Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Politics – December 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

Palestine needs its Nelson Mandela; Israel needs it FW de Klerk. With such courageous and prudent leadership on both sides there will be peace in no time.

In Memory:
Youth And Age 

MUCH did I rage when young,
Being by the world oppressed,
But now with flattering tongue
It speeds the parting guest.

William Butler Yeats 

Nelson Mandela's struggle against South African apartheid inspired millions. Mandela became a role model for many who fight oppression in different corners of the world. Mandela led a life of perseverance, of suffering, of struggle; a life of humility and humanity; a life of peace, of forgiveness, of reconciliation; a life of a wise man, a leader who showed his people that hope and vision can create new opportunities, that fighting for liberty does not have to be violent, that South Africa had better embrace and unite than self-destruct. Nelson Mandela became a legend in his lifetime because he personified a nation that went out of darkness to create new horizons of freedom and multiculturalism, of tolerance and unity.

Nelson Mandela's great vision for justice and equality and against bigotry and violence continues to resonate around the world, as new generations of young people pursue the ideals he embraced.

President Obama is a great orator. On December 10, 2013, in Johannesburg, he paid tribute to a person who he clearly admired, in his usual eloquence, clarity and power. These are the words of the world leader in memory of his role model:

On Wednesday, December 18, 2013, I will be hosting former Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor. Please cross fingers for a successful event. More about this in my next Newsletter.

Another Israeli start-up, PrimeSense, was bought by an American giant, this time Apple.
I hope to see the day when an Israeli giant Hi-Tech will buy small American start-ups.

~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Hull to be UK City of Culture 2017
MA scholarships in the School of Politics, Philosophy & International Studies
International Peace Conference – May 2015
Philipp Mißfelder: Iran must not gain the skills for producing nuclear weapons
His Excellency Ambassador Manuel Hassassian
Labour Has a New Leader
Peace Conference in Angers, France
Visitor to the University of Hull – Professor Eric Barendt
The International Hrant Dink Award is waiting for your nominees
Exchange with Abe Silverman
EU Parliament votes for 40% of Seats on Company Boards for Women
My New Article – Two-State Solution
My Republished Article - Combating Terrorism on the Free Highway
New Books
French v. British
Monthly Poems
NASA releases new mosaic of Earthlings waving at Saturn
Light Side

Hull to be UK City of Culture 2017

For the past year, hundreds of people (including your humble servant on social media) have been campaigning for electing Hull to be the UK's next city of culture. I said that Hull needs this boost more than any other city I know, excluding Baltimore. And on November 20, 2013, Hull has been named the UK's next City of Culture, beating Leicester, Dundee and Swansea Bay for the right to hold the title in 2017.

Hull, known for being the home of poet Philip Larkin, the Ferens gallery and the Truck theatre, will follow the 2013 City of Culture, Derry-Londonderry.

The UK government chooses a new destination every four years, with the aim of helping tourism and the economy.

Hull council leader Stephen Brady said winning was "a real game-changer".

He added: "It will give Hull a platform to tell the world what this great city has to offer, transform perceptions and accelerate our journey to make Hull a prime visitor destination."

Being City of Culture has brought Derry events like the Turner Prize, BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend and an outdoor theatrical extravaganza written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce - who worked on the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

           The Hull Truck Theatre

Ministers created the UK City of Culture title in an attempt to replicate the success of Liverpool's year as the European Capital of Culture in 2008.

However, the winner does not receive direct funding from the UK government.
Culture secretary Maria Miller said Derry's tenure was "encouraging economic growth, inspiring social change and bringing communities together".

Hull's cultural programme will be inspired by the poems of Philip Larkin.

"It can produce a wonderful mix of inward investment and civic pride, and I hope Hull's plans will make the most of all that being UK City of Culture can bring," she added.

Hull's most famous cultural figure is Larkin who, while not born there, lived in the city for 30 years and found fame while working as a university librarian. He produced most of his published poetry while living in the city and Hull's bid is partly inspired by his work.

A statement from Hull City Council said: "Inspired by Larkin's poem Days, the ambition is for each day of Hull 2017 to make a difference to a life in the city, the UK and the world."

The council said it expected the events to bring a £60m boost to the local economy in 2017 alone, as well as a longer-term legacy for the city.

Hull is also home to the Ferens Art Gallery, which broke visitor records with a Da Vinci exhibition last year, and the Hull Truck theatre company, which became a national force in the 1970s and '80s and moved into a new £14.5m home in 2009.

The city's plans for 2017 include an opening ceremony involving theatrical elephants, dancing white phone boxes and four "rivers" of light, people and sound flowing into the city.

The city's annual Freedom Festival will incorporate a special aerial show taking its theme from the last line of Larkin's poem An Arundel Tomb: "What will survive of us is love."

There will also be a stadium sound and light concert that will see lighting designer Durham Marenghi work with 500 dancers on the theme of illusion and fairs.

