chapter  12
19 Pages

Right-wing terrorism in a comparative perspective: The case of split delegitimization: Ehud Sprinzak


Insurgent terrorism usually evokes the association of an anti-regime terror and claims for a universal message. The atrocities involved are committed against an established regime that is charged with a fl agrant violation of the fundamental human rights of either its citizens or subject nations. There is, however, one common form of insurgent terrorism which is not directed primarily against governments and is not committed in the name of universal values. The terror organizations involved, usually right-wing collectivities, vigilante groups or racist organizations, do not speak in the name of humanity. They are particularistic by their very nature and respond often to perceptions of insecurity and threats. They fi ght private wars against hostile ethnic communities, “illegitimate” religious denominations, classes of undesired people or “inferior races”. The enemies they feel threaten them are, variably, Jews, Arabs, Catholics, Blacks, Communists, homosexuals, foreign workers or other classes of “inferior” human beings “who want to get more than they deserve”.