A Jew in Cairo: The Defiance of Chehata Haroun

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Abstract

This article is the first to expound on Chehata Haroun’s personality, his beliefs, and the implications thereof, all of which will be scrutinized within the context of the national and political transformations that convulsed the Land of the Nile, especially its Jewish community, from the late 1940s onwards. For the most part, the emphasis will be on three strands of the activist’s critical views of the Middle East. The first is his claim that the Zionist movement and the Arab leadership are jointly responsible for the asphyxiation of Egyptian Jewry. This argument was promulgated in a letter that he addressed to President Gamal ᶜAbd al-Nasser in February 1967. The second strand is that Haroun’s Jewishness does not contradict his Egyptian national identity, his uncompromising devotion to communism and humanism, ardent opposition to imperialism, or his identification with the Palestinian cause. The third contention is that the Jewish community and its heritage constitute an indivisible part of the Egyptian social and cultural fabric.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-197
Number of pages15
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Volume53
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 4 Mar 2017

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