Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Politics – February 2013

Support is sought to facilitate the work of the Middle East Study Group. Information at

I also welcome promoting the two-state solution. See

In business, one of the early things one learns is that in order to be successful one has to take the initiative, be the leader, use creativity and imagination, be daring and innovative. The same is expected from a leader in politics.

~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

I begin with apologies. This month is fortunately exceptional in that quite a few people have passed away. Thus it is a somber Newsletter in which I mourn their death. Not cheerful but I feel it is necessary to pay my personal tribute. I apologize for the moribund atmosphere.
Indeed, as one is getting older, there is a growing competition in one’s mind between memories of one’s beloved people who have left an unforgettable impression on one’s life prior departing this earthy planet, and one’s present loved people who continuously enrich one’s life.

Exchange with Abe Silverman
Reflections on January Newsletter
What Is the Yesh Atid Political Platform?
Elections in Israel
Israeli Attacks in Syria
Peace Index
Two-State Petition
President Obama’s Scheduled Visit to Jerusalem
In Memory – Professor Ronald Dworkin
In Memory - Dr. Max Kampelman
In Memory - Edward Irving "Ed" Koch
In Memory – Howard “Howy” Lassoff and Jim “Jimbo” Boatwright
A Century After Pavel Ivanovich Jacobi’s Death
Exchange with Palgrave-Macmillan
New Books
Monthly Poems
Light Side

Exchange with Abe Silverman

Reflecting on the above statement, Silverman wrote:

Dear Raphi
Your left wing Academic Idealism is showing through. Yes a business person need to be all of those things to be successful and we look for those same qualities in our Political leader. However remember Obama nor Natanyahu where ever in business. They are career Politicians. Romney was a very successful business man. Would you have voted for him? And like it or not Political leader are driven by 2 things. How to get elected and then reelected and their legacy. And to be successful in these endeavors they need to learn very quickly how to survive working in the "system". I think most leaders want to be all the things you suggest but the "system" won't allow it. I think it was Churchill who said "Democracy is the worst form of Government but it is the best of the worst". Somehow we as a species must find a better way to govern ourselves. Until then remember that our leaders are only human with the warts and foibles that we all have.
Warm regards
Abe Silverman 

PS. Don't be pessimistic. Israel like the US will always do the right thing but not until they have exhausted every other possibilities regardless of who the leader is, Bush or Obama or Netanyahu or Tzipi Livni.

Dear Abe

You are right: Leaders are worried about their re-election and their legacy. Netanyahu will make sure he will comprise the best possible coalition. It might not be his dream coalition, and here the former (re-election and comprising a coalition) make come into conflict with the latter, his legacy. His political DNA is to continue the partnership with the ultra religious parties and to go with Bennett. This will be a disaster for Israel. I am not sure Netanyahu, whose expertise is in sales, would like to have such a commodity. It will be hard to sell.

Best wishes

Reflections on the January Newsletter

I was asked why I put so much emphasis on the peace process while in Israel much of the discussion revolves around the economy, especially on the shrinking middle class where people find it more and more difficult to maintain their position without falling into poverty. Why, I was asked, don’t I speak of the middle class economic stress instead of the necessity of coming to terms with the obstinate Palestinian partner.

I support the social justice movement. Its cause is just. Their ends are right. One of their mistakes was to refrain from entering politics, and trying to avoid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yair Lapid is harvesting many of the fruits of the social justice movement, as I will explain in a moment. Those were crucial mistakes because everything in Israel is decided, at the end of the day, in the political forum. Politics is so centralized that it is almost impossible to become a meaningful actor without the help of politicians. It is true for almost any cause, and I say “almost” only because I am a cautious academic. When I was Chairperson of “The Second Generation to the Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance” Organization in Israel, an organization whose focus was on education, we felt the constant pressure from politicians who wanted to get brownie points for themselves while helping our cause: educating the youth about Jewish life in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. 

The second mistake was to refrain from touching the open nerve of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The heads of the social justice movement wanted to welcome everyone. No one is left behind, as George Bush Jr used to say. That meant that settlers were invited to participate in the protests. After all, they also suffer from the economic pressure. However, they are also the cause.

Security, peace and the economy are all interconnected in Israel. When a third of the budget is devoted to security issues, this means that 2/3 are left for all the rest: health, education, infrastructure, public service, agriculture, justice system, police, tourism, ecology, business development, commerce, etc.

