The Rise of Ethnic Nationalism
Israeli Druze and Jewish Israelis protest the passage of the Nation-State Law (Photo: That's Pretty Good/Wikimedia Commons) CC BY-SA 4.0

The Rise of Ethnic Nationalism

Prof. of History and former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami will discuss the recent ethno-nationalist trends in Israel, Europe and around the globe, and the dangers this dynamic poses to world peace.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

6:30 PM - 7:45 PM
UCLA School of Law, Room 1347



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Sponsored by the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Co-sponsored by the Department of History, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, International and Comparative Law Program, Center for the Study of International Migration, Center for European and Russian Studies, Center for Middle East Development and Burkle Center for International Relations.

About the Talk

Despite rapid globalization over the last few decades, nationalism has re-emerged as a powerful force triggered in recent years by economic insecurity and inequality as well as fears of social and demographic change.

This return to the politics of blood and belonging has swept the globe. The passage of the controversial "nation-state law" in Israel has been seen as part of this tide of ethno-nationalist politics. But the trend has also been spotted in Europe, where an alliance of right-wing nationalist parties has been established in the lead up to the 2019 European Parliament elections. Some have also attributed the 2016 election of Donald Trump to this surge in identity politics.

In his talk, Prof. Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli Foreign Minister and Co-Founder of the Toledo International Center for Peace, will discuss the global forces that have led to this resurgence of ethnic nationalism, the implications of this growing phenomenon and its different manifestations, and the need for countries to avoid disaster by devising a new way to balance liberal democratic values and people’s craving for a sense of belonging.

About the Speaker

Shlomo Ben-Ami is an historian and former Israeli diplomat and politician. He currently serves as vice-president of the Toledo International Center for Peace, of which he is co-founder. During the Winter Quarter of the 2018-19 academic year, Professor Ben-Ami will join the Y&S Nazarian Center as a Visiting Professor to teach a course on Israel's conflicts with its neighbors as well as peacemaking efforts.

Prof. Ben-Ami  is professor of history emeritus at Tel Aviv University where he held the Elias Sourasky Chair for Spanish and Latin American Studies. He also created the Curiel Center for International Studies at Tel Aviv University, which he headed from 1996-1996.  

He is the author of, among others, The Origins of the Second Republic in Spain and Fascism from Above: The Dictatorship of Primo de Rivera in Spain (both published by Oxford University Press); Quel Avenir pour Israel? (Presses Universitaires de France, 2001); A Front Without a Homefront: A Voyage to the Boundaries of the Peace Process (Yedioth Ahatonoth, Tel-Aviv, 2004); and Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Arab-Israeli Tragedy (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 2005 and Oxford University Press, 2006). 

Ben-Ami served as Israel’s Ambassador to Spain from 1987-1991, and was a member of Israel’s delegation to the Madrid Peace Conference. In 1993, he headed the Israeli delegation at the Multilateral Talks on Refugees in the Middle East held in Ottawa, Canada. In 1996 he was elected to the Knesset and in 1999 was appointed as Minister of Public Security, becoming Foreign Minister in 2000. While serving in that role, he conducted the secret negotiations with Abu Ala in Stockholm. He participated with Prime Minister Barak in the Camp David Summit, after which he led the Israeli team in all the different phases of the negotiations with the Palestinians, including Taba.

From 2006-2010, Ben-Ami served on the board of International Crisis Group and is now a member of the Crisis Group Senior Advisers.

He served as special advisor to Colombia’s President Santos and the Colombian negotiating team in the peace negotiations with the FARC guerrilla and, through the Toledo Center, has also been involved in conflict resolution processes in the Dominican Republic, Russia-Georgia, Libya, Spanish Sahara, and Israel-the Arab world.


Sponsor(s): Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, Center for the Study of International Migration, Center for European and Russian Studies, Burkle Center for International Relations, Center for Middle East Development, Department of History, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, International & Comparative Law Program (ICLP) at UCLA School of Law

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