Verslagen uit Spanje

De Amerikaanse journaliste Virginia Cowles, die in 1936 voor de Engelse Sunday Times naar Spanje vertrok om verslag te doen van de Spaanse Burgeroorlog, bekende later – in haar indrukwekkende oorlogsmemoires Looking for Trouble (1941) – niet in alle opzichten goed voorbereid te zijn geweest op haar werk als correspondente. Ze arriveerde in een door de Franco-troepen belegerd Madrid, in kleding volstrekt ongeschikt voor een oorlogssituatie. Strompelend op hakken en gekleed in rok bracht ze onder meer een bezoek aan republikeinse loopgraven. Ondanks de ernst van de situatie levert haar informatieve verslag van dat bezoek daardoor hilarische momenten op.

Madrid werd vanaf oktober 1936 continu belegerd door de nationalistische troepen van generaal Franco. Vrijwel dagelijks werd de stad beschoten door kanonnen en mortieren. Honderden gebouwen lagen in puin, duizenden bewoners waren de stad ontvlucht. De aanlevering van voedsel naar de stad was minimaal, een hongersnood stond op uitbreken.

Virginia Cowles

Correspondenten
Virginia Cowles boekte een kamer in Hotel Florida aan de Plaza de Callao in Madrid. Het was de plek waar de internationale oorlogscorrespondenten zich hadden verzameld om van daaruit verslag te doen van de belegering, Ze ontmoette er onder anderen Sefton Delmer van de Daily Express, Ernest Hemingway en Martha Gellhorn (de latere Mrs. Hemingway), die beiden schreven voor Collier’s Weekly en schrijver John Dos Passos. Oorlogsfotograaf Robert Capa verbleef er diverse malen, meestal in gezelschap van zijn vriendin Gerda Taro, de fotografe die later aan het front om het leven zou komen. De Nederlandse regisseur Joris Ivens was er met zijn cameraman John Fernhout om de film Spanish Earth te draaien.
Correspondenten Jay Allen van de Chicago Herald Tribune, Mikhail Koltsov (Pravda) en de journalisten Louis Fischer en George Steer waren frequente gasten van het hotel.

Toevluchtsoord
De eerste vraag die Cowles door haar collega’s werd gesteld was: heb je wat te eten meegenomen? In Hotel Florida was nauwelijks voedsel voorhanden. Hemingway maakte zich bij de anderen populair omdat hij er vaak in slaagde bacon, eieren, koffie en marmelade te regelen, bovendien was whisky en gin op zijn kamer ruim voorradig. De kamer van Hemingway was tijdens beschietingen van de stad, sowieso een toevluchtsoord voor de andere correspondenten: Hemingway had, zeer uitgekiend, de kamer genomen die net buiten het schootsveld van het geschut lag.
De correspondenten in Hotel Florida werkten onder moeilijke omstandigheden. Door de belegering was normaal werken vrijwel onmogelijk. Het verblijf in de stad en het reizen naar het front leverde voortdurend gevaren op. Bijna dagelijks was het een worsteling een telefoon of telegraafapparatuur te bemachtigen in het gebouw van de censoren van de republikeinse regering. Het contact met de censoren leverde ook nog eens talloze aanvaringen op, omdat niet ieder bericht wat het land uit zou gaan hun goedkeuring kon wegdragen.

Martha Gellhorn in Spanje

Anti-Franco
Voor de meeste correspondenten lag de sympathie duidelijk bij de republiek Spanje en niet bij de opstandelingen van Franco. Meer en meer raakten degenen die het beleg meemaakten overtuigd van de legitimatie van de strijd van de republiek.
Journalisten met een dergelijke opvatting, van wie juist verwacht werd dat zij een objectief verslag zouden leveren maar die toch blijk gaven van loyaliteit met de republikeinse zaak en dat in hun artikelen probeerden uit te drukken, kwamen daardoor soms in een lastige positie.
Gezien de anti-interventie politiek van Engeland, Frankrijk en de VS – de weigering van deze landen wapens te leveren aan de republiek – hielden veel krantenredacties er een behouden standpunt ten opzichte van het Spaanse conflict op na. Het kwam vaak voor dat artikelen die prorepubliek of anti-Franco waren, werden gewijzigd, of niet werden geplaatst. Zo waren de kranten van de conservatieve Amerikaanse persmagnaat Randolph Hearst fel tegen de republiek. Journalist Jay Allen werd door de Hearst-krant The Chicago Herald Tribune ontslagen, omdat hij in zijn artikelen te veel de kant van de republiek koos.
Soms ging de sympathie van correspondenten voor de republiek heel ver. Sommigen van hen, zoals Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, Louis Fischer, Jay Allen en George Steer, stelden zich min of meer in dienst van de republiek, soms voor hand- en spandiensten, soms voor wezenlijke zaken zoals wapenaankopen. Zij waren bijna partizanen in dienst van de republiek, constateert de Engelse historicus Paul Preston in zijn werk over oorlogscorrespondenten in Spanje.

