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Modern Middle Eastern Jewish Thought

Writings on Identity, Politics, and Culture, 1893–1958

This volume opens the canon of modern Jewish thought to the all too often overlooked writings of Jews from the Arab East, from the close of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. Whether they identified as Sephardim, Mizrahim, anticolonialists, or Zionists, these thinkers engaged the challenges and transformations of Middle Eastern Jewry in this decisive period. Moshe Behar and Zvi Ben-Dor Benite present Jewish culture and politics situated within overlapping Arabic, Islamic, and colonial contexts. The editors invite the reader to reconsider contemporary evocations of Levantine, Mizrahi, and Arab Jewish identities against the backdrop of writings by earlier Middle Eastern Jewish intellectuals who critically assessed or contested the implications of Western presence and Western Jewish presence in the Middle East; religion and secularization; and the rise of nationalism, communism, and Zionism, as well as the State of Israel.

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Table of Contents

Foreword • Acknowledgments • Editors’ Note • Introduction: Mizrahi and Modern Middle Eastern Thought, Present and Past – Moshe Behar and Zvi Ben-Dor Benite • AVRAHAM ELMALEH • East and West • YA‘QUB SANNU‘ • Some Teachings of the Koran • Transvaal’s Exemplary Rebels • The Koran • Ottoman Imperial Schools • My Last Dream • John Bull and the Egyptian Student • My Poor Eyes • Letter to Philip Tarrazi • ESTHER AZHARI MOYAL • Address at the American College for Girls in Beirut • Our Renaissance • MURAD FARAG • The War for Our Nation • NISSIM YA‘ACOV MALUL • Our Status in the Country, or the Question of Learning Arabic • BEN-ZION MEIR HAI UZIEL • Angels of Peace • A Speech in the Celebration of My Jubilee • JOSEPH ASLAN CATTAUI PACHA • On Solidarity and on Diversity • HAYYIM BEN-KIKI • European Culture in the East • On the Question of All Questions Concerning the Settling of the Land • MENAHEM SALIH DANIEL • Letter to Chayyim Weizmann • DAVID AVISAR • A Proposal Concerning the Question of Understanding and Reaching an Agreement with the Arabs of the Land of Israel • ELIE (ELIYAHU) ELIACHAR • A Jew of Palestine before the Royal Commission • Jews and Arabs • IBRAHIM AL-KABIR • Evidence Given to Palestine’s Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, Which Visited Baghdad • YUSUF HARUN ZILKHA AND SASSON SHALOM DALLAL • Zionism against Arabs and Jews • Last Letter • MARSIL SHIRIZI • Anti-Zionism for the Sake of Jews and the Sake of Egypt • HENRI CURIEL • Egyptian Communists and the Jewish Question • What Ought to Be the First Official Message from the DMNL to the Israeli Communist Party? • Some Clarifications on “Social Democracy” • SAMI MICHAEL • The Newly Arrived Men of Letters • JACQUELINE SHOHET KAHANOFF • Bridge to the Oriental Immigrants • DAVID SITTON • A Call for Deepening “The Mizrahi Consciousness” among Us • AVRAHAM ABBAS • From Ingathering to Integration: The Communal Problem in Israel • Publication Credits • Index

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