The Political Right in Israel
Different Faces of Jewish Populism
By Dani Filc
Routledge – 2010 – 168 pages
This book takes a fresh look at the trajectories of Israeli politics since the election of Likud in 1977, examining how right wing parties have adopted populist policies in order to carve out an identity and win support at the polls. As such it demonstrates how populism has become a hugely significant factor in shaping Israeli politics and society.
The original perspective taken by the author allows for an understanding of the central phenomena of the contemporary political system in Israel, such as the Likud's party centrality in Israeli politics, the political force of the religious Shas party and the growing influence of certain political leaders. Through this innovative analysis of the concept of populism, the book contributes to a better understanding of the Israeli political system.
With Israel playing such a central role in the Middle East conflict, this analysis of the ways in which populism contributes to the consolidation of governing political forces in Israel will allow for a better understanding of this conflict. Combining the theoretical elaboration of the concept of populism with its application in the analysis of a specific test-case, this novel approach contributes to the ongoing research on populist politics, and as such will be a useful tool for understanding many issues in the study of populism, comparative politics and the Middle East.
'Filc's book is both important and disturbing and goes a long way towards clarifying the direction Israel has taken since the killing of Yitzhak Rabin.' - Colin Shindler, SOAS, Jewish Chronicle, April 2010
"Filc maintains that this analysis is essential for understanding Israeli attitudes and policies and the Middle East conflict. Recommended." – D. Peretz, SUNY at Binghamton (CHOICE Oct. 2010)
Introduction 1. Understanding Populism 2. Begin's Inclusive Populism 3. Netanyahu's Post-populism 4. The Radicalization of Inclusion, the Radicalization of Exclusion: the Shas Party 5. Exclusionary Populism: Avigdor Liberman's Radical Right Populism 6. An Israeli Type of Populism?
Dani Filc is a senior lecturer in the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University, Israel, and he is the chairperson of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel. His areas of interest include the Israeli political system, populism and popular sovereignty, and health policies and politics. He has published the books Circles of Exclusion: The Politics of Health Care in Israel and Hegemony and Populism in Israel.