Topics: Politics, Israel Tours, Israel Attachment, Jewish Community, Main Topic: Identity and Community
Abstract: Israel is increasingly the epicentre of Jewish peoplehood, shaping the lives of diaspora Jews as both an engine driving interconnectedness and a source of division. ‘Israelization’ impacts diaspora Jews differently according to country of domicile. This article examines British Jewry, providing historical context and drawing on interviews to explore the community’s shifting identity and culture. It argues that Britain represents a unique model between America and France. In America, where security is greater, Jewish ethnic ties are loosening, whereas in France, doubts over the Jewish community’s future increase their focus on Israel. While British Jews experience hostility, they feel safer than in France. Flourishing British Jewish culture reflects commitment to multi-ethnic Britain, alongside loyalty to Israel. The dynamics of those loyalties are changing, however, with dissent against Israeli policies increasingly legitimised. We conclude that the Israelization of British Jewry is all encompassing, even while allowing for a thriving diaspora community.