Jewish Refugees and Other Forced Migrants: From Exodus 1947 to Lampedusa, Professor Tony Kushner

In the 1930s and 40s, tens of thousands of Jews tried to reach Palestine by sea, many against the wishes of the British mandatory authorities. Today, the number of migrants trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean has run into the millions.

This keynote will explore the continuities and parallels, as well as differences, between the two  movements and especially the idea of migrants being ‘illegal’. More generally it asks whether Jewish refugees from Nazism can be better understood in a longer tradition of forced migratrion in and beyond the twentieth century or whether their experiences were exceptional.