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The human rights discourse and Israel: beyond victimhood and underdogs

Abstract

Ron Dudai (‘Entryism, mimicry and victimhood work: the adoption of human rights discourse by right-wing groups in Israel’) makes the argument that ‘right-wing’ groups imitate, seek to be included in, and to exploit human rights discourse in order to pursue a ‘right-wing’ agenda. The ostensible objective of this effort is to hijack the movement from within, defend Israel and undermine the Palestinian struggle for human rights.

The choice and reliability of evidence and the argument are highly problematic, in two core dimensions. First, the reification of the ‘right–left’ dichotomy in the context of debates regarding human rights, with repeated references to ‘right-wing’ without independent, consistent and verifiable definitions or criteria. Second, according to the paradigm, those who are not sufficiently progressive cannot possibly care about human rights, and are acting on the basis of imputed motivations. Thus, these Israeli civil society organisations are falsely categorised as ‘government-aligned groups masquerading as independent civil society actors’ ‘state marionettes’ or ‘phantom organizations’.

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About the Authors

Professor Gerald M. Steinberg

Professor Gerald M. Steinberg

Professor Gerald Steinberg is founder and president of NGO Monitor and professor of Political Studies at Bar Ilan University. He is the founder of the Program on Conflict Management and Negotiation at Bar Ilan University. His research focuses on the changing nature of power in international relations, as reflected in Middle East Diplomacy and Security, The Politics of Human Rights Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and Israeli Politics and Arms Control.

Richard Landes

Richard Landes