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Populist Rightwing Ideological Exposition: Netanyahu’s Regime as a Case in Point

DOI: 10.4236/aasoci.2018.84019, PP. 329-349

Keywords: Political Ideology, Populism, Governability, Rule of the People, Israeli Politics

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Abstract:

Populism is often described as a thin-centered ideology, an underdeveloped worldview which can be found both on the extreme right and radical left, in authoritarian and democratic regimes alike. This paper goes against the grain arguing that rightwing populism of the dominant conservative party in established democracies developed a fully-fledged ideology which is irreducible to the quest for power or the desire to rule. Crucially, it encompasses a distinct notion of democracy which is hostile to rights-based theory yet forwards a discourse which is discernible and unique, reinterpreting the will of the people and majority rule. It further mixes neoliberal economics-cum-politics with neo-conservative nationalism and upholds a particular idea of the people and the state. Crucially, it forwards a concept of governability which centers on the government as the bearer of sovereignty encroaching upon the role of the parliament, courts and the gate-keepers, including the public media. This paper analyzes the 2015 Israeli election as a case in point. Ideological analysis, we argue, can explain for example why the most inciting government against the Arab Israeli citizens has also put forward the most radical 5 years plan for economic rehabilitation of non-Jewish minorities. The tension between neo-conservatism and neoliberalism shapes this domain. While national nuances are crucial, they still function as an ideological family so that a great deal can be learnt from one exemplar to the other.

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