Sunday, April 24, 2016

Politics – April 2016 - Chag Cherut Sameach

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Each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released. When we learn to give and receive this universal energy… we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.

~ Albert Einstein

The key to happy life is to surround yourself with people you love, and to distance yourself from people who do not deserve your love.

~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Reflections on March Newsletter
PM Netanyahu on The Golan Heights
The Ugly Face of Terrorism
Fight for the Future of Israel
Jewish Conversions – A Milestone?
Israel’s New Ambassador to Britain
MESG Annual Lecture
The future of the internet
Otto Skorzeny - A Mossad Agent !?!?
Coffeeshop Warning and Taxation
My Visit to Israel
My New Article
Book Review
Gem of the Month – Jeff Lynne
Monthly Poems

Light Side

Chag Cherut Sameach

Reflections on March Newsletter

Dear Rafi

If I were able to speak to Ambassador Mazen Kamal Momoud I would like to make the following observations and ask the following question.

In what world of justice and fairness does a Foreign Government have control over an area that is clearly part of a Sovereign Nation. It is pandering and appeasement of the worst kind. The El Aqsa Mosque is the responsibility and control of its members and the Temple Mount is part of the territory of Israel.

Expansion of Settlements
In what world of justice and fairness are Jews excluded from living and being citizens of a country present or future, where ever they live and own property. 

2 State Solution
What a ridiculous statement. "As long as conflict exists between Israelis and Palestinians the Middle East will continue in turmoil". Does he honestly believe that if Israel (God forbid) where to cease to exist tomorrow the conflict between Shia, and Sunnis, Persians and Arabs, Islamists and Moderates would disappear. 

Would the Ambassador agree to recommend to his King that all Arabs and Jews living in the West Bank and Gaza be given the right of Jordanian Citizenship and a guarantee of equality and freedom. 

Relationship with Israel
The King of Jordan can thank the Israelis for his ability to continue to sit on his throne.

ISIS and Syria
300,000 Jordanian and Arab coalition troops with American Military technology would destroy ISIS and dispose of Assad in 10 minutes. And all the Syrian refugees could go home. 

Arab Spring
Arab States are by and large failed States. Their leaders are corrupt and brutal to their citizens. That's where the discontent and anger stems from.

Democracy in Israel
In my 37 trips to Israel visiting a large family and their children I have never heard them utter words that they were taught in school or read or heard any form of incitement from Israeli media or official Israeli Government policy. The same cannot be said about incitement in the Territories or Gaza. 

And in spite of all of its problems (like the US, Canada, Australia and much of Europe) all who are accused at one time or another of being undemocratic I would not worry. Israel's leaders on the left or the right understand that keeping Israel safe is their first responsibility and to do so at any cost. This is it folks. Israel is the only safe haven for the Jewish people. And history has taught us that another Hitler or Haman, or Mufti or Roman or Greek is inevitable. Anti-semitism is alive and well.

Abe Silverman
Edmonton Canada

PM Netanyahu on The Golan Heights

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel would never return the territory to Syria. The statement made headline news in Israel.

The statement is hardly surprising. Within the government, there is competition as to who is more of a hardliner. In Israel such statements are well received as the Israeli population prioritizes security and retaining the Golan well above peace prospects, especially as Syria fights for its future in a prolonged most bloody civil war.

Are these good or bad news for Israel?

The Ugly Face of Terrorism

Terrorism is a constant feature in Israeli life. It has ups and downs, highs and lows, but it never dissipates. To make it disappear, one needs to tackle its root causes. Otherwise, it will remain a constant trouble.

On April 18, 2016, a powerful bomb exploded in a bus in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood. 21 people were injured. This terror attack ends the weeks of calm in Jerusalem after a wave of deadly terror attacks began in the fall of 2015. 

This was the first bus bombing since November 2012. Palestinian terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP, rushed to praise the attack.

The so-called “third intifada” (the name assumes that the second intifada ended at some point although they would be hard pressed to mark that point) which started in Rosh Hashana of last year is characterized by stabbings, shootings and vehicle attacks, often by ordinary Palestinians who were not members of terror organizations. Some 30 Israelis were killed by the terrorists. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during that period, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Israeli officials say that most of the Palestinians were killed while carrying out, or attempting, attacks, and that others were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces. Unlike those terror attacks, this Jerusalem bombing was engineered by one of the Palestinian terrorist organizations.
The same day, the IDF announced it had uncovered the first Hamas tunnel inside Israel since the summer 2014 Gaza war. The IDF also confirmed that it was “a new tunnel that had been built recently.” 
Terrorism is ugly. It will not solve the Palestinian problem. I have been saying time and again that the only thing that terror yields is more violence. Violence feeds violence and creates a vicious circle. The Palestinians have been terrorizing Israeli life since the 1950s. They are very slow learners. Policies of non-violent resistance would be far more beneficial to the Palestinian cause. They should learn from Mubarak Awad on methods of Non-violence. Non-violence is not a weakness. It is strength. Awad caused much problems for the occupation authorities; so much so that he was deported to the United States.

