David Landy seems to have been curious about the construction of Jewish identity for a long time… when I first met him in 2004 he wanted to do a PhD on Ireland’s Jews… I deterred him, as this small and curious minority (‘who has ever heard of an Irish Jew?’) has been researched and written about disproportionately to its number and significance. I invited him to apply to the MPhil in Ethnic and Racial Studies, for which he wrote a dissertation on Zionism and Irish Jews.
Linking his interest in Jewish identities to his passion about Palestinian rights, it was no surprise that when he did research his PhD he focused on diaspora Jews opposed to Israel. I loved working with him as his supervisor on both dissertations; he also worked for me on a research project on Israeli memory networks – I learnt a lot from him and admire his wry sense of humour… I particularly enjoyed his thinking about the complexities of researching something he is part of – being both ethnically Jewish and a central member of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a tightrope act which he performs admirably, evincing his commitment to both sociology and the social movement he studied.
His research field is English groups of Jewish people engaged in opposing Israeli policies. In the course of writing this book he expanded his theoretical understanding – as one does – particularly to examining diaspora opposition to Israel in terms of being a social movement – the focus of this well researched book. Read more