Thursday, September 26, 2013

Politics – September 2013

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

I also welcome signing and promoting the two-state solution. See

We must learn from the past, not relive it time and again.

Israel has three options: two-state solution; apartheid state, or the end of Zionism

~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Good News for Middle East Studies in Hull
Reflections on August Newsletter
On Syria
Flawed decision-making processes in Pennsylvania Avenue and Downing Street
In Memoriam: Edmund Pellegrino (June 22, 1920–June 13, 2013)
Post-Conflict: Emerging Powers And The Future Of The World Order
13th World Summit on Counter-Terrorism
European Association for Israel Studies – 3rd International Conference
Book Review - Joby Warrick
New Books
Monthly Poems
The Biggest Surprise Ever
Light Side

Good News for Middle East Studies in Hull

I am very pleased to convey the good news that we received £9,000 for a period of three years from the 1970 Trust.

 We need to secure further £20,000 for organizing an international peace conference. The idea is to invite decision-makers, peace negotiators and implementers to explore possible avenues for peace in the Middle East. We aim to invite eight Israelis, eight Palestinians, and eight experts from other parts of the world. The conference will take the shape of plenary lectures and three designated workshops. One workshop will be on the refugee problem. The second workshop on Jerusalem, while the third on borders and security.

The proceedings will be gathered into an edited volume.

All help and advice regarding funding are welcomed and appreciated.

Reflections on August Newsletter

On July 31, 2013, the Knesset gave initial approval to a government-backed bill that would enhance the status of existing legislation providing for a referendum over any future decision on Israel’s part to give up its sovereign territory. I rhetorically asked whether this tells you that the government is committed to “land-for-peace” formula? Does it tell you that the government is willing to pay the price for peace? Professor Sam Lehman-Wilzig answered that actually yes! It gives cover parties to say: “While we are against the concessions, let the people have the last word”. It is almost the ONLY way to get the present Knesset to agree to any painful treaty.

Sam also reflected on the quoted Israeli poll, that 55.5 percent were against Israel agreeing to the 1967 lines, even if there were land-swaps which would enable some Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to remain part of Israel. He noted that right before the Begin-Sadat Camp David Accords, 75% of Israelis were against giving back Sinai; the minute the agreement was signed, a majority was in favour. Sam rightly comments that if a right-wing government signs a peace treaty, the public will go along.

Lastly, Professor Sam Lehman-Wilzig brought to my attention two books on political extremism: Nachman Ben-Yehuda, Political Assassinations by Jews (SUNY Press, 1993), and David Weisburd, Jewish Settler Violence (Penn State U Press, 1989).

Professor Valerie Alia commented:
I find it hard to read that response from PA, to the two-state solution. It is typical of the attitude that assures there will be no solution at all. It presumes that only Jews were ever in that region, and have inherited rights. It is a view based on 'attitude' but not on historical fact. It also suggests the kind of xenophobia that pervades the thinking of some of the people in both Israel and the Arab nations. Israel's right to existence, and to be a sanctuary for Jews who have been oppressed as well as others who choose to live there, is not predicated on oppressing others. To fall into that trap is to perpetuate the very treatment that we have experienced at the hands of others.
Professor Art Hobson shared a piece he published in the Northwest Arkansas Newspapers on August 18, 2013, in which he says:
Physicist and astronomer Carl Sagan put it this way in his classic 1995 book The Demon-Haunted World:  Science as a Candle in the Dark:  "We've arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements ...profoundly depend on science and technology.  We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology.  This is a prescription for disaster.  We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces." 
                It's blowing up all over the Middle East and elsewhere, including America.  Although there are other dark forces such as political ideology and the desire for power, the strongest force on the side of ignorance is fundamentalist religion.  For example, the Catholic Church's global opposition to family planning has done untold harm.  Our current 7.1 billion population is already twice the planet's carrying capacity.  A second example is the contribution of fanatical Jewish and Islamic fundamentalists to the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy. 
                With our current technical power, all humans should be living like kings and queens.   But we seem unable to pull out of the Middle Ages and adopt rational, pragmatic ways of thinking.  Fundamentalist religions emphasize dogmatic, implausible, irrational notions that one is expected to simply believe, notions such as virgin births, Papal infallibility, or the separate creation of Homo sapiens.  Such religions work directly against the evidence-based thinking that can help us and for which evolution provided our excellent brains. 
                It's not complicated.  Simply base your conclusions on objective evidence and rational thought, without regard to religious or political ideology.  Use your brain to work more toward your own happiness and the happiness of the human race and less toward supporting abstract ideological labels such as Muslim, Christian, liberal, conservative, and so forth.  Such abstractions are not goals in themselves and are only useful when they promote human welfare. 
                This prescription is simple, but difficult to execute.  It's not easy to be really human. 

Professor Ed Lambeth related to poetry:


Wordsworth was an influence on America's Robert Frost, a poet I have never forgotten reading in high school as a boy. Here is one of my favorites:


The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

Unlike many other American poets, Frost understood that not only was his own fluency in English poetry important to his standing in England, but it was essential for his own poems to be published there.  To achieve that, Frost sold the family farm in Vermont and took his family to England. It was not the first courageous decision Frost made, but also one that enriched poetry on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Yitzhak Frankenthal wrote:

My name is Yitzhak Frankenthal and I am the founder of The Arik Institute For Reconciliation, Tolerance & Peace. The Arik Institute was established to commemorate the name of my son Arik, who was kidnapped and killed by the Hamas during his army service

Following his death I realized that it was not Hamas who killed my son but the fact that there is no peace in the Middle East, and that as long as the terror of the occupation will continue to exist we will never see an end to the conflict.

As a result of Arik's death I began acting and advocating for peace, the end of the occupation and signing a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. My activities and actions resulted in a close friendship with the late Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. Following one of our many conversations I established "The Parents Circle Families Forum" which enlisted both Israeli and Palestinian bereaved families  to work together to end the conflict. The late PM Yitzhak Rabin invited me to Oslo when he received the Nobel Peace Prize where I first met the late Yasser Arafat. We soon developed a close relationship and from that day until his dying day we met countless of times.

I run the Forum for ten years but after years of field work and countless conversations and meetings with presidents, kings, prime ministers and ministers, not to mention leaders from Hamas, Fatah, settlers and civilians, I reached an understanding that the peace activities of the past decades treat the symptoms rather the cause of the conflict. I realized that the causes of the conflict are psychological barriers which include mutual hostility, ignorance and suspicions each side hold towards the other and thwart any attempt to advance a solution and peace.

