The remarkable 3,000-year story of the Jews of Iraq - as told by a Muslim Iraqi expert

Meretz UK is proud to announce a fascinating, informative and entertaining illustrated talk by Nabil al-Haidari, London-based Iraqi-born academic and researcher on interfaith dialogue, Islam and the Middle East.

Nabil is currently writing a book on Jewish Iraqi history. Drawing on his profound knowledge, his presentation shares vignettes from the Babylonian captivity and tales of Queen Esther, to the writing of the Talmud, the heyday of Abbasid Baghdad and the 20th century, when Jews enlivened Iraqi cultural life, especially music, and served as finance ministers and other high positions.
  • On Sunday, 17 November – 8pm
  • At Hashomer House, 37a Broadhurst Gardens, London NW6
  • Entrance contributions: £5 and concessions
  • Refreshments served after question time

Two tales of courage…

It takes chutzpah to chide the head of your country on a matter of principle – and  determination to change his mind! Yet such was the case when Iraqi President Jalal Talabani invited Nabil al-Haidari to address an interfaith conference in Sulaymaniyyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, on 21-22 November 2012.

At that conference Nabil decried the absence of Jews from the proceedings and courageously insisted that
participants acknowledge the Jewish role in Iraqi history. He also made three bold proposals:

  1. Adding Judaism as a recognised religion within the Iraqi constitution.
  2. Granting parliamentary seats to Jewish minority in line with other religions of Iraq.
  3. Returning Jews’ money and properties sequestered or confiscated by previous Iraqi governments.

To his pleasant surprise the president accepted his pleas and conference adopted all three statements in its
closing declaration. Since then Nabil has written in several British papers about these issues.

Iraqi Jews trace their roots back 3,000 years and constitute one of the world's oldest and most historically
significant Jewish communities. Using pictures of nobles, monarchs, rabbis, humble workers and even a beauty queen, Nabil will show how Jews contributed immeasurably to the fabric of Babylonian, Mesopotamian, Ottoman and 20th century Iraqi society.

Despite their sad mass departure from Iraq around 1949, Iraq’s Jews have since spread to Israel, London, Paris, New York and even Singapore, maintaining traditions that Nabil, who has been invited to lecture in 40 countries, vividly brings to life.