SOAS University of London

Rethinking and Reclaiming History: Emerging Arab Interest in Jewish Heritage in the Middle East

 Neta Elkayam performing in Essouira
Najat Abdulhaq

Date: 30 January 2018Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 30 January 2018Time: 7:30 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Talk

Since the 1950’s the history of “Arab Jews” is dominated, mainly, by two official narratives: The Arab narrative and the Israeli-Zionist narrative, both of nationalistic nature.

In the last decade, these narratives are questioned in academia, media and popular culture. This rethinking and questioning is reflected by a noticeable increase in contemporary Arabic fiction written by young authors across the Arab world, in which Jews and their destiny are the focus of the works.

Besides the literary works, a number of documentary films on the history of Jews are produced by young filmmakers, and an Egyptian TV series on the Jewish quarter gained high popularity. While new associations are established by non-Jews in Morocco and Egypt to preserve the Jewish heritage in their countries.

A gradual process of reclaiming the history of the Jews in countries like Egypt, Morocco, Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab world is underway. This talk will discuss this process, its causes and implications.


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Rethinking and Reclaiming History: Emerging Arab Interest in Jewish Heritage in the Middle East

Dr Najat Abdulhaq

A Berlin-based Palestinian scholar, Dr. Abdulhaq studied at the Universities of Bir Zeit and Leipzig and received her PhD (2012) in Middle East Studies at the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen- Nürnberg , Germany.

Abdulhaq is one of the few Arab scholars working on the history of the “Arab Jews”. Her book, Jewish and Greek Communities in Egypt: Entrepreneurship and Business before Nasser, was published by I.B. Tauris (London) in spring 2016. It is the first academic study of the economic role of Egypt’s minorities, based on archival documents and economic analysis.

Abdulhaq teaches at the University in Erlangen and is also a consultant on the Middle East at different Media outlets like the German ARD and German- French cultural channel ARTE. 

Organiser: Dr Yair Wallach and the London Middle East Institute

Contact email:

Contact Tel: 0207 898 4933