A letter from David G. Littman – Representative of the World Union of Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) to the United Nations Office in Geneva – to Ms. Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief and Mr. Doudou Diène, UN Special Rappporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and copied to High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour at the Palais Wilson in Geneva:
Dear Ms. Jahangir, Dear Mr. Doudou Diène,
Revival: 1840 “Damascus Affair” Blood Libel Accusation aired TeleLiban TV / 30 Jan. 2007
Yesterday afternoon I left with Ms. Gloria Carrera and Mr. Michael Wiener for each of you (cc. the High Commissioner) the following documentation and a handwritten covering letter:
– MEMRI Special Dispatch Series – No 1453 (6 February 2007), entitled: ‘Lebanese Poet Marwan Chamoun: Jews Slaughtered Christian Priest in Damascus in 1840 and used his Blood for Matzos’
– View this Memri TV clip: http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=1374
Read Dispatch No 1453: http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD145307
– WUPJ, “Human Rights and Human Wrongs” No 10 (1991). WUPJ Statements at UNCHR & Supplementary Document Section: 1991 Revival at UN: 1840 ‘Damascus Affair’ Blood-Libel Accusation
– Articles in La Tribune de Genève, Le Monde, AFP on that UN scandal (Feb. / July 1991)
To complete this documentation of the 1991 “Damascus Affair’ at the UNCHR (I was then main representative of the WUPJ to the UN), I am copying to you the letter of 3 July 1991, addressed to the late U.S. Ambassador Morris Abram by Sr. Enrique Bernales Ballesteros, Chairman of CHR’s 47th session (from “Human Rights and Human Wrongs” No 11, pp. 2-3).
The “Blood-Libel Accusation” – based on the “Damascus Affair” of 1840 – is still rampant in the Middle East and North Africa, alongside The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.
During the interview on TelLiban TV a week ago, Lebanese poet Marwan Chamoun referred to the infamous book Fatîr Sahyün (The Matzah of Zion) by Syrian Defence Minister Mustafa Tlass , which I denounced (for WUPJ) at the UNCHR on 8 Feb. 1991, quoting his own words: “The Jew can…kill you and take your blood in order to make his Zionist bread…I hope that I have done my duty in presenting the practices of the enemy of our historic nation. Allah aid this project.”
Marwan Chamoun refers to this and other books, when stating: “As I have said, these books can be found in the streets of Beirut. There are approximately 20 to 30 such books. I must have bought about 2,000 copies since they were published, maybe more. I’d like to say 20,000, but I don’t know.”
I am writing to you as representative of WUPJ – and on behalf of the main representative to the UN, Rabbi François Garaï – with a request that this recent matter be addressed urgently by you in your capacities as Special Rapporteurs on matters of religion and racism, which overlap here. We are also appealing to the High Commissioner for a strong condemnation of the shameful propagation of this hateful Judeophobia in the Arab – and in the Iranian – media and schoolbooks (especially the subsidised Palestinian Authority TV), which excludes any hope for a serene “dialogue” between faiths (“Alliance of Civilizations”) and for a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Preaching a culture of hate excludes peace.
David G. Littman is a historian. Since 1997 he has been a representative to the UN in Geneva of the Association for World Education, and of the World Union for Progressive Judaism since 2001 (previously, from 1986-1991). Many of his articles on UN themes were reprinted in the section, “Human Rights and Human Wrongs at the United Nations,” being Part 5 (pp. 305-472) in The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims, Edited by Robert Spencer (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2005).