Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

According to the Palestinian National Covenant of 1968, Zionism is a racist ideology that uses Fascist and Nazi methods to achieve its objectives. Article 22 of the Covenant describes it like this:  

“Zionism is a political movement that is organically linked with world imperialism and is opposed to all liberation movements or movements for progress in the world. The Zionist movement is essentially fanatical and racialist; its objectives involve aggression, expansion and the establishment of colonial settlements and its methods are those of the Fascists and the Nazis. Israel acts as cat’s paw for the Zionist movement, a geographic and manpower base for world imperialism and a springboard for its thrust into the Arab homeland to frustrate the aspirations of the Arab nation to liberation, unity, and progress. Israel is a constant threat to peace in the Middle East and the whole world. Inasmuch as the liberation of Palestine will eliminate the Zionist and imperialist presence in that country and bring peace to the Middle East, the Palestinian people look for support to all liberals and to all forces of good, peace and progress in the world, and call on them, whatever their political convictions, for all possible aid and support in their just and legitimate struggle to liberate their homeland.”[1] 


This essentially communist view, married to Nazism—both discredited –isms in the West—depicts Jews as the personification of colonialism and racism. It was calculated to provoke hostility toward Israel from Afro-Asian countries, who relied on Israel for nascent technologies. The influence on the Arabs was more pronounced. They declared Zionism was created to humiliate them and reacting with resentment, rioted. They were given an ideological excuse to commit politicide in Israel a slow, methodical process that would ensure her extinction as an autonomous political and social body. This image of the Jew inflamed hatred and nurtured a need for retribution. [2] 

According to Yehoshafat Harkabi, former chief of Israeli Military Intelligence, and foreign policy expert at the Hebrew University, the Arabs define Zionism as the primary cause of the conflict and the root of evil. The National Covenant is not a reflection of the more radical elements within the Arab camp, but of the mainstream members of the Palestinian Arab movement. It signifies “an egotistic stand that does not show the slightest consideration for the adversary, nor any trace of recognition that he too may have a grievance, a claim and justice.” [3] 

The movement “professes ‘absoluteness’ and ‘totality’—there is absolute justice in the Palestinian stand in contrast to the absolute injustice of Israel; an unqualified Manichaean division of good and evil; right is on the Palestinian side only—only they are worthy of self-determination. Israelis are barely human creatures who at most must be tolerated in the Palestinian State as individuals or as a religious community, with their numbers reduced to five percent (Article 6 in the 1968 version) and then assimilated in an Arab environment; the historical link of the Jews with the land of Israel is deceit; the spiritual link as expressed in the centrality of the land of Israel in Judaism is a fraud; international decisions such as the Mandate granted by the League of Nations and the United Nations Partitions Resolution are all consigned to nothingness in a cavalier manner.”[4] 

Zionism is described as a “spiritual sister” and “spiritual heir” of Nazi ideology—though Nazi ideology preceded Zionism. Dr. Hasan Sa’ab, an Arab intellectual who believed Zionism’s original sin was its calculated scheme to steal another people’s land, wrote: “The concept of a ‘chosen race’ in Zionism differs from the concept of a ‘chosen race’ in Nazism, only in the identity of that race—the Zionists speaking of a ‘Jewish race’ and the Nazis of an ‘Aryan race.’ But anti-Semitism, Nazism and Zionism are different manifestations of a racism and nationalism which grew up in the same area and in the same intellectual climate.” [5] 

Dr. Fayez al-Sayegh, Senior Consultant to the Kuwait Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrote: “The Zionist concept of the ‘final solution’ to the ‘Arab problem’ in Palestine and the Nazi concept of the ‘final solution to the Jewish Problem’ in Germany consisted essentially of the same basic ingredient: the elimination of the unwanted human element in question. The creation of a ‘Jew-free Germany’ was indeed sought by Nazism through more ruthless and more inhuman method than was the creation of an ‘Arab-free Palestine’ accomplished by the Zionists: but behind the difference in techniques lay an identity of goals.”[6]  

