Jews and the Left in Britain Today

Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London

Speakers: Alan Johnson, Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre; Lesley Klaff, Sheffield Hallam University and UK Lawyers for Israel; David Rosenberg, educator, author and Jewish Socialist Group; Nadia Valman, Queen Mary, University of London and Independent Jewish Voices
Date: 3 November 2015
Time: 6.30-8.00pm

Venue: Birkbeck University of London, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 7HX. Room B33, Torrington Square main entrance

Free event open to all: Book your place

The relationship between Jews and the British left has long been a source of controversy and, sometimes, acrimony. Support for the Palestinians and criticism (some argue the ‘demonization’) of Israel has provided one set of recurrent contentious issues. There has also been division over whether some parts of the left are prepared to tolerate rather than condemn antisemitism and, conversely, whether Jews engage sufficiently with campaigns against other racisms. Most recently, Jeremy Corbyn’s successful campaign to become leader of the Labour Party, and opposition to that campaign, appears to have driven relations between British Jews and the Labour Party to a new low point.

The aim of the panel will be to ask to what extent relations between Jews and the left have turned sour.  In so far as they have, why has this happened? Does negative commentary in the Jewish press and elsewhere reflect or inflame opinion? Finally, the panel will ask what it is that Jews and people on the left should do now?
Blood – Uniting and Dividing

A cutting-edge exhibition at the Jewish Museum London, developed in collaboration with the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism.
Date: 5 November 2015 – 28 February 2016
Time: All day

Venue: Jewish Museum London, Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert Street, London, NW1 7NB

Ticket required:     Visit the Jewish Museum London’s website for details

Drawing together religious, historical and medical artefacts, as well as literature, art, film and cultural ephemera, this exhibition explores how blood, in its regulation and its representation, has been interpreted and traded as a symbol between Jews and non-Jews through the centuries, with a particular focus on the real and symbolic links between Christians and Jews.

The exhibition confronts some of the most difficult issues surrounding Jewish culture and identity: the rite of circumcision, the slander of the blood libel, and ideas of the Jewish ‘race’ and of racial purity.

Anthony Bale, Professor of Medieval Studies at Birkbeck and David Feldman, Director of the Pears Institute have acted as academic advisors for the exhibition and as editors for an accompanying publication,  Blood – Reflections on What Unites and Divides Us, a collection of specially commissioned essays from leading  international scholars which expand on the exhibition’s themes.

This illustrated publication is available on-line from the Pears Institute. Full details and order your copy

Blood Fractions: the Octoroon and Other Fantasies

Speaker: Professor Roger Luckhurst, Birkbeck, University of London
Date: 26 November 2015
Time: 6.30-8.00pm

Venue: Jewish Museum London, Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert Street, London NW1 7NB

Talk free with museum entry: To book your place email: admin@jewishmuseum.org.uk

In the eyes of the Victorians, the octoroon – a person with one-eighth black blood – was a focus of anxiety about detecting the taint of ‘bad’ blood. In the twentieth century, the Nazis sought to protect ‘pure’ German blood from becoming tainted by the blood of Jews. Professor Luckhurst explores literary and cultural representations of mixed blood.

Roger Luckhurst is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, University of London. He is a recognized expert on nineteenth century literature, pseudo-scientific thought, the Gothic and science fiction; and contributes to arts programmes on BBC Radio Three and Four.

This lecture is one of a series being held alongside the Blood exhibition at the Jewish Museum London (5 November 2015 – 28 February 2016), which was conceived in collaboration with the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism.

Genealogies of the Future

Speaker:     Professor Jonathan Boyarin, Cornell University
Date:         9 December 2015
Time:           6.30-8.00pm

Venue: Jewish Museum London, Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert Street, London NW1 7NB

Talk free with museum entry: To book your place email: admin@jewishmuseum.org.uk

The work of determining lines of Jewish kinship is primarily understood as oriented towards the past. Professor Boyarin discusses what happens when we start to think of Jewish genealogy and ‘blood ties’ as oriented towards the future.

Jonathan Boyarin is Mann Professor of Modern Jewish Studies and Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University. His work centers on Jewish communities and on the dynamics of Jewish culture, memory and identity.

This lecture is one of a series being held alongside the Blood exhibition at the Jewish Museum London (5 November 2015 – 28 February 2016), which was conceived in collaboration with the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism.

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