SOAS University of London

The Road to Utopia: The Origins of Anti-Zionism on the British Left

Colin Shindler
Professor Colin Shindler

Date: 18 November 2009Time: 7:30 PM

Finishes: 18 November 2009Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Inaugural Lecture

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Prof. Colin Shindler - The Road to Utopia, The Origins of Anti-Zionism on the British Left


The October Revolution and the Balfour Declaration occurred within a few days of each other in 1917. Both these events charted different paths for the Jewish people in the twentieth century.

Jews joined the Communist Party in droves both to repair the world and later to fight fascism. Stalin’s prerogative, however, was to ensure the survival of the Soviet state.

He therefore sought to distract Britain by cultivating Arab nationalism and ditching Jewish socialism – Zionist and anti-Zionist – in inter-war Palestine.

By 1939, Jews were forced to choose when Stalin promoted the Nazi-Soviet pact. Trotsky in exile argued that 'As victors, Britain and France would be no less fearful for the fate of mankind than Hitler and Mussolini.'  The theory of rival imperialisms held that the Nazis and the Western democracies were as bad as each other.  The Soviet state had to survive, but the Jews were expendable.

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