MA scholarships in the School of Politics, Philosophy & International Studies

To celebrate the University's research successes, the University of Hull is offering 3 MA scholarships of £10,000 each in the School of Politics, Philosophy & International Studies.The scholarships are for students applying for an MA in International Politics, with an emphasis on Middle Eastern Studies.

Closing date for applications: 11 January 2014. Interviews will be held in February 2014. Successful applicants will be informed of the award by 29th March 2013. Scholarships will start in September 2014.

For inquiries contact: Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor
Chair in Politics
School of Politics, Philosophy and International Studies 
The University of Hull     
Cottingham Road
Hull, HU6 7RX
United Kingdom   
F: +0044 (0)1482 466208

International Peace Conference – May 2015

I have begun to organize an international peace conference, scheduled to take part in Hull in May 2015. Until now I have been able to raise £20,000 for the event. I require £30,000 more to do what I want to do: inviting 8 Israeli senior peace negotiators, 8 Palestinian senior peace negotiators and 8 international figures to discuss peace. I invited President Bill Clinton to confer his leadership on the conference. My friend, Professor Art Hobson, who resides in Arkansas, supported my plea with a letter to Clinton.

Please do get in touch if you are able to help with your connections to people or with the financial aspects of the summit. We need to push the peace wagon forward. It is better to talk than to fight. If we won’t talk, we will fight. Human lives are at stake.


On November 23, 2013 the United States and five other world powers announced a landmark accord that would temporarily freeze the Iranian nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more sweeping agreement. It was the first time in nearly a decade that an international agreement had been reached to halt much of Iran’s nuclear program and roll back some of its elements.

Iran, which has long resisted international monitoring efforts and built clandestine nuclear facilities, agreed to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent, a level that would be sufficient for energy production but that would require further enrichment for bomb-making. To make good on that pledge, Iran will dismantle links between networks of centrifuges.

Regarding enrichment, its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent, a short hop from weapons-grade fuel, would be diluted or converted into oxide so that it could not be readily used for military purposes. Iran agreed that it would not install any new centrifuges, start up any that are not already operating or build new enrichment facilities.

Iran’s stockpile of such low-enriched uranium would be allowed to temporarily increase to about eight tons from about seven tons currently. But Tehran would be required to shrink this stockpile by the end of the six-month agreement back to seven tons.

The agreement, however, does not require Iran to stop enriching uranium to a low level of 3.5 percent, or to dismantle any of its existing centrifuges.

On the contentious issue of the heavy water reactor Iran is building near Arak, which could produce plutonium and therefore another path to a bomb, Iran agreed not to produce fuel for the plant, install additional reactor components there or put the plant into operation.

Iran is not required to dismantle the facility, however, or convert the plant into a light water reactor that would be less useful for military purposes.

To guard against cheating, international monitors would be allowed to visit the Natanz enrichment facility and the underground nuclear enrichment plant at Fordo on a daily basis to check the film from cameras installed there.

But Iran did not agree to all of the intrusive inspection regime that the International Atomic Energy Agency had said was needed to ensure that the Iranian program is peaceful.

In return for the initial agreement, the United States agreed to provide $6 billion to $7 billion in sanctions relief. Of this, roughly $4.2 billion would be oil revenue that has been frozen in foreign banks. [Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig commented: A more recent report in many international papers has the U.S. admitting that the sanction relief actually is $20 billion.]

The accord will last six months during which international negotiators will pursue a more comprehensive pact that would ratchet back much of Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it could be used only for peaceful purposes.

In Geneva, the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said he hoped the agreement would lead to a “restoration” of trust between Iran and the United States. He reiterated Iran’s longstanding assertion that its nuclear program was peaceful, adding that the Iranian people deserved respect from the West.

Secretary of State John Kerry said it would “require Iran to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.” Kerry maintained that the agreement “will make our partners in the region safer. It will make our ally Israel safer.”

The accord was a disappointment for Israel, which had urged the United States to pursue a stronger agreement that would lead to a complete end to Iran’s enrichment program. But Iran made it clear that continuing enrichment was a prerequisite for any agreement.

The fact that the accord would only pause the Iranian program was seized on by critics who said it would reward Iran for institutionalizing the status quo.

President Obama noted the qualms of Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf allies of the United States, saying they “had good reason to be skeptical of Iran’s intentions.” But he said he had a “profound responsibility” to test the possibilities of a diplomatic solution.

