Historical themes

Muslim–Jewish relations in the modern Middle East and North Africa

Authored by: Orit Bashkin , Daniel J. Schroeter

The Routledge Handbook of Muslim–Jewish Relations

Print publication date:  June  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415645164
eBook ISBN: 9781315675787
Adobe ISBN: 9781317383215




The modern Middle East and North Africa are often associated with the escalation of Muslim-Jewish tensions because of the rise of Zionism and Arab nationalism, and ultimately, the emigration of most Jews from predominately Muslim countries. While the clash of nationalisms and ideologies and the conflict in Palestine and Israel caused a rupture in Muslim-Jewish relations, the departure of Jews living in Muslim countries cannot be explained only as a linear process of deterioration of Muslim-Jewish relations, 1 for to do so would ignore the new forms of Muslim-Jewish coexistence and cultural interaction in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially before the establishment of the State of Israel. When writing about their hopes and aspirations before 1948, Middle Eastern and North African Jews often emphasized the very positive elements that came to Jewish life in the modern period that changed Muslim-Jewish relations in meaningful ways. New political, cultural and social frameworks allowed Muslims and Jews to rethink their relationship as subjects and citizens in Muslim empires, states, and in countries under European colonial rule and as new modes of daily interaction developed between Muslims, Jews, and Christians on the local level in the streets, neighborhoods, markets, and public places of the city and village.

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Historical themes

The modern Middle East and North Africa are often associated with the escalation of Muslim-Jewish tensions because of the rise of Zionism and Arab nationalism, and ultimately, the emigration of most Jews from predominately Muslim countries. While the clash of nationalisms and ideologies and the conflict in Palestine and Israel caused a rupture in Muslim-Jewish relations, the departure of Jews living in Muslim countries cannot be explained only as a linear process of deterioration of Muslim-Jewish relations, 1 for to do so would ignore the new forms of Muslim-Jewish coexistence and cultural interaction in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially before the establishment of the State of Israel. When writing about their hopes and aspirations before 1948, Middle Eastern and North African Jews often emphasized the very positive elements that came to Jewish life in the modern period that changed Muslim-Jewish relations in meaningful ways. New political, cultural and social frameworks allowed Muslims and Jews to rethink their relationship as subjects and citizens in Muslim empires, states, and in countries under European colonial rule and as new modes of daily interaction developed between Muslims, Jews, and Christians on the local level in the streets, neighborhoods, markets, and public places of the city and village.

Jews and Muslims in the era of reforms

During the nineteenth century, the Iranian, Tunisian, Egyptian, and the Ottoman states undertook administrative, economic, military, educational, and technological reforms based on Western models in order to create effective mechanisms of centralization and enable their governments to meet the challenges of European imperialism and capitalist expansion. Central to this process of reform was the Tanzimat, a series of Ottoman reforms whose chief goals were the preservation of the Ottoman state through modernization and centralization and the creation of a new imperial civic identity. Two important official decrees – the Hatt-i Şerif of Gülhane (1839) and the Hatt-i Hümayun (1856) – changed the status of non-Muslims from protected minorities of the Islamic state (dhimmīs) to Ottoman citizens with civil rights. One product of the Tanzimat were the major changes in the centralizing role of the leadership of a Chief Rabbi (Hakham-bashi; Hahambaşı) who was appointed by the state and was to take the leading role in all religious matters pertaining to the Jewish communities (with the help of local committees). 2 Jewish elites took advantage of the Tanzimat reforms: They were appointed to official posts in new administrative councils built in the provinces of the empire and became a much more visible group in major cities. In Iraq, for example, a Jewish delegate represented Baghdad in the Ottoman parliament (founded in 1876). 3

Egypt and Tunisia, both nominally parts of the Ottoman Empire but with their own, independent dynasties, implemented their own reforms that transformed the dhimmī status of non-Muslim minorities and granted them new civil rights. In Egypt, this began with the reforms initiated by Muhammad Ali (Mehmet Ali), ruler since 1805 and founder of the khedival dynasty. Full civil equality came in 1882. 4 Under foreign pressure to implement the reforms of the Hatt-i Hümayun, the Husaynid ruler of Tunisia, Muhammad Bey, issued the ʿAhd al-Amān in 1857, the “fundamental pact” (literally, “the pact of security”), which proclaimed full civil equality to religious minorities, and was put into effect by the constitution of 1861. 5 In Tunisia, this chiefly affected the Jews, since unlike in Egypt and the Levant, there were no indigenous Christians in the lands of the Maghrib.

The position of the Jews’ relationship to the Muslims, however, was even more radically transformed in neighboring Algeria, which was invaded by France in 1830, though it was decades before the country was subdued. 6 While Muslims and Jews became subjects of the French Empire, in 1870 the Jewish population was granted French citizenship en masse by the Crémieux Decree, separated from the Muslim population that remained indigenous subjects. 7 The only exceptions were the Jews of the Saharan Mzab, whose indigenous status was maintained after the region was annexed to French Algeria in 1882. 8 The advantages that Jews gained over Muslims under colonialism in Algeria caused a rupture in Muslim-Jewish relations, but resentment toward the advancement of the Jews was even more strongly manifested among the European Christian settler population (pieds noirs), and eruptions of anti-Semitism were common. 9 Anti-Semitic ideas made very little impression on Muslims in the nineteenth century, but Christian missionaries spread anti-Semitic ideas among Arab Christian communities in the Levant, which appeared in the missionary press and played a part in the first blood libel in Damascus (1840). 10

On the Western and Eastern peripheries of the Middle East and North Africa, Morocco (the ʿAlawid dynasty) and Iran (the Qajar dynasty) also came under increasing pressures to implement reforms to strengthen their states and to transform the status of the Jews. Moses Montefiore, the Anglo-Jewish leader and tireless advocate for Jewish rights, was able through his efforts and with the backing of the British government to obtain decrees that promised to ensure that Jews would be treated with justice. The Iranian Shah proclaimed in 1865 that Jews were to be treated with ‘justice and kindness’, and in 1873, equality to Jews and other religious minorities was formally promulgated. 11 The Moroccan sultan issued a royal decree (dahir; Arab . ẓahīr) in 1863, affirming his role as guarantor of justice for his dhimmī subjects, though their formal status remained unchanged. 12

Despite the uneven process of reforms throughout the Middle East and North Africa in the nineteenth century, brought about by both foreign pressure and the internal impetus for change, everywhere it was apparent that a new climate of Muslim relations with its religious minorities was developing with far-reaching implications. The changing status of religious minorities brought about by reform, even in its most modest forms, enabled, on the one hand, new kinds of relations to develop in the public sphere. On the other hand, reactions to these changes were sometimes ambivalent if not hostile. While some Muslim ulama and intellectuals supported the reforms that granted religious minorities civil rights, others were opposed to changes, especially recognizing that the reforms came, in part, at the behest of the foreign powers and signaled the decline of Muslim sovereignty. 13 Consequently, the reforms with regard to religious minorities were an ongoing – and often contradictory – process, not a clear straight path. Despite the many obstacles, the movement to reform set in motion a process that would transform Muslim-Jewish relations in many ways.

The introduction and spread of modern schools during the era of reforms had important consequences for Middle Eastern and North African Jews and changed their relations with their Muslim neighbors. Jewish boys traditionally studied in elementary schools (kuttāb), where teaching focused on Hebrew and religious instruction, while a very selective group continued their religious education in a yeshiva or midrash. In the nineteenth century, modern schools began to be introduced across the Middle East and North Africa. More organized religious instruction was provided in modern yeshivot, which began to be established in the mid-nineteenth century in the Levant. Jewish religious education, however, ceased to be the only educational option for Jews, as modern and secular studies were introduced by Christian missionary, foreign, European Jewish, and Ottoman state schools. Most influential was the French Jewish educational network, the Alliance Israélite Universelle, which from the second half of the nineteenth century spread in the Ottoman Empire, Iran, and North Africa. Initially the opening of schools was met with some resistance by the local Jewish communities, 14 but it became a popular institution in the years that followed. The language of instruction was French; but it also taught Hebrew and, depending on time and place, offered courses in Arabic, Turkish, Spanish, and English. By the late nineteenth century, classes in math, history, geography, physics, biology, and chemistry were being offered as well. More radically, the Alliance also offered education to girls, a move that was met with much resistance from conservative Jewish figures. The system in general upped the socioeconomic position of each Jewish community and enabled Jews to obtain jobs in the modern sectors of the economy. In certain provinces of the Ottoman Empire, Muslims attended these schools because of the high level of education that was offered and befriended Jewish students and teachers. 15 In Algeria, the presence of the Alliance was weak, because as French citizens since 1870, Jews attended French state schools. Within the Ottoman Empire, the Tanzimat reforms included the establishment of a network of an imperial, modern education system and thus governmental schools known as Rushdiyya (primary), Iʿdādiyya (preparatory to higher education), and Sulṭāniyya (lycée) opened their gates to Jewish students. In Iraq, for example, Jews who were admitted to these schools came to play important roles in the life of this Ottoman province after 1908. 16

Modern schooling helped Jews to integrate more effectively in international trading and commercial networks, operating from the major cities and commercial hubs of the Mediterranean and beyond. The nineteenth century turned into an era of social mobility in which more Jews met and traded with Muslims and competed, often with their Christian neighbors or foreign merchants, for positions of influence in global markets. Jews became involved in the global economy because of the spread of European economic influence, imperialism and colonial rule, yet their new ascendancy in the modern economy facilitated greater integration into the socioeconomic life of Muslim societies. Kinship connections throughout the Mediterranean basin, and participation in local societies, enabled Jewish businessmen to function as commercial intermediaries between Europe and the Ottoman, Iranian, and Moroccan empires, often obtaining foreign citizenship in the process. This role as intermediaries and entrepreneurs in the global economy continued under British colonial rule in the Middle East and French North Africa, enabling a new generation of Jewish families to thrive. 17