The Arik Institute was established specifically to break down these psychological barriers- because only if both sides deal with their psychological barriers, they will push their leaders to achieve peace and only then there will be a true chance for reaching a lasting solution.

Recently the institute initiated a scientific research that was conducted by leading social psychologists from Herzliya IDC and Tel-Aviv University, which confirmed my claim that psychological barriers are possible to remove by approaching the public in a unique way which allows it to examine reality without prejudice.

President Barack Obama mentioned me and my work during his State of the Union address on May 19th, 2011.

Our website and Facebook page will provide you with our plan of action, information about the academic body of knowledge our work is based upon, informative articles written by our supporting partners, many of whom have important standing in academia and politics, and information regarding our present a future activities.  
I would be honored to visit your community and conduct a lecture and a debate on the issue of "The obstacle to peace in the Middle East and the way to resolve it".

I would be very glad if you pass on our website address on to your friends and colleagues, as well as getting involved yourselves on our website. You can follow us on Facebook – please share with your friends and press the like button in order to keep in touch and receive the latest updates. 

Thank you,

Yitzhak Frankenthal
Executive Director of The Arik Institute for Reconciliation, Tolerance and Peace, In Memory of Arieh Zvi Frankenthal
Mailing Address:  6  Kobovy St. Jerusalem, 96757 Israel

Abe Silverman wrote:

Dear Rafi
Please explain what PA which I understand to mean Palestinian Authority wrote "a 2 State solution is no solution etc. " I don't understand in what context this was said.
I also would like to understand what you mean by the Israeli leadership need to pay the necessary price and the Palestinians need to pay the necessary price for peace to be achieved.
What is the necessary price?
Will Israel have to agree to some or all of the 5 million so called Palestinian refugees be allowed to live in Israel?
Will Israel have to abandon all or most of the communities in the Territories and agree that no Jews will not be allowed to live in the future Palestinian State?
Will Israel be able to give in to some or all of the demands concerning Jerusalem?
On the other side and most important, do you honestly believe that the Arabs, not just Palestinians will ever accept that Israel is the Jewish State and the ancestral home of the Jewish people as envisioned in the Partition Plan of 1947? To do so would mean them giving up the dream of one day returning "Holy Muslim land" back to the Muslims. In my opinion this will not happen and this alone is a deal breaker. Israel made a serious mistake in not insisting that Egypt and Jordan recognize that Israel is the Jewish State when they signed their peace agreements.
Will the Palestinians agree to a State that is demilitarized with Israel having some control of the airspace.
I also support a 2 State solution but that does not mean that it will happen. So it is my strong belief as one who understands that without Israel life for Jews anywhere in the world will be impossible. So it becomes incumbent on all of us to help Israel fight the battles that are really important. Fight the BDS movement, Israel Apartheid on Campus, biases in the press, and the well organized and very effective movement to delegitimize and effectively question Israel's right to exist.
And to do this effectively we need to change the hearts and minds of the people on the street. In their Churches and Universities, their Service Clubs and Unions, letters to the Editors and appear as guests on talk shows on radio and television.
You and I and others like us around the world who understand the facts and the truth must insist that all of these organizations must invite us to speak to and answer the many questions of their constituents and members. This I believe is the war we can win that will one day hopefully convince the Arabs that living with the Jewish State of Israel in their midst is the only viable solution.
One other question. Do you have a problem with a bill passed in the Knesset requiring a Referendum on seceding land? It seems to me that this would be democracy at its best. Who better then the citizens of Israel to decide on this very important question.
In conclusion let me say that like you I to hurt to have to say that peace at this time is unlikely and all this talk of a peace agreement is Political Posturing and is meant to give Obama a way to say that at least like others before him, he tried.
Best regards
Abe Silverman

Dear Abe

I have addressed your concerns in my articles, especially in

“The Failed Peace Process in the Middle East 1993-2011”, Israel Affairs, Vol. 18, No. 4 (October 2012), pp. 563-576 (at

“Two-State Solution – The Way Forward”, Annual Review of Law and Ethics, Vol. 20 (2012), pp. 381-395 (at

I enclose both articles for your attention and an interview I granted recently to a media outlet. I hope we will have an opportunity to meet and discuss these intricate issues face to face. I am doing my best to accept invitations for peace talks and debates from near and far and will be happy to entertain an invitation to lecture in Canada.

From January to September 2014 I will have a sabbatical to work on my book on the failed peace process from September 1993 onward. I will also allocate time for travel. Promotion of peace is the most burning issue on my agenda.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sukkuth Sameach to you and yours

On Syria
Published by The Jerusalem Post, August 31, 2013 | Israel News -- You should check this out at,

While war should be the last resort and peace is always desired, still, sometimes war is an ugly necessity in order to avoid an even greater evil.

The debate as to what constitutes a just war is ancient. The old saying “all is fair in love and war” might be true for love, but it is patently untrue for war. Politicians, diplomats, scholars, theologians and lawyers have devoted a great deal of their time to the challenging task of establishing criteria for waging a just war.

There is no justification for war except for aggression. Aggression justifies two kinds of violent response: Defensive war by the attacked party, and a war of law enforcement by the attacked party and by any other nation of the international community. The justice of war, “jus ad bellum,” concerns the reasons that brought about the war; ideas about righteous reason, righteous authority, righteous intention. The justice of the cause needs to be sufficiently great to warrant warfare.

While war should be the last resort and peace is always desired, still, sometimes war is an ugly necessity in order to avoid an even greater evil.

More than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since the civil war there began. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy goal is to bring American troops home, reduce military intervention in the world, and secure US borders. This policy is contrary to that of Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush, who had no qualms about sending American troops to wage war in Iraq and a futile war in Afghanistan. Obama is reluctant to interfere in conflict zones.

Thus he has observed the killing in Syria and opted for limited American involvement – supplying the Syrian opposition with weapons. Obama is also unsure who would replace Assad. Hence it was possible for the Syrian civil war to take its toll for so many months.

However, the use of chemical weapons is beyond the scope of tolerance. Observing the criteria of just war, waging war on Syria, after a long period of probing and after exhausting other alternatives, seems inescapable.

Without decisive action against the Assad regime we can expect a continuation of bloodshed.

Tens of thousands more would be killed and the region would remain volatile and unstable.

Now is the time for Obama to assert leadership as president of the only superpower, as the leader of the free world.

