Dr. Ron Dudai- "Rights from the Right: The Adoption of Human Rights Rhetoric by Right-Wing Groups and the Sociology of the Unexpected"

Dr. Ron Dudai- "Rights from the Right: The Adoption of Human Rights Rhetoric by Right-Wing Groups and the Sociology of the Unexpected" Responding: Dr. Hillel Cohen, School of History and Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
Activity Date: 
Monday, Jan 26, 2015

The seminar explored the causes and implications of a new trend in which the rhetoric of human rights has been adopted in recent years by several Israeli right-wing groups.This trend is an unexpected development: in Israel's political culture "human rights" have generally been associated with the left, while the right-wing has traditionally shown hostility to the framework of international human rights. Moreover, human rights discourses and practices are normally adopted by weak, oppressed groups, while in Israel the right-wing is considered as the powerful actor. The presentation, anchored in a sociological perspective on human rights, aimed to explain this trend by identifying the different functions which the use of human rights provides for different types of right-wing actors. It offered a typology of appeals to human rights by right-wing groups, and demonstrated that such appeals have a wide range of functions for these groups, including protecting the state's image at the international arena; pressuring the state for more "law enforcement" against Palestinians; and protesting perceived human rights violations of settlers and right-wing activists. The discussion following the presentation focused on debating what could be the long-term ramifications of this trend on the politics and ideology of these right-wing groups.