Zeev Sternhell

Poland, 1935 - 2020

In 2008, Israel Prize laureate Zeev Sternhell, the former editor of The Jerusalem Quarterly and a long-time supporter of the Israeli peace movement, was injured in a pipe bomb attack at his home for his stand against the Israeli policy towards the Palestinians. A fervent Zionist since childhood, he left Poland, where he barely escaped the brutal madness of the Holocaust, for Israel in 1951. An emeritus professor of political science and a fellow of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities of Israel, he was one of the world’s leading experts on the history of fascism and a resolute defender of the rationalist traditions of the Enlightenment. His most influential books translated into English The Birth of Fascist Ideology (1994, with M. Sznajder and M. Ashéri) and Neither Right nor Left. Fascist Ideology in France (1995), changed the historic perception of fascism. His work The Anti-Enlightenment Tradition (2006) presents a controversial new view of the fall of democracy and the rise of radical nationalism in the twentieth century. For his outstanding contribution to French culture, he was awarded the prestigious titles of Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and of Commandeur des Palmes Académiques.