Saturday, May 28, 2011

Politics – May 2011

The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.

~Barack Obama, May 19, 2011

Common sense does prevail. Sometimes it hesitates, sometimes it needs encouragement, but finally it comes about.

Gilad is still in captivity. Veshavu banim legvulam.

~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

“Do not rejoice when your enemies fall,
and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble.”
~Proverbs 24:17

The meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu captured the headlines during the past few days. Obama told Bibi what he expects of Israel.  Declaring that "the dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation," President Obama said that the solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must embody two sovereign states based on the 1967 borders with mutually agreed land swaps. Surprise, surprise. It took a while, but the right things need to be said. OK, so now the American president said that Israel should withdraw to the 1967 borders, and the Israeli prime minister replied that this is “impossible”. Mr Netanyahu should reflect on “Mission Impossible” to redefine what the boundaries of possibilities are. The poem of Sir Thomas Wyatt also comes to mind:

Is It Possible 

Is it possible
That so high debate,
So sharp, so sore, and of such rate,
Should end so soon and was begun so late?
Is it possible?

Is it possible
So cruel intent,
So hasty heat and so soon spent,
From love to hate, and thence for to relent?
Is it possible?

Is it possible
That any may find
Within one heart so diverse mind,
To change or turn as weather and wind?
Is it possible?

Is it possible
To spy it in an eye
That turns as oft as chance on die,
The truth whereof can any try?
Is it possible?

It is possible
For to turn so oft,
To bring that lowest which was most aloft,
And to fall highest yet to light soft:
It is possible.

All is possible
Whoso list believe.
Trust therefore first, and after preve,
As men wed ladies by licence and leave.
All is possible.

It is too early to say how the tension between the two friends will built and manifest itself. But it does seem that the differences between the two countries are difficult to reconcile. The two countries and administrations still need one another. Interests, as ever, will dictate events. The United States needs Israel more than ever as it is an island of relative stability compared to other countries in the boiling Middle East. But Israel needs the USA far more than the USA needs Israel.

President Obama has told aides and allies that he does not believe Netanyahu will ever be willing to make the required substantive concessions. I share Obama’s disbelief. Moreover, I think that Netanyahu is unwilling and unable to make the necessary concessions. Netanyahu had no intention to go to peace when he comprised his hawkish coalition government.

In his speech before American Congress on May 24, 2011, Netanyahu said that Israel "will not return to the indefensible borders of 1967" and that Jerusalem will remain undivided. "Israel will be generous on the size of a Palestinian state, but will be very firm on where we put the border with it," Netanyahu said.

September 2011 might be more dramatic than September 2000.

Earlier this month, Hamas and Fatah reached some understandings that enable them to create an interim unity government and hold elections within a year. Israel was the first to complain. Prime Minister Netanyahu informed Abu Mazen that he needs to choose between Hamas and Israel. Well, if you force him to choose between the two, that’s an easy choice, and it won’t be Israel. I am constantly puzzled how short-sighted “leaders” can be. Mr Netanyahu does not understand that the key for Israel’s survival in the long run is peace with all its neighbours, and that every movement towards peace serves Israel’s best interests. No one wants two Palestinian entities. No one means no one, including Israel. It is in Israel’s (and the West) interest to bolster and encourage moderate elements in the region, and to weaken radical elements. Empty “threats” will not do, especially when they lack any wisdom.

Like Old Cato, I will continue saying: The occupation is detrimental to Israel’s best interest. It was a colossal mistake to start it immediately after the Six Day War. Israeli leaders were blinded by the sheer magnitude of the victory. They failed to comprehend the full consequences of the decision to retain those territories, with the Palestinian people. Now we fully realize what the consequences are. Israel was able to sustain the occupation until now only because of the American support. If the US were to join Europe in a coordinated effort to put a pressure on Israel to allow the establishment of a Palestinian State in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, we would be in a very different place. Israel was (some still are) thankful to the US for its support, but actually this attitude does a disservice to Israel’s best interests. See what we got: Hamas in Gaza. Anything but peace.