During the nineteenth (and continuing in the twentieth) century, Jews, like their Christian and Muslim peers, moved to a variety of locations across the globe and to cities and towns in the Middle East; Syrian and Lebanese Jews joined the migration waves to Europe and the Americas; Iraqi Jews established satellite communities in Bombay, Calcutta, Shanghai, Rangoon, and Hong Kong; and Moroccan Jews migrated to Brazil and the Peruvian Amazon. Affluent families from the satellite communities supported various synagogues and schools in the Middle East and improved the welfare of their brethren in communities such as Aleppo, Baghdad, Damascus, and Jerusalem. 18

The growth of ports of trade and commercial centers in the modern Middle East and North Africa facilitated new types of relations between Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Jews were among the entrepreneurs in the new commercial sectors of banks, department stores, and other businesses. 19 The new bourgeoisie that emerged in the modern period, consisting of Muslims, Christians and Jews, enabled social relations to develop that transcended older religious and ethnic boundaries. Urban culture in cities such as Teheran, Istanbul, Beirut, Cairo, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Tunis developed, and with the rise of mixed neighborhoods in these cities, connections between Jews, Muslims, and Christians grew closer: Jewish musicians, or mixed Muslim and Jewish ensembles, which performed for multi-religious crowds in shared venues, 20 trained professionals in the liberal professions who accepted clients of all religions, and membership in occupational, cultural, political, and patriotic associations where both Muslims and Jews met, sharing similar ideas about statehood, modernity, and progress. New modes of interaction between religious and ethnic groups were a development that affected not only the upper classes of society. In the developing urban centers, with their bustling places of commerce, came new venues for Muslim-Jewish encounters and quotidian interactions in the streets, parks, cafés, beaches, and promenades. 21

These changes in the era of reforms caused Muslims, Christians, and Jews to construct new identities and, in some cases, share a common language of political discourse. From the late nineteenth century through the World War I, political change swept through the Middle East and North Africa. By World War I, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, and Aden (South Yemen) were all under French, British, Spanish, or Italian colonial rule. With the Ottoman loss of its Middle Eastern and North African territories (mainly to the expanding French and British empires) and the emergence of independent nation states in formerly Ottoman provinces in Europe, the Ottoman state endeavored to strengthen its control of its provinces and impose direct control of its peripheries, establishing direct rule in Tripolitania and putting an end to the semi-autonomous Qaramanli state, expanding its hegemony in the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen, 22 and promoting the idea of imperial citizenship to instill greater loyalty among its multi-ethnic and multi-religious population. The results of these political changes, though uneven, were the construction of new identities in which Muslims, Jews, and Christians began to imagine themselves as part of a larger community, in which the notion of nationalism or the nation state occupied the center stage. Jews came to define themselves as belonging to the countries (or empires) in which they lived as Moroccans, Egyptians, Ottomans, identifying with the national culture of the colonial power (British, French, Spanish), or with the emerging ethnic nationalisms of the late nineteenth century (Arab and Zionist). While seemingly contradictory, Jews often identified with several ideologies simultaneously, for example, being Zionist, Arab, and Ottoman at the same time.

Iran (1905–1906) and the Ottoman Empire (1908) witnessed constitutional revolutions that changed Muslim-Jewish relations. In the Ottoman Empire, the periods following the first constitution (1876) and the second constitutional era after the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 were particularly important in the formation of new identities, notions of imperial citizenship or civic Ottomanism shared between different ethno-religious groups. Ottomanism, in other words, opened up new possibilities for thinking about citizenship, patriotic brotherhood that was not based on religion but on equality, and justice within a larger imperial setting that gave equal constitutional rights to all its members. Jews in particular embraced the new ideology of Ottomanism, expressing their patriotism to the Ottoman state. The constitutional revolutions also inspired enthusiasm among other religious and ethnic minorities who hoped that a new era of progress and enlightenment was dawning. However, this all-inclusive civic Ottomanism, supported by members of the Christian millets, was fraught with tension, and as foreign intervention increased and nation states were emerging out of the fragmentation of the Ottoman Empire, conflict worsened between the Ottoman state and Christian ethno-religious communities. Out of the growing threat of foreign imperialism and separatist movements, Sultan Abdülhamit II turned increasingly to Islamic definitions of Ottomanism. Amid these tensions with the Christian population, Jews expressed solidarity with Ottoman Muslims, even articulating an identification with Islamic Ottomanism, to emphasize their patriotism to the Ottoman state by trying to show that they were more loyal than Christian millets. The identification of Jews with the Ottoman state continued to develop at the turn of the twentieth century and until World War I. The 1908 Revolution, which introduced parliamentary rule and restored liberties that had been abolished under the previous regime, greatly accelerated the integration process of Jews as imperial citizens. 23

These political changes, and the new, often contested identities that emerged as a result, were also reflected in the cultural realm of Muslim-Jewish relations. In Middle Eastern cities such as Cairo, Beirut, and Damascus, new Arab public spheres, with their Arabic newspapers, societies, public events, and coffeehouses, began to take root. The Arabic word al-nahḍa (“renaissance” or “revival”) came to signify the cultural elements of this process. The nahḍa, in other words, signified an Arabic literary and cultural renewal that was typified by the attempts of Arab intellectuals to reassess the relationship between Europe and the Muslim world, to redefine the place of Islam within modern society, and to take up Western genres as vehicles of literary and cultural expression in Arabic. 24 The Muslim and Christian pioneers of the Arab nahḍa paid great heed to Jewish affairs and defended the rights of European Jews. Leading Arab journals protested the persecution of Jews in Eastern and Western Europe; reported on pogroms and anti-Jewish activities, especially in Russia and the Balkans; and evoked the image of the Jew as an individual forced to exist under perpetual persecution. Muslim intellectuals, moreover, supported Jewish emancipation in Europe and recognized the domains in which this emancipation had fallen short. Likewise, many Arabic journals celebrated the harmony between Muslims, Jews, and Christians under Islamic rule, citing in particular the case of Muslim Spain. The translation of the Talmud into Arabic by the Jaffa-born Jewish writer Shimʿon Moyal (b. 1866) was initiated by Christian polyglot Gurji Zaydan, an act that made the text accessible also to Muslims. 25 Farah Antun, a Christian intellectual (b. 1874 in Tripoli), wrote a historical novel, The New Jerusalem (Ūrshalīm al-Jadīda, 1904), which took place during the Arab conquest of Jerusalem. It focused on Iliya, a devoted Christian living in Byzantine Jerusalem, who fell in love with a Jewish girl. This novel presented the Muslims as heroic conquerors, who were able to provide equality to both Jews and Christians. 26

Modern and Western education affected the reading habits and modes of communication of modern Jews and their relationships to fellow Muslims. The Jewish world at this period was multilingual; Jews used languages unique to Jewish communities, such as Hebrew, Aramaic, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian, and Ladino, and many spoke (and some also wrote and read in) Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. Within this context, Judeo-Arabic and Ladino were vehicles in which modernity was discussed, as modest, albeit influential, Judeo-Arabic and Ladino print industries and print markets produced books, newspapers, and journals. In addition, Jews all over the Middle East and North Africa read Hebrew journals produced in Europe and Ottoman Palestine and participated in the modern Hebrew enlightenment by publishing in Haskalah newspapers in Europe. Jews used the international Hebrew press to communicate with European Jewry and ask for their protection against Muslim states at times of persecution, especially in Iran; at the same time, their writings convey a great deal of pride in the changes that occurred in the Middle East and a new horizon of expectations that assumed that modern Muslim states should treat their subjects equally and justly, regardless of religious differences. 27 In the Maghrib under colonial rule, French rather than Arabic often became associated to the language of modernity for many Jews, but it also became an important vehicle for Muslims interested in advancing in society. In colonial societies, European languages were important cultural capital, and often served as a lingua franca for the educated elite and as a mode of communication through newspapers and books, forums for debate and the exchange of ideas in new public spaces. 28

The Ottoman constitutional revolution and the nahḍa marked the shift into writing in Arabic and Turkish as a means of communicating with modern Muslims. In Baghdad, Jewish intellectuals established, together with Muslim partners, three newspapers in both Arabic and Turkish after the 1908 Revolution. Educated Jews read texts written by Muslim and Christian intellectuals and published essays in highly reputable Arabic platforms such as the prestigious journals al-Muqtaṭaf and al-Hilāl as well as al-Garīda, arguably the most significant journal of Egyptian liberals. Most important, Arabic-speaking Jews internalized the modernist discourses typical of the nahḍawī print culture. From Esther Moyal, a Sephardi Jewish journalist and feminist, to a whole host of Jewish translators, writers, and journalists, the nahḍa transformed the Jewish sense of identity and modernity. 29 The most prominent Jewish intellectual of the nahḍa period was an Egyptian Jew by the name of Yaʿqūb Ṣannūʿ (d. 1912). A satirist, playwright, and journalist, he was eventually forced into exile in Paris because of his biting criticism of the Egyptian political elites, whom he felt enabled Egypt’s colonization. It seems that Ṣannūʿ’s Jewishness played a very limited role in his life; he was an Egyptian patriot and supported the Pan-Islamic ideology (an ideology that called for the unity of all Muslims in order to combat colonialism) as a remedy for European colonialism and the corruption of the local Westernized elites. Ṣannūʿ’s writing “passed” as the writing of any Muslim intellectual: He praised the Qu’ran and expressed his great love of, and identification with, Arab and Egyptian cultures.In one of his letters, however, he clarified that he never converted to Islam and expresses his happiness that the “Muslims now respect and love this humble servant, because they see an Israelite raising the banner of Islam, demonstrating his love for Islam in front of all the people, and trying to strengthen the ties of friendship between Muslims and Christians”. 30