When a third of the budget is devoted to security issues, heavy taxes are imposed on the citizens. Israel has the most burdensome taxation outside of Scandinavia, and Scandinavian countries do not have our security problems, our neighbours, and our (very limited) natural resources.

When the government insists on bolstering our security as the key for Israel’s survival and thus invests in creating facts on the grounds with settlements, at the expense of Palestine, that is a recipe for a continued cycle of violence. Violence is expensive. Each military operation costs a small fortune that Israel can hardly afford. Each war costs a hefty fortune, not to mention human life, and far more stress on an already very stressed society.

Thus, all these issues are tightly linked. One influences the other. Israel needs peace for its survival, for its sanity, for its economy, for its peace of mind.

Now, let me turn to Yair Lapid. I was asked time and again who this new guy in town is. Lapid is a journalist and television personality. He does not have a coherent agenda. He gained from the social justice movement, from the middle class who yearn for something new, for change, for something different. They do not like what they know, thus they decided to invest in something they hardly know.

I know very little about Lapid's political abilities. I read lots of his newspaper articles. Lapid is a journalist: he has ideas, sometimes clever ideas, but he is not penetrating. He is not deep. It is OK when you write newspaper articles that are good for the day, or the weekend, and then you may wrap fish with them. In politics, the demand is for deep thinking, research, anything but quick reaction to events.

Lapid, of course, may surround himself with the right people: good advisors, experienced politicians. The new MKs he leads into the Knesset have little political experience on the national levels. He has some advisors who worked with Ariel Sharon.

What Is the Yesh Atid Political Platform?

To be honest, I did not write about it before because most often these are just words, and before entering the coalition and knowing what are the points of agreement with Netanyahu, it is almost futile to shed empty words on paper. But as so many people approached me asking who this guy is, let me give you his political platform in a nutshell. Keep this in a safe place and later on reflect and compare what Lapid promised, and what he did.

Yesh Atid is for two-state solution, keeping the major clusters of settlements in Israeli sovereignty, and against the establishment of new settlements (so far so good). At the same time, Yesh Atid is for continuing the already ongoing building of settlements, and against dividing Jerusalem.

Yesh Atid wishes to draft all Israeli citizens, who are 18 year-old, to the army. This includes everyone, Charedim and Arabs. The army decides where they serve. The options include national service in their own communities. Only 400 “iluyiim”, i.e., religious people who truly excel in the study of Torah, will be exempted. This is an excellent proposal. Yesh Atid is not the first to make it. No party has succeeded to implement this idea till now.

Yesh Atid supports a major reform in the education system. Less matriculation exams, more funds for the periphery, bridging the gaps between disadvantaged schools and schools for the affluent.

Yesh Atid supports a major reform in housing, building 150,000 flats for young couples and families who will pay subsidized, affordable rent.

Yesh Atid supports small businesses and wishes to commit funding to help small businesses getting off the ground and then sustaining them.

Yesh Atid wishes to cut the large budgets committed now to the building of settlements and to supporting Yeshivas. Much good luck with that.

Yesh Atid insists that the maximum number of government ministers will be 18. Ammm. Interesting idea. Time will tell, very soon, how successful Yesh Atid will be if its members become part of the government.

Yesh Atid wants to increase the election threshold from the present 2% to 4-5% so as to have less parties in the Knesset. Again, Yesh Atid is not the first to raise this much-needed idea that would bring about better governance stability. It took many years to raise the threshold from 1% to 2% as the small parties do their best to halt such attempts.

Lapid presents himself as the one who cares for the middle class, who will stop their deterioration into the poor class. Israelis know very well that the Israeli economy appears very nicely in numbers whereas many of them struggle to complete the month free of debt. Life in Israel is increasingly difficult with the raising taxes, raising prices, and impossible housing prices.

As Lapid positioned himself perfectly in the centre, invoking a very successful catch-all party strategy, that means that he is very pragmatic. He will do what is good “for Israel”, meaning for himself. We know that Yesh Atid is for the middle class. We know that he wants all Jews to serve in the army, which makes him difficult for the religious parties.

Professor Joshua Sinai has sent me his latest article, which you may find of interest:

Elections in Israel

When all voted were counted, Jewish Home received one more mandate (12 in all) at the expense of the Palestinian Raam Party (that went from 5 to 4). That meant that the right-religious bloc now has 61 seats in the Knesset, the smallest possible majority. Experienced politicians would never rely on such a slim majority.

