at the Islamic view of ALL infidels - second-class citizens, at best. Then WRT Israel specifically, I would suspect envy. Israel has repeatedly defeated much larger Islamic armies, and has created a prosperous economy without benefit of oil wealth.
    – jamesqf
    Jul 7, 2019 at 5:32
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    @Obie2.0 I've edited it to make it a bit less blunt, but the gist of the question remains the same. I think it's a good question, as there are clearly antisemitic views by many Muslim-related entities (e.g. Hamas, Iran). You could argue that they are isolated incidents in an answer, but I think it's more related to culture (see the Wikipedia article, there's a long history) and perhaps geopolitical interests. As such, it's on-topic and asking about Islam as a religion as that's the common denominator in the region and where much of the cultural friction arises from.
    – JJJ
    Jul 7, 2019 at 8:28
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    @JJJ - It's not about being blunt. The question "Why do Muslims hate Jews?" (or "Why do Jews hate Muslims?" for that matter) is fundamentally reductionist and stereotypical, and frankly usually itself motivated by negative sentiments toward Muslims. Implicitly universal, it ignores the existence of the (many) Muslims who don't hate Jews, and encourages similarly silly statements about other groups. "Why are levels of anti-Semitism (as measured by XYZ) in the Middle East higher than in (China/US/Britain/whatever)?" is not a bad or anti-Muslim question, but that's not what's being asked here.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jul 7, 2019 at 8:43

3 Answers 3


It's a bit of everything.

The state of Israel came into existence during a period of intense violence in Palestine between Jews, Arabs, and British authorities. This coincided with an era of Arab Nationalism, in which many Arabs identified strongly with other Arabs and weakly with their nationality. many of these nations were only a few years old at this point; Jordan was born in 1946 and Israel 1948. Consequently the creation of the state of Israel was loathed by Arabs who regarded its existence as aggressive imperialism. The 1948 exodus of Palestinians from the new Israeli state is called the Nakba (disaster).

There's a linguistic aspect to this which should be noted. In the Arab world Israel is often regarded as illegitimate, in which case the occupier is often referred to as being 'Jewish' instead of 'Israeli'. This originates in the fact violence before the creation of the Israeli state was rightly summarised as being between Jews and Arabs. In refusing to accept the existence of an Israeli state, Israelis are simply regarded as Jews. This undoubtedly does not reduce anti-Semitic thinking.

However, the popularity of secular Arab Nationalism was not to last. Support for Arab Nationalism declined as the prospect of achieving Pan-Arabism collapsed. This ideology would be replaced by the rising tide of political Islam.

The Quran, like the Bible, is a big complex book with lots of seemingly conflicting ideas. There are anti-semitic elements in the Quran which relate to a period of early persecution against Muslims by pagan and Jewish tribes. This is often used as a legal basis for prejudice against non-Muslims by Islamist hardliners.

Saudi Arabia has been called out repeatedly for using textbooks which teach anti-Semitism. The US government criticised their textbooks in 2001 following the September 11th Attacks, arguing that these books may have contributed towards the hijackers beliefs. One tenth grade textbook on monotheism included statements like:

"The Hour will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews, and Muslims will kill all the Jews."

In 2002 Al Fawzan, author of the book in question, rejected US demands:

"The Jews and Christians and the polytheists have shown their heartfelt hatred and try to prevent us from the true path of God. They want to change our religion and our teaching to disconnect us from Islam so they can come and occupy us with their armies. It is bad enough when it comes from the infidels, but worse when they are of our skin. They say we create parrots, but they are the real parrots repeating what our enemies say of Islam."

In 2006 Saudi authorities told their US counterparts that the reforms had been completed, but this was quickly brought into question when an investigation by Freedom House found textbooks with dubious content still in circulation.

The problem is that Saudi textbooks are not limited to use in Saudi Arabia, they have been distributed far and wide to mosques and schools with ties to Saudi Arabia. In 2010 a BBC investigation found books which included anti-Semitism were being used by some faith groups in the UK.