In his 1982 doctoral dissertation for Moscow’s Oriental College, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), President of the Palestinian Authority, claimed that the Nazis and the leadership of the Zionist movement conspired together during the war. In 1984 he wrote: “When discussing declared Zionist ideas, which have been espoused with profound conviction and faith by the movement’s followers, one finds that they believe in the purity of the Jewish race—as Hitler believed in the purity of the Aryan race—and the movement calls for finding a deeply-rooted and decisive solution to the ‘Jewish problem’ in Europe via immigration to Palestine. Hitler also called for this and carried it out. The Zionist movement maintains that antisemitism is an eternal problem that throbs in the Gentiles’ blood; that it is not possible to put an end to it or get away from it; and thus it is the basic motive for Zionist immigration. It follows that if anti-Semitism did not exist it would be necessary to invent it, and that if its flame dies away it must be fanned. David Ben-Gurion defined the Zionist movement as immigration [to Israel] and nothing else; whoever does not immigrate [to Israel] denies the Torah and the Talmud and therefore is not a Jew… These ideas provide a general dispensation to every racist in the world, most prominently Hitler and the Nazis, to treat the Jews as they wish, as long as this includes immigration to Palestine.…” [7] 

             At the same time, Abu Mazen did acknowledge the gravity of the catastrophe: “The truth of the matter is that no one can verify this number, or completely deny it. In other words, the number of Jewish victims might be 6 million and might be much smaller – even less than 1 million. [Nevertheless], raising a discussion regarding the number of Jews [murdered] does not in any way diminish the severity of the crime committed against them, as murder – even of one man – is a crime that the civilized world cannot accept and humanity cannot accept.”[8] 

Antisemitic imagery is ubiquitous in the Arab press, in countries where nearly half of the population is illiterate and illustrates the intensity of the hatred toward Israel and the Jews by the ruling elites. Arab caricatures are direct, authentic, and a very clear example of how Arabs view the world. Caricatures regularly portray Jews as having satanic power. Israel’s army is depicted as German soldiers goose-stepping on their way to further conquests. [9] 

           Constant use of the swastika and the idea of “Na-Zionism,” a left-wing construct defining Zionism as a Judeo-Nazi fascist monster, are accepted themes in Arab propaganda. The Syrians and Egyptians adopted them after they were used in the Soviet press and were also influenced by Nazi émigrés who found refuge in Nasser’s Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere. “Israel Uber Alles,” read a caption in an Egyptian newspaper. [10] 

Even today, the delegitimization of Israel as a recognized sovereign state is most Arabs’ final objective, since they say they believe Israel’s continued existence poses a threat to world peace. Caricatures of Jews in Arab propaganda lack any humor and portray all Jewish people as objects worthy of annihilation. [11] 

Arab Antisemitism: The Most Dangerous Hatred since The 1930s  

        Arab antisemitism is the most perilous expression of hatred toward Jews since the late 1930s, according to Menahem Milson, professor of Arab literature at the Hebrew University. Because there is a close association between Western and Arab antisemites, with some differences between them, Arab antisemites refer to Jews as descendants of apes and pigs because the Koran says Jews who violated the Sabbath were turned into apes and pigs… an effective means of dehumanizing Jews and validating their need for elimination.  