So the final results are:
Likud Beitenu – 31
Yesh Atid - 19
Labour – 15
Jewish Home – 12
Shas – 11
Yahadut Hatorah – 7
Meretz – 6
Hatnuah – 6
Raam – 4
Chadash – 4
Balad - 3
Kadima – 2

The first to join the coalition was Tzipi Livni who learned her lesson: the leader who blew the opportunity to be prime minister and as a result had to bid Kadima farewell was the first to jump to Bibi’s lap. Now you can say: Livni is a principled “leader” who fights for principles, until she sees a minister seat.

PM Netanyahu’s coalition now has 37 seats. Netanyahu’s worldview and political genes are such to direct him to maintain his allegiance with the ultra-religious parties, Shas and Yahadut Hatorah. This would give him 56 seats. This is not enough as in order to maintain a stable coalition that would not be subjected to blackmail and to the “running horses” phenomenon he needs at least 10 more seats. Furthermore, he understands that he needs at least one of the two “new kids”, Lapid and Bennett. He needs them to enjoy public support and to respect democratic processes. The two have been coordinating their moves up until now. Time will soon tell how open they are to temptations.

Israeli Attacks in Syria

Israel is taking advantage of Syria’s precarious position and has no qualms to launch attacks on its dangerous neighbor, knowing that Syria won’t rush to retaliate. Assad has enough problems, thank you very much. The bank of attacks is carefully picked: missiles, chemical and biological weapons; these constitute grave dangers to Israel’s security if they fall in the hands of hateful “rebels” or shipped to the Hezbollah. The surgical attacks no doubt aggravate the Syrian regime. In the past they would have unleashed Hezbollah against Israel, but after the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War, Hasan Nasrallah does not rush into action. In 2006 he ordered an attack on an Israeli patrol in order to kidnap soldiers and see what happened.

As Israel fortifies its deterrence, Syria, Iran and the Hezbollah pick their own bank of targets. There are many all over the world: many Jewish communities, many synagogues, many sensitive commerce points that serve Israeli economy. Violence yields more violence. This is not the way to sustain healthy sovereignty. The keys are (1) becoming an integral part of the Middle East, and (2) peace with our neighbours.

Peace Index
The most recent Peace Index shows that a clear majority of 67% of all Jewish respondents (79% of all Arab respondents) think it is necessary to include renewing talks with the Palestinians in the government's Basic Guidelines.
More and more Israelis are fed up with the situation where they work hard, pay taxes and serve in the army while the growing number of Haredim “die themselves in the tent of Torah”: they do not contribute to the Israeli economy, they cannot pay taxes, they tax the economy and they do not contribute to the preservation of Israeli security. This poll shows that a considerably lower proportion of the Jewish public (41%) considers it necessary for the next government to include in its goals the sharing of the burden of army service, regarding both the Haredim and the Arab citizens. Thirty-one percent sees this as a necessary goal regarding the Haredim only and 2% see it as necessary regarding the Arabs only, while 23% see the issue as inessential regarding both Haredim and Arabs.

Two-State Petition

Hey guys. This Newsletter goes to 1,000 people; yet only 150 people signed the two-state solution petition. Please reflect and consider. If you think there is another solution, please write and I pledge to publish your solution, and address it myself. But if you do not think there is another solution, please sign and circulate to interested parties. It will take you five minutes.

One scratch on the wall is just a scratch. Many thousands of scratches, however, may change the shape of the wall. Please sign and circulate.

President Obama's  Scheduled Visit to Jerusalem

People asked me to explain President Obama's declared intent to visit the Land of Milk and Honey.

President Obama often states that Israel is a close ally of the USA, and that a special bond connects the two countries. There is a slight discrepancy between these declarations and the fact that Obama did not visit Israel during his first presidency. I assume that many people in his close circle and many more among his donors expect him to visit the Promised Land. I also suspect that his new Secretary of State, like many others who held this desired post in the past, would like to have a go at bringing peace to the Middle East. Like his predecessor, Mr Kerry has good intentions and noble motivations to end the bloody conflict. President Obama appreciates the well-meaning Secretary and is willing to give Mr Kerry some support in pushing the peace wagon forward. But if he meets a stubborn “no thank you” approach in Jerusalem, I suspect President Obama will lower expectations and efforts in this sphere. Wise people have better things to do than to knock their sensible heads against obstinate walls. President Obama, who is a person with a developed sense of history, would like to leave some legacy behind him.  He will pick other targets where his chances to make a positive change are more welcomed.