Mikhail Koltsov (rechts) in gesprek met de anarchistische leider Durruti

Contrarevolutionair
Zo schreef de Russische schrijver en journalist Mikhail Koltsov in 1936 en 1937 vanuit Spanje een serie artikelen voor de Pravda, die hem in de Sovjet-Unie erg populair maakten. Voor zijn serie sprak hij onder anderen met de Spaanse president Azaña en met de anarchistische voormannen Durruti en Juan García Oliver. Er is veel gespeculeerd over Koltsovs werkelijke rol tijdens het Spaanse conflict, want hij functioneerde tevens als politiek adviseur voor de Spaanse regering en bleek in meerdere kringen invloed te kunnen uitoefenen. Vermoedelijk was hij een hoge ambtenaar bij de geheime dienst of luchtmacht van de Sovjet-Unie. Zijn wekelijkse telefoongesprekken met Stalin wijzen in die richting. Als beloning voor zijn werk in Spanje werd hij bij terugkeer in de Sovjet-Unie in 1938 benoemd tot lid van de Opperste Sovjet. Tijdens de golf van arrestaties van ‘contrarevolutionaire elementen’ werd hij echter nog datzelfde jaar gearresteerd en geëxecuteerd.

Louis Fischer

Wapenembargo
Ook de Amerikaanse journalist Louis Fischer van het tijdschrift The Nation, werd er van beschuldigd een Sovjetagent te zijn. Dat was hij echter niet, ook al woonde zijn gezin in Moskou. Fischer had aanvankelijk sterke sympathie voor het communisme en hij steunde de Spaanse republiek waar mogelijk. Hij had contacten met politici en diplomaten in Spanje, de VS en de Sovjet-Unie, was bevriend met de Spaanse president Azaña en de socialistische leider Largo Caballero. Hij sprak Russisch, Duits en Spaans en hij werd geroemd om zijn levendige en altijd zeer informatieve artikelen. Politici vertrouwden hem omdat hij altijd betrouwbare informatie wist te geven. In Spanje ging hij bijna wekelijks op bezoek bij de Spaanse premier Juan Negrín. Terwijl deze ’s ochtends in bad zat, zat Fischer op het toiletdeksel met een notitieblok en bespraken zij de situatie in Spanje en de wereld. Fischer was fel tegen het door de VS afgekondigde wapenembargo tegen Spanje. In zijn contacten met diplomaten en politici, waaronder Amerikaanse congresleden, maar ook met first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, probeerde hij – tevergeefs – de VS op andere gedachten te brengen.

Wapenaankopen
Verslaggever Jay Allen, volgens velen de best geïnformeerde journalist destijds, probeerde in diplomatenkringen zijn invloed aan te wenden om het wapenembargo op te heffen. Allen had in augustus 1936 naam gemaakt met een ijzingwekkend verslag over wat hij had aangetroffen in de arena van Badajoz, waar enige dagen daarvoor honderden mensen door de Franco-troepen waren geëxecuteerd. Bovendien maakte hij het laatste interview met de falangistische leider José Antonio Prima de Rivera, voordat deze werd geëxecuteerd. Jay Allen poogde tijdens de burgeroorlog in Londen wapens te kopen voor de republiek. In de jaren veertig zette hij zich aan een gedetailleerde geschiedschrijving van de Spaanse burgeroorlog, geassisteerd door de jonge Amerikaanse academicus Herbert Southworth en de latere historica Barbara Tuchman, een werk dat helaas nooit is voltooid.

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Riches To Rags To Virtual Riches: The Journey Of Jewish Arab Singers

Shoshana Gabay. Ills. Joseph Sassoon Semah

Some of the most revered musicians from the Arab world moved to Israel in the 1950s and 60s, where they became manual laborers and their art was lost within a generation. Now, with the advent of YouTube, their masterpieces are getting a new lease on life and new generations of Arab youth have come to appreciate their genius. Part one of a musical journey beginning in Israel’s Mizrahi neighborhoods of the 1950s and leading up to the Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf.