Ṣannūʿ’s support of Pan-Islamic politics mirrors the position of some of the Pan-Islamists on the Jewish question. As Muslim thinkers were concerned for the welfare of Muslims throughout the world and in Europe (most notably Russia), discussing the discrimination against Jews in these countries fit well into the general critique of Europe. Writing on the Dreyfus Affair, Pan-Islamic thinker Rashīd Riḍā argued that this was an instance of racial fanaticism and envious hatred; he also deplored the fact that this “disease” had contaminated some Egyptian newspapers that ought to know better. 31 Moreover, Muslim intellectuals were aware of the fact that Jewish intellectuals had very positive ideas about Islam, and that Jews, like Arabs, were categorized under the rubric of the Semitic peoples. Both Jews and Muslims responded to Ernest Renan’s (d. 1892) reflections on the conservative and unimaginative features of Semitic culture published in 1884. The greatest scholar of Islamic theology and law at the time, Jewish intellectual Ignaz Goldziher (d. 1921), formed a friendship with the prominent Pan-Islamic intellectual Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī (d. 1897) and met with other Muslim reformers. After his return to Europe, he expressed sympathy for the ʿUrābī uprising in Egypt, an anti-colonial revolt that led to the occupation of Egypt by Britain. 32 When Goldziher died, the journal of the Arab Language Academy (established in Syria in 1918 through the initiative of the Syrian Muslim intellectual Muḥammad Kurd ʿAlī [d. 1953]) published a long obituary that depicted, with much admiration, the scholar’s life and his important works on Islam and on Judaism. 33

The fact that Middle Eastern and North African Jewish thought was conceptualized – in a context where ideas about the need to reform Islamic practices, laws, and discourses in light of modern realities took shape – meant that Middle Eastern Jewish thinkers were engaged with similar questions relating to the relationship between revelation, reform, science, religious stagnation, and modernity. Both Muslims and Jews in this period had to deal with similar phenomena related to modernity, which included the challenges presented by American, European, and Europeanized systems of education; the penetration of Western cultural habits and norms into everyday life; improved modes of transportation; technological advances; the establishing of communities of Middle Eastern Jewish and Muslim migrants in England, France, the Americas, and India; and the rise of new practices related to urban leisure. These processes forced Middle Eastern rabbis, Sunni and Shi’i ulama and intellectuals, and Christian Orthodox and Coptic clergymen to reply to and come to terms with these new conditions. Jews and Orthodox Christians were particularly ambivalent about Catholic and Protestant missionary education. Jewish rabbis such as Yitzhak Dayyan, “a maskil in Aleppo” (as termed by Zvi Zohar), represent the originality and inventiveness typical of the Levantine and Egyptian traditions. Like Muslim reformers at the time (and in contrast to Europe, where an opposition between rabbis and reformers was often evoked), they saw no contradiction between reason and revelation and showed great openness to new scientific innovations. In fact, important parallels can be drawn between these rabbis and Muslim reformers, ulama, and intellectuals such as Muḥammad ʿAbduh, who dealt with similar questions and found similar solutions. 34 In Baghdad, Rabbi Joseph Haim (d. 1903), ʿAbdallāh Somekh (d. 1889), and Shelomo Bekhor Hosin (d. 1892) welcomed modern technologies and scientific innovations. Rabbi Somekh sent his own grandson to the Alliance school because he was convinced of the virtues of modern education, and his rulings encouraged Jews to put their trust in the Ottoman state. 35 In a letter to his nephew, he celebrated the achievements of the modern age saying:

At the Present Time, thank God, Jewish life in exile has been sweetened... especially in the cities of Europe, as well as in Turkey [the Ottoman Empire]. No one will cast libel upon us...for all [Jews and gentiles] have become almost as one people. 36

Becoming one with the people of the State would be transformed, in the twentieth century, into new notions of citizenship and patriotism, as nation states emerged in the region.

Jews and Muslims in the new nation states and under colonial rule, 1914–1936

World War I brought an end to the Ottoman Empire and the emergence of new nation states in the Middle East, which accelerated change in Muslim-Jewish relationships. World War I created trauma and terror among Middle Eastern Jews. Jewish men were drafted into the Ottoman Army; some served, while others managed to escape from the Ottoman authorities without serving in the military. Women, children, and elderly were left behind as men went to the battlefields; some perished from hunger and disease. 37 Following the war, the League of Nations established mandates in Palestine, Iraq, Trans-Jordan under British rule, and Syria and Lebanon under the French, while Turkey emerged as an independent state. These changes complicated ties between Muslim and Jewish communities and created new hierarchies and new identities, which affected the lives of even the most reluctant participants in these historical processes. While we tend to think that the categories of Mizraḥi, Ashkenazi, and Sephardi were shaped in the Palestinian and later Israeli context, when Israel served as a melting pot for Jews from Muslim lands, these are older categories that were solidified during the 1920s, as Jews considered their applicability to their daily lives and to the national cultures surrounding them.

In the Maghrib after World War I, the European powers attempted to tighten their grip and increase the number of settlers. The Italians in Libya, and the French and Spanish in Morocco, met with considerable resistance to military occupation and colonial rule. Nationalism and, eventually, anti-colonial struggle ensued in Algeria and in the protectorates of Tunisia and Morocco. As tensions grew between the colonizers and colonized, relations between Muslims and Jews were affected. Jews were often caught between the European settlers and the Muslim population and the multiple political tendencies from affiliating with the colonial power to identifying with the countries in which they lived. While most Jews were not active participants in political life, all were affected by the shifting political landscape of the interwar years in the Maghrib. 38

While there were significant differences between countries in the Middle East and North Africa in the interwar period – between independent or partially independent states and colonies or those under French or British rule or domination – Muslim-Jewish relations were affected by similar processes of nationalism and state- and nation-building as Middle Eastern and North African countries sought to gain complete independence. Amid this process were constant tensions between colonizers and colonized, between majority groups and religious minority groups, and between capital cities and the rebellious countryside. Anti-colonial revolts, tribal rebellions, and protests of workers and women against their marginalization all typified the period. While some Jews participated in nation-building efforts in Iraq and Egypt especially, supported the anti-colonial movement, and were active in unions and workers’ protests, most remained outside the political arena, and their relatively small number allowed them a certain degree of autonomy from which they benefited. Despite the growth of interfaith and ethnic tensions, it is important to note that in the years following World War I, and until the later 1930s as the conflict in Palestine worsened, Jews living in Muslim countries were rarely seen as a threat. Jews and Muslims continued to intermingle in common urban spaces and to forge new bonds in the public sphere.

Urbanization and the expansion of trading networks, a process that began in the nineteenth century, accelerated during the interwar period. Jews experienced the socioeconomic transformations of the larger society, brought by constant movement and migration: from villages to cities, from towns to cities, and from Jewish to mixed neighborhoods. These changes also brought new patterns of Muslim-Jewish relations, in the streets, shops, coffee shops, cinemas, clubs, and sport stadiums of the cities and in the workplace. Trading networks benefited from the improvements in transportation and communication and enabled more Muslim-Jewish partnerships in terms of trade and commerce as well as the employment of many Jews in governmental and private offices as clerks and trained professionals. As upper- and middle-class Jews moved from purely Jewish neighborhoods to more modernized neighborhoods with mixed populations, poor neighborhoods at the outskirts of cities as well as the old Jewish quarters in many cities were populated by poorer Jews, some of whom had recently migrated to the big cities. Rural Jews occupied the hinterlands of Middle Eastern cities and towns, like the Jews who lived in the Kurdish regions of Iran, Iraq and Turkey, who mostly spoke Kurdish and Aramaic, or the Jews of Berber (Amazigh) regions of the Moroccan Atlas mountains. 39 Many Jewish villagers migrated to cities during the interwar period, where they worked as clerks, merchants, shopkeepers, and goldsmiths, while in the villages, Jews worked as farmers, peasants, peddlers, and traders, often in close touch with Muslim partners. 40

As part of their nation-building efforts and in an attempt to cement historical narratives emphasizing the eternal nature of these very nascent states, the new nation-states in the Middle East began discovering their ancient pasts. Forms of local patriotism thus celebrated a national past which was pre-Islamic: Pharaonic in Egypt, Phoenician in Lebanon, Sassanian in Iran, and Hittite and Sumerian in Turkey. In such historical narratives, Islam played a limited role, and members of religious minorities thus took part in their construction and identified with the secular image of the nation they projected. 41 The idea of citizenship based on belonging to the national community, rather than to a religious group, appealed to many Jews, even though Islam was declared the official religion of many of these nation-states and as foundational to the nationalist movements in the anti-colonial struggle. In the Arab Middle East, a form of Pan-Arab nationalism, which called for the unity of all Arab states, emerged alongside the local forms of nationalism, and its supporters highlighted the Arabic language and Islam as the cultural components of the national identity shared by all Arabs. These types of nationalism sometimes excluded Jews, although some Jews wrote that they, too, identified with Islam as a cultural component of their national identity. Pan-Arab nationalists, however, were also interested in Semitic cultures, an interest that was expressed already in the cultural magazines of the late nineteenth century. The emphasis on the fact that the Semites contributed to the world its three monotheistic religions as well as the world’s first writing and legal systems and inspired great civilizations and empires made Jews and Arab Muslims and Christians belong to the same ethnic universe in this construct. 42 These nationalist ideas produced new frameworks of Jewish identity: Many Jews in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, and North Africa thought of themselves as Sephardim, namely, the descendants of Jews who were exiled from Spain in 1492 (or earlier), taking pride in the idea that they found refuge in territories belonging to the Ottoman Empire and Morocco. 43 Another category that was applied at the time (and which originated in the Ottoman period) was Sharqī, Oriental, or Mizraḥi, meaning the Jews of the East. Other categories emphasized local patriotism (Egyptian Jew, Persian/Iranian Jew, Iraqi Jew, and so on), while the category of the Arab Jew, denoting the identity of a member of the Jewish faith who belonged to the Arab nation, surfaced as well, especially in Iraq. 44