The success of President Obama’s visit depends on what coalition government Israel would have. Comprising a coalition is like deciphering Rubik's cube. Much depends on the next successful move. The identity of the after-Livni partner will affect the choice of the following partner and both would decide the identity of the next, until all seats are occupied around the government large table.

In Memory – Professor Ronald Dworkin (11 December 1931-14 February 2013)

I was fortunate to study with giants who are no longer in the physical realm: Isaiah Berlin, Jerry Cohen, Wilfrid Knapp, Geoffrey Marshall and Jack Pole. I mourned their death when they passed away. I still mourn their death as they are very much alive in my memory and soul. And now another giant has joined them. Ronald Dworkin succumbed to cancer in the age of 81.

None of the people who taught me influenced my thinking to the extent that Dworkin did. Indeed, no intellectual has impressed me to the extent that Ronnie did. I was fortunate to meet many intelligent people. Ronnie was first among equals. His mind was sharp as a razor, his speech eloquent as waterfall on smooth rocks, his thought quick as an instinct. Even when I felt that his argument was shaky, I never saw him losing his ground. Ronnie always had the last word.

I have many stories to tell about Ronnie Dworkin. Let me share with you a few. One of the highlights of my Oxford days was the weekly philosophy seminar at the All Souls Old Library. We, the students, called it “Star Wars”. It was the best show in town. On the left, Jerry Cohen. On the right, Ronnie Dworkin, and between them a “responsible adult” who would see that things do not get out of hand. The responsible adult was often David Miller who calmed the heated atmosphere when needed. Rain, snow or shine, I would not miss those debates. They were stimulating, challenging and entertaining. While Jerry was jumpy and ecstatic, Ronnie always remained calm and calculated. He would never admit to being wrong. Dworkin always believed that the truth was with him.

During my four years at Oxford I attended all his seminars, and also some general lectures for undergraduates. If law was as interesting as Dworkin made it, I would have probably studied law… He would come to the auditorium with his empty yellow pad, and without much introduction would start a well-crafted lecture. Point A leads to point B, B leads to C, etc. All very methodical. All very clear. No sound was heard in the large auditorium besides Dworkin’s voice. You would hear a pin fall. Nothing was ever in writing. I once asked him why he was carrying the empty yellow pad. Dworkin answered: In case an idea would spark while I talk.

In 1991, I was in my final year as a D.Phil student at Oxford University. I attended a seminar titled “Abortion, Dementia and Euthanasia”. This seminar was unrelated to my dissertation which concerned the boundaries of liberty and tolerance. I attended it because the teacher was Ronald Dworkin. As I said, I enrolled in all his seminars. Dworkin was writing his book, Life’s Dominion,[1] and the class served as the guinea pigs for his ideas. Every week we read one chapter of the manuscript and debated it. It was the most fascinating seminar I attended during my studies. Following this seminar, I entered the field of medical ethics and embarked upon end-of-life research.

Dworkin kindly commented on my early papers. Being a staunch First Amendment scholar, we agreed to disagree on some matters concerning limitations on freedom of expression. In one of his rather long letters to me on the Skokie affair, Dworkin commented: “You argue your thesis very clearly and with considerable power”. While acknowledging this, he then went on to explain why – contra my thesis – Nazis should be allowed to march in Skokie.

Commenting on another paper regarding the role of the State in promoting liberal-democratic values, where I criticized his neutrality view and advocating Joseph Raz’s anti-perfectionist view, Dworkin wrote: “In recent years it has seemed to me that questions about neutrality, perfectionism, and autonomy are more complex than the structure we had all been using to discuss them suggests. I now think that neutrality should be regarded as a theorem rather than an axiom of liberalism, and that means that the character of liberal neutrality should be fixed not a priori but as the result of a variety of arguments and considerations about equality, distributive justice, the conditions of philosophical autonomy, and the rest. The result, I believe, is something more complex and nuanced than any of the positions you and Raz have distinguished”.

