Events: The Fares Lecture Series
Academic Year 2011-2012
Israel: Social Revolution and
Thursday, November 17, 2011, 5:30 PM
Mugar 200, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
Speaker: Joel S. Migdal, Director, Interdisciplinary Ph.D.
Program in Near & Middle East Studies; Robert F. Philip
Professor of International Studies, Henry M. Jackson School of
International Studies, University of Washington
Joel S. Migdal is the Robert F. Philip Professor of International Studies
in the University of Washington's Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
and Director of the Near and Middle East Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program. He was
the founding chair of the University of Washington's International Studies Program.
Migdal was formerly Associate Professor of Government at Harvard University and
Senior Lecturer at Tel-Aviv University.
In a lecture on November 17, 2011, Professor of International Relations Joel Migdal addressed ongoing
trends in Israel that he said are threatening the country's social stability.
Migdal posited that the recent protest movement in Israel was the "first middle
class revolt against neo-liberalism." Migdal described two crises that faced Israel in the summer.
First, increasing regional isolation undermined "slow but significant"
gains towards integration nurtured by the government.
Second, a carefully cultivated Israeli national society confronted
protest and upheaval.
At its founding,
Israel faced a security challenge stemming from "almost universal antipathy" in
the world and a demographic challenge because of the ethnic and linguistic
diversity of the new state. Migdal
argued that militarism, a "policy in which the military is deeply involved in
the development of social and foreign policy," served to address both
Israel's militarism as both foreign and social policy was affected by a number of events
in the 1980s, including the results of the 1979 Egyptian peace treaty, public
awareness of possible Israeli complicity in massacres during the 1982 Lebanon
War, the 1987 intifada, the
declaration of the State of Palestine in 1988, the end of the Cold War and an
economic crisis. The effects of
these events reached into the 1990s and 2000s.
Along with an open questioning of the policy of militarism, Israel moved
to a neo-liberal state with a less involved military.
Integration into the Middle East began after the peace declaration with
Egypt, which led to a general opening on behalf of Arab states that helped
Israel with regional recognition.
pointed to a number of trends pushing against progress towards stability.
He noted a new nationalist movement developing as a counter-effect to the
positive steps towards regional integration for which negotiations are anathema.
He associates their rise as a major social force with the
Some Israelis also reacted to the portion of the Palestinian population
against negotiations. Finally, "new
wars" were difficult for the military and for the public to accept.
Migdal noted two effects that the Arab Spring had on Israel.
First, the social mobilization and protest took hold among Israeli youth.
Second, it served to increase Israel's increasing regional isolation
because its integration had relied heavily on alliances with autocrats.
Israel is now less regionally secure and does not have the social
cohesion which contributed to its security.
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