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A History of Egyptian Communism: Jews and Their Compatriots in Quest of Revolution

Rami Ginat
A History of Egyptian Communism: Jews and Their Compatriots in Quest of Revolution
ISBN: 978-1-58826-759-7
ISBN: 978-1-58826-959-1
2011/431 pages/LC: 2011020129
"A work that will quickly become the go-to source on the history of communism in pre-Nasserist Egypt."—Joel Gordon, Bustan

"Ginat has written the definitive history of the early Egyptian communist movement. His book [also] provides a wealth of information and insight into the political history of Egypt and the wider region, not least the history of Middle Eastern Jewry before the founding of the Israeli state."—Johan Franzén, American Historical Review

"Meticulously researched and wide ranging.... In rich detail, Rami Ginat recounts the saga-like history of Egypt's communist movements and considers the important but controversial role that Jews played in them."—Heather Sharkey, University of Pennsylvania

"Pathbreaking…. This meticulously researched study provides a comprehensive and systematic look at the critical role played by Jews and other Egyptians in the formation and development of the Communist movement in Egypt."—Israel Gershoni, Tel Aviv University

"An impressive and well-documented book that covers the history of organized Communism in Egypt from its beginnings in the 1920s until the early 1950s."—David Sultan, Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs


Rami Ginat offers an entirely new reading of the evolution of communism in Egypt, including the central role of Egyptian Jews in both its development and its impact on Egypt and the wider Middle East.

Drawing deeply on previously inaccessible original sources, Ginat traces a story of intrigue and ideology from the late 1910s to the early 1950s. Many of his findings directly challenge the prevailing scholarship on the subject. His seminal work is also a major contribution to ongoing debates in Egypt today about the nature of Egyptian nationalism and the role of the country’s communist movements and leadership.


Rami Ginat is associate professor of Middle East politics and international relations at Bar-Ilan University. His previous publications on Egypt include The Soviet Union and Egypt, 1945-1955 and Egypt's Incomplete Revolution.


  • Introduction.
  • Early Socialist Thought in Egypt.
  • The Emergence of Organized Communism.
  • The Formation of the Egyptian Communist Party.
  • In the Shadow of the Rosenthal Affair.
  • A Labyrinth of Intrigues and Betrayal.
  • The Quest for Comintern Patronage.
  • The Rise of "Homemade" Egyptian Communism.
  • The New Communist Organizations.
  • Ephemeral Unity.
  • The National Question and the Case of Sudan.
  • The Thorny Issue of Palestine.
  • Revolutionary Ideas and Their Impact.
  • Conclusion.
  • Appendixes: List of Acronyms and Abbreviations; Egyptian Communist and Left-Wing Organizations; Jewish ECP Deportees and the Stalinist Purges.