Jews and Muslims interacted with each other to a greater degree in this period. During the interwar years, the education system in the Middle East expanded, and more public schools were built for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Knowledge of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish became more important in each nation-state, as modern standard Arabic and modern Turkish replaced the role of Ottoman Turkish, while the Persian language was reformed and celebrated as the great achievement of the pre-Islamic past and as one of the few languages that survived the Arab-Muslim conquest. 45 In colonial North Africa, Jewish attendance at schools in French (or Spanish in northern Morocco; Italian in Libya) continued to grow, and though in proportions less than Jews, Muslims also increased enrollment in European schools, a prerequisite for success and advancement in the colonial economy or civil service. 46 Jews and Muslims also served in large numbers in the French military in World War I, both as religious minorities sharing a common experience and interacting with one another in sometimes intimate ways. 47

Many Jews benefited from the economies that emerged in the interwar period, working as lawyers, administrators, bureaucrats, and global merchants. Secularization and the development of national institutions increased in Egypt, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey and further minimized the role of religion in public life. Jews and Muslims attended the same political institutions: the political party, the anti-colonial demonstration, the workplace, cultural clubs and associations, newspapers’ editorial rooms and publishing houses. The first half of the twentieth century offered a wide range of ideological approaches to politics and culture, such as liberalism, communism, democracy, social-democracy, nationalism (Arab, Turkish, Iranian, local, and Zionist) and fascism, and indeed Jews played a role in almost every circle of these ideologies and cultural options as politicians, philanthropists, patriots, and feminists (with the exception of fascism, of course). Jews who were not involved politically, however, also saw, and befriended, Muslims in schools and universities, in the local coffee shops, the cinema, the theater, and even the brothel. 48 Jews in the Middle East and North Africa were very much involved in the musical and cinematic scenes: Muslim, Christian, and Jewish audiences in Egypt admired the Jewish singer and actress Leila Murad, whose musicals gained enormous commercial success; Iraqis – Sunnis, Shi’is, Jews, and Christians alike – listened joyfully to the songs of Jewish artist Salīma Murād, composed by Jewish musicians Ṣāliḥ and Dāwūd al-Kuwaytī, while their Moroccan brethren listen to the music of Zahra al-Fāssia. Muslims who did not actually attend the performances of their favorite Jewish superstars rather listened to them as they were transmitted by national and local radio stations (the radio itself was often located in the local café). 49

The linguistic landscape of Jews in the Middle East and North Africa was transformed in the twentieth century. Knowledge of both European and national languages of the countries grew, facilitating new modes of communication between Jews, Muslims, and Christians. At the same time, Jews continued to speak, read, and write in the distinctively Jewish languages: the various regional dialects of Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Spanish (or Ladino), or Judeo-Persian, or Aramaic. These Jewish languages and Hebrew also continued to be used for religious purposes. Some of the dialects, for example, of Judeo-Arabic reflected the variations of the regional vernaculars, and Jews communicated with their Muslim neighbors in the local dialects. Jewish peddlers, petty merchants, and smugglers often knew how to speak two or three local languages – the various dialects of Arabic, Persian, Kurdish, Turkish, Berber, and so on – because of the ethnic composition of the border regions where they lived or because of their trading connections, although usually without being able to read or write in them; before the modern period, rarely did Jews read and write in the literate languages of the dominant majority. 50

In the independent Middle Eastern states of the interwar years (especially Iraq, Turkey, and Iran), literacy in the national language (Arabic, Turkish, and Persian) became an important aspect of the civic culture that was developing, and many Jews adopted the languages of the Muslim majority. 51 In the Arab Middle East, some Jews called themselves “Arab Jews”, while others did not; yet all were very much a part of the Arabo-Islamic culture of the interwar period in that they wrote in Arabic, enjoyed Arabic music and drama, and lived in an Arabic-speaking community with whose members they traded, studied, and intermingled in various places. Within the Iraqi context, the term Arab Jew was most frequently used to indicate a connection to Arab ethnicity rather than the Islamic religion. In Iraq, Jews were also engaged in new written genres, especially the newspaper article, the editorial, and the short story, to articulate their desires for political independence, social reform, and integration in the Muslim society and to communicate with their Muslim compatriots. 52

In contrast to independent Iraq, where literacy in modern Arabic became a near requisite of citizenship for Jews, in the Maghrib literacy in European languages continued to grow. It was only after Moroccan independence (1956), where a sizeable Jewish community remained, that literary Arabic was integrated into the Alliance’s curriculum, still the dominant Jewish educational system (which became known by its Arabic title, Ittiḥād). 53 It was the language of the colonizer that became the modern language of communication: French in most places, Spanish in northern Morocco, and Italian in Libya. On the one hand, the disproportionate number of Jews with access to a Western or European education widened the gap with the Muslim community, as Jews became increasingly drawn to and associated with the culture of the colonial power. 54 On the other hand, French also became increasingly important for a growing number of Muslims, and an important mode of communication, even for nationalists who were seeking to reclaim Arabic as the national language. While the gap grew between Muslims and Jews in the Maghrib, it is important to emphasize that the French language also helped to foster new modes of communication and new bonds between Muslim and Jews, especially in the modern sectors of the cities.

Struggle in Palestine, World War II, and decolonization

Until the late 1930s in both the independent nation states and in countries under colonialism, Muslims and Jews continued to increase their interactions in the public sphere. While relationships were not always harmonious – owing to the majority-minority tensions produced by the birth pangs of new nation states or by the divisiveness of colonialism – there was a sense of a shared culture between Muslims, Christians, and Jews as inhabitants of the same countries, in which political and ideological divisions were not sharply demarcated along ethnic and religious lines. Whether tied by the bonds of national citizenship or as subjects of colonial states, most Muslims and Jews imagined a common future in the countries in which they lived. Even Zionists continued to participate in the public sphere as if they intended to remain, and there was relatively little movement to Palestine from Middle Eastern and North African countries until after 1948. Algerian Jews, with their French citizenship, remained connected culturally to Muslims, and though they had become increasingly acculturated to France, they were rejected by much of the European pieds noirs society, where anti-Semitism was rampant. Few imagined a future in metropolitan France. Neither Muslims nor Jews anticipated, in the period before 1948, the massive emigration of Jews from Muslim lands that was to occur after the birth of the State of Israel and the decolonization of the Arab world.

From the 1930s two important and increasingly interconnected developments began to challenge the ties that had bonded Muslims and Jews as national citizens or colonial subjects. The first was the intensification of conflict in Palestine, especially brought about by the Arab revolt (1936–1939), and that became a rallying point for Arab nationalists, some of whom called for boycotting Jewish businesses in their own countries. Despite the fact that many Jews had little or no involvement in the Zionist movement, and some repudiated it altogether, the tendency to associate all local Jews with Zionism increased. The second development of the period was the rise of fascism and a growing sympathy or tactical alliance with Nazism in certain Middle Eastern circles. 55

In the late 1930s, some nationalists, radical intellectuals, and anti-colonial militants turned to Nazism, fascism, and anti-Semitism. Ḥajj Amīn al-Ḥusaynī in Palestine; Antun Sa‘adeh in Lebanon; Lebanese pan-Islamic nationalist in exile in Geneva, Shakib Arslan; Sami Shakwat in Iraq; Abdel Khalek Torrès in Morocco as well as a number of Iranian and Turkish thinkers were among those who saw the fascist and Nazi modernization efforts as worth emulating, felt that a strategic alliance with Germany, Italy, and Japan would help to challenge the dominance of British and French colonialism in the region (the Iranian thinkers, Abas Hedayat, for example, also underlined the shared Aryan heritage of both nations), or embraced anti-Semitic ideology in the context of countering the Zionist menace in Palestine. After the outbreak of World War II, a particularly notorious event occurred in Iraq, known as the Farhūd, in which more than 170 Jews were murdered in a series of urban riots in Baghdad following the failure of a pro-German military coup (June 1 and 2, 1941). 56 North African Jews lived under very perilous conditions, with the German military occupation of Tunisia and the Italian fascist regime in Libya, and as the French colonies became a part of the collaborationist government established in Vichy in unoccupied France. Dozens of forced labor camps were established across North Africa, which interned many Jews (primarily foreign Jews in Morocco). Particularly severe were the labor camps in Tunisia during the 6-month German occupation (November 1942–May 1943), and the Giado internment camp in Libya, where about 500 Jews, primarily from Cyrenaica, perished in a typhoid epidemic, weakened by the poor conditions that prevailed in the camp. While only a small number of Jews from Libya and Tunisia were deported to the European concentration and death camps, Jews of Tunisian, Algerian, Egyptian, and Turkish origins who lived in Europe suffered the same fate as other Jews in the German occupied countries. In French North Africa, the colonial authorities that were now part of the Vichy government implemented the anti-Jewish laws that excluded Jews from various professions and economic activities, established numerus clausus restricting the number of Jews admitted to public schools and, in the case of Morocco, expelling Jews from the European neighborhoods in the nouvelles villes in a number of cities. In Algeria, the Crémieux Decree was abrogated, stripping Jews of French citizenship rights. 57