In 2012 Human Rights Watch founder Robert Bernstein criticised Saudi Arabia for continuing to print new textbooks which contained anti-Semitic content. Citing one eighth grade book:

"The Apes are the people of the Sabbath, the Jews; and the Swine are the infidels of the communion of Jesus, the Christians."

A November 2018 report by the Anti Defamation League found that textbooks printed for the 2018-2019 academic year still contained questionable content.

“The hour will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, so that the Muslims kill them, until the Jew hides behind rock and tree, so the rock or the tree says: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of God, this Jew is behind me, so kill him.’”

In 2014 Emile Nakhleh, former Director of the CIA's Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, warned that the Islamic State's education system was very similar to Saudi Arabia's. He concludes that the consequence of Saudi education has been to encourage violence against non-Muslims, and notes the paradox of Saudi willing to consider peace on the basis of 1967 borders with a state which does not exist in Saudi textbooks.

Even the geography curriculum discusses the region from an Islamic perspective. For example, kids are taught that the “Zionists” have occupied Palestine illegally, and the Islamic umma one day must re-establish Muslim control over Jerusalem, the “Third Qibla” of Islam, to which Muslims turn to pray after Mecca and Medina. “Israel,” for example, does not appear on maps of the Arab world in Saudi geography textbooks.

The Saudi youth are socialized in public schools on the importance of Islam in the personal, familial, social, and national levels. Whenever Islam, as a faith and a territory, is threatened or invaded, Muslims have a duty to do jihad against the perceived “enemies” of Islam.

Saudi education espouses this ideology, so do al-Qaeda and IS. In the past three decades, Muslim youth have participated in large numbers in jihad across the Muslim world, from Afghanistan to Chechnya, and from the Balkans to Iraq and Syria.

The Saudi government participates in the anti-IS coalition, yet IS’s jihadist ideology resonates with Saudi educated youth. Their government talks about a possible peace with Israel should it withdraw to the 1967 borders, yet Saudi youth do not see Israel on the maps in their textbooks.

If the Saudi youth are taught about the duty of jihad in the face of a “war on Islam,” as Bin Ladin had preached for years, and view IS rightly or wrongly as the “defender” of Islam, they can’t understand why their government is fighting on the side of Islam’s “enemies.”

In conclusion, there are a variety of reasons why many Muslims exhibit prejudice against Jews. These relate most strongly to political reasons; Israeli and American behaviour in the Middle East. Conspiracy theorist Muslims believe, as do conspiracy theorist non-Muslims in America and Europe, that America is the puppet of a Jewish conspiracy. Religious reasons are rooted in parts of the Quran emphasised by Saudi religious authorities, who have used their wealth to spread this particularly intolerant version of Islam.

It seems unlikely that this prejudice would be as pronounced without numerous issues which plague the Middle East: widespread poverty, the corruption of secular institutions, Saudi patronage of Salafi Islam, the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and American aggression in the region.


Antisemitism does not equal anti-Israeli sentiments.

Antisemitism is about Jews and the religion of Judaism. You will find that amongst Muslim communities, Judaism is a highly respected religion. Judaism is, along with versions of Christianity, considered Ahl-al-Khitab, meaning "people of the book", and are recognized as legitimate religions deserving of their place even within an Islamic community. For example, Persian Jews exist, which are an acknowledged community in Iran, live peacefully with their peers, can be part of the Iranian military and are allocated a minimum of one seat in the Iranian parliament.

Anti-Israeli sentiments, as those spouted by Iran, are purely targeted towards the nation of Israel. It is a political matter, a byproduct of long-standing conflicts between Israel and other middle-eastern nations.