Source: Michael R. Gordon, “Accord Reached With Iran to Halt Nuclear Program”, NY Times (November 23, 2013),

My good friend, Professor Art Hobson, commented recently on the Iran deal. His astute analysis brings together his deep understanding of physics, and honest political analysis. His pieces were originally published in the Northwest Arkansas Times of Fayetteville, and with his permission I publish some segments:
Iran has a large stock of nuclear reactor fuel that is "enriched" to 3.5 percent fissionable uranium as a fraction of total uranium content. "Fissionable" means the individual atomic nuclei can be split, yielding useable energy. Iran also has a smaller stock of 20 percent enriched uranium, which it claims to need for medicine and research.
            Enrichment separates the lighter-weight fissionable uranium from the heavier-weight non-fissionable uranium by spinning it rapidly in uranium centrifuges. Just as dairy centrifuges spin milk in order to force the milk to the outside while pulling the lighter-weight cream to the inside where it can be removed, uranium-separation centrifuges pull the lighter uranium to the inside.  Iran has installed 12,000 centrifuges in its large Natanz enrichment plant and its smaller underground and heavily fortified Fordow plant. 
         The problem is, Iran's enrichment capability is much greater than required for their announced peaceful purposes.  Iran has little apparent present need for low-enriched reactor fuel, because its only power reactor uses low-enriched fuel provided by Russia.  Furthermore, Iran's 20 percent enriched stockpile is especially dangerous because, in the "exponential" process of enrichment, it's a whole lot easier to go from 20 percent to the 90 percent level needed for nuclear weapons than it is to go from 3.5 percent to 90 percent. 
         Making matters worse, Iran wants to start up its Arak reactor, fueled by non-enriched natural uranium.  The heat-transferring "coolant" in such a reactor must be a form of water called "heavy water," having hydrogen atoms (water is made of oxygen and hydrogen) that are twice as heavy as normal hydrogen.  This type of reactor produces, as a side effect of the heat that goes into generating electricity, a form of plutonium that can be easily "reprocessed" into nuclear weapons fuel.   The Arak reactor will yield enough plutonium for one or two nuclear bombs per year. 
Under the six-month deal signed in Geneva, Iran agrees to many changes:  halt enrichment above 5 percent; dismantle the centrifuge connections needed to enrich above 5 percent; neutralize their entire stockpile of 20 percent uranium by diluting it to below 5 percent or converting it to a chemical form that cannot be used for further enrichment; install no new centrifuges; render some two-thirds of their centrifuges inoperable; construct no new enrichment facilities; halt the growth of their 3.5 percent uranium; halt progress on the Arak reactor by halting fuel production, not fueling it, not installing additional reactor components, not transferring fuel or heavy water to the site, and not constructing a reprocessing facility.  Iran also agrees to provide daily access to international inspectors at Natanz and Fordow, at its centrifuge production plants, at its uranium mines, and at the Arak reactor.  These steps won't dismantle Iran's bomb program, but they will stop its progress toward a bomb. 
         In return, Iran gets limited, temporary, and reversible relief from sanctions.  The vast bulk of the sanctions, including the oil, finance, and banking sanctions, will continue during the six months.  For example, only $7 billion of the $100 billion in presently inaccessible foreign exchange holdings will become accessible. 
         Why might Iran want nuclear weapons?  It's an essential but seldom-asked question.  The reason cannot be "to attack Israel,"  because attacking would bring quick annihilation by Israel and the United States.  Instead, it wants to balance Israel, which has a formidable nuclear arsenal of some 200 weapons.  Because of the power and prestige that are unfortunately conferred on nuclear weapons nations, it's plausible that Iran wants to balance Israel's nuclear arsenal with one of its own.  If Israel wants to prevent neighboring nations from attaining their own nuclear arsenals, it must give up its own nuclear weapons. 
Israel developed its 100 to 200 nuclear weapons during the 1960s, and today has a secure "triad" (land missiles, bombers, submarines) of delivery systems.  Israel's plutonium-producing reactor at Dimona is similar to Iran's partially built Arak reactor, except that Israel also has a reprocessing facility to convert plutonium to bomb-usable form.  Israel hid this development from U.S. inspectors and, when it was finally discovered, claimed it was purely for peaceful purposes.  Like Iran, Israel also has an uranium enrichment facility. 
         Although the U.S. was unhappy with Israel's nuclear developments, President Nixon and Kissinger decided in 1969 to accept Israel as the world's sixth nuclear power, provided they didn't openly test or brandish their weapons.  This is the current policy. 
          Today's Mideast is not the Mideast of 1970.  If the status quo ever worked, it certainly isn't working today.  Joe Cirincione, President of the Ploughshares Fund, a nuclear weapons policy organization, reports that "It is impossible to give a nuclear policy talk in the Middle East without having the questions focus almost entirely on Israel."  Israel's neighbors will not accept Israel as the region's only nuclear power, especially in view of the continuing Israeli-Palestinian struggle.  Iran's drive for nuclear weapons is deplorable but not surprising in view of Israel's arsenal. 
A Mideast nuclear-free zone, including Israel, is the sustainable way out of this situation.  It can happen.  Dominant Mideast powers have frequently expressed interest.  At an international conference of 120 nations in August, 2012,  Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei called for a Mideast nuclear-free zone.   The United Nations Non-Proliferation Treaty's 189 nations, including the U.S., voted unanimously in 2010 to convene a conference on establishing such a zone.  Saudi Arabia has generally supported the idea.  But Israel refuses to discuss disarmament, refuses U.N. inspections, and is one of only four nations remaining outside the NPT.   Nevertheless, 64 percent of Israelis favor a nuclear-free zone that would include Israel.  
The solution is a disarmament agreement with Iran and discussion of a nuclear-free zone.  But that discussion can't begin until Israel feels more secure, and that in turn can't happen until there is a peaceful resolution between Israel and Palestine. 
         President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are exactly right in pushing both for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement, and for the nuclear agreement with Iran.  As Kissinger and Shultz point out, that deal will not entirely disarm Iran.  That fact makes it urgent that the Israeli-Palestinian mess be settled as soon as possible, so that the region can proceed to a nuclear-free zone. 

