News Release

Support for Israel Drives Anti-Muslim Sentiment and a New McCarthyism


ARUN KUNDNANI,, @ArunKundnani
Kundnani is the author of What is Antiracism? (2023) and The Muslims are Coming! (2014).

He recently wrote the piece “Islamophobia in the U.S. is rooted in its unconditional support for Israel,” which states: “Anti-Muslim racism rests on a simple truth: to justify U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East — in particular, support for Israel’s system of apartheid and military occupation — requires a dehumanisation of its victims.

“Rather than see the Palestinian movement as rooted in a struggle for freedom from oppression, it has been convenient to think that Arabs or Muslims are by nature fanatical and violent. All modern colonialisms imply racism; Zionist colonialism is no different.”

Kundnani also addressed attacks on free speech, saying: “Israel has usually enjoyed strong support from the U.S. public. But now that support is ebbing away, especially among young people, the majority of whom do not ‘approve of Israel’s response to the October 7 attacks.’

“Rather than engage these young people in debate and the free exchange of ideas, supporters of Israel are instead seeking to punish them for departing from what they consider acceptable opinion. The beginnings of a new McCarthyism are taking shape.”

Kundnani cites examples including:

  • The Intercept recently reported: “The U.S. Senate passed a unanimous resolution condemning what it called ‘anti-Israel, pro-Hamas student groups’ across the country following a day of walkouts.”
  • A letter from the Anti-Defamation League and the Brandeis Center to presidents of colleges and universities, calling for the group Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP) to be considered a material supporter of terrorism. SJP is a non-violent student group. The ADL and Brandeis Center are essentially calling for young people engaged in lawful protest activity to be criminalized under a federal anti-terrorism statute.
  • The State University System of Florida chancellor, in consultation with Governor Ron DeSantis, has ordered chapters of SJP be “deactivated.”
  • Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares has launched an investigation into the nonprofit American Muslims for Palestine group.
  • Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., has demanded the Justice Department investigate “far-left student groups” which have been critical of Israel.
  • Wall Street financiers are pressing elite universities to clamp down on anti-Israel opinion and activism on campuses.
  • Hedge-fund manager William Ackman has called on executives to refuse to hire students who are members of groups that have signed statements critical of Israel.
  • Law firm Davis Polk has rescinded letters of employment for three law students at Harvard and Columbia universities who it believed were tied to statements about Israel.
  • A website called has compiled a list of thousands of employees of major international corporations, including Amazon, Mastercard and Ernst & Young, which it accuses of issuing statements critical of Israel.