Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

The Politics of Protest: The Israeli Peace Movement and the Palestinian Intifada

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

The Politics of Protest: The Israeli Peace Movement and the Palestinian Intifada

Article excerpt

The Politics of Protest: The Israeli Peace Movement and the Palestinian Intifada, by Reuven Kaminer. Brighton, UK: Sussex Academic Press, 1996. xxii + 217 pages. Notes to p. 232. Bibl. to p. 235. Index to p. 248. $49.95 cloth; $19.95 paper.

Reviewed by Simona Sharoni

Almost a decade after its eruption, the Palestinian uprising, known as the Intifada, continues to be a topic of scholarly discussion and political reflection among scholars and activists alike. While much has been written about the impact of the Intifada on Israeli society in general, the major strength of The Politics of Protest lies in its ability to provide a comprehensive, yet nuanced, account of the Israeli peace movement prior to, during, and after the Intifada. Another strength of the book lies in the fact that Reuven Kaminer does not hide behind the pretense of neutrality and objectivity; he admits from the outset personal involvement in and identification with the broad goals of the Israeli peace movement.

Kaminer's analysis begins with the premise that "the message of the Intifada for the Israelis was that the Palestinian question was not going to disappear and that without a solution for the Palestinians there could be no peace or quiet in the area" (p. xi). The book sheds light on the divergent attempts of individuals and groups within the peace movement in Israel to come to terms with this message. Kaminer describes these attempts with a particular focus on the relationship between action and ideology. To capture this relationship and to assist readers unacquainted with Israeli politics, he distinguishes between two main sections of the peace movement: "moderates" and "militants" (p. xxii). The term "moderates" is used to refer to Peace Now, the largest and most prominent segment of the peace movement in Israel, while the term "militants" is assigned to groups the actions and political ideologies of which have placed them to the left of Peace Now. This distinction is important in that it challenges the tendency of people outside Israel to equate Peace Now with the Israeli peace movement, thus overlooking a myriad of individuals and groups who have been involved in protest against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip but who have not been affiliated with (and in many cases have been critical of) the ideology and action of Peace Now. …

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