Fight for the Future of Israel

Israel is not rich with natural resources. I recall a lecture I delivered about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in South Africa, a country that is blessed with many natural resources. At the end of the lecture, a student raised his hand to ask a question. He asked: Does Israel have any natural resources?

As I did not say a word on this issue during my lecture, I was a bit surprised but answered, laconically, NO.
The student insisted, elucidating his inquiry about “natural resources”.

Does Israel have oil?
Does Israel have gold?
Does Israel have something? Anything?

I reflected for a moment and then said: Actually, we have the Dead Sea with its minerals. Israel has excellent face cream.

To which the student responded:
All this mess for face cream?

Well, the picture may change. Some time ago commercial quantities of gas were discovered in Israeli territory. Estimates speak of boosting Israeli economy with the discovery of significant gas fields and moving the economy forward. Prime Minister Netanyahu promised that the fortune would enrich the citizens of Israel. Despite the pleasant promises, people who understand Netanyahu’s worldview remained skeptical. The man is a fan of Milton Friedman.

Netanyahu assigned his trusted friend Yuval Steinitz to devise a suitable plan at the end of which, surprise surprise, it became clear that the fortune will enrich the already rich pockets of very few businessmen who put their money in the infrastructure needed for the gas production. Some conscientious citizens protested. “You are robbing public money”, they screamed. There was a minor uproar, nothing that Netanyahu cannot handle. Winds have this tendency to move forward and relax.

Some decided to appeal to the High Court of Justice. On March 27, 2016, the High Court of Justice struck down the deal that Prime Minister Netanyahu reached to enable the development of the natural gas field. The court specifically objected to the agreement between the government and the project’s developers, led by Noble Energy, that prohibits changes to regulations affecting the project for 10 years.

Noble Energy is an American company based in Houston. See

Noble is cooperating with the Israeli Delek Group conglomerate. The Director of Delek is an Israeli tycoon called Yitzhak Tshuva, a very successful entrepreneur and business man with large-scale global business operations. See

Essentially, the deal that Netanyahu pursued would enable these energy companies to dictate high gas prices without government regulation for a decade. Knowing something about capitalism, you can assume that the price tag will serve the companies’ best interest, not the consumer’s. Furthermore, the deal also enables much of Israel’s gas reserves at the expense of developing the Israeli market and its energy potential. The discovery of gas fields that was said to benefit the Israeli public will benefit very few people in Israel. The vast majority will pay dearly for their gas consumption.

Why doesn’t Netanyahu nationalize the energy industry, taking the issue under government responsibility, making sure that the best interests of the Israeli public will be served?

In a sentence: Because he is a student of Milton Friedman.

The deal brings to the fore the tight relationships between the political and business elites in Israel, and between the American and Israeli energy and political companies, with the political support they enjoy in both companies.

The High Court of Justice is to serve justice and the panel of judges did not like the deal. Deputy President, Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, said that the government did not have the authority to make such a long-term deal, which would bind its successors. The Court gave the government a year to devise an alternative solution.

Hardly a moment passed, and the Supreme Court became subjected to fierce attacks by the government and its proxies. Thus the fight for the future of Israel expanded to a second front concerning the identity of Israel as a democracy. Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked of the extreme right-wing party Jewish Home said that the Supreme Court behaves “irresponsibly”. It enjoys authority without responsibility and accountability. Trust Shaked that she will strive to move the Supreme Court to the right direction. She will do her best to nominate the “right” people to the Court. It is estimated that in the near future there will be five openings on the Court bench.

Supreme Court Justices are appointment by the State President upon the nominations of a special nine-member committee comprised of the President of the Supreme Court, two other Court Justices, two MKs, two ministers including the Minister of Justice, and two representative of the Israel Bar Association. The Committee is headed by the Minister of Justice, Ms. Shaked.

The fight for the future of Israel continues.

See Court Strikes Down Netanyahu's Contentious Deal With Gas Drilling Firms
read more:

Jewish Conversions – A Milestone?