The birth of the Internet awakens our slumbering memory. Sometime in the 1950s and early 1960s, the best artists from the metropolises of the Levant landed on the barren soil of Israel, from: Cairo, Damascus, Marrakesh, Baghdad and Sana’a. Among them were musicians, composers and singers. It didn’t take them long to find themselves without their fancy clothing and on their way to hard physical work in fields and factories. At night they would return to their art to boost morale among the people of their community. Some of the scenes and sounds which at the time would not have been broadcast on the Israeli media have little by little, been uploaded to YouTube in recent years. Through the fall of the virtual wall between us and the Islamic states, we have been exposed to an abundance of footage of great Arab music by the best artists. This development has liberated us from the stranglehold and siege we have been under, allowing us to reconstruct some of the mosaic of our Mizrahi childhood, which has hardly been documented, if at all.

We should remember that in the new country, as power-hungry and culturally deprived as it was in the 1950s and 1960s, the impoverished housing in the slums of the Mizrahi immigrants was a place for extraordinary musical richness. The ugly, Soviet-style cubes emitted a very strong smell of diaspora. At night, the family parties turned the yards, with the wave of a magic wand, into something out of the Bollywood scenes we used to watch in the only movie theater in our neighborhood. On the table, popcorn and a few ‘Nesher‘ beers and juices. At a Yemenite celebration one would be served soup, pita bread, skhug and khat for chewing, and at that of the Iraqis,’ the tables would have kebabs and rice decorated with almonds and raisins. A string of yellow bulbs, as well as a beautiful rug someone had succeeded in bringing from the faraway diaspora, hung between two wooden poles. There were a couple of benches and tables borrowed from the synagogue, and sitting on the chairs, in an exhibit of magnificent play, were the best singers and musicians of the Arab world.

It is worthwhile to reflect upon those rare times, just before the second generation of Mizrahim began trying to dedicate itself to assimilating in the dominant culture. Those were the days when the gold of generations still rolled through the streets of the Mizrahi neighborhoods and through its synagogues. We should step back for a moment and allow ourselves to look at what we had, what was ours, and what ceased to be ours.

An example of the musical paradise in which we lived can be seen in a video recording from a little later – apparently from the early 1990s. At that time, Mizrahi musicians of all origins were already mingling at each other’s parties, which we see here in a clip of a Moroccan chaflah. The clip, uploaded by Mouise Koruchi, does not tell us where and when the event took place. The musicians in this clip are: Iraqi Victor Idda playing the qanun, Alber Elias playing the Ney flute, Egyptian Felix Mizrahi and Arab Salim Niddaf on violin. One of the astonishing singers is the young Mike Koruchi, tapping the duff and singing with a naturalness as if he never left Morocco, a naturalness that our own generation in Israel has lost. Indeed, it turns out that back then he used to visit Israeli frequently but did not actually live there.

Following him, we see some older members of the community appear on the stage: Mouise Koruchi sings ‘Samarah,’ composed by Egyptian singer Karem Mahmoud; after him comes Victor Al Maghribi, the wonderful soul singer also called Petit Salim (after the great Algerian singer Salim Halali); Mordechai Timsit sings and plays the oud; and Petit Armo (father of the famous Israeli singer Kobi Peretz) rounds out the team. This performance could easily be included in the best festivals in the Arab and Western world, complete with Al Maghribi’s beautiful clothes and the rug at the foot of the stage.
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Riches To Rags To Virtual Riches: When Mizrahi Artists Said ‘No’ To Israel’s Pioneer Culture

Shoshana Gabay. Ills. Joseph Sassoon Semah

Upon their arrival in Israel, Mizrahi Jews found themselves under a regime that demanded obedience, even in cultural matters. All were required to conform to an idealized pioneer figure who sang classical, militaristic ‘Hebrew’ songs. That is, before the ‘Kasetot’ era propelled Mizrahi artists into the spotlight, paving the way for today’s musical stars. Part two of a musical journey beginning in Israel’s Mizrahi neighborhoods of the 1950s and leading up to Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf.  Read part one here.