Berlin, 28. November 2013Philipp Mißfelder: Iran must not gain the skills for producing nuclear weapons

On the occasion of the debate in the Bundestag on the preliminary nuclear deal with Iran, the foreign policy spokesman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, MP Philipp Mißfelder explains:

“The CDU/CSU parliamentary group takes the concerns of the Jewish State of Israel very seriously concerning the solution found with Islamic Republic of Iran on its nuclear program. Iran must now take the opportunity to dispel any doubts about the exclusively peaceful use of its uranium enrichment. After the agreement reached in Geneva, the Iran has not to dismantle its previously built nuclear reactors, but can continue to operate these facilities. As one of the countries with the most oil occurrence in the world, Iran emphasizes at every opportunity its need of those nuclear plants for producing energy. This argument is extremely contradictory. The agreement reached in Geneva is valid at first for half a year...

Iran was very adept at concealing his true intentions in the past. Therefore, the international community should not make the mistake and rely only on verbal assurances. In the coming weeks and months, it will therefore be important to require verifiable results of the commitments made in Geneva. Iran must not gain the skills for producing nuclear weapons. Therefore, the pressure must be maintained.”

His Excellency Ambassador Manuel Hassassian

On November 20, 2013, His Excellency Ambassador Manuel Hassassian visited the University of Hull and delivered a lectured to a packed auditorium. Below is a summary of his communication.

On the present condition:
We are stuck between the historical inevitability and the political constraints.

There is no military solution to this protracted conflict.

Israel has won all wars, but it is not able to secure its citizens.

Violence only breeds violence.

The occupation needs to end because it is violent.

On Palestine:
We the Palestinians failed when we used violence and also when we resorted to negotiations.

Palestinian democracy is not European. It will include also Sharia law and Palestinian cultural views. Israel and other countries should accept and respect this. They cannot expect Palestine to adopt their liberal democracy. It is not going to work.


Hamas is concerned with violence. It must change its policies because they are losing options and supporters. Within a year, Hassassian predicts, Hamas will adopt a pragmatic stand.

Qatar has stopped its financial support of Hamas.

On Israel:

Israel continues the occupation for a very long time. There are 600 checkpoints. It is ugly. Peace is the only way to resolve the conflict.

The settlements’ profit is $700 million a year. They are illegal according to international law yet are able to sell their products.

Only 10% of settlers are ideologically motivated. The rest are there for economic reasons.

Israel is above international law. It can exert power over Europe and the USA.

On the USA:
The USA until now has only managed the conflict. Despite its best efforts, it was unable to solve it.

Obama does not care about peace. John Kerry does care.

USA will never shift its alliance from Israel to Palestine. There are more Arabs than Jews in the USA but the Arabs have different agendas. They are divided whereas the Jews are united around Israel.

USA and Israel have a Catholic marriage. USA is committed to Israel because of the American Jewry and the support of many millions of Christians whose religion commits them to protect Israel.

Nothing today is moving towards peace. USA cannot be the only police power in the world.


Jerusalem should be solved bottom up. Procedures for running the city should be installed. Later decide on sovereignty.


Iran threat is also a threat to Palestine. We also don’t wish Iran to have nuclear capacity. Such capacity would constitute a threat to many Arab countries. But Iran should be free to develop nuclear power for peaceful ends.


Arafat had duality of peace and violence. On the other hand, Abbas is a man of peace.

Arafat could not have decided on refugees and Jerusalem in Camp David.

Abu Mazen:

Abu Mazen is a man of peace.  He does not have the duality of peace and violence that Arafat had. He consistently spoke for peace and against violence.

Abu Mazen has been attacked as Quisling of Israel because he pursues peace. He is a pragmatic politician.

Abu Mazen is committed to peace. He is not corrupt. He is a rich man. He does not need to be corrupt.

Arafat was not corrupt either, but he corrupted others. Abu Mazen tries to fight corruption.


Rabin was a courageous leader. Arafat always spoke about him with appreciation. If Rabin were alive, there could have been peace already in 1999.


Barak was a huge disappointment. He is a failed disciple of Rabin.

Prospects for peace:

Oslo has failed because it left the substantive issues to a later stage.

In any negotiations, parties should be on a par. Top dog/underdog negotiations are doomed to fail.

The negotiations were never just because Israel was always more powerful.

Europeans are payers but not players. They pay the check but are not part of the negotiations.

