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Special focus on refugee issues in an eclectic Limmud programme

Two refugees who escaped Syria’s civil war and have found a new home in Britain are to address this year’s Limmud winter conference, which opens in Birmingham on December 25.

One day of the conference will have special focus on refugees and will include the appearance of Mutasim Ali, a former member of the Sudanese Liberation Army, who was the first Sudanese to be given refugee status in Israel earlier this year.

Limmud’s eclectic cast of international guests ranges from Saul Kaye, an Israeli entrepreneur who advises the Knesset on the medical use of cannabis, to California-based Professor Aaron Gross, chief executive of Farm Forward, which runs the Jewish Initiative on Animals.

The turbulent political events of 2016 will come under the spotlight with Jon Lansman, founder of Momentum, which helped propel Jeremy Corbyn to the Labour leadership, and Labour MP Luciana Berger among those looking at the fraught relationship between the party and the Jewish community.

American journalists and academics will be trying to assess the impact of Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election.

Visitors from Israel include Hamad Amar, a Druze Knesset member of the right-wing Yisrael Beitenu. Two Palestinian teenagers, one living in Israel, the other in the West Bank, will be speaking on behalf of the Windows for Peace group.

Joe Oppenheimer, acting head of BBC Films and executive producer of Denial – the film dramatising historian Deborah Lipstadt’s epic court battle with the Holocaust revisionist David Irving – will interview Professor Lipstadt in person.

Mass Chanucah lightings will take place every evening and there will be entertainment in a large marquee.

The 200-page conference programme programme will be posted on the organisation’s website shortly.

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