This message is often transmitted in political writings and in Friday sermons to Arab worshipers. In a sermon, Saudi Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayyis, imam and preacher at the Al-Haram mosque–the Ka’ba mosque in Mecca, the most important Muslim holy site, said: “Read history and you will understand that the Jews of yesterday are the evil fathers of the Jews of today, who are evil offspring, infidels, distorters of [God’s] words, calf-worshippers, prophet-murderers, prophecy-deniers… the scum of the human race whom Allah cursed and turned into apes and pigs… These are the Jews, an ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption….” [12] 

The idea that Jews have been transmogrified into pigs, apes and other animals has become so ingrained in the mind of the Arab public, that children are deeply influenced by the images. In May 2002, Iqraa, the Saudi satellite television station, which strives “to highlight aspects of Arab Islamic culture that inspire admiration … to highlight the true, tolerant image of Islam and refute the accusations directed against it,” interviewed a three-and-a-half-year-old “real Muslim girl” about Jews, on “The Muslim Women’s Magazine” program. When the little girl was asked if she liked Jews she said, “No.” When asked why not, she replied that Jews were “apes and pigs” [and that] “Our God” had said this “in the Qur’an.” At the end of the segment, the interviewer noted with approval: “No [parents] could wish for Allah to give them a more believing girl than she… May Allah bless her and both her father and mother.”[13] 

A common antisemitic theme is “The Promise of the Stone and the Tree,” an extensively quoted hadith, (recorded sayings of Prophet Muhammad). It asserts that prior to the Day of Judgment, the Muslims will fight and kill the Jews. Seeking sanctuary, the Jews will hide behind stones and trees, and the stones and trees will exclaim, “Oh Muslim, Oh Servant of Allah, a Jew is hiding behind me. Come and kill him.” [14] 

According to Kamal Ahmad On of the Tanta Institute in Egypt, Jews are responsible for their own suffering: “One might ask why so many disasters and calamities befell those people in particular. The answer to this question is not difficult. Their wicked nature, which has always alienated them from mankind, lies at the bottom of this fact. This is borne out by their history.” [15] 

Palestinian children have assimilated the attitudes of the parents as evidenced by the trading cards they collect. Instead of baseball cards, they save cards of terrorist “martyrs.” During the first two years of the second intifada, six million cards were sold. Children who fill albums with 129 pictures on cardboard shaped like Israeli tanks can win bicycles, computers, or other items. Their role models and heroes are guerillas and suicide bombers. The head of the Balata teacher’s association says, Palestinian children “are convinced that martyrdom is a holy thing, something worthy of the ultimate respect. They worship these pictures. I think it will lead them in the future to go out and do the same thing.” [16] 


[1] Yehoshafat Harkabi, The Palestinian Covenant and Its Meaning, (Portland, Oregon: Vallentine Mitchell, 1979), 117; Robert Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (New York: Random House, 2010); Robert Wistrich, Muslim Anti-Semitism: A Clear and Present Danger (New York: The American Jewish Committee, 2001); Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites: An Inquiry into Conflict and Prejudice (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1999). 

[2] Yehoshafat Harkabi, Arab Attitudes To Israel, (Jerusalem: Israel Universities Press, 1974), 175. 

[3] Harkabi, The Palestinian Covenant, op. cit. 12. 

[4] Ibid; Shmuel Ettinger, “Anti-Semitism in Our Time.” The Jerusalem Quarterly, Number 23, (Spring 1982): 95-113. 

[5] Harkabi, Arab Attitudes To Israel, op. cit. 171, 176. 

[6] Ibid. 

[7] “Palestine Leader: Number of Jewish Victims in the Holocaust Might be ‘Even Less Than a Million…’ Zionist Movement Collaborated with Nazis to ‘Expand the Mass Extermination,’” (Washington, D.C.: The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Number 95. (May 30, 2002); “Fatah Representative In Poland: The Holocaust Wasn’t The Only Atrocity Committed During WWII; Israel Inflates The Number of Holocaust Victims To Justify Its Crimes,” MEMRI Special Dispatch | 8553 (February 12, 2020); “Friday Sermon By Australian Islamic Scholar Ismail Al-Wahwah: The Jews Exaggerate The Holocaust For Dirty Political Exploitation; Islam Will Conquer Rome and Moscow); MEMRI TV Clip No. 7788 (February 12, 2020). 

[8] Ibid. 