Refugees, Temple Mount, exchange of territories, major blocs, Jerusalem, the Old City, security, borders, all can be resolved.

Peace is not simply the signing of agreement between governments. We need peace building and education to build bridges between people. Otherwise we will have cold peace, like the peace between Israel and Egypt and Jordan. Peace should be built from grassroots.

Israel has missed many opportunities for peace. Israel should make the necessary just concessions. The Palestinians have already conceded to have mere 22% of the historical Palestine. Once Israel will agree to make the necessary concessions, then it will be possible to make the region thrive like Benelux.

Hassassian sounded like Shimon Peres when he articulated a vision of economic development shared by Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan. He said: “We can create a French Riviera in the Middle East”.

Hassassian said that Palestine needs no weapons. It can be demilitarized. “We wish to have economic heaven, not to waste resources on weapons”. He went on to say: “Our first military pact should be with Israel”.

Hassassian maintained that he is in favour of a two-state solution.

Hassassian does not think he will see peace in his lifetime, yet at the same time he remains optimistic. He told me: “Try harder, do not lose hope”.

Plans for the future:

If Israel does not commit to peace and will continue with the building of settlements, Hassassian detailed the Palestinian action plan against Israel. He said that the campaign will be strong and relentless. It will enjoy the support of all Muslim and Arab countries. Hassassian predicts that the campaign will also enjoy the growing support of European, Asian, African and South American countries. Israel will become isolated. Hassassian candidly said that the campaign will include concrete steps:

Marches of thousands of people from Bil'in and other Palestinian towns to the checkpoints.
Push for UN recognition of Palestine as fully fledged member.
Peaceful resistance and diplomatic struggle in international organizations.
Take Israel to the Hague International Criminal Court.
Campaign to stop the occupation.
Push for boycotting Israel if it continues the occupation.
Affecting and hurting the economy of Israel.

You can listen to Ambassador Hassassian’s lecture on

Labour Has a New Leader

On November 21, 2013, the Israeli Labour Party elected a new chairperson. MK Isaac Herzog beat the incumbent Shelly Yachimovich with 58 percent of the vote while Yachimovich gained mere 42 percent.

Herzog, 53, a lawyer before entering politics, is the son of former Israeli President Chaim Herzog and has held several ministerial positions in previous governments.

I hope Herzog will become the peace camp leader and will dedicate much of his time to promote two-state solution. Herzog has spoken in the past in favour of Palestinian independence.

Peace Conference in Angers, France

I was invited to Angers to take part in Israel – Palestine 2020 – La guerre de l’eau aura-t-elle lieu?

The conference aimed to bring together Israelis, Palestinians and others (mostly French) who are committed to peace, and to discuss possible solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The main issue was the water problem although other sticking points were discussed as well.

Every meeting that brings together Palestinians and Israelis is important. We need to meet one another as human beings, as people who enjoy similar things, and who share similar fears. Every such meeting is valuable in itself.
I talked about “Why Two-State Solution?” and participated in the closing round-table. We emphasized the importance of grassroots, of working together, promoting the work of civic organizations that are committed to peace and that could contribute to the understanding between the two societies. We accentuated the need to involve the communities on both sides of the divide, and insisted that the media should play a positive role in the construction of peace.

It is unfortunate that some universities in the West Bank cooperate with Israeli universities and other Israeli institutions while others prohibit such cooperation. They perceive any such cooperation as “betrayal”.

Speakers raised the concern of water shortage in the region. Israel and Palestine need to share water as there is limited rainfall, and only one major waterway, the Jordan River that is exploited more than it should be.

Israel is very efficient in utilizing water. It uses gas to desalinate water but it does not provide the Palestinians their water needs.

Mohammad Said al Hamidi, who took part in the Oslo negotiations, put the problem in one succinct sentence: The Palestinians are thirsty. In many villages, people open the tab and no water are coming. In many places, there is shortage of water. In many places, Palestinians enjoy limited amount of water only five days of the week. 

In Oslo, Israel and the PA agreed on quota allowances. These allowances did not change since then despite the natural growth of the Palestinian people.

Sharing water can be a catalyst for peace. We need to build trust and create bridges between the two people. We need to treat one another as equals and collaborate to better the destiny of our region.

I thank Professor Christian Pihet and Mr Marc Zerbib for their kind invitation to take part in this important gathering.

Visitor to the University of Hull – Professor Eric Barendt

I was delighted to host my law tutor at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, Professor Eric Barendt. Eric delivered a talk to a full house on Is it legitimate to ban hate speech?”.

The legitimacy of hate speech bans is one of the hardest questions for liberal democracies to resolve. Can extreme hate speech be restricted without interfering with free political discourse?

Eric Barendt, Emeritus Professor of Law, UCL, is an internationally renowned expert on media law. He was Goodman Professor of Media Law at UCL from 1990 until 2010. Before coming to UCL, he lectured law at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. Professor Barendt is the author of many important books and articles on media law, the laws of libel and privacy, and freedom of expression, most notably Freedom of Speech (2ndedition: Oxford University Press, 2005). His most recent book is Academic Freedom and the Law (Hart, 2010). Professor Barendt is also the editor of the Journal of Media Law.

