Affect and Cultural Change: The Rise of Popular Zionism in the British Jewish Community After the Six Day War (1967)
Abstract: In current Jewish Studies scholarship there is a broad consensus that the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967 caused both an intense emotional response in Britain’s Jewish community and a change in the relationship this community had with the State of Israel. What this scholarship has yet to provide is either a detailed account of the ways that the June 1967 war impacted on this community or a sustained theorisation of how the intensity generated by a world-historical event might bring about change. This thesis attempts to address these gaps by interviewing twelve British Jews who lived through their community’s response to the war and supplement this data with original archival research, adding detail that is currently missing from the historical record. It then interprets this data using a cultural studies approach grounded, primarily, in the thought of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. In using this approach this thesis reveals that it was the intense affectivity generated by the Zionist representation of the war as the ‘Six Day War’ that caused the community to change in the post-1967 conjuncture. It then identifies these changes as cultural ¬– occurring on the planes of identity, representation, everyday life, cultural practice and, most crucially, affectivity. In revealing the centrality of affect in the impact of the war on the British Jewish community, this thesis argues that the hegemonic form of Zionism that emerges within that community after 1967 is ‘Popular Zionism’, defined as an intensely charged affective disposition towards the State of Israel that is lived out in the cultural identities, everyday lives and cultural practices of British Jews.
Abstract: It is widely accepted within Jewish historiography that the ‘Six Day War’ (1967) had a profound effect on the British Jewish community’s relationship with Israel and Zionism. While this scholarship touches on the affective nature of this relationship, it rarely gives this aspect sustained consideration. Instead of seeing Zionism as an ideology or a political movement, this article argues that the hegemonic way that Zionism has existed within British Jewry since 1967 is as an affective disposition primarily lived out on the planes of popular culture and the British Jewish everyday. As such, it can be more accurately labelled Popular Zionism. In order to make this argument, this article uses a theoretical framework developed by Lawrence Grossberg that brings the thought of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari to bear on British cultural studies and supports it by drawing on 12 semi-structured interviews with British Jews and original archival material.