Apr 23, 2007 — Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute, an expert on US Middle East Policy, and author of “Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands,” will speak about the role Arabs played in saving Jews from the Holocaust at 8PM at the Schottenstein Cultural Center of Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women on April 25th, 239 E. 34th St., (between 2nd and 3rd Aves.) He will discuss the real-life stories reported in his book, and how best to use these stories to combat Holocaust denial in Arab and Muslim countries. The program is sponsored by the Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Scholar-in-Residence Program at Stern College for Women.
Also appearing with Dr. Satloff will be Faiza Abdelwahhab, daughter of Khaled Abdelwahhab, the first ever Arab to be nominated for recognition as “righteous among the nations” by Yad Vashem, the Israel Holocaust Memorial. This honor is given to non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust. Of more than 20,000 “righteous,” there has never been an Arab. The evidence and testimonials Dr. Satloff collected in the process of writing his book ultimately led to Abdelwahhab’s nomination as one of the “righteous.”
Dr. Satloff first uncovered Abdelwahhab’s story while conducting research for his book in Tunisia. Abdelwahhab, the son of a well-known writer, was 32 years old when the Germans occupied Tunisia. He learned a German officer wanted to rape a beautiful Jewish woman named Odette Boukris, whose family Abdelwahhab vaguely knew. The Boukrises, who had already been evicted from their home by German troops, had sought refuge in an olive press factory with other Jews. Abdelwahhab got to the factory before the Germans, warned the Jews hiding there, and that evening ferried 24 people in his car from the factory to his family farm. There he protected them for the rest of the German occupation.
“It brings me great joy and pride to help bring to light forgotten and lost stories which reflect the contributions and heroism of Arabs in helping Jews during the Holocaust,” said Dr. Satloff. “My hope and ambition is that these positive stories of Arabs standing up for human rights and protecting Jews in their darkest hour will help untangle the web of lies put forth by Holocaust deniers throughout the Arab world.”
“We, at Yeshiva, are privileged to host an eminent historian and expert on Middle Eastern affairs such as Robert Satloff,” said Bryan Daves, assistant professor of political science who directs the Robbins-Wilf Scholar-in-Residence Program. “His work has brought to light a previously unknown chapter in Jewish history. In so doing he is helping build bridges over what sometimes seem to be gaps too wide to cross. It is an honor to host him.”
The author or editor of nine books and monographs, Dr. Satloff’s views on Middle East issues appear frequently in major newspapers such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, and he regularly comments on major television network news programs, talk shows, and National Public Radio. In addition, Dr. Satloff is the creator and host of Dakhil Washington (Inside Washington), a weekly news and interview program on al-Hurra, the U.S. government-supported Arabic satellite television channel that beams throughout the Middle East and Europe. In that capacity, he is the only non-Arab to host a program on an Arab satellite channel.