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Missing the ‘devils’ we knew? Israel and political Islam amid the Arab Awakening

Missing the ‘devils’ we knew? Israel and political Islam amid the Arab Awakening AbstractWhile the immediate outcome of the Iraq War of 2003 was certainly to Israel's strategic advantage, the more immediate and indeed visceral challenge of the ongoing Al-Aqsa intifada has dominated the security horizons of most Israelis. The legacy of this conflict, with its strong Islamist overtones, has clearly had a bearing on how the Arab Awakening has come to be perceived by Israel. Taking this experience as its starting point, this article examines the response by Tel Aviv to the Arab Awakening at an elite level and how, for the most part, Israeli perceptions of its Islamist essence, an essence that rejects popular accountability, continues to be viewed through a predominantly Realist prism. Such perceptions look set to endure, shaping Israel's immediate attitudes towards the Palestinians and the wider Arab world. The authors argue that while Israeli concerns over the trajectory of the Arab Awakening do carry empirical weight, such concerns can be equally understood as part of a wider critique with regard to Israel's own emerging democratic deficit. This was seen most recently in a raft of legislative bills put before the Knesset between 2009 and 2012 designed to curb civil liberties in Israel; alongside its continued occupation of Palestinian lands and wider demographic shifts, such moves increasingly tarnish Israel's proud claim to be both Jewish and democratic. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Affairs Oxford University Press

Missing the ‘devils’ we knew? Israel and political Islam amid the Arab Awakening

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© 2013 The Author(s). International Affairs © 2013 The Royal Institute of International Affairs
ISSN
0020-5850
eISSN
1468-2346
DOI
10.1111/1468-2346.12024
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractWhile the immediate outcome of the Iraq War of 2003 was certainly to Israel's strategic advantage, the more immediate and indeed visceral challenge of the ongoing Al-Aqsa intifada has dominated the security horizons of most Israelis. The legacy of this conflict, with its strong Islamist overtones, has clearly had a bearing on how the Arab Awakening has come to be perceived by Israel. Taking this experience as its starting point, this article examines the response by Tel Aviv to the Arab Awakening at an elite level and how, for the most part, Israeli perceptions of its Islamist essence, an essence that rejects popular accountability, continues to be viewed through a predominantly Realist prism. Such perceptions look set to endure, shaping Israel's immediate attitudes towards the Palestinians and the wider Arab world. The authors argue that while Israeli concerns over the trajectory of the Arab Awakening do carry empirical weight, such concerns can be equally understood as part of a wider critique with regard to Israel's own emerging democratic deficit. This was seen most recently in a raft of legislative bills put before the Knesset between 2009 and 2012 designed to curb civil liberties in Israel; alongside its continued occupation of Palestinian lands and wider demographic shifts, such moves increasingly tarnish Israel's proud claim to be both Jewish and democratic.

Journal

International AffairsOxford University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2013

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