Much of the study of Islamophobia is directed at the social and political causes and manifestations, including religious and political dimensions and racist characteristics. However, Islamophobia is also used as a strategic tool or weapon; i.e., in pursuit of national agenda.
Many of us are familiar with Islamophobic movements within the Buddhist majority in Myanmar (against the Rohingya minority), and within Hindu nationalist parties in India. It is important to note, however, that it is characteristic of these movements that they direct their Islamophobia against particular groups of Muslims within their own societies, and are less concerned with creating an international movement against Islam.
This is what makes the case of Israel unique. Although Israel, like Myanmar and India, seeks to marginalize and ultimately eliminate a specific population of Muslims – in this case the mostly Muslim Palestinians – part of its strategy for doing so includes encouraging and fostering Islamophobia internationally. Thus, for example, Israel has successfully pursued strong military and diplomatic ties with the governments of Myanmar and India, and especially the Islamophobic movements within those countries.
It is clear, therefore, that Islamophobia within Israel is not only a matter of organized bigotry and social hatred, which one finds in other societies, but also of instrumentalizing or weaponizing Islamophobia as a strategic tool to legitimize and justify the…