Constructing ‘Arab Terrorism’—The Slow Emergence of Terrorism Discourse in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s

Annika Brunck


This article traces the beginnings of the discourse on “Arab terrorism” in the U.S. after World War II. I argue that the discourse emerged slowly in the early 1970s, growing out of political concerns in the aftermath of the 1972 “Munich Massacre” as well as previous work by scholars on political violence. Prominent cultural products like Leon Uris’ Exodus and Thomas Harris’ Black Sunday contributed to the vilification of Arab populations in the Middle East and merged with these political and academic discourses to construct Arab aggression in terms of terrorism.


Terrorism; Middle East; United States; Terrorism Studies

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