We need to work with the moderates to establish a viable Palestinian State next to Israel, one that recognizes Israel and wishes to have flourishing economic relationships with Israel. Palestinians should be able to choose their own capital. Israel can help its neighbours a great deal, if it only wishes to. There are few countries in the world that have the innovative minds that Israel has. Israel did remarkable things during its short history. It could have achieved much more if our minds were free to think more about science and technology, and less about security. The best way to achieve security is through peace. The only way to achieve peace is by partition of Israel, evacuating settlements and establishing a Palestinian State.
I have recently reread the Peel Report. To recall, in 1936 a royal commission of inquiry called the Peel Commission after its chairman, William Robert Wellesley Peel, was sent by the British government on a fact-finding mission to Palestine. It recommended splitting the land between Arabs and Jews. The words of the committee ring true also today. Let me quote from the summary of the Report, available at

The advantages to the Arabs of Partition on the lines we have proposed may be summarized as follows:--
(i) They obtain their national independence and can co-operate on an equal footing with the Arabs of the neighbouring countries in the cause of Arab unity and progress.
(ii) They are finally delivered from the fear of being swamped by the Jews, and from the possibility of ultimate subjection to Jewish rule.
(iii) In particular, the final limitation of the Jewish National Home within a fixed frontier and the enactment of a new Mandate for the protection of the Holy Places, solemnly guaranteed by the League of Nations, removes all anxiety lest the Holy Places should ever come under Jewish control.
(iv) As a set-off to the loss of territory the Arabs regard as theirs, the Arab State will receive a subvention from the Jewish State. It will also, in view of the backwardness of Trans-Jordan, obtain a grant of £2,000,000 from the British Treasury; and, if an agreement can be reached as to the exchange of land and population, a further grant will be made for the conversion, as far as may prove possible, of uncultivable land in the Arab State into productive land from which the cultivators and the State alike will profit.

The advantages of Partition to the Jews may be summarized as follows:--
(i) Partition secures the establishment of the Jewish National Home and relieves it from the possibility of its being subjected in the future to Arab rule.
(ii) Partition enables the Jews in the fullest sense to call their National Home their own; for it converts it into a Jewish State. Its citizens will be able to admit as many Jews into it as they themselves believe can be absorbed. They will attain the primary objective of Zionism--a Jewish nation, planted in Palestine, giving its nationals the same status in the world as other nations give theirs. They will cease at last to live a minority life.
To both Arabs and Jews Partition offers a prospect--and there is none in any other policy--of obtaining the inestimable boon of peace. It is surely worth some sacrifice on both sides if the quarrel which the Mandate started could he ended with its termination... The Arabs throughout their history have not only been free from anti-Jewish sentiment but have also shown that the spirit of compromise is deeply rooted in their life. Considering what the possibility of finding a refuge in Palestine means to man thousands of suffering Jews, is the loss occasioned by Partition, great as it would be, more than Arab generosity can bear? In this, as in so much else connected with Palestine, it is not only the peoples of that country who have to be considered. The Jewish Problem is not the least of the many problems which are disturbing international relations at this critical time and obstructing the path to peace and prosperity. If the Arabs at some sacrifice could help to solve that problem, they would earn the gratitude not of the Jews alone but of all the Western World.

There was a time when Arab statesmen were willing to concede little Palestine to the Jews, provided that the rest of Arab Asia were free. That condition was not fulfilled then, but it is on the eve of fulfilment now. In less than three years' time all the wide Arab area outside Palestine between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean will be independent, and, if Partition is adopted, the greater part of Palestine will be independent too.

Moving swiftly from Peel to William and Kate. This past month we also witnessed a royal wedding. THE wedding of the decade. William reminds me of his mother, sweet, sensitive and kind. Kate is thoughtful, beautiful, calm and calculated. I wish the young, charming couple Mazal Tov and many years of mutual happiness. They will surely become the most sought-after paparazzi treasure.

April 29, 2011 was a great day for royal admirers and lovers throughout the world. Two billion people are said to have watched the event.

Reflections on April Newsletter
New World Order
al-Qaeda in Yemen
Wikileaks Israel
Ivan [John] Demjanjuk
Untold News
US Department of State v. Anti-Semitism
The Kibbutz Movement Is Celebrating Its Centennial Anniversary

Entries wanted for Daniel Pearl Awards

Kurt Schork Awards open for entries

New Books
Monthly Poem
Light Side

Free Gilad Shalit. The government should invest in his release. It should be one of its top priorities. Veshavu banim legvulam.

