NOTE: David Littman is a hero. As a young man, Littman was at the center of a 1961 clandestine operation (codenamed “Mural”) to evacuate over 500 Jewish children from Morocco to Israel to escape Antisemitism in the Muslim world. From 1986 onward, he has appeared at the United Nations and its various bodies, including the notoriously misnamed Human Rights Commission, to press for justice for Soviet Refusniks, women and minorities in Arab countries. He railed against Hamas and its genocidal charter, and recognized the link between Shariah, Islamic jurisprudence and Antisemitism in the classic compilation, Arab Theologians on Jews and Israel (1974).
For decades, Littman has been thorn in the side of the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, “speaking truth to power” against both the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and feckless European diplomats. (In the video below, the HRC has him removed from a hearing for discussing the legacy of Muslim Antisemitism.)
embedded by Embedded Video
Recently diagnosed with leukemia, Littman suffered a brain hemorrhage this fall. His condition prevents him from attending meetings of the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, but he’s continued his life’s work; on the last day of 2010, Littman wrote an impassioned plea to the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, Navi Pillay, on the predicament of Iraqi Christians. The letter is below.
To the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay
31 December 2010
Having suffered a serious brain haemorrhage on 27 November – and now being treated for acute leukaemia – it seems highly unlikely that I shall be allowed by my doctors to return to the Palais des Nations – without a mask, if at all – to defend universal human rights as I have endeavoured to do for the past 25 years. Hopefully, I shall remain in shape to prepare an ‘Appeal’ now and again – and perhaps more, if providence should allow.
Our 1st intervention on 3 February 1986 was a written Appeal – on behalf of the WUPJ – to the Chairman of the CHR’s 42nd session, condemning the nomination of ex-Nazi Byelorussian, Dr. Hermann Klenner, as one of three vice-chairmen. Our 1st oral statement (12 February) condemned the ongoing Orwellian UN General Assembly Resolution 3377, voted on 10 November 1975 (37 years after the evil 1938 Kristallnacht), equating Zionism with Racism. Our 2rd oral statement (3 March) dealt with the question of “fanatical fundamentalists preaching jihad actions of international terrorism against their sworn enemies: either Muslims, referred to as ‘heretics’; or non-Muslims, referred to as ‘infidels’.” Our 3rd oral statement (7 March), inter alia, dealt with the situation of dhimmis (Jews and Christians in Arab-Muslim lands), providing full details on this historical phenomenon, which slowly emptied ‘Arab lands’ of its ancient Jewish populations – from time immemorial – numbering over 900,000 in 1948 and under 20,000 by 1986; today they are less than 5,000 (barely ½ of 1%).
Madam High Commissioner, we are providing these ‘details’ (*), in order to stress that for 25 years we have reminded the CHR (and since 2006 the HRC), to no avail, of that commonplace saying: “after Saturday comes Sunday”: i.e. after the dhimmi Jews will have been expelled from Arab lands, it will be the time of the dhimmi Christians. Alas, the ‘international community’ has shown no interest in “Jewish refugees” from Arab-Muslim lands (representing about ½ of Israel’s Jewish population of 5.5 million) – only in “Arab-Palestinian refugees” from UN mandated Palestine, whose tragic plight resulted from the Arab League’s 1947 “no!” to international legality and its military attack to destroy Israel. This refusal then to recognise a Jewish State continues today.
The grave human tragedy of the Christians in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, has worsened dramatically since our joint 2008 and 2009 Christmas Day Appeals to you, UNSRs, and at UN bodies. We are enclosing again our last year’s joint Appeal and a recent article by a Qatari liberal, Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari: “The Perpetrators of the Massacre at the Baghdad Church are ‘the Children of the Culture of Hate.” [Al-Jarida-Kuwait, 15 Nov. 2010, tr. by MEMRI, Special Dispatch 3473, 27 Dec. 2010].
This ‘writing on the wall’ has been evident for decades to all with eyes to see and ears to hear. On the eve of the New Year, we call on you as HCHR, on concerned SRs, and UN bodies to strongly condemn this atrocious martyrdom of a religious-ethnic community, dating from the birth of Christianity in the Middle East. There are less than 10 Jews in Iraq from over 140,000 in 1948. If the UN does not act decisively, the 1¼ million or so Iraqi Christians a decade ago (now under ¼ million) will be reduced to mere thousands or hundreds and all their possessions confiscated, as happened to the dhimmi Jews. The plight of Egypt’s Copts for decades is another neglected tragedy, totally ignored by the OIC, itself. The HRC is following the CHR – and the UN is suffering irreparable damage to its reputation in all fields: “for yielding pacifies great offences.” NOW is the “time to speak” – and not “a time to keep silence.”
David G. Littman
Representative to the UNO-Geneva (Case Postale 205, 1196 Gland – Suisse)
* WUPJ, Human Rights and Human Wrongs, No 1 (1986), pp.1-17 (UN Public Library, NY/Geneva). For historical documentation, see Paul B. Fenton & David G. Littman, L’Exile au Maghreb: La condition juive sous l’Islam : 1148 – 1912 (800 p.), Paris-Sorbonne, Nov. 2010
cc. Ms. Asma Jahangir, SR : Freedom of Religion & belief ; Mr. Githu Muigai, SR: Racism…; Mr James Anava, SR: HR and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples; Ms. Gay J. Mc Dougall, Independent Expert on minority issues; Pr. Walter Kälin, Rep. of S-G– HR of IDP.