Doves Among Hawks

Struggles of the Israeli Peace Movements

Part of the CERI/Sciences Po. series
March 2019 9781787380240 224pp


What has become of Israel’s peace movement? In the early 1980s, it was a major political force, bringing hundreds of thousands onto the streets; but since then, its importance has declined amid spiralling violence. Now, and especially since the second Intifada of 2000–5, the ‘doves’ of the Israel/Palestine conflict struggle to be heard over its ‘hawks’, and the days of mass mobilisation are over.

Doves Among Hawks charts the successes and failures of a beleaguered peace movement, from its formation after the Six-Day War to the current security-obsessed climate, where Israel’s ‘doves’ seem to be fighting a lost and outdated battle. Samy Cohen’s history of a peace process that once took on the Israeli settler movements exposes how that cause has been derailed and demoralised by suicide attacks.

But the peace movement isn’t dead—it has simply transformed. From human rights monitors to lobbies of the bereaved, Cohen reveals a multitude of smaller, grassroots organisations that have emerged with unexpected energy. These lawyers, doctors, army reservists, former diplomats and senior security personnel are the unsung heroes of his story.


‘The author analyses [the] trajectory of the [Israeli peace movement since 1978] against the backdrop of the rightward drift in Israeli party politics, the increasing violence of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and the fragmentation of the peace movement in the 21st century.’ — Choice

‘One of the most compelling attempts to investigate the decline of the peace camp and the movements behind it. … this is an important and thought-provoking book for both scholars and laypeople who are concerned about the current hawkish tendencies in Israeli politics and society.’ — Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs

‘Highly inspirational’ — Journal of Peace Research

‘Excellent . . . detailed, informative and highly readable.’ — The Methodist Recorder

‘Beautifully describes the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1967 … a very important book’ — Yoram Peri, Jack Kay Professor of Israel Studies, University of Maryland Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies

‘Offers a much-needed balanced, historically nuanced, and sophisticated social movement-based answer to one of the thorniest questions occupying scholars, politicians, and journalists of Israeli and Middle Eastern politics: what has become of the Israeli peace camp?’ — Eitan Alimi, Associate Professor of Political Sociology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

‘Both overwhelmingly depressing and inspiringly hopeful, this extensive history of the Israeli Peace Camp tells a story of decline, but also of the proliferation of small-scale organizations and activists. Cohen navigates skilfully across the political spectrum—a rare achievement in today’s political climate.’ — Hagar Kotef, Senior Lecturer in Political Theory & Comparative Political Thought, SOAS University of London



Samy Cohen is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at CERI Sciences Po, Paris, specialising in foreign policy and defence studies. He is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, notably on French defence and foreign policymaking, the relationship between states and non-state actors, democracies’ war on terrorism and Israel's war against terrorists.

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