My heart goes to Gilad and his parents. Maybe now, through Abu Mazen, there will be renewed prospects for Gilad’s release. A country that does not do everything, but everything, to see that its soldiers are safe at home should not be surprised to see young men trying to avoid the battlefield, or the wearing of uniform altogether.

Bring Gilad home. Enough is enough.

Gilad Shalit

Reflections on April Newsletter

Nicolo Paganini was a giant violinist. It was not a coincidence that I named one of my poems after him. Professor Avi Ohry, Tel Aviv University (and an excellent drummer), commented:

About Nicolo Paganini. It is OK of course, to adore him and his musical abilities. From medico-historical perspectives- beyond his huge talent, he had some genetic advantages:

"Paganini suffered from the a connective tissue  disorder : "Ehlers-Danlos"- which allowed him more joint mobility in his fingers and from "Marfan Syndrome" - which gave him long limbs and fingers. He lost his teeth quite early (not connected with his playing the fiddle), became a gambler...and died of a laryngeal cancer (did he smoke?).

Some sources claim that he was "diagnosed with syphilis as early as 1822, and his remedy, which included mercury and opium, came with serious health and psychological side effects. In 1834, while still in Paris, he was treated for tuberculosis. Though his recovery was reasonably quick, his future career was marred with frequent cancellations due to various health problems, from the common cold to depression, which lasted from days to months."

He was also "treated" by the "father" of homeopathy:  "The world's greatest violinist, Niccolo Paganini, became Dr. Hahnemann's patient in 1837. He had to postpone a concert due to "sickness in the trachea". For many years Paganini had received diverse diagnoses and treatment. Initially he was diagnosed as having syphilis and treated with mercury. Due to the mercury treatment, all his teeth had fallen out, his mouth had ulcerated and he had abscesses on the jawbone. Paganini also suffered from chronic erection for several years and could ejaculate by the mere sight of women. Due to connective tissue issues, he had hyperextension of his fingers and could play violin very rapidly. He was called the ‘demon’ violinist."...

yours Avi


A new UN report asserts that Iran, not for the first time, is circumventing U.N. Security Council sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear program by using “front companies, financial transactions and concealed shipping methods”.

"Iran maintains its uranium enrichment and heavy water related activities ... and in the area of ballistic missiles, continues to test missiles and engage in prohibited procurement," the 
report said. 

The council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran in June 2010 for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment and negotiate its nuclear program.

The report also said most violations of the conventional arms ban involve Syria. Iran is known to arm terror proxies such as Hamas and Hezbollah through Syria, which transports weapons and supplies from Syrian storage sites to the Syrian-Lebanese border or by ship. 

For example, a weapons shipment from Iran that originated in Syria was intercepted by Israel in March. The ship, which was headed for Hamas-controlled Gaza, was carrying Kalashnikov bullets, mortar shells, missiles,  radar systems and launchers.

And in January, Iranian war ships passed through the Suez Canal conducting naval exercises with Syria. It was the first time Iran’s ships passed through Egypt’s international shipping waterway since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Meanwhile, Russia successfully completed a “vital pre-launch test” at its Iranian nuclear power plant in Bushehr. The test represented one of the “final stages before a formal start” of the reactors at the nuclear power plant.

Iran has systematically objected to international observation from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear watchdog group. Responding to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s letter about its atomic program, Iran said the talks must occur free of pressure from foreign entities.

Meanwhile, international leaders also are calling for sanctions on Syria for its disproportionate use of force against protesters. Almost 800 people have been killed and more than 8,000 have disappeared throughout the country.



Jordan, like many countries in the Arab world, is ruled by a small minority. The majority of the population has major grievances against the ruling elite. Therefore, Jordanian leaders are rightly concerned that the uproar might reach their country as well.  On February 1, 2011, after weeks of protests that preceded the uprisings in both Tunisia and Egypt, King Abdullah II dismissed the unpopular government of Samir Rifai and entrusted Marouf Al Bakhit, an ex-army general and former prime minister, with forming a new government. Bakhit’s major task would be “to take speedy practical and tangible steps to unleash a real political reform process that reflects [Jordan’s] vision of comprehensive reform, modernization and development.” While the references to political reform abounded in this newest letter, they were far from new.