Our early encounter with Zionist music takes place in kindergarten, then later in schools and the youth movements, usually with an accordionist in tow playing songs worn and weathered by the dry desert winds. Music teachers at school never bothered with classical music, neither Western nor Arabian, and traditional Ashkenazi liturgies – let alone Sephardic – were not even taken into account. The early pioneer music was hard to stomach, and not only because it didn’t belong to our generation and wasn’t part of our heritage. More specifically, we were gagging on something shoved obsessively down our throat by political authority.

Our “founding fathers” and their children never spared us any candid detail regarding the bodily reaction they experience when hearing the music brought here by our fathers, and the music we created here. But not much was said regarding the thoughts and feelings of Mizrahi immigrants (nor about their children who were born into it) who came here and heard what passed as Israeli music, nor about their children who were born into it. Had there been a more serious reckoning from our Mizrahi perspective, as well as the perspective of Palestinians, mainstream Israeli culture might have been less provincial, obtuse and mediocre than what it is today.

Israeli radio stations in the 60s and 70s played songs by military bands, or other similar bands such as Green Onion or The Roosters. There were settler songs such as “Eucalyptus Orchard” with its veiled belligerence, and other introverted war songs, monotonous and stale, inspiring depressive detachment. For example, take “He Knew Not Her Name,” sung here by casual soldiers driving in a jeep through ruins of an Arab village, or the pompous “Tranquility.” When these songs burst out in joy, as is the case with “Carnaval BaNahal,” it comes out loud and vulgar. “The Unknown Squad,” composed by Moshe Vilensky, written by Yechiel Mohar and performed by the Nahal Band in 1958, always reminded me of the terrifying military march music I used to hear on Arab radio stations as a child. As far as the Arabs were concerned, these tunes represented trivial propaganda, not the cultural mainstream. However, in Israel, the Nahal Band was lauded as the country’s finest for more than two decades. Thanks to YouTube, we can now revisit the footage and see them marching, eyes livid and intimidating, faces blank.

Shoshana Damari’s voice, which was supposed to cushion our shocking encounter with this music, only made it worse. Every time her voice would boom out on early 70s public television my father would stretch an ironic smile under his thin Iraqi mustache and let out an expressive, “ma kara?” (“what’s the big deal?”), in sardonic astonishment of the wartime-chanteuse’s bombastic pomp.

It’s not hard to understand why revolutionary Zionists would have their hearts set on a patriotic military musical taste, complete with marching music and Eastern European farming songs fitted for a newfound belligerent lifestyle. But this dominating attitude would prove shocking to Mizrahi Jews, and the musicians among them, who took an active role in the greater Arab music scene (for more on the topic read part one of this series). These musicians were accustomed to the cultural freedoms they enjoyed in the cosmopolitan atmospheres of Marrakesh, Cairo and Baghdad before the military coups. And contrary to popular belief, our ancestors carried no sickles or swords. From Sana’a jewelers to Iraqi clerks under British rule, Persian rug merchants and Marrakesh textile merchants, the majority of Mizrahi Jews lived in urban areas.

In Israel, Mizrahi Jews found a political rule that penetrated all aspects of civilian life, controlling and demanding full obedience even in matters like culture and music. Everyone had to conform to the idealized Sabra figure who sang “Hebrew” music – as in, Eastern European music with Mizrahi touches, celebrating the earth-tilling farmer and the hero soldier. The Broadcasting Authority’s Arab Orchestra, where only an small portion of the musicians were employed and paid meagerly, was established for the sole purpose of broadcasting propaganda to Arab audiences, never with a thought toward domestic consumption.

Patriotic songs that tried going Mizrahi weren’t of any greater appeal. We didn’t get what was so mizrahi about their monotonous drone. On rare occasions, a moving song like “Yafe Nof” slipped through. Written by Rabbi Yehuda Halevi and composed by the talented Yinon Ne’eman, a student of songwriter Sarah Levi Tanai, the song plays like an ancient Ladino tune, sung in Nechama Hendel’s beautiful, ringing voice. The delightful Hendel, who had also been shunned by the cultural establishment for a time, sings the magical Yiddish tune “El HaTsipor” (To the Bird), a diasporic soul tune that occasionally snuck its way on to the radio. At the time, I thought this song seemed more adequate in relation to the sorrows of Ashkenazi Holocaust survivors living in my neighborhood than what “Shualey Shimshon” (Samson’s Foxes) had to offer.

