SWC Urges French Culture Ministry National Book Centre (CNL) to “Rectify ID Distortions and Omissions of the Jewish Narrative”

SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTRE-EUROPE

Tel.: +33(0)1 47 23 76 37

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Email: csweurope@gmail.com

 

“This incredible publicity and ideological campaign diminishes the Jewish tie to the Land of Israel”

 

“One of your co-editors, Elias Sanbar, as Palestinian ambassador to UNESCO leads the campaign for the theft of Jewish heritage – claiming its holiest site, the 'Western Wall' as part of the Al Aqsa mosque.”

 

Paris, 21 October 2015

 

In a letter to the French National Book Centre (CNL) President Vincent Monadé, based on a discussion at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Simon Wiesenthal Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, conveyed members' protests regarding the 1,150 page “History of Jewish - Muslim Relations from Their Origins to the Present Day”, by the late Abdulwahab Medde b and Benjamin Stora, published by Albin Michel, but funded by the CNL – under the auspices of the French Ministry of Culture.”

 

Samuels noted, “Upon publication of the English edition, Lyn Julius – an expert on the Jews from Arab countries – wrote a lengthy critique, pointing to many inaccuracies,” adding, “The French edition was criticized by historian, Shmuel Trigano, as 'a work of propaganda'.”

 

The Centre noted with irony, “One of the co-editors is Palestinian ambassador to UNESCO, Elias Sanbar, who is leading the campaign for the theft of Jewish heritage, this week claiming Judaism's holiest site; the Western Wall or 'Kotel' as the 'Buraq Wall' and a part of the Al Aqsa mosque.”

 

The letter also pointed out that, “A sponsor of this book, the Alliance of Civilizations, is a United Nations initiative led by Spain and Turkey, that excludes Israel from its Circle of Friends.  Indeed, the volume is an ode of praise for, on the one hand the Golden Age, thereby redeeming Spain from the terrors of the Inquisition and, on the other, the welcome of Turkey to the expelled Jews of Spain – a fact which can not serve as an anachronic whitewash for Ankara's contemporary anti-Semitism.”

 

Samuels quoted Belgian computer analyst, Rudi Roth, “Who pointed to 'major errors of fact and sloppy editing,' such as differing birth dates for the medieval Jewish physician and philosopher, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon aka as the Rambam or Maimonides.”

 

The Centre listed “examples of a 'Polly Anna' rose-coloured version of history which includes:

- Maimonides flight from Muslim massacres of Jews in Spain described as 'an emigration'

- Discussion of his 1,172 letters to the Jews of Yemen does not mention their victimology to Muslim persecution.

- He is claimed to be buried in Cairo in 1204, though his tomb is overwhelmingly recognized as being in Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee.

 

The book therefore diminishes the Jewish tie to the Land of Israel and minimizes the Jewish contribution to culture and science, by magnifying the Arab Muslim role – especially in mathematics.

 

From the Fez pogrom of 1033 to the impact of Jerusalem Mufti Haj Amin el Husseini's alliance with the Nazis and his active support in the Holocaust, the dark side of Muslim anti-Semitism has been sanitized.”

 

Samuels cited Shmuel Trigano, who, “Has described the volume as 'an incredible publicity and ideological campaign... Its target is world public opinion by way of the Jews, and more specifically Sephardic Jews'.”

 

The Centre urged the CNL as funder of this book to establish a committee of its critics to ensure that a second edition rectify this ID distortion of the Jewish narrative in the vital debate on Jewish-Muslim relations.”

 

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at 00 33 6 09 77 01 58,

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).