Since acceding to the throne in 1999, the King has entrusted almost every appointed government with some aspect of political reform. What was novel about this particular letter was his candid admission that “the process has been marred by gaps and imbalances” and that these were the result of “fear of change by some who resisted it to protect their own interests . . . costing the country dearly and denying it many opportunities for achievement.”

In several speeches and press interviews over the last few years, the King has hinted at his frustration with those who did not wish to embrace change. The words in this letter, however, marked the clearest attack yet on those who resisted reform. The accusation was explicit: the motives behind resistance to change from such groups, which had in fact been created and sustained by the system over many decades, stemmed from their desire to protect their own private interests—even at the expense of the state.

Could reform efforts have taken a different course in Jordan? In a country where the king has broad powers over all branches of government, his expressed frustration over the struggling reform efforts begs the question of why the status quo remains intact. This decade-long process, initiated by the king, has been largely ignored by an ossified layer of elites seeking to protect their own interests. The clear discrepancy between the king’s directives to the seven prime ministers he had entrusted to form governments in his twelve years of power—and the actual record of reform completed by these respective governments—points to a structural problem that is all too often ignored.

An examination of the political reforms conducted by successive governments in Jordan over the last decade suggests that, in most cases, the King’s directives were ignored, diluted, and, at times, directly opposed. This does not imply that the objectives of this class and the monarch were always in contradiction, but suggests that the elite circles created monsters who will only acquiesce as long as the system perpetuates the old policy of favors.

These groups are therefore more likely to pursue policies that are antithetical to political reform, thus resulting in the gaps and imbalances lamented by the king’s latest letter. These rentier systems have already proven to be difficult to maintain and, in an Arab world that is increasingly demanding better governance and greater accountability, such ossified systems will come to pose significant threats to stability, particularly in resource-poor countries such as Jordan.

New World Order

There is a growing trend. A changing world order. The power of the USA is eroding, especially in the economic sphere which has significant implications on all other spheres. The new world order will be comprised of four centres: The USA; China; Russia, and Europe but Russia. These four powers have both the ability and the will to get themselves involved in world affairs and to influence events one way or another (India has the ability but not the will to do this). The USA should be keenly cognizant of the international cooperation on political affairs between China and Russia. Now it is not only Iran that brings about a united China-Russia front. It is also Syria which obviously lacks all the natural and economic assets that Iran has. Human rights activists do not expect much from China. We do expect more from Russia. Tanks v. humans should alarm all sensible people, notwithstanding their nation, religion and culture. As the British say: It is not to be done!


On May 1, 2011, Osama Bin-Laden, the most wanted man on earth, the iconic figure of terror, the face of al-Qaeda, was killed by an American special force unit in Pakistan. Those who live by the sword die by the sword. The world is a better place without the person who sent thousands of people to kill others in pursuit of the Caliphate (Islamic) State in different parts of the world.

At the same time, I was disturbed to see the sense of elation and sheer happiness of people rejoicing upon hearing that the US  prime enemy is dead.

This is not the end of al-Qaeda. The organization is operating in cells, in different parts of the world. It is comprised of loosely-knit webs of terror. Saif al-Adel, a former Egyptian special forces officer, has become the interim leader of al Qaeda, according to CNN. The decision was made by six to eight al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan, not the formal shura council, which is unable to gather in one place. Bin Laden’s presumed long-term successor is the Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al-Adel’s selection is a way to gauge how Saudis and Yemenis will react to an Egyptian leader.

