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The role of dialogue in reflecting and constituting International Relations: the causes and consequences of a deficient European-Israeli dialogue

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 October 2010

Abstract

The rich literature on the problematic aspects of EU-Israel relations focuses on historical, structural, politico-economic, legal, institutional, geo-political and strategic causes. An attempt will be made in this article to contribute to the existing scholarship by focusing on a novel angle, namely the negative role of the lack of adequate and informed European-Israeli dialogue in constituting European-Israeli relations. Against the backdrop of the theoretical analysis of the role of dialogue in International Relations, this article examines the lack of adequate European-Israeli dialogue, analysing its causes and the negative role that it plays in constituting European-Israeli relations. The article demonstrates that such lack of dialogue is caused not only by mutual ignorance, prejudice, misinformation, mistrust and antagonism, but also causes these same factors to characterise European-Israeli relations.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British International Studies Association 2010

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65 Ibid.

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97 See, Horowitz, , Competing Israeli Structures of Identity, p. 54Google Scholar : The Zionist identities that the political elites viewed as revolutionary, were seen by the immigrants as a brutal attempt to forcefully uproot them from their traditional world and replace it with a context reflecting the cultural hegemony of Eastern European Jews. See also Reinhartz, and Shavit, , Glorious, Accursed Europe, p. 161Google Scholar : ‘The Ashkenazi Jews brought with them or adopted in the Land of Israel negative European values, such as the Nationalist and Socialist ideologies and their collective and integrative ethos, the model of collectivist political rule as well as the model of secular national Judaism.. Those values served as a tool for the repression of the values and traditions of the East as characterised in the communities, such as tolerance and a traditional-religious nationalism. The European cultural hegemony is a superficial imitation of the West based on values foreign to Eastern culture. That is the hegemony that turned its back on the particular character of the Land of Israel (East) and on the special character of the local culture (Arab-Muslim). That hegemony imposed itself on that part of society that emigrated to Israel not from Europe and that had no part of its values, and compelled it to convert its cultural identity’.

98 See Keridis, , Europe and Israel: What Went Wrong?, p. 9Google Scholar : ‘The passing away of the first generation of Zionist pioneers, who were European in origin and culture, secular and socialist in preference, and elitist in outlook […] Oriental Jews gradually increased their share of the total Israeli population […] the Oriental Jew's political emancipation revolutionalized Israeli politics and led to the demise of the old Labor hegemony and the rise of the Likud and its right-wing coalition. This change has distanced Israeli politics from the European mainstream … Europeans could better understand the old, Labor-dominated politics than they can the new Likud Ones.’

99 Simons, Maarten, ‘“Educating through Research” at European Universities: Notes on the Orientation of Academic Research’, British Journal of Philosophy of Education, 40:1 (2006), p. 31CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Giroux, H. A., ‘Selling Out Higher Education’, Policy Futures in Education, 1:1 (2003), p. 179CrossRefGoogle Scholar , as analysed by Biesta, Gert, ‘Towards the Knowledge Democracy? Knowledge Production and the Civic Role of the University’, Studies in Philosophy and Education, 26:5 (2007), p. 467CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

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101 Kohl-Koch, B., ‘International and European Cooperation in Science, A German Point of View’, in Hirsch, Moshe, Inbar, Eyal and Sadeh, Tal (eds), The Future Relations between Israel and the European Communities – Some Alternatives (Ramat Gan: Bursi, 2006), p. 233Google Scholar .

102 See, Osler, Audrey and Starkey, Hugh, ‘Rights, Identities and Inclusion: European Action Programmes as Political Education’, Oxford Review of Education, 25:12 (1999), p. 199, at p. 202CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

103 Azaryahu, , McIsrael?, at p. 52Google Scholar ; Ackerman, The Americanization of Israeli Education.

104 See, Gazal-Ayal, Oren, ‘Remarks on the Past and Future of Economic Analysis of Law in Israel’, Mechkari Mishpat, 23:3 (2007), p. 661 [in Hebrew], at p. 675Google Scholar for some statistics in the legal discipline.

