Bat Ye'or

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Bat Ye’ or (Gisele Orebi Littman) is a historian who experienced the pain of dhimmitude herself, determined to understand its causes, researched and wrote about it. She has been described as “The great historian of jihad and dhimmitude.” [1] Martin Gilbert called her “the acknowledged expert on the plight of Jews and Christians in Muslim lands.” [2]

Early life

She was born in 1933, Gisele Orebi i8n Cairo, Egypt, of Jewish heritage. Her Egyptian citizenship was revoked in 1955, and the family fled to Britain in 1956, arriving as stateless refugees.

She married British historian and human rights activist David Littman in 1959 (he died in 2012) and wrote many of her works in collaboration with him, using the pen name Bat Ye’or, which means in Hebrew, “daughter of the Nile.” She became a British citizen by virtue of that marriage.

Motivation for Her Work

Ye’or was motivated through the pain of her own experience to discover the root causes of the sufferings of the Jewish community. She describes it thus: I had witnessed the destruction in a few short years, of a vibrant Jewish community living in Egypt for over 2600 years, and which had existed from the time of Jeremiah the prophet. I saw the disintegration and flight of families, dispossessed and humiliated, the destruction of their synagogues, the bombing of the Jewish quarters and the terrorizing of a peaceful population. I have personally experienced the hardships of exile, the misery of statelessness—and I wanted to get to the root cause of all this. I wanted to understand why the Jews from Arab countries, nearly a million, had shared my experience.[3]


Ye’or studied at the Institute of Archaeology at University College in London, then moved to Switzerland in 1960, where she continued at the University of Geneva.

Her Work on Dhimmitude

Although non-Muslims in countries conquered by Islam have lived as highly restricted, inferior-status citizens from the beginning of the spread of Islam by invading armies, Ye’or is often credited with popularizing the term dhimmitude to describe that condition. She, however, credits assassinated Lebanese president-elect Bachir Gemayel with coining the term. The condition of non-Muslims in conquered Islamic countries was previously called dhimmité in French and dhimmity in English. Gemayel began referring to it as dhimmitude because the term called to mind the term servitude, which he felt was applicable.


Ye’or has written numerous publications in French. Those that have been translated into English are: The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, Rutherford, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996 Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide, 2001 Eurabia, Faileigh Dickinson University Press, 2005


In addition to her writings, Ye’or has given briefings to the United Nations and the U.S. Congress, and has spoken at major American universities such as Brown, Columbia, Georgetown, and Yale. Website


  1. Shariah: The Threat to America, The Center for Security Policy, Washington, D.C., 2010.
  2. Sir Martin Gilbert, A History of the 20th Century, Vol. III, 1952-1999. p. 127.
  3. John W. Whitehead (9 June 2005) “Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis—An interview with Bat Ye’or, The Rutherford Institute.

External links