The International Hrant Dink Award is waiting for your nominees

The International Hrant Dink Award winners will be announced on September 15th, 2014.

Every year, the Award will be presented to individuals, organizations or groups that work for a free and just world free from discrimination, racism and violence, who take personal risks for achieving those ideals, who break the stereotypes and use the language of peace and by doing so give inspiration and hope to others. By means of this Award, the Hrant Dink Foundation aims to remind to all those who struggle for these ideals that their voices are heard, their works are visible, they are not alone, and also to encourage everyone to fight for their ideals.

This year proposals for nominations will be accepted until April 15th 2014.

How can I submit nomination? 
You can submit your nominations until April 15th 2014, either by filling in the nomination form on the website or by sending your nominations to

Providing detailed information about your nominee will help the International Jury in the selection process.

Exchange with Abe Silverman 

Nov 19/2013
Dear Rafi
Hello from very cold and snowy Western Canada. I am still trying to get together with Suresh. I hope that we will spend some time together during the Holidays.
I would like to respond to some of the issues you raised. Yes, I am still in favour of a 2 State solution but am more sceptical then ever that it will happen any time soon.
It is my strong opinion that if Israel's starting position in the negotiations are that the border will follow the security barrier and the IDF will have a presence in the Jordan Valley and this position is because the Israeli leadership need to ensure security for it's citizens so be it. You have to start somewhere. What can the Palestinians offer that will satisfy Israel's security needs? And if the issue of settlements is one of ownership of the land let the courts decide. Was the land bought and paid for, and it should not make a difference by whom. If the dispute is over where the settlements are located, in Israel or Palestine, that has to be negotiated. Arabs live in Israel and Jews should be able to live in Palestine. Anything else is just ethnic cleansing. ie Gaza and Sinai.

Can I recommend that you read The Prime Ministers by Yehuda Avner. I think that he knew better than anyone what events occurred leading up to the Yom Kippur war.
And I am no lawyer but I would think that hate speech should be a chargeable offense if it can be proven to be Libelous and Defamatory.

Chag Chanukah Samaich

Dear Abe

Thank you.

I will order Yehuda Avner, The Prime Ministers for my library. Hope they will be willing to process my request.

Israel does not buy land from the Palestinians in the West Bank. It simply takes it from them. The practice has been going on for many years, under the directives of Pleah Albek.

I recommend Azoulay, Ariella and Adi Ophir, The One-State Condition (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012).

Best wishes


Nov 21/13
I think that you are somewhat misinformed. In 1979 Israel's Supreme Court ruled that no privately owned land could be confiscated and this decision was written into law by the Government of the day. The only exception is in cases of National security. In 1982 an Israeli attorney Pleah Albek argued successfully that lands confiscated by Israel in Palestinian Susya was illegal. There are many case dealt with by Israel's Supreme court which upheld the claims of land ownership by Palestinian Arabs. Are there abuses? Yes. Have all land claims been settled in Canada with the First Nations Community after some 200 years? No. Has Australia dealt with all land claims of their Aboriginal Community? No. Am I trying to suggest that 2 wrongs make a right? No. What I am suggesting is that these are very complicated issues that need to be resolved and It is my strong opinion that Israel going back to the Partition Plan of 1947, Ehud Barak's offer to Arafat and Olmert's offer to Abbas etc. has shown Israel's commitment to a 2 State Solution and the Arabs have yet to accept Israel as the Historical Homeland of the Jewish people. I think that without that acceptance peace is not possible.
Warm regards

Shabat Shalom
"The Jews inserted special prayers last month for God to bring them rain but used the Kabbalistic ideas in a code that encrypted requests that a winter storm would coincide with Kerry's visit and disrupt his schedule", Abbas told the official PA news agency.
There are to many coincidences Abbas told reporters in Kerry's entourage after the Secretary of State landed at Ben Gurion Airport. This is only a hint of what would happen if we were to recognize Israel a Jewish State. The Jews can not be trusted. They will use their influence on God to get what they want. There might even be peace Allah forbid, one day.
The Jews will stop at nothing to ditch the negotiations that are aimed at two states, a Palestinian State based on our needs for secure borders and an Israeli State with clear and secure boundaries of Dizengoff Square, the Mediterranean Sea and the Azreilla Mall.
Abbas also threatened that if the Jews did not rip out from their Sabbath prayer books the prayer for the Government of Israel and the IDF, he will go to the United Nations to declare a boycott on all Synagogues throughout the world. I will also appeal to the International Court after we gain membership there, to rule Jewish prayers a war crime because they ask Him to take vengeance on Israel's enemies.
Does this sound like a leader that is rational and can be trusted to uphold any peace deal?
Call me naïve. It sure is not the basket were I would place all of my eggs.
Warm regards

December 14, 2013

Dear Abe

Peace is done between enemies, not friends. The Palestinians are bitter enemies. There is a lot of bad blood between the two sides, animosity, distrust, hatred, ignorance, demonization, and lack of understanding and appreciation of each other’s culture.

