A recent United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report on Arab contributions to science has declared Moses ben Maimon (also known as Maimonides or Rambam), generally considered the greatest of medieval Jewish philosophers and theologians (and incidentally, among the most prominent physicians of his day) to have been a Muslim named Moussa ben Maimoun.
For those who are skeptical, or who note that Maimonides, who lived under Muslim rule, was also called by that Arabic name, Elder of Ziyon has tracked down the original document in French. I double-checked his translation with a friend from France and with Google Translate, but then also realized that changing the “_fr” to “_en” in the URL would probably get me to the English version of the file, which it did. The English version contains the following passage:
“From AD 1100–1350 – during the first half of the European Middle Ages (AD 1100–1543) – the names of a few European scientists appear in scientific literature alongside a string of Muslim scientists, whose numbers include Ibn-Rushd, Musa Bin Memoun, Tusi and Ibn-Nafis.”
This is not the first time that UNESCO has changed history to replace Jews with Muslims. They have been prolific in Islamicizing sites long considered to have religious and historical importance to the Jewish people. Last year, Rachel’s Tomb, traditionally considered the burial place of the Jewish matriarch Rachel, was declared by UNESCO to be a Muslim historical site called “Mosque of Bilal Ibn-Rabach,” and the Cave of the Patriarchs, where most of the other Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs and a number of important later figures are said to be buried, to be an Islamic holy site called the “Al-Haram Al-Ibrahami” (“The Mosque of Abraham”).
The West has made no effort to prevent this rewriting of history, in part because these holy sites are located in areas currently controlled by the Palestinians, and neither Obama nor the Europeans have any interest in defending Jewish historical claims to those sites. In Judaism, the greatest curse one can utter is Yemach Shemo (“May his name be blotted out”). The worst thing that can happen to a person or a people is to be not only annihilated but forgotten, not only disempowered, but so thoroughly defeated as to have no legacy, no lasting impact on the world. To be as dust to the ages.
Erasing Jewish history and contributions – whether its holy sites or its heroes – is not only an attempt at delegitimizing the Jewish claim to their historical homeland, but an act of great violence, and one that must not continue.