Israel’s liberal democracy is arguably both the most vulnerable and the most vibrant in the world.With the least institutional checks and balances, the Israeli public has leapt to its feet in pro-democracy demonstrations to protest the government’s plan of “judicial reform.” These demonstrations are the most extensive and committed street protests ever. A quarter of the population has participated and the protests have continued for over 40 weeks. Current events in Israel will show whether an autocratizing regime can crush even the most potent protests or if popular resistance can upend even the most structurally fortunate autocratizers. Much depends on grasping the origins of “democratic backsliding” and devising fresh ways to address it.
Uriel Abulof is an associate professor of political science at Tel Aviv University, teaching at Cornell University. Abulof studies the politics of fear, happiness and hope, legitimation, social movements, nationalism, and ethnic conflicts. He has published over sixty peer-reviewed academic articles, and several books and edited volumes, including The Mortality and Morality of Nations (Cambridge University Press) and Living on the Edge: The Existential Uncertainty of Zionism (Haifa University Press). Abulof introduces “political existentialism” as novel approach in the social sciences. He directs various public projects, including Double-Edged, a Psychology Today blog, the Sapienism initiative, and the edX award-wining online course, HOPE. He is currently working on three book projects, including Nemeses: How Existential Conflicts Make Us Our Own Worst Enemies and Humanity’s Midlife Crisis: The Existential Deadlock of Liberalism. Uriel entwines his research with activism for Israeli democracy.
PU ID only - RSVP required firstname.lastname@example.org
Reception at 6 pm; dinner talk from 7pm in 019 Bendheim