Arab Nationalism is an ideology which rose to prominence in the 1950s as Arab Nations began to gain independence from former colonial powers. The premise of Arab Nationalism is that there should be political, cultural, religious, and historical unity among the people of Arab nations. Arab nationalism’s main goal was to achieve independence of Western influence for all Arab countries. However, Arab Nationalism became the basis for alienation and loss of national identity for many indigenous Jews and other minorities of Arab countries.
Once many Arab countries achieved their independence from European colonial powers, the ideology of Arab Nationalism inspired clauses of many constitutions of new Arab countries stating that Arabic was the particular Arab nation’s official language and the the source of all law was the religion of Islam.
Across the Middle East and North Africa the movement alienated Jews and other non-Arab minorities living in the region such as Christians, Berbers and Kurds who suddenly became foreigners in their own homelands because their identity did not conform with the majority population who identified racially as Arab or religiously as Muslims.
An example of a law inspired by Arab Nationalism which severely alienated an indigenous Jewish Community was a 1947 amendment to the Egyptian Companies Law which mandated that at least 75% of the administrative employees and 90% of employees in general of an Egyptian company had to be Egyptian nationals. This law led to the dismissal from employment and loss of livelihoods of most of Egypt’s Jewish community due to the fact that the Egyptian government had previously in 1926, granted Egyptian nationality to persons of “foreign fathers,” only if the “foreign father belonged racially to the majority of the population of a country whose language is Arabic or whose religion is Islam.” Most Egyptian Jews, while Ottoman subjects in 1926 where unable to claim Egyptian Nationality because they failed to meet the Egyptian government’s racial requirements.