chapter  19
18 Pages

A tertiary model for countering terrorism in liberal democracies: The case of Israel: Ami Pedahzur and Magnus Ranstorp


For many years, scholars have been preoccupied with one of the central dilemmas facing liberal democracies that wish to maintain their legitimacy in view of the varying degrees of challenges posed by terror and political violence. At the core of this dilemma is to what degree a democracy can lead an effective struggle against subversive elements while at the same time uphold its liberal, or even democratic, character. In the effort to defend itself against terrorism, how can a liberal democratic state avoid the slippery slope that so easily may lead it to adopt the exact same methods as those who wish to undermine it? In his pioneering and exhaustive book, Terrorism and the Liberal State, Paul Wilkinson expounds upon this problem with great clarity:

The primary objective of counter-terrorist strategy must be the protection and maintenance of liberal democracy and the rule of law. It cannot be suffi ciently stressed that this aim overrides in importance even the objective of eliminating terrorism and political violence as such. Any bloody tyrant can “solve” the problem of political violence if he is prepared to sacrifi ce all considerations of humanity, and to trample down all constitutional and judicial rights.1