Some of the Muslim population in the Maghrib may have applauded the discriminatory measures against the Jews, whom they saw as having gained advantages under colonialism, especially in Algeria as the result of the Crémieux Decree, or because of the growth of anti-Semitic ideas in the 1930s that had begun to take root in some nationalist circles. Others may have stood to gain from losses of property or businesses or the remission of debts as a consequence of the anti-Jewish measures. Yet if the French had hoped to invoke Muslim support for the anti-Jewish legislation and greater acceptance of the French regime as a result, Muslim reactions to the measures were generally tepid, if not apprehensive. So imbedded were the Jews in society that there was a kind of economic interdependency that could adversely affect the livelihoods of the population as a whole if Jewish economic interests were undermined. The educated elite, and some of the ulama and nationalists, also saw little to be gained from the demotion of the Jews which, they understood very well, would not be accompanied with granting Muslims more rights and had few illusions about the aim of the French fascists to continue to maintain tight control over France’s colonies and to quash any manifestations of nationalist activities. Indeed, some leading Muslim figures denounced the repressive measures against the Jews. In 1942, the Muslim reformist leader in Algiers, Shaykh Taieb el-Okbi, ordered Muslims not to attack Jews as they were being urged to do by French fascists. 58 While the sultan of Morocco, Mohamed Ben Youssef (later King Mohamed V), formally promulgated the Vichy-instigated anti-Jewish statutes, as he was required to give his official imprimatur by royal decree to all legislation produced by the French authorities, he subtly objected to some aspects of the laws that would undermine his role as an Islamic ruler and protector of all his subjects, including the Jews, and undercut his first steps in asserting himself as national leader. 59

In the context of the ongoing conflict between Muslims and Jews over the issue of Palestine, the association of Muslims to fascists and Nazis during the Third Reich has become a leitmotif in discussions about World War II. Often ignored are those segments within the Muslim world that challenged their peers who espoused fascist views. The anti-fascist camp included Muslim liberals educated in France and bemoaning its fall in 1941; pro-British and pro-French local politicians who relied on foreign patronage created under the mandate and protectorate systems; nationalists troubled by the threat of German–Italian colonialism, particularly after the occupation of Ethiopia; social democrats or communists who saw fascism and Nazism as enemies of the working classes and the USSR; Muslim neighbors who assisted their Jewish neighbors in North Africa; and Iraqi friends and neighbors who saved Jews during the Farhūd. In short, the pro-fascist and pro-Nazi camp was met with meaningful resistance. 60

The partial disappointment from local forms of nationalism, especially from those Arab nationalists who turned to fascism or anti-Semitism, led many Jews to join social democratic and communist parties (often illegal) in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, Iran, and elsewhere in the region, where they often took leadership positions. Challenging both Arab and Jewish nationalisms, communism offered a classless and religion-less vision of a state and society for both Jews and Muslims. In the 1930s, Jews in the Maghrib and Egypt formed branches of LICA (Ligue International Contre l’Antisémitisme) to counter the influence of Nazi ideas and conduct boycotts of German goods and services, calling on their Muslim brethren to join their anti-fascist movement. 61

The first half of the twentieth century also saw the rise of Zionist movements in the Middle East. Ashkenazi Zionist emissaries were sent to the Muslim lands as early as the 1910s (for Yemen); their numbers and the extent of their activities expanded greatly after World War II. Zionist emissaries were interested in Jewish communities and Kurdish and Yemeni Jews were valued in particular as workers who could replace Arab labor in Palestine. With their initial help, Zionist Jewish groups and undergrounds spread in countries such as Iraq, Syria, and Egypt during the 1940s and in the French protectorates of Tunisia and Morocco, and operated in Turkey and Iran. 62 Here a distinction should be made between Palestine and other Arab countries. The latter were exposed to daily critiques of Zionism in the public spheres of their respective countries, while the former interacted closely with Ashkenazi Zionists. Some Jews in Middle Eastern countries supported Zionism as a response to the Holocaust and the recognition that had European Jews been allowed to come to mandatory Palestine, they could have been saved. Yet increasingly, the Zionism of Middle Eastern and North African Jews became bound up with the conflict in Palestine and, subsequently, the Arab-Israeli wars. The riots in Jewish quarters and attacks against Jewish businesses across the Middle East and North Africa that came in the wake of the Palestine conflict and the repressive actions taken by Arab governments against Jews during and after the 1948 war were a turning point. Increasingly, every Jew was equated with a Zionist, a comfortable scapegoat so as to deflect true discussions regarding the reasons that led to the failure of states such as Iraq, Egypt, and Syria in the Palestinian campaign. Most important, Zionists offered a simple solution to all societal ills that Middle Eastern Jews saw in their societies: the gaps between rich and poor and between men and women and the social conservatism of the upper and middle classes. Leftist Jews, who were similarly concerned with ending poverty, discrimination, and class disparities, were bogged down in heated debates about the merits of a range of approaches: liberalism, socialism, social democracy, and communism. The Zionists, on the other hand, said that all that was necessary was emigration to Israel. After 1948, however, these Zionist movements became more radical and were willing to make bold moves in order to realize their goals. The responses of the Arab elites to Zionism varied as well: Some Muslim and Christian nationalists and communists distinguished between Zionism and Judaism, while other national elites, especially Pan-Arab, chauvinistic, and postcolonial elites, whose members ousted the monarchies in Egypt and Iraq during the 1950s, completely collapsed the difference between Judaism and Zionism. 63

In Palestine, the situation was different. In an earlier period, some Sephardi Jews believed that Jewish migration to Ottoman and mandatory Palestine could help develop the country and likewise felt that Jews who were persecuted in Europe could consider Palestine their homeland and had a legitimate right to settle there. Nonetheless, articles and essays published by Sephardi Jews critiqued European Jews for mistreating the Arab Muslims and Christians, for misunderstanding Islamic culture, and for the damage their activities brought about. They translated from Arabic to Hebrew and from Hebrew to Arabic, and presented themselves as the mediators between Arabs and Jews. However, as the conflict in Palestine worsened, in particular after the Palestinian national revolt of 1929 (known by Palestinians as thawrat al-burāq), sparked by rioting over control of the Wailing Wall (the place where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad tethered his steed (burāq) during his nocturnal journey to the Seventh Heaven), in which many Sephardi Jews were murdered and where lynching and murders typified also the Jewish actions against the Palestinians, this vision became more and more difficult to maintain. 64

In parts of the Arab world, however, Jewish opposition to Zionism was considerable. Many Jews living outside mandatory Palestine saw Zionism as a grave threat to integration in their countries; rabbis, liberals, Jewish nationalists and patriots, and communists all felt that Zionism harmed their position in their home countries by its claim to represent all Jews in Muslim lands as well. In French colonies of North Africa, many educated in Alliance or French public schools considered Zionism as countering their goal to assimilate to France and French culture. 65 While some waves of emigration from the French colonies of North Africa began in 1948, the mass emigration of Jews from North Africa began in the 1950s with the approach of Moroccan and Tunisian independence, which came in 1956 in both cases, and Algeria in 1962. It was part of a twofold process of decolonization and the intensification of activities by the Israeli government. The majority of Jews left not because of political involvement in Zionist organizations but because amid the struggle for independence and the imminent departure of the French authorities, they feared for their future in the independent Arab states. Many Jews, especially in Morocco, were destitute, and when Israeli agents began organizing and encouraging emigration through Cadima, an organization run by the Jewish Agency in Casablanca, many signed up for emigration, especially after the Israeli quota policy – established to restrict the number of Moroccan immigrants – was lifted in 1953. While most of the poorer Jewish emigrants from Morocco (and Tunisia), went to Israel, the more affluent, some of whom had French nationality, emigrated to France or Canada. When Cadima was closed down after Moroccan independence and King Mohamed V restricted Jewish emigration, thousands of Jews remained in the country out of choice or circumstance, becoming Moroccan citizens and reconstituting a much diminished, yet still substantial Jewish community. The severance with Algeria, which underwent a bloody and protracted war, was much more dramatic: The vast majority of Jews, who were French citizens, settled in France, departing on the eve of independence with the colonial settlers, the pieds noirs. 66

In the Arab Middle East after 1948 relations with Israel and Zionist activities often endangered Jewish communities. Many Jews wanted to leave because of the anti-Jewish steps taken by Arab governments, especially in Iraq. However, the negotiations between Zionists and the Iraqi government over Jewish property in Iraq, in which the property of Iraqi Jews became a bargaining chip in the negotiations between Israel and Iraq, and the deaths of dozens of Yemenite Jews as the community moved from Yemen to Israel, due to the incompetence of the various Israeli and American Zionist organizations responsible for their safety, suggest that the Zionist movement (and later the State of Israel), in its desire to encourage Jews to migrate from Arab countries, occasionally mistreated Jews in Arab states and endangered their well-being. 67 Operation Susannah in 1954, an espionage ring of Egyptian Jews organized by Israeli military intelligence to sabotage Western and public places in Cairo and Alexandria to destabilize the country and perhaps also to dissuade the British from evacuating their military presence at the Suez Canal Zone, seemed only to strengthen the conflation of all Egyptian Jews to Zionism and Israel. 68

The emigration of Jews to Israel from the Middle East and North Africa has often been explained as the culmination of centuries of oppression of Muslim rule, and the failure of nation states where Islam is the dominant religion to accept and integrate its Jewish minorities as citizens, while Zionism and Israel ignited the age-old yearnings, sometimes described for the Jews of Islamic countries as “messianic”, of Jews to return to the land of their forefathers. Furthermore, it has often been argued that the Jews from Arab countries are refugees, victims of Arab persecution. The campaign to recognize the refugee status of Jews from Arab countries, hence entitling them to compensation for their loss of property, is supported by Jewish organizations who use it as a card to play against Palestinian claims for repatriation. 69 These explanations for the emigration of Jews from Muslim countries, that lump together all Jews as “refugees” in an undifferentiated manner, disregard the wide variations of circumstances between countries and regions and between collective and individual motivations for emigration, clouding our understanding of a much more complicated dialectical relationship between both Arab nationalists/Muslim thinkers and Zionists/Israelis who, each for their own reasons, came to identify every Jew as a Zionist, contributing to the rupture of Muslim-Jewish relations that developed in the modern period.