IT WOULD have been sensible to exert pressure via the United Nations. The forerunner of the United Nations, the League of Nations, was established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles “to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security.”

At the conclusion of WWII, in 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter.

The Charter was signed on June 26, 1945, and the United Nations officially came into existence on October 24, 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories.

However, the UN is ineffective due to the Russian and Chinese support of the Syrian dictatorship.

Surprise surprise, economic interests are way more important than human life.

The model to follow is Operation Desert Storm.

To recall, the US assembled a coalition of forces to join it in opposing Iraq’s aggression, consisting of forces from 34 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Morocco, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Spain, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

President Obama should assemble a similar force to oust the brutal Assad regime. The force should include Arab countries. The operation would begin by striking the Syrian army heavily from the sea and from the air. The Syrian opposition coalition is said to have supplied the Americans with a bank of targets.

Then follow with a comprehensive ground attack, ensuring Syria won’t fall into the hands of radical Islamists. The US should work together with the moderate elements to install a new government in Damascus. Replacing one evil with another won’t be prudent. The US should work together with the Arab countries and with the Syrian opposition, ascertaining that Syria does not fall in the hands of jihadi terrorists.

Toppling the Assad dictatorship without ensuring the identity of the successor is a recipe for further bloodshed and instability. The US should take effective means to see that Syria will be governed by people who prefer compromise to violence, who respect human life and who wish Syria to become a respected member of the League of Nations instead of a notorious country on the list of terrorist states.

Flawed decision-making processes in Pennsylvania Avenue and Downing Street

Published by The Jerusalem Post, September 23, 2013 | Israel News -- You should check this out at

President Obama is not thrilled to assert American power around the globe. His worldview is peaceful, contra Bush. But when Assad crossed the red line by using chemical weapons, Obama decided that this gross human rights violation justifies intervention for variety of purposes: to declare loud and clear that this is not to be done; to punish, and to deter.

Once he decided to attack Syria, the first phone call was to the American closest ally, the United Kingdom. PM Cameron explained that the British public is not supportive of opening yet another battle zone. Britain is still licking its wounds after Iraq, and is still losing soldiers in Afghanistan. Cameron thus explained that he would need to seek Parliament's support. 

Obama understood. He told Cameron: do whatever you need to do. I am not interfering with your business, but do this fast. We need to strike while the iron is hot.

Obama was oblivious to Cameron's constraints and to the public mood in Britain. He somehow confused the American presidential system, where the president possesses broad powers, and the British parliamentary system, where the prime minister has to reckon far more closely with parliament. Obama did not understand that while he can strike the iron whenever he wished, Cameron simply cannot. He needed time to orchestrate political support. Cameron should not have been pushed into an immediate decision. This was a major mistake on Obama's part. It was also a gross political mistake of Cameron.

Cameron initiated debate in Parliament. Meanwhile, Labour understood this was a golden opportunity for them to undermine and embarrass the prime minister. Labour knows that the British public is very reluctant to intervene. The prevailing view is: we know when and how war starts. We do not know when it will finish. Thus better not start at all.

Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition, sent an email message to all Labour members, explaining that in a few days there will be a debate in parliament regarding Syria, and that he wants to have a feel for Labour members' preferences. Miliband asked several questions: first, whether or not Britain should attack Syria, yes or no. For those who answered positively, more questions were asked: whether Britain should wait until the UN special inquiry mission, at that time still in Syria, should be allowed to leave Syria prior the attack; whether Britain should wait until the UN special inquiry mission publish their report; and finally, as Assad claimed that it was the rebels who used chemical weapons, whether Britain should wait for confirmation that it was indeed Assad who used weapons before attacking the Alawite regime.

Even people who in principle support attacking the brutal Alawite regime would concede that Britain should not be rushed into action before getting concrete assurances that Assad was behind the chemical attack. And surely the public would not like to risk the lives of UN officials. Time should be allowed for them to leave Syria. Cameron, who sought quick affirmation, realised he made a gross mistake. Unsurprisingly, not only that the entire Labour MPs opposed the attack, but Miliband was able to convince enough coalition members that quick attack was unwarranted. PM Cameron's motion was defeated. Cameron was humiliated. Miliband gained many brownie points for his political astuteness. It was a political triumph for Labour and very sad news for the Syrian opposition.

Cameron's miscalculation also affected the Obama administration. As his defeat made global headlines, Obama also felt compelled to seek legislative support prior to the attack. Momentum was lost. Presidential authority has eroded. Unlike Cameron, President Obama did not have to do this, but the circumstances were such that they had put Obama on the spot. Again, the president showed short-sightedness, as he did not think two steps ahead and realised only too late that he actually did not enjoy the support of his own party. As he was about to suffer similar humiliation to that of Cameron's, Obama sought a way out and thus accepted the Russian compromise.

If Obama had served ten years in the Senate prior to his presidency, and not only two years, he would not have acted so carelessly. Inexperience was a major factor in his flawed decision-making process. This sorry episode also testifies to the political astuteness (or lack of) of Obama's senior advisors who apparently do not understand British politics nor able to assess correctly the legislatures’ mood on Capitol Hill.

The Syrian conflict continues. Assad and the rebels are intent to continue fighting; each side still believes that its resilience will withstand the challenge and that it will eventually win. Thus more bloodshed is ensured. It would take just one artillery fire that might kill one hundred women and children to prompt President Obama to assert his presidential power and launch an attack on the Alawite regime. Nothing has been finalised. This crisis is likely to linger for a long time, and one mistake, one extraordinary tragedy, might be a game changer.

In Memoriam: Edmund Pellegrino (June 22, 1920–June 13, 2013)


Published in Science and Engineering Ethics© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 201310.1007/s11948-013-9465-0

Dr. Edmund D. Pellegrino was a man of many qualities and achievements. He was one of the forefathers of medical ethics. He was a learned Catholic. He was hailed as a “complete physician” among “a handful of other high-profile physician leaders of the twentieth century.”1 He was an asset to every institute that he served. But first and foremost he was a decent human being who cared about the dignity of each and every person and who wanted to do good.

Courtesy of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics,
Georgetown University

Dr. Edmund Pellegrino excelled in all that he did. He combined outstanding traits of an impeccable scholar, a devoted teacher and an inspiring leader in administration. His scholarship, hard work, tremendous energies and gentleness were well appreciated in the United States and in the world at large. There are many excellent teachers and administrators. There are quite a few first-rate scholars. But there are only very few who combine these qualities with kindness, humility and generosity. Due to lack of space I am unable to list all of Ed’s honours. Dr. Pellegrino was the recipient of 52 honorary doctorates in addition to numerous other awards. I will note some of the milestones and add some observations relating to our personal acquaintance.

