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Amy Campbell, an undergraduate student and Laidlaw Scholar in the Department of Geography, has authored an article entitled "Illiberal Democracy: Israeli Democratic Erosion" in the Columbia Undergraduate Research Journal. Congratulations Amy!

Illiberal Democracy: Israeli Democratic Erosion


Amy Campbell, an undergraduate in Geography and a Laidlaw Scholar, has authored an article now published in the Columbia Undergraduate Research Journal. The article is based on her interviews with human rights lawyers, Israeli and Palestinian politicians, NGO leaders, and academics.

In the article, now available online, Campbell examines Israel's 2018 Nation-State Law to think about issues of illiberal democracy. The full abstract is below:


This paper uses Israel’s 2018 Nation-State Law, which guarantees the “ethnic-religious character of Israel as exclusively Jewish,” as a lens to reveal the ongoing socio-political change in Israel and processes of democratic erosion. In addition to having immediate relevance for contemporary Israeli policy, especially concerning the status of Arab Israelis and the likely annexation of the West Bank, the law poses a profound, existential challenge for the maintenance of Israel as a democratic state. Drawing on Fareed Zakaria’s theory of “illiberal democracy,” this paper analyses the implications of this law for Israel, for the linked concepts of liberalism and democracy, and for the future of the democratic state in an increasingly illiberal world.

The law is a culmination of other basic laws and political thresholds, and accelerates settler colonialism. Gaining more international attention than previous basic laws, the political thresholds prior to the Nation-State Law and cumulative legislation building up to the debate have been ignored. Analysing these thresholds will reveal the efficacy of supporting such a law and using nationhood provisions in other Western democratic constitutions as justification. This paper is a warning: to act upon seemingly insignificant anti-democratic legislation before political actions become irreparable.