On 31 March 2016, the High Court of Justice declared that the state must recognize private conversions to Orthodox Judaism that are conducted outside the framework of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. The Court ruled that individuals who underwent conversion at any Orthodox rabbinical court, in Israel or aboard, will be recognized as Jewish, and will thus be eligible to receive Israeli citizenship in accordance with the Law the Return.

Human rights organisations in Israel were quick to celebrate the court judgment, saying that now the road is opened to recognition of the Reform and Conservative Movements. I hope they are right.

Source: H.C. 7625/06 Martina Ragchova, Sean P. Murphy and Rachel Z. Altar v. Ministry of the Interior and Others (31 March 2016).

Israel’s New Ambassador to Britain

Welcome to Mark Regev, Israel’s new ambassador to Britain. With over twenty-five years of experience in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H. E. Mark Regev has played a key role representing the State of Israel.

As the Prime Minister's Advisor and International Spokesperson for over eight years, Ambassador Regev established himself as one of Israel's mos​t recognised voices across the English-speaking world.

Ambassador Regev rose through the ranks of Israel's diplomatic corps, serving as Vice Consul in Hong Kong, and then as First Secretary in Beijing. Ambassador Regev went on to serve as Counsellor in Washington, and then as the Spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. We crossed ways a number of times in Washington, where I came to witness his eloquent abilities in representing Israel.

Ambassador Regev graduated from the University of Melbourne with a BA in Political Science and Modern History. In addition, he holds an MA in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as a Master of Science in Management from Boston University. Before joining Israel's Foreign Service, Ambassador Regev lectured on International Relations and Strategy at the Israel Defence Forces' Staff College.
Ambassador Regev is married to Vered, and they have three children.

MESG Annual Lecture

4 May 2016, 16:20, WI-LT15

Lord Williams of Baglan, Ph.D
Search for a Diplomatic Solution to the Syrian Conflict

Raised in South Wales, Lord Williams aspired to an international career from an early age. He studied at University College London and the School of Oriental and African Studies in London where he gained his Ph.D. and M.Sc. before starting his career with Amnesty International. In 1984 he joined the BBC World Service as an editor, where he formed a lifelong bond with the corporation – its people and its ethos.
Following his time at the World Service, he moved to the United Nations where he was based in Cambodia as Deputy Director for Human Rights; in former Yugoslavia as Director for Information; Geneva as Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and New York as Director, Office for Children and Armed Conflict. Lord Williams was involved in peace processes in Cambodia and the Balkans in 1990's and was Director for Middle East and Asia in UN secretariat, New York 2004-8. Between 2000 and 2005 he was Special Adviser to two Foreign Secretaries: Robin Cook, and then Jack Straw. During that time he also continued his contribution to the BBC as a board member of the BBC World Service Trust.
More recently he has worked once again for the United Nations and returned from Beirut in 2011 after three years as Under-Secretary General, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon.
He was appointed to the House of Lords in October 2010 and joined the BBC Trust in December 2011.

All welcome.

The future of the internet

Patricia Wallace, John Suler, Kent Norman and Raphael Cohen-Almagor, “The future of the internet, Cambridge Blog (2015),

How important a role will the internet play in the future and in what ways do you see this impacting upon society?

Patricia Wallace, the author of The Psychology of The Internet
John Suler, the author of The Psychology of the Digital Age
Kent Norman, the author of Cyberpsychology
Raphael Cohen-Almagor, the author of Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side

Kent Norman:

As business and industry, governments, and educational institutions have embraced the Internet, they have forced all of society to be connected. Financial institutions require us to go online to do business. Governments require us to fill out forms and requests online. Colleges require students to have an email address, register for classes online, access course materials online, submit assignments online.  They actually make it impossible to get an education without being online. So there is no opting out.

“Surprisingly, the Internet is connected to more things than people, and these things are increasing at an exponential rate.” – Kent Norman

What does this mean for society?
Simple.  Society itself is being sucked into the cloud.  Societies are characterized by persistent social interaction, patterns of relationship, and cultural expectations embedded in an economic, political, and industrial infrastructure.  Societies in the cloud are the coded representations of our interactions.  What this means for the future is that societies will be programmed by programmers as David Rushkoff puts it. The question is, “Who will do the programming?”

But there is more to society than the just the people.  Societies dwell within environments. This is where the Internet will have a great impact. Surprisingly, the Internet is connected to more things than people, and these things are increasing at an exponential rate.  Today we talk about the Internet-of-Things (IoT) being composed of sensors, monitors, surveillance devices as well as home control devices for switches and thermostats.  All of these observe and regulate our activities from speed cameras to traffic lights and heart monitors to workout schedules.

