Little Satan

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Little Satan (Persian: شیطان کوچک‎) (Shaytân-e Kuchak) is a derogatory epithet used for Israel.[1][2]

Background history[edit]

According to some sources Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of Iranian Revolution, coined this phrase in its contemporary meaning.[3] While according to others such as the Glasgow Herald Colonel Gaddafi was the one to use it for Israel.[4]

Contemporary use[edit]

Prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, used this phrase when referring to Iranian rhetoric during a visit to the United States and said "For them, we are you and you are us. And you know something, Mr President? At least on this last point, I think they're right. We are you and you are us. We're together. ... Israel and America stand together,"[5] In another situation, he stated that: "For the Mullahs that rule Tehran, Israel is the small Satan and America is the great Satan."[6] It is usually used by Islamist terrorists to recruit terrorists and by Shia speakers to propagate hatred towards Israel. The term also features heavily in contemporary Iranian propaganda.[7][8][9]

In Fatima gate border, a Lebanese gate border near Israel, there are two pillars as sign for performing symbolic stoning little Satan and great Satan. Lebanese people with this action will not throw stone towards Israeli soldiers.[10] Hizbullah has same political ideology with Iran and depicted the Zionist Entity as little Satan.[11]


According to Ze'ev Maghen writing in The Wall Street Journal, there's a critical distinction in Iran attitudes toward the 'great Satan' and the 'little Satan', which should not be ignored; Although they chant "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" with equal fervor," they tactically know "that the Great Satan is . . . great."[12] In an address to the United States House of Representatives Government Reform Committee, Benjamin Netanyahu said that "the soldiers of militant Islam" call Israel 'Little Satan' "to distinguish it clearly from the country that has always been and will always be the Great Satan."[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mark Hitchcock (2013). Iran and Israel. Harvest House Publishers. pp. 16 and 40. ISBN 978-0-7369-5335-1.
  2. ^ Chevy Purdie (14 April 2015). The Israel Story - Chevy Purdie: The story of the most successful nation in the world. Chevy Purdie. p. 12. GGKEY:PXLJDA8CG8H.
  3. ^ John Hagee (5 December 2011). In Defense of Israel, Revised: The Bible's Mandate for Supporting the Jewish State. Charisma Media. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-59979-681-9.
  4. ^ "The Glasgow Herald - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  5. ^ O'Malley, Nick (6 March 2012). "'Great Satan' backs 'small Satan': Obama reaffirms stance against Iran". Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  6. ^ JPOST.COM Staff (1 September 2015). "Netanyahu: For Iran's mullahs 'Israel is the small Satan and American is the great Satan'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  7. ^ Buck, Christopher (2015-04-01). God & Apple Pie: Religious Myths and Visions of America. Educator's International Press. ISBN 9781891928222.
  8. ^ Falk, Avner (2008-01-01). Islamic Terror: Conscious and Unconscious Motives. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313357640.
  9. ^ Ganor, Boaz; Knop, Katharina von; Duarte, Carlos A. M. (2007-01-01). Hypermedia Seduction for Terrorist Recruiting. IOS Press. ISBN 9781586037611.
  10. ^ Joseph Elie Alagha (2011). Hizbullah's Identity Construction. Amsterdam University Press. p. 223. ISBN 978-90-8964-297-4.
  11. ^ Joseph Elie Alagha (2006). The Shifts in Hizbullah's Ideology: Religious Ideology, Political Ideology and Political Program. Amsterdam University Press. pp. 117 and 134. ISBN 978-90-5356-910-8.
  12. ^ Maghen, Ze'ev. "Eradicating the 'Little Satan'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  13. ^ Rydelnik, Michael (2007). Understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict : what the headlines haven't told you (Rev. and updated. ed.). Chicago: Moody Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8024-2623-9. Retrieved 4 January 2016.