A Cultural Approach to Foreign Policy Analysis: The Role of Political Ideologies in Shaping Israeli Policy Toward the Peace Process

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Mousavi, Hamed




Why was Israeli policy toward the peace process in the 1990s conflicted, inconsistent and even erratic? This study suggests that in order to understand Israeli foreign policy, we must analyze the country’s domestic political movements. The dissertation takes a theoretically informed approach, which seeks to ‘bring back’ ideology to cultural frameworks of foreign policy analysis, to examine the Israeli case. The study argues that the political movements within Israel interpreted and reacted differently to the regional and global developments of the 1980s and early 1990s. These various perspectives were due to the fact that the ideologies of these movements were constructed in relation and opposition to each other, and as a result they differed on what it meant to be “Israeli,” as well as what they considered the “national interest.” Both the rise and the fall of the peace process should be seen as part of a larger ideological struggle between the Labor movement on the one hand and the religious and revisionist Zionist movements on the other, each of which sought to redefine Zionism and Israel in its own image and according to its own ideology. Israel’s drive to peace in the early nineteen nineties was the result of the interaction between a new liberal Zionist ideology of the Labor movement and regional and global developments. In contrast the religious Zionist movement saw the peace process as part of the “Hellenization” of Israeli state and society and the abortion of the “divine redemptive process.” The revisionists also opposed the peace process based on the movement’s ideology that portrayed Israel as an isolated and vulnerable nation, which could only rely on military power, rather than political agreements, against an “anti-Semitic” and hostile gentile world. The shifts in Israeli foreign policy in the nineteen nineties were thus the result of the confrontation between these contrasting worldviews.


International Law and Relations
Political Science
Middle Eastern History




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Doctor of Philosophy: 

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Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Political Science

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Theses and Dissertations

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