Annual George Antonius Memorial Lecture 2023: Zionism and the Jews of Iraq: A Personal Perspective

Copies of the book will be on sale at the event (cash only). Please aim to arrive in good time to be assured a seat.

This annual lecture is also a launch for Avi Shlaim’s new book. Three Worlds: Memoir of an Arab-Jew which will be published by Oneworld on 8 June. The three worlds of the title are Baghdad to the age of 5, Ramat Gan, Israel, 10 to 15, and school in London, 15 to 18. The book uses a family history to tell the bigger story of the Jewish community in Iraq, its rich culture, its integration into Iraqi society, and its contribution to nation-building at various levels. The lecture revolves round the central concept of the Arab-Jew. It examines the circumstances surrounding the Jewish exodus from Iraq in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. It challenges the Zionist narrative which claims that antisemitism was the main driver of the exodus. It argues that the Zionist movement played an active part in the uprooting of Iraqi Jews, and it presents new evidence to support this argument.

Avi Shlaim is an Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the British Academy. His books include Collusion across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine (1988); War and Peace in the Middle East: A Concise History (1995); The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (2000, updated edition 2014); Lion of Jordan: The Life of King Hussein in War and Peace (2007); and Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations (2009).