The Boundaries of Liberty and Tolerance: The Struggle against Kahanism in Israel

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In 1985, Raphael Cohen-Almagor participated in an Israeli demonstration against Rabbi Meir Kahane, a religious, quasi-fascist propagandist who had been elected to the Israeli parliament the preceding year. As the demonstration became a confrontation - people screamed, shouted, and whistled to prevent Kahane from speaking - Cohen-Almagor felt increasing discomfort. In the name of democracy, the protesters were using the same tactics against Kahane that Kahane would use against his own opposition. Advocates of free...
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Overview

In 1985, Raphael Cohen-Almagor participated in an Israeli demonstration against Rabbi Meir Kahane, a religious, quasi-fascist propagandist who had been elected to the Israeli parliament the preceding year. As the demonstration became a confrontation - people screamed, shouted, and whistled to prevent Kahane from speaking - Cohen-Almagor felt increasing discomfort. In the name of democracy, the protesters were using the same tactics against Kahane that Kahane would use against his own opposition. Advocates of free speech were denying Kahane free speech. The paradox was the impetus behind this work, which proposes to overcome what Cohen-Almagor calls the "catch" of democracy, the idea that the principles that underlie any political system might also bring about its destruction. Building on the framework of John Stuart Mill and other liberal theorists, Cohen-Almagor addresses the delicate issue of which boundaries should be set to safeguard democracy. He contends that restrictions of liberty and tolerance may be prescribed when there are threats of immediate violence against individuals or groups, or when the intent of a threat is to inflict psychological damage in circumstances when the target group is forced to be exposed to the threat. In this connection he reviews the ruling of the Illinois Supreme Court that permitted American Nazis to hold a demonstration in Skokie, and he argues that the decision was wrong. The second part of the book explores the struggle of the Israeli political system against the Kahanist racist phenomenon as it has developed in the last two decades. Cohen-Almagor's perspective differs from that of philosophers who focus particularly on practical considerations. "My view is that the fundamental question is ethical rather than practical," he writes. "I argue that, as a matter of moral principle, violent parties that act to destroy democracy or the state should not be allowed to run for parliament." This work, both a theoretical contributi
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813012582
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 3/28/1994
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 329
  • Lexile: 1470L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.33 (w) x 9.37 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Pt. 1 Theory: Boundaries of Liberty and Tolerance 1
Ch. 1 Tolerance and Liberty: General Insight 9
The Duty to Be Tolerant, the Right to Be Tolerated 9
Liberty and Autonomy 11
Ch. 2 The Scope and Characterizations of Tolerance 20
Reasons for Tolerance 20
Popper's Paradox of Tolerance and Its Modification 25
Latent and Manifest Tolerance 28
Principled and Tactical Compromise 36
Ch. 3 Why Tolerate? The Respect for Others Argument 40
Preliminaries 40
The Respect for Others Argument 42
Between Neutrality and Perfectionism 50
Ch. 4 The Respect for Others Argument and Cultural Norms 68
The Dilemma 68
Not Tolerating the Intolerant: A Radical View 76
Ch. 5 Freedom of Expression 88
Words: Keys of Thought and Triggers of Action 88
Grounds for Special Status 89
The Harm Principle 103
Ch. 6 Why Tolerate? The Millian Truth Principle 106
Preliminaries 106
The Millian Truth Principle 108
Ch. 7 Boundaries of Freedom of Expression 122
The Millian Arguments 122
The Offense Principle 128
Ch. 8 Applying the Offense Principle: The Skokie Controversy 132
Background 132
The Reasonable Avoidability Standard 134
Psychological Offense, Morally on a Par with Physical Harm 138
Pt. 2 Application: Democracy on the Defensive - Israel's Reaction to the Kahanist Phenomenon 149
Ch. 9 The Kahanist Phenomenon 154
Background 154
The Ideology of Kach 165
The Political Program 171
Ch. 10 Legal Background: The Foundations of the Law 174
The Declaration of Independence and Normative Considerations 174
Precedents 177
Ch. 11 Attempts to Restrict Kahane's Freedom of Election 192
The Negbi Decision of 1981 192
The CEC's Decisions of 1984 193
The Court's Decision in Neiman 198
Ch. 12 Curtailing Kahane's Freedom of Movement and Expression 219
Freedom of Movement 219
The Media's Ban on Kahane 223
Kahane v. Speaker of the Knesset - Five Chapters 229
Ch. 13 Epilogue 238
The Decision of the CEC Regarding the PLP 241
The Disqualification of Kach 242
The Decision of the CEC Regarding Moledet 247
Table of U.S. Cases 255
Table of Israeli Cases 257
Miscellaneous Cases from Other Jurisdictions 260
Notes 261
Selected Bibliography 307
General Index 319
Index of Cases 326
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