[9] Arieh Stav, Peace: The Arabian Caricature: A Study Of Anti-Semitic Imagery (Jerusalem: Gefen Publishing House, 1999), 18, 79, 183-184, 198-199, 240; Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, “Visual Hate Messages in the PA Media – May 2005,” Palestinian Media Watch (June 15, 2005); Joel Kotek, Cartoons and Extremism Cartoons and the Jews in Arab and Western Media (Portland, Oregon Vallentine Mitchell, 2008); “Israel is Coronavirus murdering Palestinians, in PA daily cartoon,” Palestinian Media Watch (May 4, 2020); Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Itamar Marcus, “PA Libel: Israel causing Corona “holocaust” in prisons – op-ed in official PA daily,” Palestinian Media Watch (March 31, 2020); Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Itamar Marcus, “PA compares Israel to the Corona virus; after weeks of silence finally mentions cooperation with Israel,” Palestinian Media Watch (March 18, 2020) 

[10]Ibid; Nan Jacques Zilberdik,  “Netanyahu is Nazi propaganda minister ‘Goebbels’ outstanding student,” says PA TV’s “Israeli affairs expert,” Palestinian Media Watch (November 24, 2019); Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Itamar Marcus, “Abbas’ advisor praises Nazi collaborator as “role model” – former Mufti of Palestine Haj Amin Al-Husseini,” Palestinian Media Watch (July 12, 2019); “Former Jordanian Education Minister Ibrahim Badran: Israel’s Nazi-Esque Racism And Barbarism Surpass Even Adolf Hitler; Palestinian Authority President Abbas Wrote ‘Best’ Book On Mizrahi Jews, PhD Dissertation On Zionism-Nazism Connection,” The MEMRI Daily: (August 1, 2019). “Yemeni TV Host Hamid Rizq: Islamic Scholars’ Visit To Auschwitz – Harsh Provocation Against Arab And Islamic World,” MEMRI TV Clip No. 7760 (January 27, 2020). 

[11] Ibid; Bernard Lewis, “The Arab World Discovers Anti-Semitism,” Commentary (May 1986): 52.  

[12] Menahem Milson, “What Is Arab Antisemitism?” MEMRI Special Report Number 26 (February 27, 2004); Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Deception: Betraying the Peace Process (Jerusalem:  Palestinian Media Watch, 2011). 

[13] Milson, op.cit.   

[14] Ibid. 

[15] Quoted in Arieh Stav, op. cit. 99; See also MEMRI Special Dispatch, Number 86 (April 12, 2000),  

[16] “Palestinian kids collect terrorist cards,” The Jerusalem Post (December 25, 2003), Online; “Educating children for hatred and terrorism: encouragement for suicide bombing attacks and hatred for Israel and the Jews spread via the Internet on Hamas’ online children’s magazine (Al-Fateh),” C.S.S (October, 2004); Matthew McAllester, “The Roots of Hatred: Decades after the Holocaust, a different anti-Semitism prevails,” (January 18, 2004) ; Israel/Occupied Territories: Palestinian armed groups must not use children,” Amnesty International (May 23, 2005);  Joseph Dan, “Jewish Sovereignty as a Theological Problem.” Azure (Winter 2004); Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “Strike Tel Aviv… terrify the Zionist” is actor’s ringtone in PA TV comedy,” Palestinian Media Watch (May 5, 2020); Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “More child abuse: Fatah promotes child soldiers and child martyrdom!” The Palestinian Media Watch (February 19, 2020); Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Itamar Marcus, “Palestinian child abuse! Mom tells her son he is “ammunition,” destined for Martyrdom – in girl’s poem,” Palestinian Media Watch (November 28, 2019). 


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Dr. Alex Grobman is the senior resident scholar at the John C. Danforth Society and a member of the Council of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. He has an MA and PhD in contemporary Jewish history from The Hebrew university of Jerusalem. He lives in Jerusalem.