For most jihadis, bin-Laden is a mythic figure, and now a martyr. They won’t stop, or become more moderate, as a result of bin-Laden’s death. Al-Qaeda activists may avenge the killing of their leader at the time they see fit. And they will launch attacks on their enemies, i.e. the west at large, when they can. Intelligence should be aware of and alert to the possible use of dirty bombs. There used to be a debate whether to resort to dirty bombs among al-Qaeda leaders. I think now all stoppers are removed.

al-Qaeda in Yemen

The ruling General People's Congress in Yemen has accepted a Gulf plan under which Saleh would quit, and al-Qaeda is expanding its presence in Yemen

A U.N. counter-terrorism official said that al Qaeda’s Yemen wing is probably the most dangerous of its regional offshoots since it is closest to the leadership and seeks to attack oil giant Saudi Arabia. The resurgent group changed its name to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in January in an apparent effort to revive the group in Saudi Arabia, where its activities had been curbed in 2006 by a vigorous government security campaign.

Anwar al-Awlaki, the charismatic Yemeni-American cleric and chief propagandist for al Qaeda Yemen, commented on the uprisings in the Arab world, saying that Islamist extremists had gleefully watched the success of protest movements against governments they had long despised: “The mujahedeen around the world are going through a moment of elation,” Awlaki wrote in a new issue of the English-language Qaeda magazine Inspire, “and I wonder whether the West is aware of the upsurge of mujahedeen activity in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Arabia, Algeria and Morocco?”

Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

Awlaki’s four-page essay, titled “The Tsunami of Change,” is among a handful of statements by Al Qaeda’s leaders countering the common view among Western analysts that the terrorist network looks irrelevant at a time of change unprecedented in the modern Middle East. In ousting the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt and threatening other Arab leaders, a core of secular-leaning demonstrators have called for democracy and generally avoided violence — all at odds with Al Qaeda’s creed as it tries to instil rigid Islamist rule across the world.
However, it is important to understand that al-Awlaki is an ideological leader in  al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)  and not the ideological leader of the organization. The actual ideological leader (mufti) of AQAP is a Saudi named Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, who, unlike al-Awlaki, fought with bin Laden at Tora Bora, was captured and is a former Guantanamo Bay detainee. In addition to this cachet of having fought side by side with bin Laden and maintained his faith through Guantanamo, al-Rubaish has also been formally educated in Shariah. Al-Awlaki and al-Rubaish are also joined by another AQAP ideological leader, Adel bin Abdullah al-Abab, a Yemeni imam who, according to some reports, chairs AQAP’s Shariah Council.
While Al-Awlaki is an American citizen, speaks native English and is an accomplished communicator (especially in appealing to English-speaking Muslims), he is not the emir of AQAP or even its primary religious authority. Therefore it is unthinkable that he could possibly replace Osama bin Laden as the leader of the worldwide jihadist movement instead of a far more significant jihadist figure such as Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Because of counterterrorism measures undertaken in the West, it has become more difficult for terrorist operatives from the al Qaeda core and franchise groups like AQAP to travel to the United States or Europe to conduct terrorist attacks. These efforts have paid dividends in attacks like the Fort Hood shooting, which killed more Americans than any attack conducted by the AQAP itself. So, while al-Awlaki’s role in reaching out to the English-speaking Muslim world may not seem all that significant as far as AQAP’s internal operations are concerned, it allows the group to project power into the heart of the West, and it is a critical component of the group’s effort to take the fight to their enemy’s homeland.
Yemen joined the U.S. anti-terror war after the Sept 11 2001 attacks on U.S. cities. A U.S. missile strike in Yemen in 2002 killed a militant suspected of planning the 2000 suicide bombing of the U.S. warship Cole which killed 17 U.S. sailors.

After the airstrikes in 2009 and early 2010, al-Qaida, which was dispersed among a few cells, stopped using cell phones and began relying on hand-held walkie-talkies.

When an unmanned aerial vehicle picks up a cell phone call, it can identify the location of the participants and use the phone numbers to make a pretty good guess about who's on the call. Conversations on hand-held radios are more difficult to unravel. Further complicating things, the terrorists began identifying themselves using numbers, not names.

Frustrating U.S. intelligence, al-Qaida operatives in Yemen began employing couriers to pass messages by hand, or to duck into an Internet cafe to send emails. Those emails were encrypted using custom software written in the Gulf region by "cyber-jihadists" or "virtual al-Qaida." The software is similar to, but more sophisticated than, off-the-shelf program used by Faisal Shahzad to disguise his emails in preparation for an attempted bombing in New York's Times Square last May, current and former officials said.

