The Israeli Peace Movement: Basic Features
The Israeli peace movement clearly puts forward all the features of a social movement as defined previously. The movement challenges national perceptions and tries to bring about policy changes in a critical realm; its members have a sense of common purpose even if they sometimes disagree on the specific “formula” for peace; solidarity among activists and groups is marked by organizational and social interaction; and it has sustained interactions and activities that go back several decades. Clearly, as most definitions of a social movement stress, it is organized around a conflict; in fact, it focuses on two conflicts: the Israeli-Arab conflict, and, no less important, the conflict with its rivals on the Israeli right.
The detailed description and analysis of the various peace groups past and present below might create the mistaken impression of a massive political force – recall that the movement has always been numerically small. It ranged from several tens of activists in the 1920s and 1930s, to hundreds in the 1950s and late 1960s, to thousands and even a few tens of thousands in the late 1970s, the 1980s, and the early 1990s (most of them supporters), to a few thousand and even less in the late 1990s, and even fewer than that in the 2000s. Against this factual background, the assessment of the movement's tactical and strategic achievements should be measured and evaluated.