While the conflict in Palestine and the Israeli-Arab wars were important factors in the displacement processes that ended in the destruction of the Jewish communities in the Muslim world, to project the painful uprooting of these communities as well as Mizraḥi politics in Israel onto the Muslim-Jewish past misrepresents Muslim-Jewish relations in the modern period. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, modernity brought with it not only colonialism, capitalist exploitation, and national chauvinism that drew Muslims and Jews apart but also brought these two religious communities together in the public sphere, where they shared many hopes for equality, social justice, and social change. In the first half of the twentieth century, Jews and Muslims lived together in countries that were either under colonial rule or independent nation-states under foreign hegemony, yet in this increasingly globalized world, they debated such theories as social democracy, communism, and nationalism. True, Jewish subjects were far from enjoying full rights in Ottoman, Qajar, and Egyptian lands and yet, during the course of the late nineteenth century and especially in the twentieth century, in both the nation-states and colonized countries they realized that they deserved rights as modern citizens and, at times, they demanded them. These demands, moreover, reflect the fact that despite the overlapping and sometimes contradictory loyalties, many of these Jews, until 1948, saw the Muslim countries in which they lived as their homelands and wished to shape their politics, cultures, and public life, as Jews and as citizens.


The approach of much of the scholarship on Muslim-Jewish relations that traces the progressive deterioration of Muslim-Jewish relations leading to the mass emigration of Jews from the Arab world is found in the voluminous book by Georges Bensoussan, Juifs en pays arabes: Le grand déracinement, 1850–1975 (Paris: Tallandier, 2012).

Onur Yildirim, “Tanzimat Reforms, Period,” Encylopedia of Jews in the Islamic World [henceforth EJIW] ed. Norman A. Stillman (Leiden: Brill, 2010), vol. 4, pp. 461–463; Bruce Masters, Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Arab World: The Roots of Sectarianism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 134–141; Daniel J. Schroeter, “Center and Periphery: The Changing Relationship between the Jews of the Arab Middle East and the Ottoman State in the 19th Century,” in Jews, Turks, and Ottomans: A Shared History, Fifteenth to Twentieth Centuries, ed. Avigdor Levy (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2002), pp. 88–107.

Orit Bashkin, “‘Religious hatred shall disappear from the land’: Iraqi Jews as Ottoman Subjects, 1864–1913,” International Journal for Contemporary Iraqi Studies, 4:3 (2010): 305–323.

Maurice Fargeon, Les Juifs en Egypte depuis les origines jusqu’à ce jour (Cairo: Imprimerie Paul Barbey, 1938), pp. 157–172.

Paul Sebag, Histoire des Juifs de Tunisie: des origins à nos jours (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1991), pp. 116–121; Yaron Tsur, “‘Ahd al-Amān,” EJIW, vol. 1, 93–94.

Joshua Schreier, Arabs of the Jewish Faith: The Civilizing Mission in Colonial Algeria (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010).

Steven Uran, “Crémieux Decree,” EJIW, vol. 1, 688–690; Benjamin Stora, “The Crémieux Decree,” in A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations from the Origins to the Present Day, eds. Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013), pp. 286–291.

Sarah Abrevaya Stein, Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2014), pp. 15, 42–56.

Norman A. Stillman, İlker Aytürk, Steven Uran, and Jonathan Fine, “Anti-Judaism/Antisemitism/Anti-Zionism,” EJIW (see section on “Algerian Colonial Antisemitism” by Steven Uran, vol. 1, 227–232).

Jonathan Frankel, The Damascus Affair: ‘Ritual Murder’, Politics, and the Jews in 1840 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Ronald Florence, Blood Libel: The Damascus Affair of 1840 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004); Sylvia G. Haim, “Arabic Antisemitic literature: some preliminary notes,” Jewish Social Studies, 17:4 (1955): 307–312.

Daniel Tsadik, Between Foreigners and Shi’is: Nineteenth-Century Iran and its Jewish Minority (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007), pp. 56–59, 88–95.

Mohammed Kenbib, Juifs et Musulmans au Maroc, 1859–1948 (Rabat: Mohammed V, Publications de la Faculté des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines, 1994), 123 ff.; Abigail Green, Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010), pp. 300–319, 365–367; Michel Abitbol, Le passé d’une discorde: Juifs et Arabes depuis le VIIe siècle (Paris: Perrin, 1999), pp. 168–172.

Masters, Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Arab World, pp. 156–168.

Narcisse Leven, Cinquante ans d’histoire – L’Alliance israélite universelle (1860–1910) (Paris: Félix Alcan, 1911). On local challenges to the new schools in Turkey, see Aron Rodrigue, French Jews, Turkish Jews: The Alliance Israélite Universelle and the Politics of Jewish Schooling in Turkey (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1990), pp. 47–70; on opposition in the Maghrib to the Alliance, see Jacques Taïeb, Sociétés juives du Maghreb modern (1500–1900): Un monde en movement (Paris: Maisonneuve & Larose, 2000), pp. 172–174; for the case of Morocco specifically, see Michael M. Laskier, The Alliance Israélite Universelle and the Jewish Communities of Morocco: 1862–1962 (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1983), pp. 80–99. The Jewish leadership of the communities of Jerba was able to resist secularization and withstand pressure to open Alliance schools on the island; see Abraham L. Udovitch and Lucette Valensi, The Last Arab Jews: The Communities of Jerba, Tunisia (Chur: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1984), pp. 20–21, 87–88.

For an overview of the Alliance, Aron Rodrigue, “Alliance Israélite Universelle Network,” EJIW, vol. 1, 171–180; Aron Rodrigue, Images of Sephardi and Eastern Jewries in Transition, 1860–1939: The Teachers of the Alliance Israélite Universelle (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1993).

On Ottoman state schools, see Aron Rodrigue, French Jews, Turkish Jews: The Alliance Israélite Universelle and the Politics of Jewish Schooling in Turkey (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1990), pp. 32–34; “Ottoman Attitudes towards the Modernization of Jewish Education in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” in Judaism and Islam: Interdependence, Modernity, and Political Turmoil, ed. Michael M. Laskier and Yaacov Lev (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2011), pp. 17–28. On Iraqi Jews in Ottoman schools, Orit Bashkin, “Religious hatred shall disappear from the land’, Iraqi Jews as Ottoman Subjects, 1864–1913,” International Journal for Contemporary Iraqi Studies, 4:3 (2010): 305–323; on the idea to establish an Ottoman Jewish school in Iraq, see Elie Kedourie and Harun Da’ud Shohet, “The Jews of Baghdad in 1910,” Middle Eastern Studies, 7:3 (1971): 357.

Joel Beinin, The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry: Culture, Politics, and the Formation of a Modern Diaspora (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998), pp. 44–49; Michael Menachem Laskier and Reeva Spector Simon, “Economic Life,” in The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times, eds. Reeva Spector Simon, Michael Menachem Laskier, and Sara Reguer (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), pp. 29–48.

Yaron Harel, “The First Jews from Aleppo in Manchester: New Documentary Evidence,” AJS Review 23:2 (1998): 191–202; see also his Syrian Jewry in Transition, 1840–1880 (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010); Orit Bashkin, “Why did Baghdadi Jews stop writing to their brethren in Mainz? Some comments about the reading practices of Iraqi Jews in the nineteenth century,” Journal of Semitic Studies: Special Issue on History of Printing and Publishing in the Languages and Countries of the Middle East (2004): 95–110; Susan Gilson Miller, “Kippur on the Amazon: Jewish Emigration from Northern Morocco in the Late Nineteenth Century,” in Sephardi and Middle Eastern Jewries, History and Culture in the Modern Era, ed. Harvey E. Goldberg (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996), pp. 190–209; Laskier and Simon, “Economic Life,” pp. 40–42.

Laskier and Simon, “Economic Life,” pp. 37–44.

Edwin Seroussi, “Music,” EJIW, vol. 3, 501–519; Maureen Jackson, Mixing Musics: Turkish Jewry and the Urban Landscape of a Sacred Song (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013).

For an analysis of Muslim and Jewish encounters in the new public spaces in Tunisia (which could apply to other major Middle Eastern and North African cities), see Lucette Valensi, “Espace publics, espaces communautaires aux XIXe et XXe siècles,” Confluences Mediterranée, no. 10 (1994): 97–109. The development of leisure activities involving secular interactions between Jews and non-Jews are reflected in the reproach of Jewish religious leaders. See Zvi Zohar, Rabbinic Creativity in the Modern Middle East (London, U.K.: Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 259–261, (on Egyptian Jews) 233–268; Matthias B. Lehmann, Ladino Rabbinic Literature and Ottoman Sephardic Culture (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2005), pp. 149–155, 76–88.

Bat-Zion Eraqi Klorman, Traditional Society in Transition: The Yemeni Jewish Experience (Leiden: Brill, 2014), pp. 12–14; Harvey E. Goldberg, Jewish Life in Muslim Libya: Rivals and Relatives (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1990), pp. 35–51.