The political turmoil in Yemen has created uncertainty among counterterrorism officials in Washington. Before the protests, when it looked like Saleh would continue his decades-long presidency, the U.S. was planning to expand operations there. The CIA had bolstered its station and there were discussions about broadening airstrikes and working more closely with Yemeni counterterrorism officials on ground operations. All that has come to a halt.

If the Yemeni government collapses, the concern is how al-Qaida, with its track record of adapting to new adversity, will adapt to new freedom.

Another major concern is Somalia, which gives continued, fierce headaches to the security agencies of the free world. The place is swarming with lawlessness and web of terror. Al Qaeda is the first to exploit the situation.

Wikileaks Israel
Surprisingly few of the cables released so far have focused directly on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. A considerable number of cables focus on the Hamas enclave in Gaza and its relations with Israel. Apparently Israel sought to coordinate its far reaching military operation in Gaza in late 2008 with both Egypt and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority. Both had declined. 
Another cable quoted Shabac (Israel’s security agency) head Yuval Diskin as saying that in 2007 Fatah had asked for Israel's help in countering the growing strength of Hamas.  Diskin also praised his organization's "very good working relationship" with Mahmoud Abbas' security services, which involves substantial intelligence sharing.
A cable dated November 3, 2008 (i.e., immediately prior to Operation Cast Lead), defines the goal of the Israeli blockade as keeping the Gaza economy "at its lowest possible level without getting a humanitarian crisis." As we all know, Israeli intentions were to keep the Gazan economy under pressure, without causing its absolute collapse.
A number of cables focus on Israeli policy vis-à-vis Iran, revealing the deep concerns felt by Saudi Arabia and a number of Gulf Arab countries toward Iran and its regional ambitions. From Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan, via Iraq, to the Gulf and Afghanistan, the statements of Arab leaders and senior officials cited in the leaked cables depict their deep concerns about Iranian interference in internal political processes and about the nature of Iran's ambitions and its regional strategy. An August 2007 cable reports on a meeting between Mossad Chief Meir Dagan and U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns. The cable contains a list of the “five pillars” of Israel's policy on Iran, as outlined by Dagan.  These were: political measures, covert action, encouraging regime change, sanctions, and counter-proliferation.  According to the report, Dagan said that these different aspects should be pushed simultaneously, with greater attention given to exploiting weak spots and ethnic tensions, which could help bring about regime change.  The cables on Lebanon provide additional important details regarding the depth of Iranian penetration of Lebanon. A cable dated October 23, 2008, offers evidence of the presence of Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Qods force officers in Lebanon during the 2006 war with Israel, and of Iranian misuse of the Iranian Red Crescent organization for the smuggling of weaponry bound for Hizballah into the country at that time.

Ivan [John] Demjanjuk

On May 12, 2011, a court in Munich convicted Ukrainian-born Ivan [John] Demjanjuk for helping to murder at least 27,900 Jews while serving as a guard in the Nazi death camp Sobibor during World War II. Demjanjuk was sentenced to five years in prison. 

I have personal interest in this affair. In the mid 1980s, when I served as Chairperson of “The Second Generation to the Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance” Organization in Israel, some members in my organization wanted to bring a war criminal to justice in Israel. We had discussions with the then Minister of Justice, Moshe Nissim, and people in the Ministry of Justice who suggested us to press for the deportation of Demjanjuk from the US to Israel. In Washington I met with Neal Sher who was the head of the Office of Special Investigations. All assured me that Demjanjuk was a clear case, as I did not wish to have any hesitations or lack of clarity about his active role in murdering Jews during WWII. We wanted a second Eichmann trial.

Well, as you may know, things did not work exactly as we wished. Demjanjuk was extradited to Israel but after a long trial he was allowed to walk away as a free man because of “reasonable doubt”. I never involved myself in any such matters since then, and I suspect the Israeli government is also disinterested in bringing other such war criminals to justice in Jerusalem. At the same time, I believed then and I believe now that Demjanjuk is a war criminal and I am happy to see that justice is finally done. He was allowed for too many years to lead quite life as a free man in the United States. Five years in prison might mean for Demjanjuk a life sentence. 