What we say about the Palestinians, they say about us. “They are the enemy”. “They understand only force”. “They do not want peace”. “They want our land”. “They want to destroy us”. “They do not understand us”. “They do not appreciate our culture”. “They are evil”. “They are not to be trusted”, etc.

This conflict will not be resolved without a price, and if it won’t be resolved the cycle of violence will continue. If we won’t speak, we are doomed to fight. For me, blood is the highest price to be paid, and I am willing to pay smaller prices to avoid paying with blood. We must strive to install peace and see all that we can that future generations, our children and grandchildren, could live in Israel and in Palestine like normal people, free of violence, terror and brutality.

Israel is by far the stronger side. Israel occupies Palestine. Thus Israel needs to be generous yet careful, kind and considerate, just and benevolent. Israel should insist on security matters and be forthcoming in enabling the Palestinians establish their sovereign, independent state. Sovereign Palestine is an Israeli interest as well. Their viability will contribute to our security, our flourishing, and to the stability in the region. Their vitality will contribute to our economy. Their borders will help Israel define its own borders. Sixty five years after our independence, Israel still does not have clear and defined borders. This is abnormal. This should be settled in a just and fair way.

EU Parliament votes for 40% of Seats on Company Boards for Women

Companies listed on stock exchanges in the EU would have to bring in transparent recruitment procedures so that by 2020, at least 40% of their non-executive directors are women, under a draft EU directive voted for by the EUParliament on 20 November. The draft directive has been approved following an analysis which shows that only 17.6% of non-executive board members of the EU's largest companies were women. The rules would not apply to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), i.e. those that employ fewer than 250 persons. Where candidates are equally well qualified, priority should go to the candidate of the under-represented sex. Companies that fail to abide by the rules will be required to explain why and notify national authorities on the measures taken and plans to achieve the target in future. Penalties such as fines should be imposed for failing to follow transparent appointment procedures, rather than for failing to achieve the target. To take effect, the directive needs to be endorsed by the Council of Ministers.

My New Article – Two-State Solution

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, “Two-State Solution: The Way Forward”, in Sharnoff’s Global Views (November 22, 2013),

My Republished Article - Combating Terrorism on the Free Highway

“Combating Terrorism on the Free Highway”, in Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis, Vol. 5, Issue 11 (November 2013): 10-13,

New Books

Warm congratulations to my friend and colleague Alan Craig on the publication of his book International Legitimacy and the Politics of Security (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2013).

I have browsed the book which looks both comprehensive and interesting.

Mazal Tov! Alan. Go from strength to strength.

Book description: Delegitimation has become the new battleground for Israel and the critics of Israeli military operations. But the Israeli experience reveals a more general engagement where all states act strategically to build legitimacy for their policies and all resist attempts at delegitimation. To understand these processes it is necessary to see how politicized moral and legal judgments shape both the use of force by states and our judgments about the means and the outcomes. This is a book about legitimacy, military lawyers and security. More particularly, it is about how the legitimacy of Israel’s asymmetric military operations cannot be detached from the politics of law and ethics. Sometimes it is enough that states respect the laws of armed conflict, but at other times they may be held to a higher standard. This does not happen in a vacuum. Rather it is the product of political engagement in the murky politics of international legitimacy where standards are negotiable and some states get a harder time than others. There is a strong theoretical analysis underpinning a discussion that constantly returns to the practical problems of modern armed conflict where combatants hide among civilians and states complain about the unrealistic expectations of human rights NGOs. Here, the law is unclear and there are choices to be made. The book presents new research into the involvement of Israeli military lawyers in operational targeting decision making that has life and death consequences. The case studies concern targeted killing during the Second Intifada, Israel’s 2006 Lebanon War, the 2009 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza and, finally, the 2010 Israeli maritime interception of the ‘Turkish Flotilla’ to Gaza. The investigation identifies a struggle between the proponents of human rights in war and those who promote the rights of states to deploy military force for the security of their citizens. But not all parties to a military conflict are held to the same standards. In fact, the analysis maps a complex political deployment of law and ethics in the strategic calculation of legitimacy costs and the diplomatic processes whereby they are contested, with policy implications for those in charge of the design and execution of military operations.

Stephen J.A. Ward (ed.), Global Media Ethics (Chichester: Wiley, 2013)

This is an interesting book as it gives voice to scholars from all around the globe. The book explores how current global changes in the media promote and inhibit responsible journalism. Incorporating standard ways of analysis with non-western case studies, the book covers a lot of ground that enriches the present conversations and debates in media ethics, providing relevant and timely ethical dilemmas to probe both by professionals and students in the class room.

