The Backlash Against Israeli Human Rights NGOs: Grounds, Players, and Implications

  • Karine LamarcheEmail author


This article examines the recent backlash against Israeli human rights and advocacy NGOs led jointly by right-wing organizations, by mainstream media, and by the government. Contrarily to what was theorized in the literature dedicated to movement/countermovement dynamics, it suggests that the birth and rise of ultra-nationalist movements created in reaction to domestic NGOs dealing with the consequences of the occupation cannot be explained by the achievements of the latter or by the threats they pose locally to segments of the Israeli population. Rather, this article shows they are an indirect consequence of recent global developments mainly stemming from the Palestinian internationalization strategy. Yet, these developments have strong effects not only at the international level but also at the local level. One of them lies in the fact that NGOs are now presented as “foreign agents” for obliquely nurturing voices that speak up worldwide against Israeli policy.


Israeli-Palestinian conflict Human rights NGOs Countermovements Backlash Internationalization Boycott 



I would like to thank the organizers of and participants in the “Citizen Loyalties” workshop held at the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie (Berlin) in June 2016 for their comments on the first draft of this paper. Many thanks also to Maxime, Marcus, Amiel, and Tal for their invaluable help.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that he/she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre Nantais de Sociologie (CENS), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)NantesFrance

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