Untold News

Marcella Rosen has asked me to bring to your attention the following important website:

Untold News was founded to pro-actively communicate the many true, good stories about Israel.  Our prime target is the non-committed: Jews and non-Jews.

We have created short videos and are distributing them to traditional and new media. 

Please visit our website,, to see videos such as:

1. I was near to the death  (Arab getting liver transplant from a Jew)
2. Thanks for Saving a Life  (Arab baby with hole in his heart) 
3. Doctors Treat Terrorists  
4. Help My Baby!  (Israeli Crisis Team in Haiti)
5. Haiti Rescue Team  
6. Save a Thirsty World  (Drip Irrigation)

The more who know about how Israel improves their lives, the better for Israel.

US Department of State v. Anti-Semitism

Hannah Rosenthal, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, said:

The most common tool we use is Diplomacy – The United States maintains as a top priority the raising of anti-Semitism in the context of our relationships with other countries. Through bilateral meetings and activities, we encourage other governments to take steps against anti-Semitic manifestations within their own societies. We ask governments to challenge acts of anti-Semitism, to speak out against and expose the hatred. We offer help with reporting and data collections. We encourage appropriate outreach by governments to members of Jewish communities. We also encourage governments to partner with us in multi-lateral institutions such as the UN, or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the OAS, EU and others, to those same ends.

The Kibbutz Movement Is Celebrating Its Centennial Anniversary

The Kibbutz movement is celebrating its centennial anniversary with many special events. Among the events planned in honor of this 100 year anniversary, there will be a special reunion trip for past volunteers which is organized by the Kibbutz Movement.
This specially, tailor-made, eight-day tour will bring you back to the kibbutz, with a visit to special sites and an opportunity to enjoy many exciting Israeli attractions. You will stay and eat at different kibbutzim, go rafting along the Jordan river, enjoy a tractor ride, see spectacular sound & light shows, sail the Sea of Galilee, camp in the desert and much, much more.

You will hear about and see the changes that have occurred in the kibbutz since your days as volunteers. Most important, you will have the exciting experience of once again being among many people of various nationalities who will share in the special atmosphere of past days and memories.

The tens of thousands of volunteers from all over the world are invited with their families to join in this unique event and the worldwide volunteers' reunion.

On the 18th of June 2011, the Kibbutz Movement is also planning a reunion event for all ex-volunteers, which will take place in one of the Kibbutzim in Israel.

For more information about and registration to the trip, see

Entries wanted for Daniel Pearl Awards

U.S. reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan in 2002, just four months after 11 September 2001. To honour Pearl, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has established awards in his name that recognise excellence in cross-border investigative reporting and reporting carried out in challenging circumstances. The deadline for entries is 1 July 2011. 

The competition is open to journalists of any kind of media who have reported in at least two countries on a topic of world significance. Two US$5,000 first-place prizes will be awarded, and five finalists will receive US$1,000.

Past winners have reported about abuses faced by immigrants in American workplaces and allegations of sexual exploitation of Congolese women and children by United Nations peacekeepers. 

Kurt Schork Awards open for entries

The Kurt Schork Awards in International Journalism celebrate freelance journalists and local reporters who show great courage in reporting on controversial issues. The deadline for entries is 1 June 2011. 

Two prizes of US$5,000 each are awarded annually, one to a freelance journalist covering international news, and the other to a local journalist in a developing country or nation in transition. The stories can focus on conflict, human-rights concerns, cross-border issues, or any other issue of controversy in a particular country or region.

Underwritten by the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund and Reuters, the prizes honour Kurt Schork, a U.S. freelance journalist who was killed in a military ambush while on assignment for Reuters in Sierra Leone in May 2000.

For more information visit 
the Institute for War & Peace Reporting's Kurt Schork Awards page. 

New Books

Michael Freeman, Human Rights (Cambridge: Polity, 2011).

Human Rights is an introductory text that is both innovative and challenging. It invites students to think conceptually about one of the most important and influential political concepts of our time. In this unique interdisciplinary approach, Michael Freeman emphasizes the complex ways in which the experiences of the victims of human rights violations are related to legal, philosophical and social-scientific approaches to human rights.

