Home is Where the Heart is: British Jews, Diaspora, and the State of Israel

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Watson Building (School of Mathematics)

University of Bimingham

Edgbaston

B15 2TS

United Kingdom

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Home is Where the Heart is: British Jews, Diaspora, and the State of Israel

Prior to the Second World War and the Holocaust, British Jewry was significantly divided about the desirability of a Jewish state. While some Jews enthusiastically joined Zionist clubs and political movements, other British Jews saw such behavior as undesirable, and often as unpatriotic, especially in the context of British governance of Palestine.

Since the birth of the State of Israel, over 32000 British Jews have officially migrated, adding to a community of 1500 who moved before the declaration of the State. These statistics, however, mask a much more complex trajectory of movement. Some British Jews live for extended periods in Israel without formally taking citizenship, while many of those who formally become Israelis (or, in Zionist parlance, make aliyah) end up permanently returning to Britain, or living between the two states.

This lecture will argue that the ideology and action that drove British-Jewish aliyah raises important questions, which inform historical understanding of Israeli society and culture, and simultaneously advance scholarly approaches to Jewish/non-Jewish relations and Jewish identities/beliefs in postwar Britain, and potentially Western Europe and North America.


Professor Gavin Schaffer is Professor of British History at the University of Birmingham. He specialises in race and immigration history, with a particular interest in racial science, race and the media and the history of racial violence. His latest book, The Vision of a Nation: Making Multiculturalism on British Television, 1960-80 (2014) was published by Palgrave Macmillan.




This event is part of the BRIHC Spring Series, which invites world class researchers from Birmingham Research Institute of History and Cultures to present their work in a series of exclusive, public lectures.

The Watson Building is home to the School of Mathematics, view it on the campus map here.

Date and Time

Location

Watson Building (School of Mathematics)

University of Bimingham

Edgbaston

B15 2TS

United Kingdom

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