Shlomo Avineri

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Shlomo Avineri (Hebrew: שלמה אבינרי) (born 1933, Bielsko, Poland) is an Israeli political scientist. He is Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.[1] He also serves as Recurring Visiting Professor at the Central European University in Budapest[2] and Fellow of the Centrum für Angewandte Politikforschung in Munich.

Ideas[edit]

Avineri has written extensively in the history of political philosophy, especially on the political thought of Marx, Hegel, and on the early Zionist political theories of Moses Hess and Theodor Herzl. He has also written numerous books and articles on Middle Eastern affairs and international affairs.

Avineri contributed in revising Hegel's political thought and showing Hegel's pluralism. He criticized Karl Popper's theories about Hegel, where Popper denounced Hegel as an apologist of state power, and precursor of 20th century totalitarianism.

Avineri was also involved in the debate over the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He argued that it was the pre-capitalist structure of 1917 Russia, as well as the strong authoritarian traditions of the Russian state and its weak civil society, which pushed the Soviet revolution towards its repressive development.

His recent intellectual biography of Herzl shows how developments in his native Austro-Hungarian Empire, rather than the Dreyfus Affair in France, convinced Herzl of the failure of Jewish emancipation in Europe and of the need to find a political solution for the Jews, based on national self-determination, outside of Europe.

His work has appeared in Dissent,[3] Foreign Affairs,[4] and The New York Review of Books.[5] He frequently contributes Op-eds to Haaretz. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Jewish Review of Books.

Positions held[edit]

He served as Director of Eshkol Research Institute (1971–74); Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences (1974–76); Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1976–77); and Director of the Institute for European Studies at the Hebrew University (1997–2002).[6]

Avineri has had numerous visiting appointments including Yale University, Wesleyan University, Australian National University, Cornell University, University of California, The Queen's College, Oxford, Northwestern University, Cardozo School of Law, and Oxford and, most recently, the University of Toronto.[7] He has been a visiting scholar at the Wilson Center, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,[8] and Brookings Institute in Washington, DC, and at the Institute of World Economics and International Relations in Moscow.

He is currently Recurring Visiting Professor at the Central European University, in Budapest.

Avineri served as Director-General of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1975–77.[9] He also headed the Israeli delegation to the UNESCO General Assembly, and in 1979 he was a member of the joint Egyptian-Israeli commission that negotiated the Cultural and Scientific Agreement between the two countries. When the Rabin government appointed Avineri to the post of Director-General of the Foreign Ministry in 1975, this was harshly criticized by the Likud opposition because of Avineri's support for negotiations with the PLO (a Likud MK even compared him to "Lord Haw-Haw", the British traitor who had broadcast from Berlin during World War II and was later executed). During his time at the Foreign Ministry, Avineri followed the official line of the Rabin government preferring the "Jordanian Option" and participated in some of the meetings with King Hussein. But in his writings, and internal Foreign Ministry memoranda, he tried to present the conflict with the Palestinians within a wider context of a conflict between two national movements, beyond the narrow ideological or security-oriented conventional Israeli discourse. At that time, some of the first unofficial meetings between Israeli peace activists and PLO officials also took place. These developments were curtailed by the Likud electoral victory in 1977, which also led to Avineri's resignation from the Foreign Ministry, but were resumed in the 1990s in the second government of Rabin and led to the Oslo accords between Israel and the PLO.

Honors and awards[edit]

Avineri is the recipient of many honors and awards including:

  • A British Council Scholarship (1961);
  • The Rubin Prize in the Social Sciences (1968).
  • The Naphtali Prize for the study of Hegel (1977).
  • The Present Tense Award for the Study of Zionism (1982).
  • The Israel Prize (1996), for political science.[10]
  • In 2006, he received the Israel Political Science Association Award for his contribution to the discipline in Israel and abroad.
  • He holds a Ph.D. Honoris Causa from the University of Cluj-Napoca (Romania).
  • In 2009, he received the Italian Solidarity Order of Merit (O.S.S.I), with the rank of "Commendatore", from Italian President Giorgio Napolitano
  • In 2010 he received a Ph.D.Honoris Causa from the Weizmann Institute, Rehovot.
  • In 2013 he was elected to the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (PAU).

Selected publications[edit]

  • The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx (1968)
  • Karl Marx on Colonialism and Modernization (1968)
  • Israel and the Palestinians (1971)
  • Hegel's Theory of the Modern State (1972)
  • Marx's Socialism (1973)
  • Varieties of Marxism (1977)
  • The Making of Modern Zionism (1981)
  • Moses Hess: Prophet of Communism and Zionism (1985)
  • Arlosoroff: A Political Biography (1989)
  • Communitarianism and Individualism (co-editor with Avner de Shalit) (1992)
  • Europe's Century of Discontent (co-editor with Zeev Sternhell) (2003)
  • Moses Hess: The Holy History of Mankind & Other Writings (2004)
  • Herzl - Theodor Herzl and the Foundation of the Jewish State (2013)

Besides Hebrew and English editions of his books, they have been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Russian and Japanese.

Editor and translator[edit]

  • Historical introduction to the Hebrew edition of Theodore Herzl's Diaries
  • Avineri also translated Karl Marx's Early Writings into Hebrew.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]