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 introduction 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 that masterminded the printing of this little book. It has been re-formated 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. Since then he has worked tirelessly as one of the very few sane voices at the UN in Geneva.
David Littman is a true hero, a legend in wicket keeping and a gentleman the likes of which they don’t make any more.
I will include Anwar Sadat’s letter to Hitler, after the link to the complete book which follows the brand new introduction 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
The full book can be found here: Arab Theologians on Jews and Israel 4th Edition and that site (Scribd) contains instructions on how to embed the whole book on your site if you wish.