105 See, for example, the Law Faculty of Tel-Aviv which conducts a joint LL.M. degree with Northwestern University.

106 See, Gazal-Ayal, , Remarks on the Past and Future of Economic Analysis, p. 678Google Scholar . See also, Azaryahu, , Mcisrael?, at p. 52Google Scholar ; Ackerman, , The Americanization of Israeli Education, especially at p. 233Google Scholar .

107 See Gazal-Ayal, Remarks on the Past; see the work of Resnik, Julia, ‘Discourse Structuration in Israel, Democratization of Education and the Impact of the Global Education Network’, Journal of Education Policy, 22:3 (2007), p. 215, at p. 229CrossRefGoogle Scholar with regard to the shift from the older European-oriented generation to a new American-oriented generation of scholars in the field of higher education.

108 Ackerman, , The Americanization of Israeli Education, p. 233Google Scholar .

109 Steinberg, Gerald, ‘The Academic Boycott against Israel’, The Jewish Political Studies Review, 15:34 (2003)Google Scholar .

110 See, Fairclough, , Discourse and Text, p. 204Google Scholar : More attention should be devoted to the examination of the manner in which media messages are taken up, used and transformed in various spheres of life – the family, work, political activities, leisure activities, religion, etc.

111 As Dachs and Peters note: ‘Europeans and Israelis need to develop a greater curiosity and understanding of one another's values, interests and domestic society. The media is critical in this task. It can help Israelis and Europeans understand not only what unites them but also show how their priorities and concerns differ. By doing so, it can go a long way to ensure that the future dialogue between Israelis and Europeans is better grounded in reality and not distorted by false expectations and mutual misperceptions’, Dachs, and Peters, , Israel and Europe, p. 22Google Scholar .

112 See, Remez, Gideon, ‘The Treatment of Europe by the Israeli Media’, published in Harpaz, Guy (ed.), Newsletter of the Israeli Association for the Study of European Integration, 11 (2004), p. 64Google Scholar [in Hebrew], available at: {http://micro5.mscc.huji.ac.il/~iasei/}, p. 1; Dachs, and Peters, Joel, Israel and Europe, pp. 2022Google Scholar .

113 Remez, ‘The Treatment of Europe’; Dachs, and Peters, , Israel and Europe, pp. 2022Google Scholar .

114 See, however, the articles by Ari Syrquin on the EU, available at: {http://www.jpost.com}.

115 For a recent survey, see Pardo, Report on the EU through Israeli Eyes.

116 Dachs, and Peters, , Israel and Europe, p. 21Google Scholar .

117 Remez, , The Treatment of Europe by the Israeli Media, at p. 65Google Scholar ; Dachs, and Peters, , Israel and Europe, pp. 2122Google Scholar .

118 Ibid.

119 Dachs, and Peters, , Israel and Europe, p. 22Google Scholar .

120 Ibid.

121 Dachs, and Peters, , Israel and Europe, p. 21Google Scholar .

122 Remez, , The Treatment of Europe by the Israeli Media, at pp. 6566Google Scholar .

123 Nye, , Soft Power, pp. 7576Google Scholar .

124 Askjellerud, Sashana, ‘The Tourist: A Messenger of Peace?’, Annals of Tourism Research, 30 (2003), p. 741CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Karshenas, Majid, ‘A Step Towards Other Cultures to give a Chance to Peace’, in Robinson, M., Evans, N. and Callaghan, P. (eds), Tourism and Cultural Change (Sunderland: British Publishers, 1996)Google Scholar .

125 For some official statistics, see last accessed on 1 September 2009. {http://www.cbs.gov.il/www/tourism_sp/tab16.pdf}

126 See, Oz-Salzberger, Fania, Israelis in Berlin (Jerusalem: Keter, 2001), p. 199Google Scholar [in Hebrew] (author's translation): ‘Young Israelis […] assumed that it was possible to skip over Europe, to talk above her head with America, or with the Near East, or with the Far East’.

127 For official Israeli statistics, see {http://www.cbs.gov.il/www/tourism_sp/tab14.pdf} last accessed on 1 September 2009.

128 For official Israeli statistics, see {http://www.cbs.gov.il/www/tourism_sp/tab4.pdf} last accessed on 1 September 2009.