Dr. Pellegrino studied medicine because he wanted to comprehend the membrane phenomenon by biophysical means. He received his B.S. degree from St. John’s University (Summa cum Laude) and his M.D. from New York University. He served residencies in medicine at Bellevue, Goldwater Memorial, and Homer Folks Tuberculosis Hospitals, following which he was a research fellow in renal medicine and physiology at New York University.

Dr. Pellegrino was founding chairman and medical director at the Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, New Jersey (1953–1959), following which he became founding chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Kentucky (1959–1966), Dean of the State of New York School of Medicine (1966–1973), Chancellor and Vice President for the Health Sciences at the University of Tennessee (1973–1975), President of the Yale-New Haven Medical Center (1975–1978), and President of The Catholic University of America (1978–1982). In 1982 he was appointed as the John Carroll Professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics at Georgetown University (1982–2000). During his tenure at Georgetown he served as Director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics (1983–1989), founding Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Ethics (1989–1994), and founding Director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics (1991–1996).

After his “retirement” in 2000, Dr. Pellegrino continued to mentor students, to conduct his regular clinical rounds in Georgetown Hospital, to write and speak nationally and internationally. He continued his passionate work also during 2005–2009, when he served as chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics. In fact, he did not cease to work until his very last day.

Dr. Pellegrino has played a central role in shaping the fields of bioethics and the philosophy of medicine. His persona and scholarship combined the world of science with the world of humanities. He was intrigued by questions pertaining to how things work and how they relate to each other (science) and also by questions pertaining to what we should and ought to be doing, why should we be moral (ethics); how do the scientific realm and the philosophical realm relate to each other, and how do philosophical and theological ethics relate to each other. In March 2008, the President’s Council on Bioethics published a commissioned volume entitled Human Dignity and Bioethics. In his letter to the US president, Dr. Pellegrino explained that the fundamental questions in law and ethics will be shaped by what it means to be human and what we understand to be ethical obligations. He always insisted that ethical concerns are shaped by foundational views regarding the nature of the physician-patient relationship and the goals of medicine, which are the proper focus of the philosophy of medicine.

In a long and remarkable career that spanned over 55 years of research and scholarship, Dr. Pellegrino published more than 550 scholarly articles. During the first thirty years his publications were mainly medical-scientific in nature, touching on a variety of issues: renal functions, treatment of Tuberculosis, Meningitis, Q-Fever, biochemistry of calcified tissues, Bilateral Bronchiectasis, sudden death, the composition of human bone, the “Stiff-Man” Syndrome, Bacterial Endocarditis, refractory heart failure, diet and Osteoporosis. While continuing to contribute to the medical-scientific literature, from the 1970s onwards Dr. Pellegrino devoted a great deal of time publishing on issues in the intersection of medicine, philosophy and religion. He published twenty-four books, and was the founding editor of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (1968). His books Humanism and the Physician (1979), A Philosophical Basis of Medical Practice (1981), Teaching Ethics, the Humanities and Human Values in Medical Schools (1982), For the Patient’s Good (1987), Catholic Perspectives on Medical Morals (1989), Ethics, Trust and the Professions (1991), The Virtues in Medical Practice (1993), The Christian Virtues in Medical Practice (1996), Helping and Healing (1997), Jewish and Catholic Bioethics (1999), and African American Bioethics (2007) are all seminal works that have left memorable imprint on the field of medical and religious ethics. His writings encompass original explorations of the concept of beneficence, the role of the physician as a moral agent, the need to place humanism in the medical curriculum, the nature of the patient’s good, and the importance of a virtue-based normative ethics for health care. His contributions to Christian medical ethics, patient-physician communication, the healing relationship, the dispute over the internal and external sources of a morality for medicine, and the role of the Hippocratic tradition are all important.

Ed was a compassionate physician, a passionate Catholic, a man with firm ideas and a very clear Weltanschauung. While our respective upbringings led us to develop different outlooks on life and medical ethics, we enjoyed our professional conversations. I had a deep appreciation and liking of Ed, and I think it was mutual. I very much appreciated his integrity, his lucid and clear thinking, his devotion to the medical profession, his leadership and his gentle character, his humanity and human relationships. I wished there were many more such figures and personalities in medical schools and in world academia at large. Ed was and is a role model.

Dr. Pellegrino thought that the big ethical questions are still the same as they were thousands of years ago. Human nature, he thought, did not change. He was a conservative in the sense of preserving from the past what is good and then evaluating it, examining what changes, if at all, are needed. Dr. Pellegrino was not a progressivist and his views on innovations in biotechnology were constrictive and measured. He thought responsibility, accountability and the way we reason about moral questions dictate cautious policies.

Ed and I used to meet during my visits to Washington. We had lengthy conversations about medical ethics, philosophy, religion (Catholicism, Judaism) and education. In 2008, when I was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, I invited Ed to deliver the keynote lecture in a conference I had organized. Ed was the Chairman of the President’s Bioethics Committee at that time. His lecture was sharp, full of insights and poignant stories. Dr. Pellegrino said that analysis of the decision-making process includes the questions of who are the decision-makers, what the criteria are for selecting them, how conflicts about the decision should be confronted and resolved. A patient with mental capacity is the default decision-maker. If a patient is mentally incapacitated, an advance directive (an oral or written statement of end-of-life preferences) becomes the surrogate decision-maker. If there is no advance directive, the decision-making responsibility passes to a legally valid surrogate. However, Dr. Pellegrino cautioned, the legally valid surrogate sometimes does not have the best interests of the patient at heart. The decision-maker has to be a morally valid surrogate—someone close to the patient who knows her values, and has no partisan interests. If there is persistent disagreement, either because family members disagree, or because medical personnel believe that family members are not following the patient’s wishes, the decision may be left to a hospital ethics committee.

