David Gerald Littman was a British Jewish historian, human rights activist, and Israeli secret agent best known for his efforts to save Jewish children in Morocco.
Littman (born July 4, 1933) was born in London and later earned both his BA in modern history and MA in political science from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Following graduation, he furthered his studies at the University of London’s Institute of Archaeology. In 1959, Littman married Egyptian-born Gisele (nee Orebi, and later known by her nom de plume, Bat Ye’or) and the couple moved to Lausanne, Switzerland the following year.
For several years Littman served as the main representative for the World Union for Progressive Judaism at the United Nations and, from 1997, he was affiliated with the Association of World Citizens and the Association for World Education.
Littman was the man in charge behind the scenes of the audacious 1961 Operation Mural, in which 530 Jewish children were successfully smuggled out of Morocco in defiance of the government ban on Jews emigrating to Israel. "Mural" was the Mossad’s code name for Littman, whose cover was a public school-educated Anglican gentleman, a tennis partner with the British consul possessing excellent security contacts in Casablanca. Taking the children through Switzerland, where Moroccan authorities thought they were simply going to summer camp, Littman managed to get them to safety in Israel.
Littman was a brilliant orator, who made innumerable presentations to the United Nations Human Rights Commission about the dangers of genocidal incitement against the Jewish people. Other topics he spoke about in front of the UNHCR included the release of Russian Jews; the dangers and hatred of Hamas; the release of Syrian Jewish women and Lebanese Jewish hostages; anti-Semitism and anti-Israel remarks at the UN; Islamism at the UN; and violence against women.
A trained historian and meticulous scholar, Littman published his magnum opus, L’Exil Au Maghreb: La Condition Juive Sous L’Islam 1148-1912, which will likely remain the definitive sourcebook and analysis of the plight of the Jews in Northwest Africa (the Maghreb) under Islam from 1148-1912. He partnered with his wife to do groundbreaking research on dhimmitude, and also wrote about Eurabia and the rising Caliphate of fundamentalist Islam that seeks to conquer the West through Jihad.
In 2009, Israel honored Littman with the Mossad Hero of Silence Order. At the ceremony, Littman said that, “Looking back, I can truly say that the best decision I ever made in my life was to marry my wife, Gisele, and the second best was to volunteer to bring out Jewish children from Morocco to Israel, via Switzerland.” Recalling the words of Jeremiah, from whom he drew inspiration, “‘Behold, I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child … they shall come weeping, and with supplications will I lead them … And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord; that thy children shall come again to their own border [31:8-9].’”
David Littman passed away at the age of 78 on May 20, 2012.