129 Ibid.

130 Risse, Let's Argue.

131 Sarto, Del, Israeli Identity, p. 68Google Scholar .

132 Keridis, , Europe and Israel: What Went Wrong?, pp. 68Google Scholar .

133 For an intriguing account of this theme, see Ben-Israel, Hedva, ‘Summing Up’, in Kühnel, , Troubled Waters, p. 102104Google Scholar .

134 See, Milliken, , The Study of Discourse in International Relations, p. 229Google Scholar . See also, Adler, , Seizing the Middle Ground, p. 341Google Scholar : The political selection process is influenced in addition by the political leaders' expectations of progress of ideas and institutions that conform to concepts that have been brought to public awareness.

135 Pace, , The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, p. 297ffGoogle Scholar .

136 Ibid.

137 Ibid.

138 Del Sarti, Israeli Identity, p. 62: ‘Israelis may find some difficulties in assessing the concept of national identity prevailing in Europe, including its various facets. The widespread irrelevance of religious narratives for the definition of national identities, the importance attached to the civic notion of citizenship, the relevance of cultural homogeneity, the perceived threat of mass immigration, the existence of a somewhat hybrid and overarching European identity – along with the obvious absence of a “European people”, these features of collective identities in Europe may be deeply puzzling for Israelis’.

139 Gerald Steinberg, ‘Kantian Pegs into Hobbesian Holes: Europe's Policy in Arab-Israeli Peace Efforts’, a paper presented at the conference ‘The EU in Regional and Bilateral Dispute Settlement’, organised by the Israeli Association for the Study of European Integration in cooperation with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, The EU-Israel Forum, The German Innovation Centre and the Interdisciplinary Centre, Herzlia (24–25 October 2004), at pp. 8, 20, available at: {http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/iasei/index.html}. See, Dror, Y., ‘The EU and Israel: Radically Different Worldviews’, in Gerstenfeld, , Israel and Europe, pp. 25, 3132, 35Google Scholar .

140 Ibid.

141 Harpaz, Guy, ‘Normative Power Europe and the Problem of a Legitimacy Deficit: An Israeli Perspective’, European Foreign Affairs Review, 12:1 (2007), p. 89Google Scholar .

142 Shavit, and Reinhartz, , Glorious, Accursed Europe, p. 176Google Scholar .

143 Harpaz, Normative Power Europe.

144 Harpaz, Normative Power Europe. It may be argued with some force that this critical narrative is more widespread amongst those belonging to the Israeli right-wing camp, the Orthodox religious community and lower socio-economic layers of the Israeli society, and less prevalent amongst those belonging to the left-wing camp, secular community, and elitist layers of the Israeli society, see Keridis, Europe and Israel: What Went Wrong? Similarly, an argument is made that Jews of a European background are less critical of Europe than those originating from Arab countries. Nonetheless, it is still submitted, based on a close examination of the Israeli press, on scholarly works, on media coverage, on my own experience with teaching thousands of Israeli students in numerous academic institutions, and on the outcome of public polls, that this negative narrative is not confined to specific ethno-religious or socio-economic quarters of the Israeli society but is prevalent in wide social, academic and political circles in Israel. For public polls, see Dror, Y. and Pardo, S., ‘Approaches and Principles for an Israeli Grand Strategy towards the EU’, European Foreign Affairs Review, 11:1 (2006), p. 11, at pp. 2830Google Scholar .

145 Chevallard, Ambassador, ‘The EU's relations to Israel’, in Kühnel, Bianca (ed.), Troubled Waters: Europe and its Relations with the US and Israel (Jerusalem: The Helmut Kohl Institute for European Studies (2003)Google Scholar .

146 See Resolution Number 796, Israeli Reaction to the Decision of the European Countries in Venice (15 June 1980) (with the author).

147 Grosbard, Ofer, Menachem Begin – A Portrait of a Leader – A Biography (Tel Aviv: Resling, 2006), pp. 95, 154, 164, 213Google Scholar .