We had long conversations about the situation in The Netherlands. Dr. Pellegrino agreed with my criticism of the policy and practice of euthanasia, and he objected to any idea which promoted physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. While we agreed about euthanasia, we disagreed about physician-assisted suicide. Ed did not see much difference between the two while I did. He objected to American legislation in this direction, first and foremost in Oregon, and was sorry to see other states (Montana, Washington) going in that direction.2 He used to tell me stories about families who approached him “to do something” about their loved-ones. Ed remained adamant in his refusal, telling them that he could not help in killing. He can help in caring, sustaining life, attempt at curing. Ed said: I am in the business of healing, not killing. At the same time, he recognized that there are others, including physicians, who had different views. Those families were free to approach those colleagues. Ed did not wish to be involved.

I last met Ed in October 2012. We had an extensive conversation about the philosophy of John Stuart Mill and the complexity of paternalism, discussed in my paper “Between Autonomy and State Regulation: J. S. Mill’s Elastic Paternalism”, Philosophy, Vol. 87/Issue 04 (2012). As ever, Ed enjoyed talking about his most recent experience teaching students. He always thought that rounds with students, discussing specific patients and their conditions, analyzing case studies in the Socratic method of exchange of opinions (but without irony), is the best way to educate physicians and make them aware of ethical dilemmas.

Dr. Pellegrino thought that medicine is the most scientific of the humanities and the most humane of sciences. He thought that the physician should be well trained in liberal arts so as to develop independent critical thinking. Unfortunately, he argued, medical ethics does not receive its right place in many medical schools throughout the world; many only pay a lip-service to ethics. He thought that medical ethics should be taught throughout the degree, in each and every year. Dr. Pellegrino thought it is essential to have at least one philosopher in the medical school, and that the teaching should be conducted in two tiers: philosophical-ethical discussion about fundamentals, laying the principles; and applying them in real-time, specific scenarios, relating to real human beings in the wards. He believed in spending time with patients and students, elucidating medical conditions, challenges and possible solutions.

Ed was a hard working, highly committed physician who continued to do his rounds as long as he was capable of doing them. He loved the conversations with young physicians. He loved the exchange. He loved the teaching. He loved sharing his knowledge and expertise with others. He was kind, caring, and compassionate. Madison Powers, Dr. Pellegrino’s colleague at Georgetown, told me that Ed finished the last week of his life by leading a discussion group all week and ending the event with his master class. “He was looking frail but kept the spirit until the very end and died just days later. He is irreplaceable.”

Together with his late wife Clementine Coakley, Dr. Pellegrino had seven children.

Ed died as he wished for himself and wanted for others. He died in his sleep, a week shy of his 93rd birthday.

May his soul rest in peace.


1 “Physician and Philosopher—The Philosophical Foundation of Medicine: Essays by Dr. Edmund Pellegrino”, N Engl J Med 347 (2002): 952–953.

2 In May 2013 Vermont has become the fourth US state to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

Post-Conflict: Emerging Powers And The Future Of The World Order

In early September I was invited to a workshop in Nicosia on Post-Conflict: Emerging Powers And The Future Of The World Order.

I enjoyed the presentation of Sevgul Uladag who is doing an important work in recovering the remains of missing persons, killed during the civil war in Cyprus. Since 2002, Ms. Uladag has chronicled the stories of the missing and the relatives they left behind in a daily column for the Turkish Cypriot Yeni Duzen newspaper and a weekly one for the Greek Cypriot Politis. She has also set up a telephone hotline for people to call in their stories and offer tips about where some of the missing may be buried. Despite death threats, she continues her courageous and most important work in recovering and identifying bodies and informing their families that they can bury their loved ones as they deserve, bringing their personal drama and trauma to closure, or at least to a defined end of the mourning process.

I asked the keynote speaker, Professor Mustapha Kamal Pasha, the following questions:
a)      There were two experiments in democratization, Japan and Iraq. What do you think of them? What is your assessment of their success?
b)     There are two models of American involvement in today’s world affairs, Bush v Obama. Should the superpower of the world assert its leadership? If yes, in what way?
c)      We are confronted with a choice between two evils, democratization that leads to radical Islam, and infringement of human rights, or military coup d'état when radical Islam is elected. Which is preferable?

Professor Mustapha Kamal Pasha answered: It is a failure of hegemony when you need to use power. Any project that tells you what you need to do is defective. Developments should be internal. Any project of forcing something on others is problematic.

Pasha maintained that we should avoid the language of superpowers, and that we know what the results of Japan and Iraq were. The data speaks for itself.

Pasha concluded that if you are committed to democracy then you have to allow any result.

I welcome your views on these questions and answers.

I thank the organizers of the workshop for their kind invitation. It was nice to see such a fruitful cooperation between three universities, the University of Hull, York University (Toronto), and the University of Nicosia. Anna M. Agathangelou, Sameera Khalfey, Sophia Dingli and Caroline Kennedy surely enjoyed and should be proud of the fruits of their efforts.

13th World Summit on Counter-Terrorism

After Nicosia I flew to Israel to take part in the World Summit on Counter-Terrorism at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), Herzliya and to present my research on "In Internet's Way: Radical, Terrorist Islamists on the Free Highway". The major talking points were Iran and Syria. Almost of all key figures in the Israeli establishment (among them Minister of Defence Moshe Yaalon;  Minister of Science Yaacov Peri;  Minister for Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz; Major General (res.) Amos Gilad) emphasized the Iranian threat to world peace in general and to Israel in particular.

Speakers explained that Syria is fragmented. Opposition forces fight not only the Assad regime but sometimes one against the other. Religion is more important than national boundaries. Lebanese Hezbollah fighters are fighting alongside Assad, while Lebanese Suni jihadists are fighting against the Alawite regime. The war is between the Sunni majority and the Alawite minority. The number of individuals is unprecedented. Fighters from more than 60 nations are involved in the fighting.

Since January 2013 Arab governments and Turkey increased their army supplies shipment to Syrian opposition forces. The CIA has supported this initiative. Qatari and Saudi money sponsors this. Turkey and Jordan provide geo-assistance and allow land access of these resources into Syria.

Sudan also sends weapons to the rebels. Sudan government sold arms to Qatar, which arranged delivery through Turkey to Syrian rebels.

Iraqi prime minister warned that there is a spillover of jihadi activities into Iraqi territory which further destabilizes the situation in Iraq.

Professor Eyal Zisser, who specializes in the study of Syria, explained that until now more than 4 million people became refugees and 120,000 people were killed. 300,000 people are involved in the fighting, and of them only 10,000 are foreigners. The vast majority of the fighters are Syrians.

The local gangs emerged spontaneously. Zisser doubts whether they can play a role in future Syria. Outsiders have no real influence about what is happening inside Syria.

