Like Jonathan Freedland, I am a forty-something British Jew. I have never felt exactly ‘torn’ between Britain and Israel but I do remember some long evenings in the 1970s when the family gathered together to watch the Eurovision Song Contest. As we sat in my grandparents’ Gants Hill semi, we didn’t think to root for any other country but Israel. That was just how it was. A few years on, I would have serious misgivings about the politics of Israel. So, despite a family context in which support for Israel was largely unquestioned, my feelings now about Zionism are marked by doubt and discomfort. Reading the reflections of other British Jews on Israel, it is apparent that this, perhaps more than any other issue, elicits deeply equivocal responses for many Jews in Britain today. Israel is, for some, a fantasy of a homeland, a place of ultimate belonging; but for others it casts an uncomfortable shadow over Jewish identity in the contemporary world. It is this ambivalence, and the ways in which it impacts on a sense of British-Jewish identity, that provides the focus for this chapter.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Belonging and Division: British-Jewish Reflections on Israel
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number