The Impact of Zionism and Israel on Anglo-Jewry's Identity, 1948-1982

Caught Somewhere Between Zion and Galut

Omer-Jackaman, Jack

'Thanks to the might of Israel, even Diaspora Jews can hold their heads up high'; so remarks Tomer in Amos Oz's 1966 novel Elsewhere, Perhaps. This quotation speaks to the profound impact which Zionism's successful campaign for Jewish statehood had on the identity of Jews in the Diaspora. However, this impact, though widely acknowledged, remains under-explored. Using previously unpublished communal sources and an innovative chronological-thematic structure, Omer-Jackaman analyses the effects of Zionism and the State of Israel on the identity of Britain's Jews between the founding of the Jewish State and the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Devoutly patriotic, Anglophile Jews insisted upon a separation between Israeli-Jewish and Anglo-Jewish identity in the early years after 1948, and worked hard to remind the community of the dangers of 'dual loyalty'. Meanwhile, in the late 1950s and 1960s, growing engagement with the Holocaust had a sizeable impact on the way in which British Jews related to the Jewish State; this theme is particularly revelatory given the tendency of scholarship to consider the community rather silent on the genocide of the Jews of Europe during these decades. The community was then affected by a seismic trauma in June 1967 as the Six Day War provoked an apocalyptic dread which soon gave way to an unbridled elation at Israel's survival, and higher levels of identification with Israel than ever before. This unity was then fractured in the 1970s by the rise of Anglo-Jewish right-wing Zionism, a process of ideological division which reached its height with the rancorous communal splits caused by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Throughout the book, and cutting across each of these themes, a picture emerges of the often fraught relationship between Israeli and Anglo-Jewry during the period. Despite British Jews' close identification with the Jewish State there was a fundamental tension between the two Jewish communities, based on competing and perhaps even irreconcilable visions of Jewish identify after the creation of the State of Israel.

304 pages

Due: 10/11/2018