Category Archives: Turbulent Times

Keith Kahn-Harris on intra-Jewish conflict over Israel and antisemitism

Keith Kahn-Harris in openDemocracy: Internal and external factors in intra-Jewish conflict over Israel and antisemitism, 29 September 2015

Extract:

Ethnic, national and religious groups in most countries are rarely internally homogeneous. The British Jewish minority is no exception. No more than an estimated 450,000 strong at its height immediately after World War Two, figures based on the 2011 census show that there are now less than 300,000 ethnically and/or religiously self-identifying Jews in the UK.

Including Sephardim, Mizrahim and Ashkenazim, they trace their ancestry from a wide variety of countries, although the majority are now British-born. They include secular, reform, conservative, modern orthodox and Haredi Jews (groups which themselves are internally diverse), and they hold a variety of political positions on Jewish issues, antisemitism, Israel and much else.

This internal diversity has only recently started to become visible outside the Jewish minority and to be recognised within it. For many years, the dominant and long-established Jewish ‘representative’ institutions such as the Chief Rabbinate and the Board of Deputies attempted to present an image of a loyal, secure and united British Jewish community – what Ben Gidley and I have called the “strategy of security”. This strategy was never uncontested, but in the post-war period it became increasingly unviable as a variety of Jewish groups sought their place at both the public and communal tables.

While this strategy initially developed in a nineteenth-century Britain that required ‘loyal’ citizens who would be publicly British and only privately Jewish, it was sustained longer than might have been expected in the post-war period. However, by the 1990s, Jewish religious diversity at least had become impossible to ignore both internally and externally.


Review of Turbulent Times by Geoffrey Alderman

Review of Turbulent Times: the British Jewish community today by 

in Journal of Modern Jewish Studies  Volume 12, 2013 Issue 2 Pages 367-368 | Published online: 11 Nov 2013

Free first page


Review of Turbulent Times by Heather Miller Rubens

Review of: Kahn-Harris, Keith, and Gidley, BenTurbulent Times: The British Jewish Community Today. London: Continuum International, 2010. 237 pp. $34.95 (paper) by Heather Miller Rubens (Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies) in The Journal of Religion Volume 93, Number 2 | April 2013

First Page /Full Text / PDF

Free first page

Continue reading


Contemporary Anglo-Jewish community leadership: coping with multiculturalism

The British Journal of SociologyNew article published in British Journal of Sociology:

Contemporary Anglo-Jewish community leadership: coping with multiculturalism, Ben Gidley, Keith Kahn-Harris.

Article first published online: 8 MAR 2012. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-4446.2011.01398.x. Volume 63,  Issue 1, pages 168–187, March 2012

Abstract: In this article, drawing on qualitative interviews and documentary analysis, we argue that the Jewish community in Britain has undergone a fundamental shift since 1990 from a ‘strategy of security’, a strategy of communal leadership based on emphasizing the secure British citizenship and belonging of the UK’s Jews, to a ‘strategy of insecurity’, where the communal leadership instead stresses an excess of security among Anglo-Jewry. We demonstrate this based on two case studies: of the Jewish renewal movement in the 1990s and the ‘new antisemitism’ phenomenon of the 2000s. We conclude that this shift is tied to the shift from a monocultural Britain to an officially multicultural one, and that therefore there are lessons that can be taken from it for the study of British and other multiculturalisms. Continue reading

Borderline Views: Critical friends of Israel

Article published in Jerusalem Post last year:

By DAVID NEWMAN LAST UPDATED: 08/02/2010 20:5

Extract:

MUCH OF the renewed pro-Israel lobbying in the UK has largely been as a response to the growth of anti-Israel and, in some cases anti-Semitic, sentiments throughout the UK, of which the proposed academic boycotts (largely unsuccessful) is but one indication. This ties in with the sentiments expressed in the recently published book on contemporary Anglo-Jewry by Keith Kahn-Harris and Ben Gidley, entitled, Turbulent Times: The British Jewish Community Today. The authors argue that whereas thirty years ago, the Anglo-Jewish community acted out of a position of security, this has changed dramatically and that the present situation is reflected in growing feelings of insecurity. The authors imply that, while incidents of anti-Semitism have definitely been on the increase in recent years, it is nowhere near as bad as some of the Jewish newspapers and headlines suggest. But Peres’s remarks go a long way to expressing how British anti-Semitism is viewed in Israel and has inflamed the debate within Britain and the local Jewish community. This growing feeling of insecurity among some elements partially explain the significant growth in the numbers of young families who are leaving the UK for Israel – in the past almost all aliya has been a result of the positive desire to live in Israel and contribute to the Jewish state, while today much of the present growth in aliya is due – for the first time – to a growing sense of insecurity brought on by the increase in anti-Israel sentiment. The Nefesh B’Nefesh organization, which facilitates aliya from the Western world, has recently increased its full-time staff who deal with olim from the UK to meet the increased demand for their services.