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October 18, 1991 - Image 54

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-10-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ANALYSIS

JEWS
AND THE
ENCOUNTER
WITH THE
NEW WORLD
1492 / 1992

The Growing Influence
Of Israel's Radical Right

Writer Ehud Sprinzak says they are no
longer just small fringe groups.

COHN-HADDOW
CENTER FOR JUDAIC STUD _ IES
WSU

JAMES D. BESSER

JEAN & SAMUEL FRANKEL
CENTER FOR JUDAIC STUDIES

Washington Correspondent

D

University of Michigan

o the recent develop-
ments in the Middle
East peace process
mean that Israel's radical
right is no longer a powerful
and disruptive political
force?
Not according to an Israeli
political scientist who just
finished a stint at
Georgetown University's
School of Government.
Ehud Sprinzak's new book,

JEWS AND CONVERSOS
IN MEDIEVAL SPAIN

Sunday, October 27, 1991
Rackham Building, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor

1:00 p.m.
1:30 p.m.

OPENING SESSION
JEWS AND CONVERSOS IN MEDIEVAL SPAIN

2:30 p.m.

Benjamin R. Gampel, Jewish Theological Seminary
CONVERSOS IN THE FORMATION OF SPANISH

SOCIETY

Joan Ullman, University of Washington
Diane Hughes, University of Michigan

7:30 p.m.

SEPHARDIC CULTURE BEFORE THE EXPULSION

Moshe Lazar, University of Southern California
Discussant: Steven Dworkin, University of Michigan

EXPULSION AND DIASPORA

Monday, October 28, 1991
McGregor Memorial Conference Center, WSU
Detroit

10:00 a.m.

11:00 a.m.

THE SPANISH EXPULSION

Benjamin R. Gampel, Jewish Theological Seminary

SEPHARDIC JEWRY IN EXILE

Miriam Bodian, University of Michigan
Discussant: Fauna Muge Gocek, University of Michigan

UPCOMING EVENTS

1492: WATERSHED IN WORLD HISTORY

Sunday, March 29, 1992
JEWS AND CONVERSOS IN THE ENCOUNTER
Saturday, September 12, 1992
Sunday, September 13, 1992
JEWS, CONVERSOS AND THE INQUISITION IN THE NEW WORLD
Sunday, NOvember 8, 1992
Monday, November 9, 1992
LEGACIES
Sunday, December 6, 1992

Wayne State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer

Wayne State University

WINTERIZE NOW
Call For Details

‘.

54

RICK WALD

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 1991

489-5862

J

The Ascendance of Israel's
Radical Right, is a biting
analysis of far right political
groups that he says claim
the loyalty of between 20
and 25 percent of Israelis.
"What I argue in my book
is that you cannot under-
stand Israeli political life
without understanding how
the radical right operates,"
Mr. Sprinzak said in a recent
interview. "Unlike what
most people here believe, the
Israeli radical right is not a
small fringe group, but a
significant cultural and po-
litical force within Israeli
public life."
Although Mr. Sprinzak's
book is a damning analysis
of those parties, the author
admits to a personal admira-
tion for many far right
leaders.
"I take them very seri-
ously," he said. "I disagree
with them politically — but I
have a great respect for
many of the individuals in-
volved. Some of them are
very profound thinkers.
Many are exemplary leaders
who overshadow most of
Israel's mediocre leaders."
The fact that so many
moderate political leaders
are ineffectual, he said, has
provided a fertile climate for
the growth of far right par-
ties headed by more dynamic
leaders.
But the right-wingers, he
said, are jeopardizing
Israel's security by focusing
their attention on expanding
settlements in the occupied
territories and setting up
new roadblocks for the peace
process.
"I like to say that they're
doing the right thing in the
wrong place," Mr. Sprinzak
explained. "I admire their
Zionist pioneering spirit.
But I would like to see that
spirit applied in the Negev,
in the Galilee, vast ter-

ritories that need to be set-
tled. Unfortunately, these
people concentrate their set-
tlement activity only in
places where there are dense
populations of Arabs."
They are also highly skill-
ed political operators in
Israel's fractious political
system.
"Some of their leaders are
extremely able and skillful
politicians," Mr. Sprinzak
said. "They know every rule
in Israeli politics — espe-
cially how a minority can
blackmail the majority.
Israeli politics is coalition
politics. They have become
very effective in par-
ticipating in coalitions."
The radical right, he
argues, represents a fun-

Yitzhak Shamir is
"a prime minister
under house
arrest."
Ehud Sprinzak

damental threat to the
Israeli system of govern-
ment.
"They create a major prob-
lem for Israeli democracy,
because many of them — es-
pecially those in the re-
ligious parties — do not con-
sider democracy the
ultimately desirable system
of government," Mr. Sprin-
zak said. "Others think that
democracy is fine — but that
when you're in a troubled
situation, it is a very low
priority."
American Jews, he said,
fail to understand the power
now wielded by the far right
groups.
"Since June 1990, they
have achieved a veto power
within the government," he
said. "They can bring the
government down — which
gives them enormous
leverage. They have become
a group inside the govern-
ment. They are not on the
outside any more."
Mr. Sprinzak's interest in
radical politics started at
Yale in the late 1960s, when
he began to study the New
Left of the United States.
"I was working on my
Ph.D., and I was fascinated
by this kind of idealistic
radicalism," he said. "From
that point on, I started to
look at left-wing extremism
in Israel. Before 1973, most

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