Jewish Questions and the Global South: Between Sovereignty and Human Rights, International Conference, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem/Online

Rebekka Grossmann Announcement
Subject Fields
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Human Rights, Jewish History / Studies

Jewish perceptions of the end of empires have enjoyed renewed interest in historical scholarship with works on Jewish internationalism, humanitarian activism, and philanthropy. Respective studies have advanced the historical reconsideration of the dichotomy between the quest for national sovereignty and universal imaginations of global governance and have thus allowed for new debates on the status of the nation in Jewish history. This conference suggests widening the geographical angle of Jewish political engagement toward post-imperial contexts. It locates the Jewish post-war balancing act between self-determination and minority representation in African, Asian, and South American contexts in search for national independence and explores the dilemmas local Jewish communities and international Jewish actors and organizations saw themselves confronted with. As the inaugural event of the Jacob Robinson Institute for the History of Individual and Collective Rights at the Hebrew University, the conference discusses continuations from interwar judicial and political debates on minority rights to post-war aspirations for independence.

The conference will be held in-person and online. Please register via this link:


Conference Program

Monday, 16.5.



Greetings and Opening Remarks

Nissim Otmazgin, Dean of Humanities, The Hebrew University

Aya Elyada, Head of the History Department, The Hebrew University

Rebekka Grossmann, The Jacob Robinson Institute, Hebrew University


Part I: Imperial Rule and Postcolonial Nationalism


Session 1: Colonial Framings: Algiers, Tunis and Baghdad

Chair: Iris Nachum, The Hebrew University


Amos Lim Wei Wang (University of Haifa): Baghdadi Middlemen in Asia – The Post-Imperial Experience

Jan Gerber (Leibniz-Institut für Jüdische Geschichte und Kultur – Simon Dubnow): The Perplexities of Anti-Colonialism – On Gillo Pontecorvo’s "Battle of Algiers" (1966)

Jakob Zollmann (Berlin Social Science Center): The Maghrebian Experience – Albert Memmi and the Highdays of Colonialism


16:30-16:45 Coffee Break


Session 2: Reflecting the Colonial

Chair: David Guedj, The Hebrew University


Yael Attia (University of Potsdam): Jewish Thought from the Global South –  Encounter with Albert Memmi

Younes Yassni (University of Abdelmalek Essaadi): Lieu de Mémoire and Travail de Mémoire – Jewish Screenings in Post-Independence Morocco

Yuval Tal (The Hebrew University): The1962 Jewish Exodus from Algeria – Social and Political Origins


Tuesday, 17.5.


Session 3: Refuge and Mobility

Chair: Manuela Consonni, The Hebrew University


Chiara Renzo (University of Florence): Care and Relief – Libyan Jews and the International Refugee Regime

Dario Miccoli (Ca’Foscari University of Venice): ‘Congo, Tierra Prometida?’ – Jews of Rhodes between Holocaust and Decolonization

Sara Halpern (St. Olaf College): On Chinese Goodwill – Jews in Post-Treaty Port Shanghai


Coffee Break: 11:00-11:15


Part II: Jewish Politics and the Global South


Session 1: Humanitarianism in Colonial Contexts

Chair: Moshe Sluhovsky, The Hebrew University


Miriam Rürup (Moses Mendelssohn Center for European Jewish Studies, University of Potsdam): Jewish Questions at the UN: the Postwar-Conventions on Statelessness (1954 and 1961)

Julia Schulte-Werning (University of Vienna): A Panorama of Care – Jewish Medical Humanitarianism in North Africa

Jacob Eder (Barenboim-Said Akademie): “Boat People” – Jewish Refugee Aid in Southeast Asia


Lunch Break: 12:45-13:45


Session 2: Jewish Internationalism and the “Third World”

Chair: Eli Lederhendler, The Hebrew University


Jaclyn Granick (Cardiff University): Jewish Women and Human Rights – The UN-System Reconsidered

Ludwig Decke (University of Wisconsin-Madison): Prolonging Empire – American Jews, Colonialism and the Post-Holocaust Global Order

Leonel Caraciki (Ben Gurion University): “Faith Worth Acting On” – The American Jewish Committee and “Third World” Politics


Coffee Break: 15:15-15:30


Session 3: A Jewish Nation in the New World Order

Chair: Rotem Geva, The Hebrew University


Thomas R. Prendergast (The Hebrew University): Indirect Rule and Imperial Reform – On Jewish Social Anthropologists

Laura Almagor (The University of Sheffield): Reinvention at Bandung – Jewish Territorialism’s Colonial Metamorphosis

Roni Mikel-Arieli (The Hebrew University): Apartheid, Holocaust and Genocide – On Leo Kuper’s Legacy


Wednesday, 18.5.


Session 4: The Other South – Cold War, New Left and Jews

Chair: Jonathan Dekel-Chen, The Hebrew University


Michael Rom (University of Cape Town): Our Generation – Jewish Students and the Brazilian Armed Struggle

Martina L. Weisz (The Hebrew University): Zionism, Revolution and Social Mobility – The Argentinian Experience

Gustavo Guzmán (University of Potsdam): Pinochet and the Jews – Telling a Cold-War Story


Coffee Break: 11:00-11:15


Part III: Between Empire and Nation-State


Session 1: (Anti-) Colonial Spaces

Chair: Amos Goldberg, The Hebrew University

11:15 – 12:45

Rephael Stern (Harvard University): Habeas Corpus and Global Decolonization –  The Legal Space of Mandatory Palestine and Israel

Johannes Becke (Heidelberg University)/ Avi Shilon (New York University):  Caribbean Zion – Jewish-Israeli Creolized Cultures

Amit Levy (The Hebrew University):  The Diplomacy of Israeli Oriental Studies – The Early Years


Lunch Break: 12:45-13:45


Session 2: Israel in Africa

Chair: Louise Bethlehem, The Hebrew University


Rotem Giladi (University of Roehampton): Between Jewish Sovereignty and Indian Minority – Israel and the Question of Apartheid at the United Nations, 1949-1952

Anne Herzberg (Institute for NGO Research): The Apartheid Charge: Historical Evolution and the Quest of International Law

Alioune Dème (Cheikh Anta Diop University): Léopold Sédar Senghor – The Poet-Politician’s Israel Connection


Coffee Break: 15:15-15:30


Session 3: From Israel to Algeria and Back

Chair: Ofer Ashkenazi, The Hebrew University


Arie Dubnov (The George Washington University): (A)part from Asia – Zionist Perceptions of the East, 1947-1956

Lutz Fiedler (Moses Mendelssohn Center for European Jewish Studies, University of Potsdam): Algerian Echoes – Israeli Debates on Legitimacy in Times of Crisis

Zarin Aschrafi (Leibniz-Institut für Jüdische Geschichte und Kultur – Simon Dubnow): From the Jewish to the National Question: On Ber Borochov’s Late Revival



Concluding Roundtable

Contact Information

Jacob Robinson Institute for Individual and Collective Rights, The Hebrew University

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