The rise of "bad civil society" in Israel: nationalist civil society organizations and the politics of delegitimization
Contributor(s)Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik -SWP- Deutsches Institut für Internationale Politik und Sicherheit
Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
politische Willensbildung, politische Soziologie, politische Kultur
human rights violation
party in power
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AbstractCivil society in Israel has been undergoing a growing conflict that mirrors broader
trends taking place in Israeli society, namely the conflict between the rising conservative
nationalist social forces and the dwindling liberal and humanist camp represented
by human rights organizations (HROs). There has been a clear rise in the power of conservative
nationalist civil society organizations (CSOs), which receive firm support from
politicians who have influential positions in the Israeli government. These organizations
have been leading aggressive political and media campaigns against HROs, especially
those involved in defending the rights of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation
in the West Bank and under siege in the Gaza Strip. The conservative nationalist CSOs
accuse HROs of being anti-patriotic and cooperating with the enemies of society and
the state. They utilize three strategies to promote their agenda. The first is delegitimizing
HROs through naming and shaming tactics. They lead well-orchestrated political
and media campaigns that associate HROs with terrorist organizations. The second
is silencing HROs by shaming the institutions – educational, cultural, and media – that
invite the former to speak to their audiences. The third strategy is cutting off the sources
of funding for HROs through lobbying activities in donor countries and putting pressure
on governments to stop their funding of the former. (Autorenreferat)
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