Michel Dreyfus – Two Lefts in France: Divisions over Zionism and Israel

Event Date: 26 January 2017
German Historical Institute
17 Bloomsbury Square,
London WC1A 2NJ

European Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series 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.

Lecture 3: Dr Michel Dreyfus (Paris) – Two Lefts in France: Divisions over Zionism and Israel

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).

Introduction by Dr Daniel Wildmann (Director, LBI):

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