148 Ibid., especially at pp. 63–78.

149 Ish-Shalom, , Theory as a Hermeneutical Mechanism, pp. 573574Google Scholar .

150 Chilton, and Ilyin, , Metaphor in Political Discourse, p. 10Google Scholar ; See Pace, , The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, p. 306Google Scholar with respect to such a use by Israeli Prime Minister Sharon.

151 Krebs, and Jackson, , Twisting Tongues and Twisting Arms, p. 39ffGoogle Scholar .

152 Haaretz (13 October 2004)Google Scholar .

153 Quoted in Tovias, Alfred, ‘Israel and the Barcelona Process: The First Five Years’, in Boehnke, Klaus (ed), Israel and Europe – A Complex Relationship (Frankfurt: DUV, 2003), p. 37, at p. 43CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

154 See also the response of the Israeli Foreign Ministry to the EU stance with regard to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice regarding the Israeli Separation Barrier: ‘Israel is particularly disappointed by the European stand. The willingness of the EU to fall in with the Palestinian position […] raises doubts as to the ability of the EU to contribute anything constructive to the diplomatic process’, as quoted in Dror, and Pardo, , Approaches and Principles, p. 24Google Scholar , fn. 24.

155 See, for example, the very warm welcome by the Israeli political leadership of the German Chancellor Merkel during her visit to Israel in February 2008. See also former Prime Ministes Olmert's reaction to European intervention in the January 2009 conflict between E. Olmert (2009), ‘Statements by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the European leaders in Jerusalem following meeting with Egyptian President Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh’ (18 January 2009), available at: {http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Speeches+by+Israeli+leaders/2009/Statements_PM_Olmert_European_leaders_18-Jan-2009.htm}.

156 E. Olmert, ‘Statements by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the European leaders in Jerusalem following a meeting with Egyptian President Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh’ (18 January 2009), available at: {http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Speeches+by+Israeli+leaders/2009/Statements_PM_Olmert_European_leaders_18-Jan-2009.htm}.

157 For analysis, see Harpaz, G., ‘Mind the Gap: Narrowing the Legitimacy Gap in EU-Israeli Relations’, European Foreign Affairs Review, 13 (2008), p. 117Google Scholar .

158 Zalman Shoval, former Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Agence France Presse (12 February 2003), Jerusalem, as quoted in Aoun, , European Foreign Policy and the Arab-Israeli Dispute, p. 310Google Scholar : ‘The attitude of a number of European countries..has proven once again to Israel that it is impossible to trust Europe. […] This behaviour can only further reduce Europe's role in relation to that of the US regarding any settlement with the Palestinians’.

159 Drulák, , Motion, Container and Equilibrium, p. 501Google Scholar ; Fairclough, Discourse and Text.

160 For comparison, see Krebs, and Jackson, , Twisting Tongues and Twisting Arms, pp. 4647Google Scholar .

161 Ibid.

162 Adler, , Seizing the Middle Ground, p. 324Google Scholar .

163 For analysis, see Diez, , Speaking Europe, especially p. 611Google Scholar .

164 Adler, , Seizing the Middle Ground, pp. 322, 325Google Scholar .

165 Risse, Let's Argue; See also Diez and Steans, A Useful Dialogue?

166 Risse, Let's Argue, analysing the distinction offered by March, James and Olsen, Johan P., ‘The Institutional Dynamics of International Political Orders’, International Organization, 52:4 (1998), p. 943CrossRefGoogle Scholar . According to the rational-choice approach, participants in any given socio-political interaction are strategically engaged in communicative behaviour on the basis of their fixed identities and perceptions in order to realise and maximise their preferences and interests, by convincing others to change their perceptions, interests and identities (the ‘logic of consequentialism’), ibid. Traditional Social Constructivism on the other hand perceives social interaction as an instrument that assists in defining what is considered as a legitimate truth claim (the ‘logic of appropriateness’), ibid.

167 Ibid., at pp. 1–2 and 7–8. See also, J. Habermas, as quoted and translated by Risse, , Let's Argue, p. 9Google Scholar : Thus communicative actions ‘[…] are not coordinated via egocentric calculations of success, but through acts of understanding. Participants are not primarily oriented toward their own success […] they pursue their individual goals under the condition that they can co-ordinate their action plans on the basis of shared definitions of the situation’.

