European Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series, London 2016–17: The Legacy of the Left and Israel: 1967-2017

We are happy to announce our 4th lecture in the LBI Lecture Series 2016-17:

Dr Jan Gerber (Simon Dubnow Institut, Leipzig)

‘A Prague Trial: The People against Rudolf Slánský’

6.30pm, 16 February 2017, GHIL


In November 1952, fourteen leading officials of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (CCP), eleven of them Jews, were accused of participating in an alleged bourgeois, nationalist, Zionist conspiracy against the people’s democracy. Eleven of them, including General Secretary Rudolf Slánský, were hanged. This biggest and most antisemitically charged show trial in the Eastern bloc can be seen as a consequence of the Soviet geopolitical turn in the Middle East – away from Israel towards the Arab countries. It was also a consequence of the pursuit of ethnic homogeneity within the CCP. What can be observed here is a resurfacing of the ethnic conflicts of the interwar period, albeit under different terms.


For more information, please refer to the leaflet here.


Transcript and recording of the third lecture of the European Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series 2016/17

We are happy to announce that the transcript and recording of the third lecture in the series, Dr Michel Dreyfus (University of Paris): “Two Lefts in France: Divisions over Zionism and Israel”, is now online.

To read his lecture, please click here.

To listen, please click here.

European Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series, London 2016–17

The Legacy of the Left and Israel: 1967-2017

A lecture series organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.

This season´s topic intends to discuss the complicated and multi-layered relationship of the European Left with Zionism and the State of Israel. We will examine this broad subject from a historical perspective and will shed light on the different debates in various European countries. 

 For more information on this lecture series please refer to our leaflet here


Third lecture in the series:

Dr Michel Dreyfus (University of Paris)

Two Lefts in France: Divisions over Zionism and Israel

6.30pm, 26th January 2017


The Balfour Declaration (1917) boosted Zionism in France. Although the movement enjoyed the support of the Socialists in the inter-war period, it was denounced by the Communist Party (CP) and the ultra-left. The creation of the State of Israel marked the beginning of a new era. While support for Israel grew strongly among French socialists from 1954 due to their opposition to Nasser’s politics in Algeria, the CP took a more critical stance. Post 1967 changes in the French-Israeli relationship left the left sharply divided: While the Socialists continue to support Israel unconditionally, the CP backs the Arab countries. This vigorous debate continues until today.


Michel Dreyfus is a Historian and Research Director at the CNRS (Centre d’histoire sociale du XXe siècle-Université de Paris 1). He has written about the Dreyfus Affair and published numerous books on the history of the French and the international labour movements. His work L’antisémitisme à gauche. Histoire d’un paradoxe (1830-2009) appeared in 2009 (2nd ed. 2011).


Lectures will be held at the German Historical Institute London, 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJ and begin at 6.30pm.


Admission is free but places are strictly limited and must be reserved in advance by contacting the Leo Baeck Institute, London (email or phone 020 7882 5690).


Underground: Holborn, Russell Square; Bus: 1, 7, 8, 19, 25, 38, 55, 59, 68, 91, 98, 134, 168, 171, 188, 242, 243, 521, X68