By tracing the history of the concept, the book shows that there is a fundamental tension between the philosophy of human rights and the way in which it is understood in the social sciences. This analysis throws light on some of the most controversial issues in the field: Is the idea of the universality of human rights consistent with respect for cultural difference? Are there collective human rights? Should feminists embrace, revise or reject the idea of human rights? Does the idea of human rights distract our attention from the structural causes of oppression and exploitation? What are the underlying causes of human rights violations; and why do some countries have much worse human rights records than others?
The book will appeal to students in the social sciences, as well as students of human rights law who want an introduction to the non-legal aspects of their subject. It will also be read by scholars interested in ethics and the social sciences, as well as the general reader.

I thank Polity Press for a copy of this book.

Monthly Poem


O Love! thou makest all things even 
In earth or heaven;
Finding thy way through prison-bars
Up to the stars;
Or, true to the Almighty plan,
That out of dust created man,
Thou lookest in a grave,--to see
Thine immortality!

Sarah Flower Adams
More poems from Sarah Flower Adams 

Monthly Gem

Lionel Messi’s second goal, Barca v. Real on April 27, 2011. Messi, who enjoys making a mess in his opponent’s defence, took the ball close to centre of the pitch, some forty meters away from Iker Casillas goal. He passed five players and scored. This is one of the finest goals I have ever seen in my life, and I have seen many.

I have never seen a player who dribbles like Messi, who is able to pass opponent players as he does, and I have seen all the greatest players ever to play the game, some in person.

Lionel Messi needs to win the World Cup with Argentina to enter the world Hall of Fame as one of the greatest players in the history of the game, competing against Edison "Edson" Arantes do Nascimento (Pelé) and Maradona on the title of the greatest ever. Johan Cruyff and Alfredo Di Stéfano are not included in this selective list only because they failed to win the World Cup.

Light Side

Q: Why are Jewish men circumcised? 

 A: Because Jewish women don't like anything that Isn't 20% off.  

The Queen's Riddle                                                         
Just imagine the following:

Donald Trump met with the Queen of England.                                
“I often see you on TV”, the Queen remarked. “Somehow now your hair looks different”.

Trump asked her, "Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government?  Are there any tips you can give to me?"                                    
"Well," said the Queen, "I thought you are good in hiring people”.

“Well,” answered the Donald, “I hire, but then fire. You know how is life  - ups and downs.”

“Actually I don’t,” replied the Queen dryly. “The most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people."                                                  
Trump frowned, and then asked, "But how do I know the people around me are really intelligent?"
The Queen took a sip of tea. "Oh, that's easy; you just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle." The Queen pushed a button on her intercom.        
"Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?"                              
Tony Blair walked into the room and said, "Yes, my Queen?"                
The Queen smiled and said, "Answer me this please, Tony, your mother and father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister.    
Who is it?"                                                               
Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answered, "That would be me."    
"Yes! Very good," said the Queen.                                         
Trump went back to the Oval Office, now located at the famous Trump Towers in New York, to ask S
arah Louise Palin, his vice president the same question. "Sarah darling, answer this for me. Your mother and your father have a child.  It's not your brother and it's not your sister. Who is it?"        
"I'm not sure," said Palin. "Let me get back to you on that one..." She went to her advisors who she assembled from all parts of the world, from Alaska to Russia, and asked every one, but none could give her a definitive answer.  Finally, due to pressure and forces of nature she ended up in the lady's room, where she recognized Hilary Clinton's shoes in the next stall.  Palin asked Clinton, "My dear Hilary, so glad I bumped into you. Can you answer this for me?  Your mother and father have a child and it's not your brother or your sister. Who is it?"
Clinton yelled back, "That's easy, it's me!"                         
Palin smiled, and said, "Thanks! You are awesome."  Then, she went back to speak with Donald. 

"Say, I did some research and I have the answer to that riddle.            
 It's Hilary Clinton!"                      

Trump got up, stomped over to Palin, and angrily yelled into her face,
"No! You idiot!  It's Tony Blair!"

“Tony who?”

Peace and love.

Yours as ever,

My last communications are available on
Earlier posts at my home page:

People wishing to subscribe to this Monthly Newsletter are welcome to e-mail me at
Follow me on Twitter at @almagor35