Upon completing the writing of my D.Phil dissertation, my supervisor, Geoffrey Marshall, asked me who I wanted as my internal examiner. Without hesitation I said: Dworkin. He would challenge me and it would be an enriching treat to learn from his sharp comments. Geoffrey filled the forms and a waiting period began. After a few months of no response, I became anxious as I wished to complete my Viva and return home. I phoned the university offices to enquire where things stood. I was told that they received positive confirmation from the external (Hillel Steiner) but not from the internal examiner. They had sent him letters but Dworkin did not respond. I suggested maybe to call him? Oxford was, possibly still is, an institution with strong belief in the written word. Alexander Graham Bell did not make a huge impression on Oxford, at least during my studies. Well, I was told that they did call his office, left a couple of messages; still no response. What about calling him at home? I suggested. Well, they would be happy to call him at home but they did not have his home number! Well, I said, if this is the problem I can give it to you. All Dworkin’s letters carried his contact details in London and New York, as he used to live and teach in both countries. The office called him at home only to find that Dworkin had underwent an operation which explained why he did not pick up his mail or spent time at office. Geoffrey and I looked for another examiner. We choose John Gardner, who later succeeded Dworkin as Professor of Jurisprudence and Fellow of University College.

I never hide my love for my country. I am always a proud Israeli, critical of my government when I feel this is warranted (but far less than Americans tend to be critical of their own government); still very committed to Israel and to the Jewish people. Dworkin was well aware of this. In 1995, four years after leaving Oxford, and following yet another heinous terror attack on Israeli civilians, Dworkin wrote me a letter, saying: “It is a terrible time for you and all other friends there”.

A year later he wrote: “The forthcoming election must be occupying much of your thoughts. We all have our fingers crossed”. Dworkin’s crossed fingers, and mine, were not too helpful as they were not enough to bring about a government committed to peace. I invited him to deliver a lecture in Israel. Dworkin declined politely without much elaboration.

In 1994 I became a member of the 21st Century Trust. In 1997, I proposed the Trust to convene a workshop with all the future leaders of the field of bioethics in the western world. The theme would be broad to accommodate the best young minds who would present their fresh ideas for the development of the field. When asked who could lead such a distinguished cadre of thinkers, my answer was: Dworkin. The Trust approached Dworkin who agreed to lead such a workshop with two small changes to my original idea: there will be a defined theme, Genetics, Identity and Justice, and he would invite whoever he wished, young and older (mostly the latter…). Still, it was a most enthralling workshop. It was a real treat to spend a week with Dworkin, and to have an open exchange with him on many issues of mutual concern. I asked him whether he had ever spent a full week in Oxford without returning to London. His answer confirmed what I suspected: he did not.

In 1998, I invited Ronnie to deliver the first Isaiah Berlin Lecture in honour and memory of beloved Isaiah. Dworkin could not come. Jerry Cohen came instead, and we spent a few days together on Mount Carmel, talking, touring, eating, and talking. Knowing Ronnie, I think he would have enjoyed the Druze restaurants at least to the same extent that Jerry had thoroughly enjoyed them.

Dworkin and I had long debates on autonomy, dementia and end-of-life. Dworkin believed in individual autonomy in the strongest sense of the concept with wide-ranging implications, including honouring the death wish of a demented patient who, while competent, filled a living will stating her desire to die upon becoming demented. Being a law professor, Dworkin did not visit homes for demented patients, did not speak to medical experts on dementia or to families of demented patients. I did all this and consequently strongly disagreed with holding the Autonomy Principle supreme. Dworkin read my paper, commended me for the articulate reasoning but was not convinced. He said he rather be dead than be kept alive in a demented condition. He could not bear this thought for himself.

Dworkin, Berlin and Marshall were my intellectual role models. Their horizons and interests were broad as the ocean. Berlin once told me in one of our conversations: Follow your heart and mind. Research and write about what is of interest to you. This would yield the best results as you must be engaged to produce original research. People will try to constrict you as this is the prevailing nature of world academia. Don’t listen to such conventions. (I am writing this and the image of Isaiah, with the sparkle in his eyes and deep tone of voice surfaces in my mind). Dworkin was, like Berlin and Marshall, a wide-ranging intellectual. He wrote, inter alia, about the concepts of equality, dignity, liberty, rights, justice; about the role of the Supreme Court and the American presidency; about the role of a judge in democracy; about the rule of law; about pornography and the arts; about abortion, dementia, genetics and euthanasia.