But having said all this, we cannot escape the fact that we are embodied creatures; and while there may be a digital representation of society in the cloud, we dwell in a physical world with physical and psychological needs. That will not change until the end.

Raphael Cohen-Almagor:

We have a universally interconnected electronic communication systems based on a variety of linkable electronic carriers, using radio, cable, microwave, optical fiber, and satellites, and delivering to every home and office a vast variety of different kinds of mail, print, sound, and video, through an electronic network of networks. The communications systems and networks are likely to continue their growth and to develop new applications that will affect our lives in different ways.

With time, we can assume that more people will be able to connect to computers and to the Internet wherever they are, in all continents, and in the air. These capabilities already exist, and they will be enhanced considerably. Cell phone will become more sophisticated media centers, enabling traditional (phone, radio, TV) and new media (Internet, Kindle books, recorded books, games, music, camera, video, and new forms of entertainment). Advanced voiced recognition capabilities will make both the keyboard and the mouse obsolete. Solutions will be sought to overcome the growing challenges of maintaining privacy, reducing noise levels and isolating the cacophonies of sound in public places.

Technology will develop to enhance connectivity between media and our senses, engaging our senses more fully with tinier and more powerful speakers deep inside human ears; chips might be installed into our bodies to receive and transmit data and various communications; 3-D innovations will enable our bodies to feel sensations and to taste edible products we see on our portable screens. Obviously, social responsibility codes as to how to behave in public will require some readjustment. These wonderful innovations should be accompanied with fine awareness to the consequences of these developments on individuals and society at large.

With continued development of technical solutions and innovation and with increased awareness of and adherence to basic Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), a better structure is required. CSR should be part of the web company’s strategy, in the frame of mind of the day-to-day operations. Indeed, CSR is a continuous living process. Thus social responsibility should influence the conduct of ISPs and web-hosting companies.

Patricia Wallace:

When I was writing my first book about the psychology of the Internet, which was published in 1999, Internet users needed considerable stamina and perseverance just to get online.  We had to figure out how to make the phone line do double duty, so our computers could “talk” through a landline that expected voice signals.  Those early modems were cranky and finicky, and Internet connections dropped all the time when another family member picked up an extension. All those obstacles stiffened our spines.   Cognitive dissonance ensures that the harder we work to get something, the more we treasure it.

While we still experience some frustrations when we access the Internet, those early trials are long gone, and our devices automatically try to connect on their own to any nearby access point, helpfully remembering our login credentials for familiar ones.  This seamlessness will continue to spread.  Combined with the exploding Internet of Things, it may feel like an immense network of connectedness, one that is so pervasive and familiar that we habituate to it, barely noticing it. Just as we began to take phones, TV, radio, electricity, running water, and cars for granted, we will expect the “net” to be ready to serve at any time.

The caveat, of course, is that this Internet – from a technological point of view – is first generation, and it wasn’t built for the kinds of demands in terms of security and robustness that the world needs.  A major event, such as a widespread hack that brings down the electrical grid, could be the trigger that puts some brakes on the Internet’s momentum.
For society, that could be a good thing that leads to reflection about the pros and cons of so much integration, dependence, and connectedness.

John Suler:

The Internet is here to stay, but I wonder if in the future we will continue to use that term, or other terms such as web, cyberspace, or even social media.

Some critics of the “digital dualism” concept say that digital experiences have become so integrated into our lives that it does not make sense to talk about them as if they belong to some realm separate from the “real” world.  Others claim that a distinct digital realm does in fact exist because its psychological and social experiences often operate by different rules
than in the real world.

This is more than just an academic or semantic debate. It reflects our attempts to grapple with the meaning, manipulation, and purpose of “reality” itself. In the future, when and how will we step out of the environment around us in order to immerse ourselves into the very distinct experiences of imaginary virtual realities? When and how will we seamlessly infuse digital data into our physical world in order to “augment” reality, including an Internet of things that serve as extensions of computerized cognition? When and how will we power down all our devices so we can experience reality without any digitized influence?

These are the questions for our future with the machine. As we go, we must remember this: relying on technology to solve psychological and social problems caused by technology makes little sense.

Otto Skorzeny - A Mossad Agent !?!?

People who are familiar with the history of WWII will be familiar with the name Otto Skorzeny, a decorated Nazi officer who was involved in daring missions and was known for bravery that earned him medals and Hitler’s personal attention.