Julia Phillips Cohen, Becoming Ottoman: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014); Hasan Kayali, Arabs and Young Turks: Ottomanism, Arabism, and Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, 1908–1918 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997); Michelle U. Campos, Ottoman Brothers: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Early Twentieth-Century Palestine (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011); Elie Kedourie, “The Jews of Baghdad in 1910,” Middle Eastern Studies 7:3 (1971): 355–361; Jonathan Sciarcon, “Unfulfilled promises: Ottomanism, the 1908 revolution and Baghdadi Jews,” International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies 3:2 (2009): 155–168; Abigail Jacobson, From Empire to Empire: Jerusalem between Ottoman and British Rule (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2011).

Paul Starkey “Nahda,” in Encyclopedia of Arab Literature, ed. Julie Scott Meisami and Paul Starkey (London: Routledge, 1998), vol. 2, pp. 573–574; Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age (London: Oxford University Press, 1962).

Lital Levy, Poetic Trespass: Writing Between Hebrew and Arabic in Israel/Palestine (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014); Jonathan Marc Gribetz, Defining Neighbors: Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014); Orit Bashkin, New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012), pp. 1–15.

Orit Bashkin, “My Sister Esther: Reflections on Judaism, Ottomanism and Empire in the Works of Farah Antun,” in The Long 1890s in Egypt: Colonial Quiescence, Subterranean Resistance, eds. Marilyn Booth and Anthony Gorman (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014).

Bashkin, “Religious hatred;” Levy, Poetic Trespass; Joseph Chetrit, “La Haskala hébraïque dans le monde sépharade,” in Le monde sépharade, ed. Shmuel Trigano (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2006), vol. 1, pp. 745–809; Joseph Chetrit, “Haskala hébraique et haskala judéo-arabe à Tunis à la fin du XIXe siècle,” in Entre orient et occident: Juifs et Musulmans en Tunisie (Paris: Éditions de l’éclat, 2007), pp. 289–320; Stein, Making Jews Modern: The Yiddish and Ladino Press in the Russian and Ottoman Empires (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004); Lehmann, Ladino Rabbinic Literature, 26, pp. 45–48; On the multilingual landscape and its transformations in the Maghrib, see Taïeb, Sociétés juives, pp. 151–169.

Lucette Valensi, “Multicultural Visions: The Cultural Tapestry of the Jews of North Africa,” in Cultures of the Jews: A New History, ed. David Biale (New York: Schocken Books, 2002), pp. 915–920; Keith Walters, “Education for Jewish Girls in Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Tunis and the Spread of French in Tunisia,” in Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa, eds. Emily Benichou Gottreich and Daniel J. Schroeter (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2011), pp. 257–281.

For a collection of nahdawi Jewish texts, see Moshe Behar and Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, Modern Middle Eastern Jewish Thought: Writing on Identity, Politics and Culture, 1893–1958 (Waltham, MA.: Brandeis University Press, 2013); see also Levy, Poetic Trespass; Gribetz, Defining Neighbors.

Behar and Ben Dor, Modern Middle Eastern Jewish Thought, pp. 10–11, 28.

Haim, “Arabic Antisemitic Literature,” p. 309.

Martin Kramer, “Introduction,” in The Jewish Discovery of Islam: Studies in Honor of Bernard Lewis, ed. Martin Kramer (Tel Aviv: The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, 1999), pp. 1–48.

Orit Bashkin, “The Arab Revival, Archaeology, and the Ancient Middle Eastern History,” Pioneers to the Past – American Archaeologists in the Middle East, 1919–1920, ed. Geoff Emberling (Chicago, IL: The Oriental Institute Museum Publications no. 30, The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, 2010), pp. 91–101.

Zvi Zohar, Rabbinic Creativity in the Modern Middle East (New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013); see also Bashkin, “Religious Hatred.”

On Somekh, see Zohar, Rabbinic Creativity, pp. 13–41

Zohar, Rabbinic Creativity, p. 28.

Norman A. Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times (Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society, 1991), pp. 48–52; Jacobson, From Empire to Empire; Abigail Jacobson, “A City Living through Crisis: Jerusalem during World War I,” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 36:1 (2009): 73–92

For a general discussion on the situation of Jewish society under colonialism in the Maghrib and Middle East, see Abitbol, Le passé d’une discorde, pp. 267–309.

Joseph Chetrit, “Judeo-Berber” EJIW, vol. 3, 58–60; Daniel J. Schroeter, “Atlas Mountains (Morocco),” EJIW, vol. 1, 286–290. Joseph Chetrit and Daniel J. Schroeter, “Les rapports entre Juifs et Berbères en Afrique du Nord: aspects historiques et culturels,” in La Méditerranée des Juifs: Exodes et enracinements, eds. Paul Balta, Catherine Dana, and Régine Dhoquois-Cohen (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2003), pp. 75–87; Yona Sabar, “Kurdistan,” vol. 3, pp. 185–189.

On urbanization and demographic transformations, see Abitbol, Le passé d’une discorde, pp. 277–279; on the Maghrib, Taïeb, Sociétés juives, pp. 80–102; on Egypt, see Gudrun Krämer, The Jews in Modern Egypt, 1915–1952 (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1989), pp. 58–67. On interactions of Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the public spheres of Ottoman and mandatory Palestine, see Salim Tamari, Mountain against the Sea: Essays on Palestinian Society and Culture (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2009); for Tunisia, see Valensi, “Espace publics, espaces communautaires.”

Israel Gershoni, “Rethinking the Formation of Arab Nationalism in the Middle East, 1920–1945: Old and New Narratives,” in Rethinking Nationalism in the Arab Middle East, ed. James Jankowski and Israel Gershoni (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), pp. 3–25.

Orit Bashkin, “The Arab Revival,” 91–104; Ernest C. Dawn, “The Formation of Pan-Arab Ideology in the Inter-war Years,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 20:1 (1988): 67–91; Nimrod Hurvitz, “Muhibb ad-Din al-Khatib’s Semitic Wave Theory and Pan-Arabism,” Middle Eastern Studies, 29:1 (1993): 118–134; Gribetz, Defining Neighbors, pp. 131–184.

Cohen, Becoming Ottomans, pp. 1–4, 48–62, 140–142; Jessica Marglin, “Modernizing Moroccan Jews: The AIU Alumni Association in Tangier, 1893–1913,” Jewish Quarterly Review, 101: 4 (2011): 584–588.

On the categories of the Arab Jews, see Lital Levy, “Historicizing the concept of Arab Jews in the Mashriq,” Jewish Quarterly Review, 98 (2008): 452–469; on Arab Jews in Iraq, as well as Sharqi Jews, see Bashkin, New Babylonians, pp. 1–58; on Arab Jewishness and Eastern identity in Palestine, see Salim Tamari, “Ishaq al-Shami and the predicament of the Arab Jew in Palestine,” Jerusalem Quarterly, 21 (2004): 10–26; Jonathan Marc Gribetz, “To the Arab Hebrew: on possibilities and impossibilities,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 46:3 (2014): 589–592; Michelle U. Campos, “Between others and brothers,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 46:3 (2014): 585–588; on Egypt: Beinin, The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry, pp. 1–89; on Iran: Lior Sternfeld, “Jewish-Iranian identities in the Pahlavi era,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 46:3 (2014): 602–605

Bashkin, New Babylonians, pp. 58–100.

Michael M. Laskier, North African Jewry in the Twentieth Century: The Jews of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria (New York: New York University Press, 1994), pp. 27–32; Valensi, “Multicultural visions,” pp. 912–913.

Ethan B. Katz, “In the Shadow of the Republic: A Century of Coexistence and Conflict,” in A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations, pp. 501–503.

On Jewish political and ideological options, see Behar and Benite, Modern Middle Eastern Jewish Thought; on secularism in Iraq, see Bashkin, New Babylonians, pp. 58–100; on feminism, see Lital Levy, “Partitioned Pasts: Arab Jewish Intellectuals and the Case of Esther Azhari Moyal (1873–1948),” in The Making of the Arab Intellectual (1880-1960): Empire, Public Sphere, and the Colonial Coordinates of Selfhood, ed. Dyala Hamzah (London: Routledge, 2012), pp. 128–164; on Jewish urbanism, see Lital Levy, “Self and the city: literary representations of Jewish Baghdad,” Prooftexts, 26 (2006): 163–211.

Beinin, The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry, pp. 83–85, 232–233; Edwin Seroussi, “Music,” EJIW, vol. 3, 498–519; “Murād, Laylā” EJIW, vol. 3, 494–495; idem, “Kuweiti, Salah and Daud al-,” EJIW, vol. 3, 194–195.

Mordechai Zaken, Jewish Subjects and Their Tribal Chieftains in Kurdistan: A Study in Survival (Leiden: Brill, 2007); Erich Brauer, The Jews of Kurdistan (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1993); Haya Gavish, Unwitting Zionists: The Jewish Community of Zakho in Iraqi Kurdistan (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2009); Joseph Chetrit, “Judeo-Berber,” EJIW, vol. 3, 58–60; Yona Sabar, “Kurdistan,” EJIW, vol. 3, 185–189; Yaakov Bentolila and David Bunis, “Judéo-Spanish,” EJIW, vol. 3, 69–76; Norman Stillman, “Judeo-Arabic History and Linguistic Description,” EJIW, 53–58.

In Turkey, schools were secularized, and Jewish schools transitioned to adopting Turkish as the language of instruction. See Rodrigue, French Jews, Turkish Jews, pp. 163–166.