I have read all of Dworkin’s books and many of his articles. My favourite titles are Taking Rights Seriously (1977), A Matter of Principle (1985) and Justice for Hedgehogs (2011). He was and remains a constant source of inspiration. There is hardly an article I write in political and legal philosophy that does not mention Dworkin. No one influenced modern thought on the notions of the dignity of the person as Dworkin did. He took the Kantian maxim on respecting people qua people, perceiving them always as ends rather than means, and added the notion of concern. The Kantian and Dworkinian Respect for Others Principle are essential for the understanding of Liberalism and the enshrined values that underpin modern democracy.

I do not exaggerate in saying that Dworkin was the most important legal philosopher of our time. This view is shared by many. His philosophy will continue to challenge and inspire many generations to come.

I thus mourn the death of Ronnie Dworkin, a most brilliant legal philosopher, with the sharpest and intriguing mind I have ever encountered.

May his soul rest in peace.

In Memory - Dr. Max Kampelman

It is with deep sadness that I mourn the passing of Dr. Max Kampelman, scholar-statesman and human rights champion. Dr Kampelman had a deep understanding of world politics, was an exemplary diplomat and a true humanitarian. I met Dr Kampelman once, when I was a guest in a reception in his honour, and have followed his career ever since. On that occasion, he delivered a wonderful and persuasive speech for the need for mutual agreements to destroy the arsenals of nuclear weapons in the world. An utopian dream, yet the world needs people with dreams and vision who wish to promote good, justice, human dignity and human rights. Max was such a person. He was an inspiration to many, including myself.

May his soul rest in peace.

In Memory - Edward Irving "Ed" Koch

I mourn the death of Edward Irving "Ed" Koch who work tirelessly for the city of New York and was a true friend of Israel. Mr Koch was an inspiring model to follow, a doer, sharp as a razor, full of life, energy and sense of humour. His support for Israel was steadfast and unflinching. We can do with more people of his stature and influence.
With his many deeds and expressions for Israel, Koch had uplifted my spirit and served as a towering figure of inspiration. He will eternally remain in my mind.

May his soul rest in peace.

In Memory – Howard “Howy” Lassoff and Jim “Jimbo” Boatwright

I mourn the death of Howard Lassoff who played for Maccabi Tel-Aviv basketball during the 1980s. Howie was a towering figure, 2.10 m., one of the tallest centers Maccabi has ever had. He came to Hapoel Haifa, played there for three years until Maccabi gave him an offer he could not refuse. He played for Maccabi for six seasons (1981-1987) and then moved to Hapoel Tel Aviv. Howie was always friendly, polite, a gentleman on and off court, a wonderful sportsperson.

I came to meet Howie when I played basketball in the army (1982-1983). I played for the Military Police Headquarters team; Howie played for another Military Police unit (Afula I think J ). Some of the finest basketball players played in the military police for reasons I do not wish to detail here; I do not count myself among them… My team had another Maccabi player, Moyshale Hershkovitz (who died a few years ago, much too young), and in the semi-finals we met Mighty Howie. To walk in the same court with him was honour for me in itself, not to mention trying to stop him (unsuccessfully of course. Who am I to stop a 2.10m player?). I was impressed with his long range shooting ability, something he did not dare to do while playing with Maccabi, and I was more impressed with his personality outside the court. Always smiling, courteous, friendly. Mr nice guy.

Howie played for the Israeli national team 99 times, won many trophies with Maccabi excluding the European championship. He reached the European finals twice with Maccabi but we were twice defeated.

Howie succumbed to cancer at the age of 57. May his soul rest in peace.

A few days after Howy’s death, I was saddened to read about another death in the Maccabi family, this time of Jim “Jimbo” Boatwright.


Boatwright was one of the greatest players of Maccabi Tel Aviv, a natural shooter and a true winner, a player Maccabi loves to have, who helped the team win two European Championships.

Jimbo graduated from Minico High School in Idaho in 1970, and received a scholarship to play at Utah State University, where he was named top athlete in 1974, the same year he graduated with a degree in political science.

He joined the European Professional Basketball League and played eight years for Maccabi Tel Aviv. When Maccabi won the European Championship in 1977, Boatwright was the team's leading scorer, leading all scorers in the final game against Mobilgirgi Varese with 26 points.

