announcesment  by the H-Judaic of the publication of the BookJewish Subjects and their Tribal Chieftains in Kurdistan: A Study in Survival” in ARABIC (Beirut, 2013)

Date:    Thu, 20 Feb 2014 

From:    Katherine Aron-Beller <kathybeller8@GMAIL.COM>

Subject: Jewish Studies in the Arab World

 “Jewish Subjects and their Tribal Chieftains in Kurdistan: A Study in Survival,” Brill (2007), by Mordechai Zaken, was recently, translated into Arabic by the Center for Academic Research in Beirut (2013).

In this context, four interesting points should be noted:

1.     One ought to notice that only about 1670 books are translated

annually into Arabic across the Arab world. This data is based on UN statistics from 2006 through 2008.

2.   Because of the small number of books printed and translated into Arabic, many important books are not translated into Arabic (the illiteracy in the Arab world and the educational gap are contributing factors of course).

3.     Only rarely Arab institutes or academic centers take the initiative to translate books by Jewish and Israeli scholars. Some books are translated into Arabic by Israeli institutions with ideas of coexistence.

4.    The Israeli affiliation of Mordechai Zaken has been removed from the biography printed on the book cover in Arabic. The author, is indeed highly praised, but he is introduced as a acholar drom NYU.

The motives and incentives of the translation could be perceived from the introductions of both the translator and the director of the Center for Academic Research in Beirut.

The translator into Arabic Dr. Suad M. Khader explains:

“This book is considered an important contribution to both the Kurdish and the Arabic librarythe translation of this kind of book is considered an important necessity… the author introduced an important picture of this era of Kurdistan.”

The Director of the Center for Academic Research in Beirut, Dr. Nasir al-Ka’bi:

“The major innovation of this study is the use of the verbal narrative (oral history) as it was clear that the other traditional and archival sources were not sufficient…”

This study is distinct from other studies of the Jews of the orient, as it concentrates on the nature of the relations of the Jews with their vicinities, namely the aghas and the masters; their relations with the authorities, the rulers and the leaders of the towns, which permits the political dimension, and their relations with the Muslims, including the religious dimension…