Jews in the Arab World: Suggested Reading

If you would like more in-depth information on Diwaniyya's theme this monthhave a look at these publications

Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam (1987)

Bernard Lewis looks at the presence and role of Jews in the Islamic world over a span of 1400 years, in this publication by Princeton University Press. From the back cover of the book: "Probing the Muslims' attitudes towards Judaism as a special case of their view of  other religious minorities in Islamic countries, Bernard Lewis demolishes two competing stereotypes: the fanatical warrior, sword in one hand, Qur'an in the other, and the Muslim designer of an interfaith utopia."

Meir Litvak and Esther Webman, From Empathy to Denial: Arab Responses to the Holocaust (2009).

In this volume, available through Columbia University Press, Moshe Dayan Center researchers Meir Litvak and Esther Webman track the evolution of perceptions of the Holocaust after the Second World War, and their parallel emergence following the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1948, basing their research mainly on Arabic sources. They show how, after the State of Israel was established, Arab attitudes toward the Holocaust became entangled with broader anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic sentiments. 

Nissim Rejwan, The Last Jews in Baghdad: Remembering a Lost Homeland (2004).
In this memoir published by the University of Texas Press, Nissim Rejwan recalls memories of the Jewish community of Baghdad, which once numbered over a third of the Iraqi capital's residents. Rejwan grew up in the city from the 1920s, until he left for Israel in 1951. At this time, the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 drew lines between Arabs and Jews, forcing nearly the entire Jewish population of the country to flee.

Are there any books you can recommend our listeners on the topic? Post a comment on Diwaniyya's blog to share your recommendations, or post on our Facebook page.


Diwaniyya Contributor