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    There's an entire Wikipedia page for it. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Maeo
    Jul 7, 2019 at 15:53
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    The point here is that some other religions - "people of the book" - can be tolerated within Islam IF THEY ARE SUBSERVIENT to Islam. Dhimmi, IOW: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhimmi Israel is manifestly not subservient to Islam, and even in the proposed pre-1948 shared state Jews wouldn't have been.
    – jamesqf
    Jul 7, 2019 at 17:59
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    This answer is nearly as bad a generalization as the question. Implicitly blames Israel for anti-Semitism, check. It also insists there can't be any anti-Semitism in Iran's government because Iranian Jews have a reserved seat (can there be no sexism in governments where women have reserved seats?) It generalizes by saying that Jews are highly respected in Muslim communities, even though this depends on the community and the person, and basically doesn't acknowledge that any anti-Semitism exists among some Muslims.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jul 7, 2019 at 19:02
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    I edited the answer to remove some parts which were rude towards the author of the question and some other parts which focused more on bashing Israel than on answering the question. Please note that we try to answer questions from a politically neutral point of view. I know that it's difficult to stay neutral with a topic which is as emotionally charged as anything that has to do with Israel, but that's no excuse to not even try.
    – Philipp
    Jul 15, 2019 at 15:00

NB: The following attempts to answer the JJJ edit, titled "What is the reason for extreme antisemitism in some Muslim countries?", which seemed like a good faith revision. Unfortunately the OP keeps rolling it back to the initial negligent phrasing which fails to distinguish between the large set of Muslims in general, and the smaller subset of some extremist Muslims in particular. Because of how Stack Exchange works, the rollback might make it look as if I'd approved of the OP's overly broad wording enough to answer it, but that is not the case.

Extreme Muslim antisemitism exists for the same reasons people who go to extremes everywhere go to extremes. What's more remarkable is that virtually every party that believes anything at all, (however kind or reasonable), has ugly extremists of one form or another -- they are never that rare. The combining of bigotry and violent fanaticism are not specifically Muslim, they didn't invent it, they don't own it, and they won't be the last ones.

Presumably we begin with some big popular party or creed. It has many people, its doors are open, and all sorts of people join it. Then one too many catastrophes harm the party -- it might be a natural disaster, or it might be accidental, or unavoidable, or the awful handiwork of some prior unrelated party's extremists. And the party asks itself "Why"? Then the extremists within that party do what they do best: obsess, leap to conclusions, find a target, emit yoctobytes of apocalyptic trash-talk, retcon history, and make war on their new devils.

What catastrophe was the tipping point for antisemitic Muslim extremists? Might have been Nazism... without the personified catastrophe of Hitler, and WWII's ensuing dispossessed Jewish population, there might never have been an enduring and viable modern state of Israel.

Or the invention of oil engines, causing the worlds' empires to crowd the Muslim gates. Or the combination of the Nazism and oil engines. Or since the Nazis were imperialists too, really it's empires all the way down. It might at times be useful for any empire to have its victims invent erroneous conspiracies, then simmer with resentment about peripheral third parties, rather than blame the empire itself.

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    Islam was pretty darned good at imperialism during its heyday, you know :-)
    – jamesqf
    Jul 7, 2019 at 17:55
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    @Sjoerd, Re "was promised...": surely we haven't agreed that British diplomats are always of one mind and never lie. Around that time Arthur Balfour told Lord Rothschild that Britain would do what it could, Mark Sykes told François Georges-Picot something else entirely.
    – agc
    Jul 7, 2019 at 18:22
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    @Obie2.0, Sorry, it's unclear what you mean. Please specify what in this answer seems "anti-Jewish". I'd be more than happy to correct any factual errors.
    – agc
    Jul 7, 2019 at 19:21
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    and during the years after the war they [the allies] tried to follow up on that promise by creating various countries in the area. @Sjoerd No, that is a lie. They just colonized the whole zone, the only exception being those countries that fought their way to some degree of independence (Irak, Turkey). And of course, this leads to the thorny issue of which legitimacy those countries had in the first place to make those promises (if you find no problem with that, I am willing to sell you a chunk of the USA to create your own country for a rather reasonable amount).
    – SJuan76
    Jul 7, 2019 at 21:38
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    But I disagree. In my opinion, that is pure cruft and irrelevant. The Nazi Holocaust is not necessary to discuss the existence of Israel. In particular, are you claiming that if Israel had been formed without the Nazi Holocaust, that it would have been acceptable? It might never have happened that way, but you're going to find a lot more Holocaust denial in Muslim sources than anti-Nazism. Whereas my point in my answer is important and vital in my opinion.
    – Brythan
    Jul 25, 2019 at 23:13

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