The middle class and the upper middle class are either in favour of the Assad regime, or are sitting on the fence. The rebels were unable to capture any major city but Raqqah. State institutions still stick with Bashar Hafez al-Assad. Not even one army unit defected to the rebels as a unit. Individual soldiers did but not units, unlike the situation in Libya when army units defected from the Gaddafi army and joined the rebels. Not one diplomat defected. Assad is still paying salaries to one million employees in administration and army.

Furthermore, the rebels are unable to unite. We are still talking of gangs. In each place, a small gang of rebels can be found. There is no army. The Free Army is simply a title. There is no real military command, no agreed upon political leader.

Zisser noted that Syrian society has been always divided. What we see is a deadlock, a situation that can linger on for quite a long time. This struggle will be decided by many battles. This is a war of attrition in which each side wants to tire the other. Assad can still win.

The Syrian economy is paralyzed. Before the crisis, 40 percent of the houses did not have running water. This is in the rural areas. The crisis did not affect the lives of these people seriously. They simply continue living under dire conditions.

All in all, Zisser concluded that Assad has more chances to win in Syria. In his assessment, the chances are more than 50 percent that Assad will be able to reassert power in Syria.

Lt. General (ret.) Moshe Bogie Yaalon explained his philosophy on fighting terror: first defence, then fence, then offense. He emphasized that we should never surrender to terror. If we do, we bring about more terror. He said that if the international collaboration against terror that exists today were to exist prior 2001 then he can safely say that September 11 would not have taken place.

Yaalon said that in the early 1990s, American colleagues asked him: “why don't you bomb the Hamas headquarters?” Yaalon replied: “do you know where is Hamas headquarters?” “No”, was the American reply. “I know”, said Yaalon, “in Virginia, where Moussa Abu Marzouk lived”.

Dr Boaz Ganor, who organized the conference, claimed that prior to 2001 German intelligence knew of the al Qaeda cell in the Hamburg but did not advise US authorities. Spanish intelligence knew that money was transferred from Spain to Hamburg but did not divulge the information to Germany. Thus sharing intelligence and international collaboration are essential.

 Ganor emphasized that there exists a need for collaborative network of people who share information, who connect the dots, and who are able to understand and analyse the data, in order to crack down on international networks of terror.

Major General (ret.) Aharon Zeevi-Farkash explained that there are seven or eight tribes in Syria, each receiving money from Saudi Arabia or Qatar, without coordination and collaboration. To topple Assad, they need to fight together.

Zeevi-Farkash explained that thousands of fighters arrive into Syria as both Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri urge their followers to arrive in Syria and fight against the Alawite regime.

Brig General (res.) Nitzan Nuriel thinks that the Syrian-Israeli border, which was quiet for dozens of years, might become hot and active. It might become an arena for terrorist activities, similar to the Israeli Lebanese border.

Terrorism expert Professor Rohan Gunaratna claimed that al Qaeda today numbers some 200 fighters, mainly on the Pakistani-Afghani order. In addition, there are affiliated groups in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. 

Terrorism expert Dr Thomas Hegghammer assessed that the number of jihadi fighters is so high that there is a very slim likelihood that there won't be spillover of terror plots onto Europe.

Major General (res.) Amos Gilad explained that the Sunni axis is formed under American influence. Egypt is leading this pax-Americana. This is good news because this axis is against terror, against al Qaeda, against radical Islam, against Muslim Brotherhood, against Hamas, and it is not against Israel. Gilad maintained that Egypt is now engaged seriously to curb terror in Sinai. Its leaders are now identifying Hamas as a threat.

Gilad asserted that al Qaeda is unable to harm Jordan. Al Qaeda tried but the Jordanian intelligence and security forces proved to be too powerful. The Hashemite Kingdom is still strong. Gilad cynically said that so-called experts spoke of the fall of the Hashemite Kingdom since King Hussein came to power. Hussein governed his country successfully for many years. Meanwhile those so-called experts have passed away. Gilad maintained that we should not be quick to forecast the fall of Hussein's son Abdullah.

Al Qaeda is also unable to undermine other countries in the Sunni axis -- Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states.

Gilad also accentuated the importance of the Iranian threat. He explained that Iran wishes to have nuclear deterrence against Israel and to be able to freely sponsor terrorism against Israeli and Jewish targets without fear of Israel’s nuclear capabilities. The Arab world won't tolerate nuclear Iran. Once Iran has it, Egypt and Saudi Arabia will develop too.

Finally, Gilad said that it is important for Israel not to risk relationships with Turkey, and that Israel and the United States have unprecedented relationships. There are deep security, economic and intelligence relations. Relationships between the two sides, argued Gilad, have never been better.

Dr Yuval Steinitz, Minister for Strategic Affairs, said that Israel does not wish to intervene in Syria. Israel lowers its profile vis a vis Syria. At the top of Israeli priorities remains nuclear Iran. The region is volatile, there is bloodshed in many countries in the Middle East. There are important developments but Iran continues to advance to nuclear weapons, which is a game changer. Iran constitutes a threat not only to Israel but also to the United States and the world at large.

Steinitz also spoke of the Palestinian Authority incitement against Israel and Zionism, glorifying Hitler and Nazism, equating Jews with apes, and encouraging children at schools to rise and kill Zionists. Steinitz explained how widespread anti-Israeli incitement is, on the media, social networks, schools, summer schools, demonizing Israel and urging everyone to undermine its existence. At the same time, Abu Mazen is engaged with a peace process. This contrasting duality does not bolster trust between the two parties. There cannot be real peace, and there cannot be real progress in the peace process as long as this vile incitement continues. This incitement, argues Steinitz, fuels terrorism. Incitement should cease tout court.

In parenthesis, I should note that during the mid 1980s, when Yuval and I were young  lecturers at the University of Haifa, we debated the issue of the boundaries of free expression. While I argued that incitement is not protected speech and lies squarely outside the scope of tolerance, Steinitz argued that incitement is protected speech.

People do change. Sometimes they change their mind from one side to another. I am happy that common sense does prevail, even if it hesitates and is realized after some time.

Former head of the Mossad Efraim Halevy was asked what was his secret for building trust with King Hussein. Halevy answered with a smile: “I don't know”. He told the story how he first met King Hussein. He was meeting a Jordanian colleague in London, speaking about some technical aspects of Israeli-Jordanian cooperation. Suddenly, unexpectedly, King Hussein walked into the room. Halevy said he was uncomfortable but soon a discussion evolved between him and King Hussein which lasted for two hours. He did not notice when the Jordanian aide had left the room. And from then all is history.