Maccabi Tel Aviv's 1977 victory was a huge achievement: First time for any Israeli team to win a major trophy. Four years later, this time as Maccabi’s captain, Jimbo led the team to another historic championship with a win against Virtus Bologna. He also led Maccabi to win the Intercontinental Basketball Cup.

In the local scene, Jimbo won with Maccabi seven championships and six national cups in eight years. He also appeared 25 times in the Israeli national team.

In 1988, Boatwright began teaching and coaching at Star Valley, Wyo. He led his team to the state championship and was named Wyoming's "Coach of the Year." A father of four and married to Jennifer Magrane Boatwright, he ran Snowline Basketball Camp across the West for 24 years.

Jimbo was 61 when he succumbed to cancer. He gave me many moments of elated happiness which made lasting impression on me. May his soul rest in peace.

A Century After Pavel Ivanovich Jacobi's Death
By Avi Ohry MD
Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University,  amateur researcher of Medical Humanities, and amateur Jazz drummer

The salvation and liberty movement of the Irish chronic mental patients, started the writer –politician  and Dr. of theology , Jonathan Swift ( 1667-1745) -- when he opened in Dublin a hospital devoted   “For the ideote and lunatics   "; In Revolutionary France, Dr. Phillipp Pinel (1745-1826),(and later his son),  was instrumental  in bravely developing  a more humane psychological-rehabilitation approach to the care of psychiatric patients.  In England, Father William Tuke (1732 - 1822) and his sons ( psychiatrists), did the same and unchained the institutional mental patients in their asylums. That year, we commemorate a century of the death of a  Russian  pioneering physician who made the same impact during the Tzaristic Russia: Pavel Ivanovich Jacobi ( or Iakobi) ( Павел Иванович Якоби or Якобий [1841, Kazan - 1913). A relatively unknown hero of modern Russia, who almost disappeared from history of medicine books.

Dr. Jacobi was a Russian socialist, member of the Land and Liberty society, ethnographer and physician.

Born to a noble family, brother of painter Valery Jacobi. He studied medicine at Heidelberg. In 1863-1864 he participated and seriously wounded in the January Uprising, fighting for the freedom of Poland from the Russian Empire. After suppressing of the uprising Jacobi emigrated to Switzerland. In 1864 Jacobi in 1868 graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Zurich. In 1871 during the Franco-Prussian War Jacobi served as a military doctor in the Army of the Vosges led by Giuseppe Garibaldi  while his wife also served as a medical nurse.

In 1880 Jacobi wrote an important article Morality in Psychiatric Statistics This work  become the basis of Cesare Lombroso's monograph L'uomo di genio in rapporto alla psichiatria (Man of Genius). In 1890 Jacobi returned to Russia.

Jacobi organized psychiatric clinics in Kishkinka, Kharkov, Kursk and Mogilev. He   is credited to be the first who formulated the all the principles for the new paradigm in the organizational psychiatry.

Exchange with Palgrave-Macmillan

Dear editor…

I wish to bring to your attention a very sensitive issue.

I am teaching this term Introduction to Comparative Politics. One of the two essential books for this module is
Hague, R. & Harrop, M. (2010) Comparative Government and Politics, Eighth Edition, Basingstoke, Palgrave.

In p. 129 it states: “1941. Initiation of the Holocaust in which at least five million Jews are killed”.

According to all major experts (excluding Holocaust deniers so-called “experts”) six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. I find it most troubling to print such a statement, without a reference.

I kindly request to amend the text. I certainly won’t be able and willing to continue teaching this book in my obligatory module for all first-year students as long as this statement is still in place.

Thanking you for your consideration, and looking forward to hearing from you,

Kind regards


A day later I received a response:

Dear Raphael

Melanie has passed on your message and I have checked with the authors the thinking behind the figure cited who responded:

My caution in the 8th edition was based partly on Michael Mann, The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005):

‘The oft-repeated total of 6 million Jews murdered may be slightly too high. Hilberg (1978) carefully calculates 5.1 million, and Maksudov (1993) adds 300,000 more Russian Jews. Perhaps 5.5 million might be the best overall estimate of murdered Jews’ (p. 186).

My apologies for not including a reference to Mann in the 8th edition.

The timeline in question does not in fact appear in the 9th edition which is currently in press and the 8th will not be printed again before that is published. But, in any event, I would hope your students would find the murder of 'at least five million' no less a holocaust than 'around six million' and in no way diminishing the magnitude of the crime.