There were exceptions, such as Yosef Hadar’s timeless “Graceful Apple” and the internationally acclaimed “Evening of Roses.” Most of the several-dozen versions of this song circulating on the net were not posted by Israelis or Jews, but rather by music lovers in general.

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Naeim Giladi ~ World Organization Of Jews From Islamic Countries

11-07-94 Original Air Date – Naeim Giladi (Hebrew: נעים גלעדי‎) (born 1929, Iraq, as Naeim Khalaschi) is an Anti-Zionist, and author of an autobiographical article and historical analysis entitled The Jews of Iraq. The article later formed the basis for his originally self-published book Ben Gurion’s Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews.

Giladi was born in 1929 to an Iraqi Jewish family and later lived in Israel and the United States.[Giladi describes his family as, “a large and important” family named “Haroon” who had settled in Iraq after the Babylonian exile. According to Giladi his family had owned, 50,000 acres (200 km²) devoted to rice, dates and Arab horses. They were later involved in gold purchase and purification, and were therefore given the name, ‘Khalaschi’, meaning ‘Makers of Pure’ by the Turks who occupied Iraq at the time. He states that he joined the underground Zionist movement at age 14 without his parent’s knowledge and was involved in underground activities. He was arrested and jailed by the Iraqi government at the age of 17 in 1947. During his two years in the prison of Abu Ghraib, he was expecting to be sentenced to death for smuggling Iraqi Jews out of the country to Iran, where they were then taken to Israel. He managed to escape from prison and travel to Israel, arriving in May 1950.

While living in Israel, his views of Zionism changed. He writes that, he “was disillusioned personally, disillusioned at the institutionalized racism, disillusioned at what I was beginning to learn about Zionism’s cruelties. The principal interest Israel had in Jews from Islamic countries was as a supply of cheap labor, especially for the farm work that was beneath the urbanized Eastern European Jews. Ben Gurion needed the “Oriental” Jews to farm the thousands of acres of land left by Palestinians who were driven out by Israeli forces in 1948″.
I organized a demonstration in Ashkelon against Ben Gurion’s racist policies and 10,000 people turned out.”
After serving in the Israeli Army between 1967-1970, Giladi was active in the Israeli Black Panthers movement.

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Translating The Arab-Jewish Tradition: From Al-Andalus To Palestine/Land Of Israel

Yuval Evri – Ills.: Joseph Sassoon Semah

This essay investigates the vision of two Jewish scholars of a shared Arab-Jewish history at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The first part of the essay focuses on Abraham Shalom Yahuda’s re-examination of the Andalusian legacy in regard of the process of Jewish modernisation with respect to the symbolic and the actual return to the East. The second part of the essay centers on the work of Yosef Meyouhas (1863-1942), Yahuda’s contemporary and life-long friend who translated a collection of Biblical stories from the Arab-Palestinian oral tradition, examining the significance of this work vis-à-vis the mainstream Zionist approach.[1]

A Dispute in Early Twentieth-Century Jerusalem
On a winter’s evening late in 1920, in an auditorium close to Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate (“bab al-‘amud”), Professor Abraham Shalom Yahuda (1877-1951) gave a lecture attended by an audience of Muslim, Christian and Jewish Palestinian intellectuals and public figures.[2] Its subject matter was the glory days of Arabic culture in al-Andalus.

The event was organized and hosted by the Jerusalem City Council in honour of the newly appointed British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel (1870-1963). In his opening address, Mayor Raghib al-Nashashibi (1881-1951) introduced the speaker as a Jerusalemite, son of one of the most respected Jewish families in the city.[3]
In his lecture, delivered in literary Arabic, Abraham Shalom Yahuda, since 1914 Professor of Jewish History and Literature and Arabic Culture at the University of Madrid portrayed the golden era of Muslim Spain describing the great accomplishments of Muslims and Jews during this period in the fields of science, literature, philosophy, medicine and art and emphasizing the fruitful relations between them. This event was an important moment in the life of this scholar of Semitic culture, one in which his long-standing scientific and political projects merged.

