More of the Same: Discursive Reactions of Members of Knesset to the 2011 ‘Social Protest’ in Israel

in Middle East Law and Governance
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The 2011 ‘Social Protest’ in Israel was motivated by discontent with the outcomes of neo-liberal economic policies. Moreover, during rallies protest leaders used explicit counter-neo-liberal ideas and discourse. Nonetheless, this article shows that Members of Knesset (the Israeli parliament) used neo-liberal ideas and discourse more following the protest than they had done before its outbreak. Relying on recent theoretical developments emphasizing the importance of ideas and discourse in social and political analysis, I account for Members of Knesset’s ideas and discourse through analyzing explanation clauses accompanying private member bills. The article concludes by suggesting that the protest may have turned neo-liberal ideas from a means used by economic experts to promote economic liberalization to a means used by politicians to demonstrate their democratic responsiveness to citizens’ economic demands.

More of the Same: Discursive Reactions of Members of Knesset to the 2011 ‘Social Protest’ in Israel

in Middle East Law and Governance

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    Shares of private member bills by categories of discourse

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    Number of bill-submitters by categories of discourse.Note: The value of this data for detecting changes in discourse could be challenged by the plausible expectation that bill initiators from larger parties will be more able to recruit co-sponsors for their bills, since they have a larger pool of party colleagues. Indeed, the two most-signed bills in the sample were submitted by members of the largest party in the 18th Knesset, namely Kadima. However, this was more the exception than the rule. In most cases there was no correlation between the size of the party of the initiating MK(s) and the number of co-sponsors. I thank Assaf Shapira for drawing my attention to this point.

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