Transformative Justice

Israeli Identity on Trial
Leora Bilsky
Foreword by Richard Bernstein
Can Israel be both Jewish and democratic?


Transformative Justice, Leora Bilsky's landmark study of Israeli political trials, poses this deceptively simple question. The four trials that she analyzes focus on identity, the nature of pluralism, human rights, and the rule of law-issues whose importance extends far beyond Israel's borders. Drawing on the latest work in philosophy, law, history, and rhetoric, Bilsky exposes the many narratives that compete in a political trial and demonstrates how Israel's history of social and ideological conflicts in the courtroom offers us a rare opportunity to understand the meaning of political trials. The result is a bold new perspective on the politics of justice and its complex relationship to the values of liberalism.

Leora Bilsky is Professor of Law, Tel Aviv University.

Praise / Awards

  • "Bilsky's book is a breakthrough essay on the theory and practice of political trials. Moving far beyond the conventional theories, it also brilliantly illuminates the role that political trials have played in defining the status of Jews and Arabs in Israeli public life."
    —Bruce Ackerman, Yale University
  • "What is distinctive in Bilsky's work is the breadth of her interdisciplinarity, a breadth that is achieved without any sacrifice of substance. Her book makes an important and substantial contribution to our understanding of trials as tools of democratic renewal."
    —Lawrence Douglas, Amherst University
  • "A remarkable book - one that can be read on a number of levels and from a variety of perspectives...A compelling narrative that is at once gripping and thought-provoking-one raising some of the most profound questions about the relationship of politics, history, social identity, and the law."
    —Richard Berstein, from Forward

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Review Law and Politics Book Review | 5/1/2005

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 392pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2004
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03037-8

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  • $31.95 U.S.

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