In intelligence, explained Halevy, there are no rules of the game. Politicians need to instruct their legal officers: this is the problem, this is the solution we need, now you need to provide the required legal principles to enable the solution. Halevy said we must find new ways to protect ourselves. Unless we change the way we approach terror, it will take a long time to eradicate terror.

Regarding Syria, Halevy correctly noted that when a nation is under trauma, e.g., after 9/11, the public is willing to wage war on terror. In other times, the public is very reluctant to go to war.

I noticed, for the first time, the facial resemblance between Efraim Halevy and my Oxford mentor Isaiah Berlin. Halevy confirmed that he had family relations in Berlin.

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said that between the US and Israel there is collaboration in fighting cybercrime. The Israeli cyber division is new and is establishing collaborations with a number of countries and also with the Palestinian Authority.

Adrian Leppard, Commissioner of the City of London police, said that fraud and economic crime on the Internet grew in England from 2% to more than 15%. He is worried about cyber attacks and have recently established an intellectual property unit in the London police.

I thank Dr Boaz Ganor for the kind invitation.


Is intelligence the most ancient trade, or the second most ancient trade?

European Association for Israel Studies – 3rd International  Conference

I then attended the EAIS conference, where I presented my paper “Israeli Democracy and the Rights of Its Palestinian Citizens”. The keynote lecture of this conference was delivered by Ambassador Professor Itamar Rabinovich, a renowned expert on Syria. Syria is definitely in fashion nowadays.

During the Rabin government, Rabinovich negotiated peace with Syria for four years. Rabin wished to strike a deal with Syria as the conflict is restricted to territory. Syria was at that time a country with strong authority, credible leadership, with standing in the Arab world. Thus Rabin preferred the Syrian track over the Palestinian. Shimon Peres also tried to strike a deal with Syria, to no avail. Following Rabin and Peres, Barak and Netanyahu also tried to negotiate peace with Syria. After the 2006 war, Olmert understood the importance of a peace pact with Syria as Syria affected the Israeli-Lebanese relationship.

In 2005, President Bush met Prime Minister Sharon. Bush said: let us get rid of Assad. Sharon did not wish to. Better deal with the devil we know, he replied.  Some people are making the same argument today.

When asked about the failed peace negotiations in Shepherdstown, Rabinovich said that Israel, Syria and the USA all made mistakes on the road to peace. They are all responsible for the failure.

Book Review - Joby Warrick

Joby Warrick, The Triple Agent (NY: Doubleday, 2011), 244 pp. ; ISBN: 978-0-385-53418-5. Price: $16.

Published in Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 25, Issue 3 (2013), pp. 506-508.

The Triple Agent is a captivating thriller. Although it is not an academic book, it is well-worth reading. It tells the true and most disturbing story of Humam al-Balawi from the tragic end (December 30, 2009) to the way it started. The book does not attempt to address big questions. It tells a story in a very engaging way, quite often from the CIA’s point of view. The Triple Agent sheds some light on the relationships between the CIA and the Jordanian Mukhabarat. We learn about the relationships between the USA, Pakistan and Afghanistan. We learn about the US capabilities in fighting al-Queda. The learning is in snapshots; it is not methodological, analytical and comprehensive. But many details are interesting, showing the capabilities and shortcomings of the War on Terror.

The Story
al-Balawi came to the attention of the CIA in January 2009. The CIA informed the Jordanians of al-Balawi’s activity on Jihadi websites. The seemingly quiet physician was soon arrested and taken for investigation. After a relatively short investigation, al-Balawi was transformed into an agent and in March 2009 was sent to Pakistan. Communication with him became difficult but then, in September 2009, he sent a short low-quality video of a few seconds in which he was seen with Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, one of the closest associates of Osama bin-Laden. al-Balawi had been in the same room with a top al-Qaeda commander. Somehow he managed to capture the meeting on video and he delivered the evidence to the CIA. In the eight years of the war on terror, no one had ever gotten so close to bin-Laden. The CIA was deeply impressed.
al-Balawi then wrote that he provided treatment to no other than Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda second in command, for his medical condition. The CIA now eagerly wanted to meet the Jordanian mole. al-Balawi suggested to meet in the Taliban land. The CIA refused and finally a meeting was arranged in a CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan. A delegation of no less than sixteen people waited to greet him upon arrival. al-Balawi arrived later than expected and as soon as he exited the car he blew himself, taking with him nine people including senior CIA officials.

Nagging Questions
Too little is said about al-Balawi. We know that he came from a Palestinian refugee family. But what drives a young physician, a family man, to engage in Jihad? What kind of training did he receive to become a mole? Why did the Mukhabarat think that he can become a successful agent? How deficient was the decision-making processes in the CIA to lead them to believe that a person who spouted so much venom on the Internet can transform into a mole in a span of a few months? We know very little about the months that al-Balawi spent with the Taliban.
There are very troubling questions about the conduct of the CIA and the way its decision-makers and so-called analysts think. What prompted them to believe the authenticity of the video clip that al-Balawi had sent them? Did they ask him how the video was filmed, and who filmed it? Could al-Balawi film it himself, or did he need assistance from someone? Why did the CIA trust a person they have not met, of whom they knew so very little?
The al-Balawi episode unfolded when US security agencies had no clue as to the whereabouts of Osama bin-Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Both arch-terrorists effectively hid their locations. This explains why the CIA was so desperate to meet al-Balawi to learn about his meeting with al-Zawahiri. But it does not explain why they believed the fantastic story. The CIA was fully aware of the elaborate precautions that al-Zawahiri took to keep himself protected, thus why should he expose himself to the new recruit, al-Balawi? Granted that there were not many physicians where al-Zawahiri was likely to be, but surely there were some. Apparently, the CIA officials had led themselves to believe that al-Qaeda’s conduct was as careful as their own careless conduct.
Moreover, why was the driver who brought al-Balawi to the CIA base not instructed to search him? Why was nobody instructed to search the mole at the gate of the base, away from the distinguish delegation that was gathered to meet him? Why should sixteen people stand to greet al-Balawi upon his arrival, thus making his suicide mission so successful?

