Defending democracy

This book looks at the theoretical issue of how a democracy can defend itself from those wishing to subvert or destroy it without being required to take measures that would impinge upon the basic principles of the democratic idea. It links social and institutional perspectives to the study, and includes a case study of the Israeli response to Jewish extremism and violence, which tests the theoretical framework outlined in the first chapter. There is an extensive diachronic scrutiny of the state's response to extremist political parties, violent organizations and the infrastructure of extremism and intolerance within Israeli society. The book emphasises the dynamics of the response and the factors that encourage or discourage the shift from less democratic and more democratic models of response.

The social sphere

regarding education in values and democracy is fundamentally a volatile one and has been the subject of much criticism, particularly from liberal and postmodern theorists who have traditionally disapproved of state involvement in the individual’s privacy and the political sovereign body’s attempt to shape its citizens ‘in its image’. Yet as Levinson 3 observes, in the 1990s – a decade rife with ethnic conflict – violence and political extremism had resurfaced globally and, in consequence, liberal theorists began to reveal new interest in the subject of civic education

in The Israeli response to Jewish extremism and violence
The parliamentary arena

constitutional barriers has helped Germany forestall representation of extremist parties at the federal Parliament level over the course of years and, in turn, has also helped stabilise the democratic system. The socio-political underpinnings of the response to extremism in Israel Both prior to the establishment of the State of Israel and in the years following, the party institution constituted a pivotal factor in the political processes involved in the nation’s construction. However, the role of the Israeli political party went far

in The Israeli response to Jewish extremism and violence
Attitudes towards subversive movements and violent organisations

THE DEMOCRATIC POLITY’S struggle against manifestations of extra-parliamentary extremism and political violence is accompanied by a similar and perhaps even more acute quandary than its contest with political parties. In this struggle the government possesses the means to substantially restrict the freedom of expression and association of its citizens, consequently harming a number of their democratic rights. However, in its struggle against extremism, violence and, at times, even terrorism, the democracy is sometimes impelled to employ

in The Israeli response to Jewish extremism and violence
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The ‘defending democracy’ in Israel – a framework of analysis

country toward internal threats – and which exacted such a high price in terms of the quality of Israeli democracy – had helped little in terms of its stabilisation. The key question that continued to perplex me in face of this reality was why had Israel become so entrapped in the snares along the way? The plural is used because I am speaking of more than one simple failing. On the one hand, the State was incapable of eradicating the political extremism and violence threatening it and, on the other, in trying to defeat these phenomena, it had

in The Israeli response to Jewish extremism and violence
From the ‘militant’ to an ‘immunised’ route?

THIS CHAPTER HAS three principal objectives. First, on the basis of the findings of the first four chapters, it will provide a synopsis of the Israeli response to Jewish extremism and political violence. This will extend from the early days of the State’s existence until the beginning of the new millennium, with an emphasis on current developments. Such a historical perspective will enable us to assess the degree of success of the Israeli ‘defending democracy’ in moving from the ‘militant’ pole to the ‘immunised’ pole on the continuum of the

in The Israeli response to Jewish extremism and violence

-state bodies, operating in the social sphere, are also capable of responding to the expansion of extremism. They are very open to those extremist movements responsible for fuelling the flames of extremism well before they have developed into a political alternative and a veritable threat to the government. Consequently, as ‘civil society’ becomes more effective, the State feels less threatened by extremist elements and subsequently finds less cause for exercising aggressive tactics against them. Third, the ‘pro-democratic civil society’ is capable of

in The Israeli response to Jewish extremism and violence

this specific group. It has been argued that Lipset’s thesis of middleclass extremism, originally developed for the pre-war Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German National Socialist Workers Party, NSDAP), is also valid for the post-war extreme right parties (Lipset 1960; Kühnl et al. 1969). However, this thesis has come under increasing attack in the last decades (Childers 1983; Falter 1991) and electoral studies have shown that the electorates of modern extreme right parties of the second (Herz 1975; Husbands 1981) and third ‘wave’ of post-war right

in The ideology of the extreme right
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also indeed extreme right, as is generally assumed, the matter of distinctiveness may be taken a step further, by questioning the extent to which this core might also be shared by two other groups of parties that are sometimes believed to overlap considerably with the (alleged) extreme right family: left-wing extremist parties and (neo-)conservative parties. For example, one of the theoretical schools within the study of right-wing extremism (see Mudde 1996), the extremismtheoretical school, emphasises the similarities between right-wing and leftwing extremist

in The ideology of the extreme right
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‘Deutschland den Deutschen!’

Gesamtdeutsche Partei (All-German Party). Their primary goal was to found a new political party, which would become the reservoir of the fragmented German nationalist right-wing. On 28 November 1964 it was founded under the name Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD). The second wave of German right-wing extremism had begun. The NPD wanted to create the appearance of being a national-conservative party with a leadership without a Nazi past. The chairman of the party became Fritz Thielen, in 1945 co-founder of the Christlich-Demokratische Union (Christian Democratic

in The ideology of the extreme right