Arab Theologians On Jews & Israel
There is a little red book that I, Brian of London, posted about a few weeks ago. Well the entire thing is now available to read, download and distribute on line. A physical re-printing is in the works but for now I’m going to present the complete thing and give you the new preface that has been written by the book’s co-author and driving force.
When the book was produced he chose to publish under a pseudonym but now David Littman publicly acknowledges that it was he who masterminded the printing of this little book. It has been re-formatted for the web in accordance with his wishes, as a tribute to his life and work. I can’t even begin to say what this man has achieved but he started out rescuing hundreds of Jewish children from Morocco and carried on in more amazing ways. I’ll tell you a little secret: I attended the semi-secret “Hero of Silence” Order award ceremony when he was officially decorated for the operation which took place at MLM (The Israel Intelligence’ Heritage & Commemorative Center in Glilot). Since 1986 he has worked tirelessly as one of the very few sane voices at the UN in Geneva as a human rights defender on many taboo subjects.
David Littman is a true hero, a legend in wicket keeping and a gentleman the likes of which they don’t make any more. To this day Canford School, Dorset has not seen a better keeper!
I will include Anwar Sadat’s letter to Hitler, after the link to the complete book which follows the brand new preface that David has just released for this re-publication. It is is his wish that this book and interesting extracts from it, be published far and wide in the digital age. I’m kicking this off here but the call is going out to other bloggers, take it, read it and repost anything you find interesting:
Preface to the Fourth Edition
This fourth edition of Arab Theologians on Jews and Israel is now available on the internet. It will allow a worldwide public to read what was discussed at the Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research at Al Azhar (1968) and preached by ulema in mosques 40 years ago on Jews, Judaism and Israel – throughout the Arab-Middle East, and taught in schools.
In January 1971, while browsing in the library of St. Anthony’s College, Oxford University, awaiting a friend, I came across the 1970 English edition of the Proceedings of this Al Azhar Conference, published by the ‘Cairo General Organization for Government Printing Offices’.
Only a few months earlier, I had met professor Yehoshafat Harkabi in Tel Aviv, author of a seminal work, Arab Attitudes to Israel (1971; Hebrew edition, 1968), who informed me of the contents of the Arab edition which he showed me, particularly the lecture by Kamal Ahmad Own on “The Jews are the Enemies of Human Life as is Evident from their Holy Book”.
On discovering the English translation by chance, the article by the ‘Vice-principle of Tanta Institute’ caught my eye, as well as a fascinating trove of vivid ‘explanations’ on Jihad and other theological subjects. I immediately informed Professor Harkabi and suggested that it might be a good idea to publish extracts from the 935 page edition (no official copyright was indicated) which I would prepare, and our joint introduction. It could be published by Editions de l’Avenir in Geneva and would be widely distributed by the Centre d’Information et de la Documentation sur le Moyen Orient (CID) in Geneva, recently founded, with friends, by my wife and I, whose publications we directed then. I met Professor Bernard Lewis in London, who encouraged me on the project, suggesting less than 100 pages and a brief introduction.
In September 1971 the verbatim first edition was printed in English – followed by a French edition – with our joint introduction under a pseudonym, “D.F. Green”: ‘D’ for my first name, David; ‘F’ for Fati, the abbreviated first name of Harkabi, who predicted that it would become a landmark publication in its own field ; he proved to be right. Before his untimely death in 1994, he gave me his consent to reveal our joint names, behind the pseudonym, “D.F. Green”. I preferred Muslim Theologians… as the title, but Fati preferred not to ruffle religious feathers.
Between September 1971 and September 1976, three editions were published in English, two in French and one in German, a total of over 70,000 copies – available in bookstores via the main Swiss distributor, Payot. It was also widely circulated (c. 10,000 copies) by the CID in Switzerland (and the United Nations), in several European countries and the USA, and much appreciated by Israel’s Foreign Ministry Information Office which bought many thousands of copies, especially the 3rd English edition. However, after President Anwar El Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in November 1977, they stopped using our ‘sensitive’ booklet, which also contained several revealing texts by Sadat on Jews and Israel (see pp. 87-91), starting with his 1953 “Letter to Hitler” (allegedly still alive), published in the Cairo weekly Al Musawwar.
On reading D.F. Green’s introduction 40 years later, one notes that there has not been an iota of change in the Arab-Muslim world on this subject in their media, especially on certain TV government programs, sermons in mosques, in schools, (widely documented by MEMRI, Palestine Media Watch and other bodies), and with rare condemnation or shame. One paragraph says it all then and now:
“Arab spokesmen contend that they differentiate meticulously between Zionism and Judaism and that they are against Zionism and not against Judaism. There cannot be a more trenchant disproof of this allegation than the arguments used at the Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research, at least as regards it participants. The odium of Zionism is described as emanating from the perversity of Judaism. Zionism and Jews are treated synonymously.”
And we concluded our introduction, dated ‘London, August 1971’ with a vain hope:
“May this booklet be a small contribution towards the cause of peace in the Near East. This is by no means a cynical pretention (..). It is to be hoped that this small publication may serve as a general exhortation against the dangers lurking in the ideologization (or worse, in the theologization) of a political conflict. When such books published under government auspices cease to appear, a step toward reconciliation will have been made.”
David G. Littman
Switzerland, April 2011
Arab Theologians on Jews and Israel 4th Edition
Here is just one of the many, many gems to be found in this amazing little book.
ANWAR EL SADAT : A MODERATE STATESMAN
SADAT’S “LETTER TO HITLER” (1953)
In September 1953, several news agencies reported that Hitler was still alive. On the basis of this report, a Cairo weekly, “Al Musawwar”, asked a number of Egyptian personalities the following question: “If you wished to send Hitler a personal letter, what would you write to him?”
Colonel Anwar El Sadat was one of those questioned. His answer reads as follows:
“My dear Hitler,
I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart. Even if you appear to have been defeated, in reality you are the victor. You succeeded in creating dissensions between Churchill, the old man, and his allies, the Sons of Satan. Germany will win because her existence is necessary to preserve the world balance. Germany will be reborn in spite of the Western and Eastern powers. There will be no peace unless Germany once again becomes what she was. The West, as well as the East, will pay for her rehabilitation — whether they like it or not. Both sides will invest a great deal of money and effort in Germany, in order to have her on their side, which is of great benefit to Germany. So much for the present and future.
As for the past, I think you made some mistakes, like too many battlefronts and the shortsightedness of Ribbentrop vis-à-vis the experienced British diplomacy. But your trust in your country and people will atone for those blunders. You may be proud of having become the immortal leader of Germany. We will not be surprised if you appear again in Germany or if a new Hitler rises up in your wake.
Anwar El Sadat”
(Al Musawwar, No 1510, September 18th, 1953)
Emphasis added by the editor (D.F.G.)