The book is well written. It was difficult for me to let the book out of my hands. I wanted to understand how such a tragedy could have happened. Many of the questions, however, are left unanswered.
The book has obvious limitations. It was written over a period of one year, and there is just so much research one can do only in a year. For obvious reasons, many of the sources are anonymous and sometimes the story as it unfolds seems too fantastic to be true. There are too many holes.
The critical reflections revolve around the al-Balawi affair. There is hardly any critical thinking about the war on terror. For instance, the use of the drones is celebrated in the book, perceived as a huge success. Often it seemed that Warrick merely serves as a mouthpiece for American propaganda. Not only we do not find any analysis of the very use of such targeted assassination, whether or not it is justified, and how much collateral damage is inflicted on peaceful civilians, but there is no attempt to weigh the pros and cons of this method of warfare. Is it successful in reducing terror?
The book is not immune to redundant repetitions. A less merciful editor would have done the book a good service if she were to shorten the book by 40 pages or so. It also seems that opening the book with the suicide bombing takes the sting out of the book while showing the photos of key figures in the middle of the book (p. 106) tells more than what some readers, me included, would like to know at that stage.


The Triple Agent is written like a thriller. It is a disturbing thriller as it is based on facts, showing the consequences of rushed actions, without proper deliberation and careful thinking. Al Qaeda appears as a far more sophisticated organization, in thinking, than the CIA which fell into the trap like a lemon from its tree. Reading The Triple Agent evokes concerns as to what extent this episode reflects CIA conduct. If this single episode is not the exception but the rule then our liberty and security are in the hands of too eager and less thinking people.

New Books

The Banality of Suicide Terrorism

If you would like a complimentary digital copy of the Hebrew translation of The Banality of Suicide Terrorism, send an email to

Jean-Charles Brisard, former chief investigator, 9/11 families' lawsuit and author of the biography Zarqawi wrote: "A fascinating and brilliant book that goes through the hearts and minds of the suicide bombers."

Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin, PhD
Frishman 18 Apt. 7
Tel Aviv 63432 Israel
Cel: 054 792 7083 H. & F.: +972777920369
U.S.: 646 340 8417

Steven Maras, Objectivity in Journalism (Cambridge: Polity, 2013)

Journalism historians have tied the emergence of objectivity in North America to the decline in party journalism, beginning in the 1830s, when the commercial penny papers combined advanced print technology with a street-sale distribution system as a way of expanding and cultivating a new public. Massive economic and political changes in the 1830s were expressively integrated into the form and content of the penny press, which both drew upon and strengthened the culture of a democratic market society. The cheap commercial papers asserted their independence from party politics and emphasised their reliance on news from any and all social spheres. The penny press could offer, so it claimed, a more dependable and authentic journalism: news untainted by the political, social, and economic values that for so long had defined the content of the daily papers. The belief that knowledge, like property, should not be monopolised for exclusive use by private interests was expressed in the penny papers as a positive commitment to cheap, value-free information - to objective fact. There was growing reverence for naïve empiricism, the belief that the world was knowable and nameable.

In the first study of its kind, Steven Maras surveys the different viewpoints and perspectives on objectivity. Going beyond a denunciation or defence of journalistic objectivity, Maras critically examines the different scholarly and professional arguments made in the area. Structured around key questions, the book considers the origins and history of objectivity, its philosophical influences, the main objections and defences, and questions of values, politics and ethics. He observes debates around objectivity as a transnational norm, focusing on the emergence of objectivity in the US, while broadening out discussion to include developments around objectivity in the UK, Australia, Asia and other regions.

I thank Polity Press for a copy of this book.

Anneliese Dodds, Comparative Public Policy (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2013)

This is a must book for anyone who studies, teaches or implements public policy. It compares public policies across a wide range of countries and across core policy areas, including welfare, education, healthcare and the environment. This comparison of different policy areas provides the foundation for a critical overview of the main theories and methodological issues in comparative public policy.

Comparative public policy is defined as the use of the comparative approach to investigate policy processes, outputs and outcomes (p. 13). It is interesting, comprehensive, and informed, with up-to-date data and firm theoretical basis. Chapter 3 is about economic policy. Chapter 4 on welfare policy. Chapter 5 Health policy. Chapter 6 education policy. Chapter 7 environmental policy. Their purpose is to provide an introduction to comparative public policy by looking at different countries and explaining different rationales for policy making. Among the surveyed countries are Australia, the United States, Japan, and multiple European countries. The book provides a detailed overview of the nature and variations in policy between states across the above key issues. The analysis takes into account governmental priorities in allocating resources, powers of organization, use of authority, and provision of information.

The comparative approach to public policy illuminates the policy process in both foreign and domestic contexts and also provides valuable lessons on how governments and organizations can do things differently. Informed by the latest research, the book examines the challenges posed by attempts to transfer policies from one society to another and assesses the impact of globalization on public-policy making. Supported by a wealth of figures, charts and real-life international examples, this valuable resource provides a comprehensive and integrated introduction to comparative public policy in the twenty-first century.

I thank Palgrave for a copy of this book.

Monthly Poems

What Is It that Makes You YOU?

Is it your warm voice
Rhymes in my ears
Rings the inner bells
Make me feel home also when I am far far away

Is it your hair
I like to play
Like golden waterfall
covers your shoulders and me when I feel cold

Is it your smile
Welcoming and kind
Light all around
Scares out the dark

Is it your hands
So tiny yet strong
Uplifting me when I am down
Caressing my head when I frown

Butterflies in rainbow light
Fragile yet able to fly high
Beautiful and one of the kind
Wonderful as you.

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

The Biggest Surprise Ever

This one is for all who contemplate the most original wedding proposal;
This one is for all who contemplate the most joyful wedding;
This one is for all who contemplate ways to surprise their loved ones.

Congratulations and Mazaal Tov Nicky and Justin!

Light Side

Gotta Love the Irish – Part 2

The Lost Luggage

An Irish man arrived at J.F.K. Airport and wandered around the terminal with tears streaming down his cheeks.

An airline employee asked him if he was already homesick.

"No," replied the Irishman.
"I've lost all me luggage!"

"How'd that happen?"

"The cork fell out!" said the Irishman.

And, similarly:

The Fall

Murphy was staggering home with a pint of booze in his back pocket when he slipped and fell heavily.

Struggling to his feet, he felt something wet running down his leg.

"Please Lord," he implored, "let it be blood!!"

Happy Simchat Torah. I miss the lively, joyful, community-based celebrations of Simchat Torah at the reform synagogues in Israel. It is certainly challenging to live without such a community in Beverley.

Peace and love.

Yours as ever,


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