The Left and Israel: Party-Policy Change and Internal Democracy

The Left and Israel: Party-Policy Change and Internal Democracy

The Left and Israel: Party-Policy Change and Internal Democracy

The Left and Israel: Party-Policy Change and Internal Democracy

Synopsis

This text looks at policy change in political parties, through an examination of the British and French left's policy towards Israel in the post-war period. It illuminates how the left dealt with the Israel/Arab hostilities.

Excerpt

Political scientists have paid a lot of attention to political parties. A glance at a leading text on the subject reveals the diversity of their preoccupations. Scholars have looked at issues ranging from the origins of political parties; types of parties, including cadre, mass and catch-all parties; electoral identification with political parties and changing electoral allegiances; changes from class-based to postmaterialist politics; types of party system and the transformations of the party system (Mair, 1990, pp. 1-11). In the literature on parties and policy issues there has been a strong emphasis on how parties influence government policy and coalition formation (Katz and Mair, 1994, p. 1), stemming from the fact that parties are a part of government and can translate electoral opinion into practice (Budge and Keman, 1990, p. 1).

Surprisingly little has been written about how policy making takes place in political parties and internal decision-making processes (Harmel and Janda, 1994, p. 261). Most of the literature has tended to focus on party systems rather than parties' internal lives. It has been suggested that this tendency stems from a number of factors including, first, the particular role parties play in society which has led political scientists to look at their relative strength and the role of elected representatives; second, the inaccessibility of internal party documents and third, researchers' own reasons for studying political parties such as their interest in democracy. However more interest has recently been shown in the internal dynamics of parties (Lawson, 1990, pp. 106-7). The existing literature on parties' internal lives pays considerable attention to the location of power and whether or not the leadership has control over policy-making . . .

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