Shake the Tree or Rock the Boat: The Not Nice Protest and Radical Democracy in Israel

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What has remained of Israel's tent encampments protest; what mark has it left on Israeli society and politics? This paper seeks to answer these two questions and to reflect on the "post-protest" protest. In reviewing the different accounts of the 2011 protest I propose to identify two political actors - the "hegemonic" and the "subaltern" - taking part in an agonic game which destabilized the neoliberal order. Central to the analysis is an activist group - The Not Nice Trans.: The Not Nice invokes an utterance attributed to the then Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir labeling the Mizrahi social protest leaders of the early 1970s as "Not Nice." There is however a distinction in the Hebrew language between Female and Male voice and the activist group here was self-labeled Lo Nekhmadim-Lo Nekhmadot, i.e. The Not Nice (m) - The Not Nice (f). To distinguish between the two we will use hereafter 'Not-Nice' to refer to the female-led splinter group and 'The Not Nice' to the group as a whole. (I am using The Not Nice and Not-Nice in their chronological content; Not-Nice became more prevalent since the split in the group leading to greater female predominance). - studied in consideration of its relations to the mainstream of the protest movement. The group's activities and position challenge the conventional patterns of Israeli political discourse and its boundaries. It thus offers an opportunity to extend the discussion on citizenship and democracy beyond the liberal discourse and adopt the Radical Democracy theory as a conceptual framework to grasp present-day political reality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-331
Number of pages29
JournalWorld Political Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.


  • Israel - neoliberalism
  • citizenship
  • radical democracy
  • social movements
  • social protest


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