Among the book chapters:
ü  The Role of the Journalist in Reporting International Conflicts
ü  Contextual Ethics and Arab Mass Media
ü  From Journalism Ethics to an Ethics of Citizenship: Evidence from Colombia
ü  Media Ethics in a New Democracy: South African Perspectives on Freedom, Dignity, and Citizenship
ü  Democratization by Boilerplate: National Media, International Norms, and Sovereign Nation Building in Postwar Liberia
ü  The Role of Global Media in Telling the Climate Change Story
ü  Ethics of Global Disaster Reporting: Journalistic Witnessing and Objectivity
ü  Affective Expertise: The Journalism Ethics of Celebrity Sourcing
ü  Global Media Ethics, Justice, and Indian Journalism

This is certainly not the standard text book in media ethics. I especially recommend it to American scholars as the cases presented can be compared and contrasted with the prevailing norms and conduct in the Northern American media.

I thank Wiley for a copy of this stimulating book.

French v. British

In France, the taboo issues are money, politics and religion.
In England, the taboo issues are money and sex.

The French appreciate good wine.
The British love good beer.

If you wish to be truly unpopular in England, say something against alcohol consumption.

The United States tried to fight alcohol in the 1920s and failed miserably. The British will never attempt to try.

Monthly Poems

Quiet Muse

The trees are empty
Supermarkets completely nude
Brown dogs are barking like mad
In the air smell of dead.

Nights are black and long
Days red and double
This land is a crazy place
Blanket of hate covers common sense.

Sun beyond the horizon
Where is the promised promised land
Border stretches beyond imagination
Leaving is never easy
More so when rockets pounding.

Only your tired smile
The honey voice calms me down
Oxygen for dreary times
Gently put head to shoulder
Two, will make this too.

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Friendship Is and Can Be

My friend is all of these!

Friendship is to trust
Friendship is having the kindness to help
Friendship is giving to others without thinking
Friendship is being there when someone need you
Friendship can be just a smile that brightens your day
Friendship is giving more than you expect to receive
Friendship is listening
Friendship is offering your opinion when you think you need to
Friendship can be many things
Friendship is different for everyone
Friendship could be holding a hand for support
Friendship is lending your shoulder to cry on
Friendship is mellow
Friendship is giving back
Friendship is only taking that what you need
Friendship can be that voice of reason you give
Friendship could also be a boost of encouragement when it's needed
Friendship stands the test of time

Friendship is show in many different ways
Friendship can be everlasting
Friendship is not always an easy thing
Friendship is hard to break apart
Friendship is strong
Friendship should never be taken for granted
Friendship is meant to be shared with all
Friendship is free and rewarding to share
Friendship can be unforgettable
Friendship is priceless to many
Friendship is a secret never to be told
Friendship is not having to say sorry but do
Friendship is not judging no matter what
Friendship is to share, the joy and the fear
Friendship is someone to run too when things are tough
Friendship is a hand to hold when things are so rough
Friendship is someone to laugh with not at you
Friendship is just knowing they are there
Friendship is very personal
Friendship is all of these things and many more
This is are how I see friendship
To have a true Friend is the best thing to achieve
We all have one but it may take a very long time to find them.

Djean Whitney

Gem of the Month

NASA releases new mosaic of Earthlings waving at Saturn

Enjoy this beauty!

Light Side
Gotta Love the Irish – Part 4

Lost at Sea

Two Irishmen, Patrick & Michael, were adrift in a lifeboat following a
dramatic escape from a burning freighter.

While rummaging through the boat's provisions, Patrick stumbled across an old lamp.
Secretly hoping that a genie would appear, he rubbed the lamp vigorously.
To the amazement of Patrick, a genie came forth.

This particular genie, however, stated that he could only deliver one wish,
not the standard three.

Without giving much thought to the matter, Patrick blurted out,
"Make the entire ocean into Guinness Beer!"

The genie clapped his hands with a deafening crash, and immediately the entire sea turned into the finest brew ever sampled by mortals.
Simultaneously, the genie vanished.

Only the gentle lapping of Guinness on the hull broke the stillness as the two men considered their circumstances.

Michael looked disgustedly at Patrick whose wish had been granted.
After a long, tension-filled moment, he spoke:
"Nice going Patrick!
Now we're going to have to pee in the boat!

You've Been Drinking Again

An Irishman had been drinking at a pub all night. The bartender finally said that the bar was closing.
So, the Irishman stood up to leave fell flat on his face.
He tried to stand one more time; same result.
He figured he'll crawl outside and get some fresh air and maybe that will sober him up.
Once outside, he stood up and fell on his face again.
So he decided to crawl the four blocks home.
Again, he fell flat on his face.
He crawled through the door and into his bedroom.
When he reached his bed he tried one more time to stand up.
This time he managed to pull himself upright, but he quickly fell right into the bed and is sound asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

He was awakened the next morning to his wife standing over him, shouting,

Putting on an innocent look, and intent on bluffing it out he said,
"What makes you say that?"

"The pub just called;
you left your wheelchair there again."

And finally, I love the Irish because of Michael Flatley,

Peace and love. Merry Christmas and much light. Happy New Year!!

Yours as ever,


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