Review of Amossy (2018): Une formule dans la guerre des mots: "La délégitimation d’Israël"
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In times of deepening social and political devides, of populist polarization and polemic that replace logic with emotion and blind trust in one strong leader, the democratic ideal of politics as finding a compromise between oposing parties based on reasoned argumentation almost appears to be naïve. Even though heightend by current socio-political developments, the controversy over the role and legitimacy of logic (logos), emotion (pathos) and personality (ethos) for political discourse has always been an issue for rhetoric and argumentation theory, to which different approaches have adopted different positions. The latter include, e.g., Aristotle’s “Rhetoric”, Perelman and Olbrecht-Tyteca’s “Nouvelle Rhétorique”, van Eemeren and Grootendorst’s “Pragma-dialectics” and Walton’s “New Dialectic”. In the Aristotelian tradition of rhetorical argumentation, Ruth Amossy (a.o. Amossy 2014, 2018), professor emerita at Tel-Aviv University and author of numerous books and articles on argumentation and rhetoric, has long both underlined the relevance of ethos and pathos for contemporary political discourse and advocated the study of polemics as argumentative modality within political discourses of dissent that cannot necessarily be dissolved. With Une formule dans la guerre des mots: “La délégitimation d’Israël” (2018), published in French in Delphine Denis’ series “L’univers rhétorique” (Classique Garnier, Paris), Amossy makes a case for her approach focussing on the argumentative objectives as well as the socio-political functions of the discursive formula “la délégitimation d’Israël” (“the delegitimization of Israel”) within debates on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the French speaking public sphere.