Steven Kennedy

What do you think?

New Books

Silvio Waisbord, Reinventing Professionalism (Cambridge: Polity, 2013).

The saying, “Do not judge a book by its cover”, was never truer. While the cover of this book is dull, the book is interesting, engaging and penetrating.

Many, if not most journalists perceived their profession as a hack, a trade or craft. As Michael Jordan was born with a basketball in his hand, so they believe they were born with a pen (or keyboard) in their hands. They were blessed with a gift of God to write and uncover “the truth”. This gift, this talent, is enshrined in them. They need not study it. Thus they wish to have some elements of professionalism, first and foremost work autonomy, but they do not welcome other trademarks of the profession: body of knowledge, accreditation, exams, monitoring bodies, responsible ethics, and the possibility of sanctions. Waisbord in this book examines the field of journalism in its present historical context, explaining what are the obstacles for making journalism a profession.

Professionalism, Waisbord explains (p. 11), refers to the ability of a field of practice to settle boundaries and avoid intrusion from external factors. It is about the specialization of labour and control of occupational practice (p. 15). Compared to occupations, professions are characterized by having a social contract with the state (p. 84). At the same time, they distance themselves from politics and politicians, something that journalists do not do nor do not wish to do. Waisbord has no doubts that journalism is and should be a profession. He observed, however, some of the subjective and objective intervening factors that make journalism the quasi-profession it is. Building on Max Weber’s notion of media patrimonalism, Waisbord explains that contra professionalism, the press is nestled in patrimonalistic politics. While professionalism requires abiding rules, patrimonalism is characterized by arbitrary actions that have no rules or guiding principles. If there are any rules and principles, these are ambiguously defined and are enforced or ignored according to personal discretion (p. 163). Patrimonalism encourages journalists to prioritize political causes over professional identities and offers journalists options outside journalism to achieve economic and social benefits. Thus, journalists define occupational identities politically rather than professionally (p. 169).

This book is full of interesting insights. It is simply a must for media ethicists. I certainly intended to use it in my teaching.

I thank Polity Press for a copy of this book.

Andrea Mammone, Emmanuel Godin and Brian Jenkins (eds.), Mapping the Extreme Right in Contemporary Europe (Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2012).

After providing some local and regional perspectives, the book has a series of national case studies of particular countries and regions including: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Eastern Europe, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Scandinavia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. A series of thematic chapters examine transnational phenomena such as the use of the Internet, the racist music scene, cultural transfers and interaction between different groups.

This is a very useful book for those interested in political extremism in Europe today.

I thank Routledge for a copy of this book.

Monthly Poems


                For the sun to break through the clouds
The light to wash away shadow of doubt
For the great opening
Prince Charming offering what you cannot refuse
                The perfect photo
                The immaculate whole
Rekindling passion
                For the impossible to happen
                The magical to surface
                The imperfect turn into a round happiness
                For peace and tranquillity between people who think they know one another but never invested the time and attention
                For the Messiah to come.


Break through the clouds
Wash away shadow of doubt
Make the great opening
Be Prince Charming
Create the perfect photo
The immaculate whole
Rekindle the passion
Make the impossible possible
Surface the magical
Turn the imperfect into perfect
Work for and tranquillity between people
The Messiah won’t come.

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Light Side

Scared sleeping

Shakey went to a psychiatrist. "Doc," he said, "I've got trouble. Every time I get into bed, I think there's somebody under it. I get under the bed, I think there's somebody on top of it. Top, under, top, under. "you gotta help me, I'm going crazy!"

"Just put yourself in my hands for two years," said the shrink. "Come to me three times a week, and I'll cure your fears."

"How much do you charge?"

"A hundred dollars per visit."

"I'll sleep on it," said Shakey.

Six months later the doctor met Shakey on the street. "Why didn't you ever come to see me again?" asked the psychiatrist.

"For a hundred buck's a visit? A bartender cured me for ten dollars."

"Is that so! How?"

"He told me to cut the legs off the bed!"


Happy Purim to all. I loved this festival more than any other when I lived in Israel. I miss the festivities, the joy, the people in customs, the parties, the energy, the joy of life. Enjoy and celebrate this wonderful festival as much as you can. Our calendar is not very full of such happy occasions…

Peace and love.

Yours as ever,


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[1] Ronald Dworkin, Life’s Dominion (NY: Knopf, 1993)