From his early days in Jerusalem, and later on in Germany as a student in Heidelberg and as a lecturer at the Berlin “Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums” (1904-1914), Yahuda had focused on the Andalusian legacy, emphasising the historical and philological aspects of the Judeo-Muslim symbiosis during that period and its symbolic significance for the modernization and revitalization of Jewish and Hebrew culture. This issue was at the heart of Yahuda’s long-standing debate with Jewish scholars regarding the different options for Jewish modernization. Towards the end of his lecture, Yahuda addressed the Arab Palestinians in the audience directly. Speaking from the heart, albeit in a slightly pompous tone, he called on them to revive the legacy of al-Andalus:

If the opportunity exists today for the Arabs to return to their ancient Enlightenment, it has been made possible only by virtue of the empires that fought for the rights of suppressed peoples.
If the Arabs revive their glorious past through the good will of these empires, especially that of Great Britain, which is willing to help them as much as possible, they have to return to their essence of generosity and allow the other suppressed peoples, including the People of Israel, to benefit from the national rights granted by the British Government. Only when the spirit of tolerance and freedom that prevailed in the golden age of Arab thought in al-Andalus […] will return to prevail today, in a way that will enable all peoples, without religious or ethnic prejudice, to work together for the revival of enlightenment in the Eastern nations, each people according to its unique character and traditions, can an all-encompassing Eastern enlightenment be reborn that will include all Eastern nations and peoples.[4]

Thus, Yahuda chose to end his lecture with a political statement regarding the future of Palestine in this new imperial era. Well aware of the importance of his words in such dramatic times, Yahuda proposed a symbolic return to al-Andalus as a potential political and cultural platform for Jews and Arabs in post-Ottoman Palestine. While it is hard not to see an affinity with the British Empire in his words, we should however note the unique context in which this lecture took place: a few months after the official beginning of British Mandatory rule in Palestine, at an occasion dedicated to the newly appointed High Commissioner Herbert Samuel and in his presence.[5]

However, the event also had a more specific historical context, as it took place on the same night that the third Arab National Congress opened in Haifa. The lecture was organized by Raghib al-Nashashibi in honour of Herbert Samuel, and Nashashibi invited Yahuda to give the main lecture. As the historian Safa Khulusi has suggested, this clash was probably not coincidental, but rather was part of the internal political struggle within the Arab Palestinian community.[6]

During the end of the Ottoman period, and more intensively throughout the British Mandate, the Palestinian political leadership was deeply divided between a few notable families.
The rivalry between the two leading Jerusalemite families—the Nashashibis and the Husseinis—split the local leadership into two main camps: the national camp, under Haj Amin al-Husseini, and the opposition camp, led by Raghib al-Nashashibi. Both families drew supporters from other elite families and refused to cooperate with each other, resulting in a deep political divide in Palestinian society.[7]
This split, which dominated the Palestinian political arena throughout the Mandatory period, had its origins in the early days of British rule, when Raghib al-Nashashibi was appointed Mayor of Jerusalem after the British Military Commissioner removed Musa Kazim al-Husseini (1853-1934) from office.[8]

The three-day Arab congress in Haifa was organized by members of the al-Husseini family and led by Kazim al-Husseini.
Just a few months after the French army destroyed the short-lived constitutional Arab Kingdom of Syria under King Faysal (1885-1933), and amid the ruins of the first modern Arab state in Bilad al-Sham (Greater Syria) that projected equal citizenship to all, the participants in the Haifa congress sought to establish a new strategy towards British rule and towards the Balfour Declaration and the notion of a homeland for the Jewish people.

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The British Institute for the Study of Iraq – The Jews of Iraq Conference ~ 16-18 September 2019

Panel 1 – Linda Abdulaziz Menuhin speaks on her memoires, memories and personal history.

The conference aimed to evaluate the many contributions of the Jewish community in Iraq within the spheres of the arts and culture, social policy, education, government and the economy in the early modern and modern period. Iraqi Jews constituted one of the world’s oldest and most historically significant Jewish communities and were in Iraq for over 2,500 years. There is a widening academic interest in the history and contributions of the Jewish community as well as growing interest in Jewish history in contemporary Iraq. This conference brought together UK, Iraqi and international scholars interested in exploring and researching the contributions of this important community to modern Iraq.

Day 2 – Prof Zvi Ben-Dor Benite (NYU) and Prof Orit Bashkin (UofChicago) give a historical overview on the Jews of Iraq.

Conference 16-18 September 2019 at SOAS, London. The conference was organised by the British Institute for the Study of Iraq in collaboration with The Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago and the Department of History, Religions and Philosophies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London.

Please visit the YouTube Channel of The British Institute for the Study of Iraq for more uploads:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCZbB7O-JU7nYzdh2YkNWfg

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