168 Wendt, , Collective Identity Formation, p. 390Google Scholar .

169 Neumann, Iver B., ‘Self and Other in International Relations’, European Journal of International Relations, 2:2 (1996), p. 139CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

170 Ibid.

171 For criticism of the Habermas' model when applied to concrete negotiations or dialogues, see Wodak, R. and Koller, V. (eds), Handbook of Communication in the Public Sphere (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2008).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

172 Yet it must be remembered that Habermas, too, treated lifeworld as background knowledge required to perform communicative action.

173 Krebs, and Jackson, , Twisting Tongues and Twisting Arms, pp. 3940Google Scholar .

174 See Sarto, Del, Setting the (Cultural) Agenda, pp. 322323Google Scholar ; Bloom, William, Personal Identity, National Identity and International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 26CrossRefGoogle Scholar : An inter-cultural dialogue allows parties to face each other qua their previously defined differences. Any type of interaction, including dialogue, contributes to a sense of solidarity and similarity within each group.

175 Sarto, Del, Setting the (Cultural) Agenda, pp. 323, 326Google Scholar .

176 Barbaras, Jason, ‘How Deliberation Affects Policy Options’, American Political Science Review, 98:4 (2004), p. 687, at pp. 689, 699CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

177 Sarto, Del, Setting the (Cultural) Agenda, p. 322Google Scholar .

178 See note 33 above.

179 Adler, , Seizing the Middle Ground, pp. 322324Google Scholar .

180 For an interesting account of this theme, see Oz-Salzberger, , Israelis in Berlin, p. 39Google Scholar .

181 Adler, , Seizing the Middle Ground, pp. 322327Google Scholar .

182 Ibid., pp. 322–4; Ish-Shalom, , Theory as a Hermeneutical Mechanism, p. 567Google Scholar .

183 Ibid., pp. 325–44.

184 Ibid.

185 Lapid, , Culture's Ship: pp. 3, 79Google Scholar .

186 See, by analogy, Risse, , Let's Argue, p. 7Google Scholar : ‘Arguing implies that actors try to challenge the validity claims inherent in any causal or normative statement and seek a communicative consensus about their understanding of a situation as well as justifications for the principles and norms guiding their action. Argumentative rationality also implies that the participants in a discourse are open to being persuaded by the better argument and that relationships of power and social hierarchies recede in the background. Argumentative and deliberative behaviour is as goal oriented as strategic interaction, but the goal is not to attain one's fixed preferences, but to seek reasoned consensus. Actors' interests, preferences and perceptions … is no longer fixed, but is subject to discursive challenges.’

187 Former Israeli Ambassador to the EU, Oded Eran, ‘The Role of the EU in the Middle East’, the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Jerusalem (10 January 2005): ‘[…] What I think is needed above all is a quiet and intimate dialogue between Israel and the EU to ensure that Europe's potential contribution can be fully benefited from’, as quoted in Dror, and Pardo, , Approaches and Principles, at pp. 3334Google Scholar .

188 Dachs, and Peters, , Israel and Europe, p. 12Google Scholar .

189 See Oz, , The Slopes of the Volcano, pp. 63, 7980Google Scholar : ‘[…] our discussion with Europe is not closed and should not be closed. We have much to talk about. We certainly have issues to dispute, and there is room for pain and anger. But the time has come to renew our conversation with Europe – and not only at a political level. We have to talk about the present and about the future. And it is fitting for us to talk in depth about the past – on one condition: that we always remember that our past belongs to us, and we do not belong to it […] I believe that putting ourselves in the place of others, imaging that we are those others, provides a very strong antidote to bigotry and hate. I believe that authors who have us imagine we are others immunize us to some degree from Satan's pranks, including those of the inner Satan, the Mephistopheles in our hearts […]’ (author's translation from Hebrew); Kaniuk, , Der Letzte Berliner, p. 216Google Scholar : ‘Were Israeli and German authors and poets to sit down together for a prolonged debate something would be cleared up, but most of the German authors have sat with American or French authors, not with us’ (author's translation from Hebrew).