The Israeli political theorist, Shlomo Avineri, a longtime friend of Dissent, died in Jerusalem on December 1. He made his reputation writing major books on Marx and Hegel, but he was never simply an academic. Throughout his life, he was politically engaged, a public intellectual who often criticized the policies of Israeli governments, but also served in one: he was director general of the Foreign Ministry during the first administration of Yitzhak Rabin. He defended his own version of liberal Zionism in books on Herzl and Zionist history and in many articles.
Born in Poland in 1933, he came to Israel in 1939 with his family; he studied in Israel and England, often visited Eastern Europe and wrote about its politics. He was an intellectual very much like the first generation of Dissent editors and writers and a friend and colleague of the second generation, too. We saw him whenever we were in Israel, for a briefing on the political situation. He coined the phrase hatzi aliyah (halfway immigration) to describe those of us who remained in the diaspora but engaged closely with Israeli politics and culture. We halfway types will miss him greatly.
Selected Writings by Shlomo Avineri Published in Dissent:
Toward a Socialist Theory of Nationalism, Fall 1990
The Communist Manifesto at 150, Winter 1998
Self-Determination and Realpolitik, Summer 2005
After Communism: Travails of Democratization, Summer 2008