Reuven Snir, Who Needs Arab-Jewish Identity? Interpellation, Exclusion and Inessential Solidarities (Leiden: Brill, 2015); “‘My Heart Beats with Love of the Arabs’: Iraqi Jews writing in Arabic in the twentieth century,” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 1:2 (2002): 182–203; Aline Schlaepfer, “Between Cultural and National Nahda: Jewish Intellectuals in Baghdad and the Nation-Building Process in Iraq (1921–1932),” Journal of Levantine Studies 1 (2011): 59–74; Bashkin, New Babylonians.

Laskier, The Alliance Israélite Universelle, p. 334.

On the growing educational gap between Jews and Muslims, see Abitbol, Le passé d’une discorde, pp. 279–281.

Abitbol, Le passé d’une discorde, pp. 310–355.

Stefan Wild, “National Socialism in the Arab near East between 1933 and 1939,” Die Welt des Islams 1:4 (1985): 126–173; Jamaâ Baïda, “Le Maroc et la propaganda du IIIème Reich,” Hespéris-Tamuda, 28 (1990): 97–100; Jean Wolf, Les secrets du Maroc Espagnol: L’épopée d’Abd-el-Khaleq Torrès (Paris: Coédition Balland-Eddif, 1994), pp. 217–232; Peter Wien, Iraqi Arab Nationalism: Authoritarian, Totalitarian and Profascist Inclinations, 1932–1941 (New York: Routledge, 2006); Reeva Simon, Iraq between Two World Wars: the Creation and Implementation of a Nationalist Ideology (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986); Shmuel Moreh, “At Shavuot we remember the Farhud,” http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.co.il/2012/05/at-shavuot-we-remember-farhud.html.

On Jews in the Maghrib during World War II, see Michel Abitbol, The Jews of North Africa during the Second World War (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1989); Robert Satloff, Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands (New York: Public Affairs, 2006).

Satloff, Among the Righteous, pp. 105–108; Benjamin Stora, Les trois exils juifs d’Algérie (Paris: Éditions Stock, 2006), pp. 104-110; idem, “Messali Hadj, the Refusal to Collaborate,” in A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations, pp. 365–366; Habib Kazdaghli, “The Tunisian Jews in the German Occupation,” in A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations, pp. 367–369; Michael M. Laskier, “Between Vichy antisemitism and German harassment: the Jews of North Africa during the early 1940s,” Modern Judaism 11:3 (1991): 348–369; opinions vary on the extent to which Muslims applauded or condemned the anti-Jewish measures, such as the abrogation of the Crémieux Decree; e.g. emphasizing the condemnation: Mahfoud Kaddache, “L’opinion politique musulmane en Algérie et l’administration française (1939–1942),” Revue d’histoire de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale 29:114 (1979): 109; insisting on the wide approval: Yves C. Aouate, “Les Algériens musulmans et les mesure antijuive du gouvernement de Vichy (1940–1942),” Pardès, 16 (1992): 189–202. The debate about Muslim attitudes during World War II is tied to Muslim and Jewish identity politics of recent decades. See Ethan Katz, “Did the Paris Mosque save Jews: a mystery and its memory,” Jewish Quarterly Review 102:2 (2012): 256–287.

Satloff, Among the Righteous, pp. 109–111. Though a subject of debate, most scholars stress the benevolence of Mohammed V toward the Jews during Vichy. See Robert Assaraf, Mohammed V et les Juifs du Maroc: l’époque de Vichy (Paris: Plon, 1997); Mohammed Kenbib, “Mohammed V, Protector of Moroccan Jews,” in A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations, pp. 362–364. For a reassessment, see Daniel J. Schroeter, “Vichy in Morocco: The Residency, Mohammed V and His Indigenous Jewish Subjects” in Colonialism and the Jews, eds. Ethan Katz, Lisa Leff, Maud Mandel (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press [forthcoming]).

Götz Nordbruch, “‘Cultural fusion’ of thought and ambitions? Memory, politics and the history of Arab–Nazi German encounters,” Middle Eastern Studies, 47:1 (2011): 183–194; Israel Gershoni and James Jankowski, Confronting Fascism in Egypt: Dictatorship versus Democracy in the 1930s (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009); Gilbert Achcar, The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2010); Bashkin, New Babylonians, pp. 100–141; Israel Gershoni (ed.), Arab Responses to Nazism and Fascism, Attraction and Repulsion (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2014).

Bashkin, New Babylonians, pp. 141–182; Zachary Lockman, Comrades and Enemies: Arab and Jewish Workers in Palestine, 1906–1948 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1996); Rami Ginat, A History of Egyptian Communism: Jews and Their Compatriots in Quest of Revolution (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2011); Habib Kazdaghli, “L’engagement des Juifs tunisiens dans l’anticolonialisme, 1919–1956,” in Histoire communautaire, Histoire plurielle: La communauté juive de Tunisie (Tunis: Centre de Publication Universitaire, 1999), pp. 217–237; on LICA, see Krämer, Jews in Modern Egypt, pp. 128–139; Aomar Boum, “Partners against anti-Semitism: Muslims and Jews respond to Nazism in French North African colonies, 1936–1940,” Journal of North African Studies 19:4 (2014): 554–570.

Esther Meir-Glitzenstein, Zionism in an Arab Country: Jews in Iraq in the 1940s (London: Routledge, 2004); Abbas Shiblak, The Lure of Zion: The Case of Iraqi Jews (London: al-Saqi Books, 1986); Yehouda Shenhav, The Arab Jews: A Postcolonial Reading of Nationalism, Religion, and Ethnicity (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006), pp. 1–110; Bashkin, New Babylonians, pp. 183–229; Laskier, North African Jewry, pp. 32–42, 84–113; Haïm Saadoun, “Le sionisme dans les pays musulmans,” in Le monde sépharade, ed. Trigano, vol. 1, pp. 879–904.

Bashkin, New Babylonians, pp. 183–229; Meir-Glitzenstein, Zionism in an Arab Country; pp. 32–141, Beinin, The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry, pp. 60–89, 121–178.

On the shared vision, see Campos, Ottoman Brothers; on the collapse of this vision, see Hillel Cohen, 1929: Year Zero of the Jewish-Arab Conflict [in Hebrew] Tarpat: shenat ha-efes ba-sikhsukh ha-yehudi-ʿaravi (Tel Aviv: Keter, 2013); discussed in Hillel Cohen, “How the 1929 Hebron Massacre Invigorated the Zionist Movement,” +972 Magazine (5 March 2013), http://972mag.com/how-the-1929-hebron-massacre-invigorated-the-zionist-movement/67101/

On conflict between the Alliance and Zionists, see Laskier, North African Jewry, pp. 42–54.

Laskier, North African Jewry.

Beinin, The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry; Bashkin, New Babylonians, pp. 182–228; Shiblak, The Lure of Zion, pp. 67–71, 103–127; Yehouda Shenhav, “The Jews of Iraq, Zionist ideology, and the property of the Palestinian refugees of 1948: an anomaly of national accounting,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 31:4 (1999): 605–630; Moshe Gat, The Jewish Exodus from Iraq, 1948–1951 (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1997); Esther Meir-Glitzenstein, “Operation Magic Carpet: constructing the myth of the magical immigration of Yemenite Jews to Israel,” Israel Studies, 16:3 (2011): 149–173.

Beinin, The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry, pp. 90–117.

Michael R. Fischbach, Jewish Property Claims Against Arab Countries (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008).


Alcalay, Ammiel , After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1993). A study of the multicultural literary world of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Jews and the shared culture of Jews and Arabs.
Bashkin, Orit , New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012).
Beinin, Joel , The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry: Culture, Politics, and the Formation of a Modern Diaspora (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998). A history of Egyptian Jews since 1948, examining the Jews who remained in Egypt and their dispersion.
Cohen, Julia Phillips , Becoming Ottoman: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014). Analyzes Jews as Ottoman citizens and their participation in the civic culture of Ottomanism from the late nineteenth century.
Goldberg, Harvey E. (ed.), Sephardi and Middle Eastern Jewries, History and Culture in the Modern Era (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996). Chapters in this volume examine diverse aspects of modernization and cultural change among the Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa.
Gottreich, Emily Benichou , and Schroeter, Daniel J. (eds.), Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2011). Chapters in this volume study the history, culture, and literature of Jewish life and Muslim-Jewish relations in the Maghreb.
Gribetz, Jonathan Marc , Defining Neighbors: Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 2014). Examines how Arabs and Zionists understood and wrote about one another in pre-World War I Palestine.
Harel, Yaron , Syrian Jewry in Transition (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010)., 1840–1880
Krämer, Gudrun , The Jews in Modern Egypt, 1915–1952 (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1989).
Laskier, Michael M. , North African Jewry in the Twentieth Century: The Jews of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria (New York: New York University Press, 1994).
Meddeb, Abdelwahab , and Stora, Benjamin (eds.), A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations from the Origins to the Present Day (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013).
Schreier, Joshua , Arabs of the Jewish Faith: The Civilizing Mission in Colonial Algeria (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010). Analyzes the encounter of Algerian Jewish communities with French colonialism from 1830 to the Crémieux Decree of 1870.
Simon, Reeva Spector , Laskier, Michael Menachem , and Reguer, Sara (eds.), The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003). Multi-authored volume covering the history of the Jews of the modern Middle East and North Africa, with chapters devoted to both broad themes and individual countries.
Stillman, Norman A. , The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times (Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society, 1991). Provides diverse primary sources and a concise survey of the history of the Jews in the Arabic-speaking countries of the Middle East and North Africa.
Tsadik, Daniel , Between Foreigners and Shi’is: Nineteenth-Century Iran and its Jewish Minority (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007).
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