Three Worlds: Memoir of an Arab-Jew - Oxford Literary Festival

Mon 18 Mar 2024, 18:00 - 19:00

Hearing loop
Wheelchair accessible venue
Oxford Martin School: Lecture Theatre

This event is part of the Oxford Literary Festival

Acclaimed historian of the Arab-Israeli conflict Professor Avi Shlaim FBA tells the story of Iraqi Jews caught in a crossfire of Zionism and nationalism.

Shlaim was forced into exile from his Baghdad home at the age of five along with the rest of his family. He describes how the 130,000-strong Iraqi Jewish community, which traced its origins back 2,600 years, has now all but vanished.  Shlaim rejects the traditional script of a Zionist mission to rescue Jews from backward nations. He says there was a tradition of religious tolerance in Iraq and the Zionist underground had fanned the flames of anti-semitism. In Israel, the Iraqi Jews found their native Arabic viewed as inferior and their history rewritten to fit a Zionist narrative.

‘a beautifully written book which artfully blends the personal with the political… Shlaim’s is a powerful and humane voice which reminds us that the Palestinians were not the only victims of the creation of Israel in 1948’ - Spectator

Shlaim is emeritus professor of international relations at the University of Oxford. His previous books include the critically acclaimed The Iron Wall.

Part of the festival’s programme of Jewish and Hebrew literature and culture supported by private donors and trusts.

Speaker: Professor Avi Shlaim FBA

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