Starred Review. Israeli academics Pedahzur (The Israeli Secret Service and the Struggle Against Terrorism
) and Perliger (Middle East Terrorism
) point out that Muslim extremists don't hold a monopoly on terrorism: Israel has seen hundreds of attacks by Jewish terrorists—most directed against Palestinians, but some against the state itself. The authors present a carefully constructed theoretical model, positing that radicalization within a specific counterculture, fostered by a threatening external event and portrayed by spiritual leaders as catastrophic precipitate violence—not just by Jewish extremists but any counterculture that adheres to a totalistic ideology. Indeed, the authors see clear parallels between Jewish terrorist cells and their Muslim counterparts, and stress that mere faith isn't enough to create violent intent (they note that religious terrorist groups... made up less than 15 percent of all terrorist groups active in the 20th century). Pedahzur and Perliger occasionally slip into academese and assume a close knowledge of Israeli political minutiae, but in combining exhaustive analysis with straight-forward language and compelling nonfiction narrative, they provide excellent insight into a little reported and even lesser understood reality. (Nov.)
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Jewish Terrorism in Israel addresses a huge lacuna in the field by providing the first systematic, in-depth treatment of Jewish terrorism from ancient times to today. It concludes with vitally important developments in Jewish extremism over the past nine years, making a signal contribution at a moment when interest in terrorism and counterterrorism is high, when more attention than ever is being focused on terrorism motivated by religion, and when we most need insight into the nature of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
(Bruce Hoffman, author of Inside Terrorism
Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger provide us with an intelligent, sensible, and compelling story of terrorism among a people more famously known as historical victims rather than perpetrators. Their use of multiple research methodsincluding first-hand observations and interviewsis admirable; their insight into the interaction among religious, political, social, and psychological forces is convincing; and their accounts of informal networks and ideological socialization are especially revealing. This book is a model of scholarship on a topic most resistant to dispassionate analysis.
(Neil J. Smelser, University of California, Berkeley)
This engaging book documents the dark side of Jewish political activism in Israel from ancient times to the present. These gripping accounts, which describe the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the anti-Arab vitriol of Meir Kahane, and the strident opposition of the settler movement, show that terrorism has been in the shadows of Jewish politics in Israel, just as it has been in every other religious tradition around the world. Jewish Terrorism in Israel should be required reading for anyone concerned about the moral dilemmas of Jewish activism, peace in the Middle East, and the rise of religious violence everywhere.
(Mark Juergensmeyer, author of Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence
[Pedahzur and Perliger] provide excellent insight into a little reported and even lesser understood reality.
(Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This work is timely, objective, and bold... highly recommended. Choice
Sets a high bar for subsequent works.
(L. Carl Brown Foreign Affairs
[ Jewish Terrorism in Israel] provides rich, detailed exploration of a form of terrorism often little noted within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
(Rebecca L. Torstrick H-Levant
Most, perhaps all, religious traditions have produced their own long intermittent and unique histories of terrorism. Yet this remarkable, engrossing study is the first to put the story of one religion together. It will surely stimulate studies of other religious traditions, a subject everyone needs to know more about.
(David Rapoport, author of Inside Terrorist Organizations