Glossary Term

Chant: Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the Army of Mohammed will Return

The chant, “Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the army of Mohammed will return,” has been heard at numerous anti-Israel demonstrations around the world.   

Khaybar is a historic Arabian oasis north of Medina in present-day Saudi Arabia that is religiously significant for Islamic history. This slogan recalls a series of seventh-century battles between Mohammed and local Jews during the first few years of Islam’s establishment.  As retold in the Quran and other textual sources, Mohammed’s forces took action against Khaybar in response to purported acts of Jewish treachery.  Ultimately, these battles resulted in the subjugation, mass expulsion, or slaughter of the area’s tribal Jewish communities.    

Invoking this slogan today at such a demonstration problematically shifts the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a religious battle between Islam and Judaism. Moreover, in celebrating a past military defeat of Jews, this chant can be perceived as a threat of armed violence or forcible expulsion against Jews today.