  Thus I was surprised to read with initial suspicion and disbelief that after the war Skorzeny became a Mossad agent. I double checked the date, verifying it was not an April 1 bluff.

The authors of this incredible story are known to have good connections with Israel’s intelligence agencies and they have been writing about the Mossad for many years.

According to their story, a senior Nazi betrayed other senior Nazis in the service of the Israeli intelligence in order to continue living in peace, without fear that he might be assassinated or captured by Israel or by Nazi hunters.

You are welcome to read it yourself and make up your own mind.

Coffeeshop Warning and Taxation

I found it quite disturbing that Starbucks, Nero, Costa and other coffeeshops are selling drinks with the equivalent of 10 and more teaspoons of sugar. The highest-calorie option, a venti size made with whole milk and whipped cream, contains 620 calories. A venti White Chocolate Mocha can contain up to 17 grams of saturated fat and 75 grams of added sugar. Saturated fat can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease, and added sugar can contribute to diabetes and high triglycerides. 

These coffeeshops do not provide a suitable warning to their customers. Every drink should note its calories and no. of spoons of sugar it contains.

Most people are not aware. If they know that a drink contains 15 spoons of sugar, they might reconsider.

The government should oblige coffeeshops to publicize a warning “This drink is hazardous to your health” as it obliges cigarette manufactures. Furthermore, the government should tax heavily such drinks in the same way that it taxes tobacco and alcohol. I think it is irresponsible to sell such unhealthy drinks. Without adequate warnings, most customers will continue to be unaware of what they pour into their bodies.

People need help to withstand temptations and to protect their health. Corporate social responsibility accompanied with government proactivity can make a significant difference.

My Visit to Israel

In mid-June I plan a visit to Israel. As ever, I’d be delighted to see friends and colleagues.

I very much look forward. It is always good to come home.

My New Article

“An Argument for Physician-Assisted Suicide and Against Euthanasia”, Ethics, Medicine, and Public Health, Vol. 1 (2015) 431-441.

The article opens with the hypothesis that the default position that should guide healthcare providers when treating patients at the end of life is that patients opt for life. In the absence of an explicit request to die, we may assume that patients wish to continue living. Thus the role of the medical profession is to provide patients with the best possible conditions for continued living.
The article makes a case for physician-assisted suicide legislation. It examines the ‘quality of life’ argument, and the issue of the patient’s autonomy and competence. It is argued that (1) quality of life is a subjective concept. Only the patient can conclude for herself that her quality of life is so low to warrant ending it, and that (2) only competent patients may request ending their lives. Patients’ lives should not be actively terminated by the medical team without the explicit consent of patients.
The article then probes the role of physicians at the end of life, arguing that medicine should strive to cater to the wishes of all patients, not only the majority of them. Physicians should not turn their backs to justified requests by their patients. Physicians are best equipped to come to the help of patients at all stages of their illness, including their end-of-life. At the same time, in ending life, the final control mechanism should be with the patient. Thus physician-assisted suicide is preferred to euthanasia in order to lower the possibility of abuse and of ending the lives of patients without their consent and against their wishes. As matters of life and death are grave, they should be taken with utmost seriousness, requiring the installment of ample checks against abuse and facilitating mechanisms designed to serve the patient’s best interests. The article concludes with nineteen careful and detailed guidelines for physician-assisted suicide. These are necessary measures designed to ensure that the best interests of the patients are served as they wished.

Key words: autonomy; dignity; end-of-life; euthanasia; physician-assisted suicide; quality of life

The article is available at

Book Review
Ronald Crelinsten, Counterterrorism (Cambridge: Polity, 2014)
ISBN: 978-0-7456-4294-9. Price: £22.99
Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 28, No. 2 (2016), pp. 396-398

Reviewed by: Raphael Cohen-Almagor
University of Hull
Hull, UK

Ronald Crelinsten has devoted dozens years of his life to the study of terror. He is one of the foremost scholars in the field and a new book from him should be of interest to all who are seeking to understand the terrorist phenomenon, including law-enforcement officers who seek fresh ways to combat terror.
In this book, Crelinsten aims to provide a clear understanding of the full variety of counterterrorism approaches and the variables that underlie their differences. He wishes to help us understand the complexities and challenges related to countering terrorism today (p. 14). At the outset, Crelinsten defines terrorism as the combined use and threat of violence, planned in secret and usually executed without warning, that is directed against one set of targets in order to coerce compliance or to compel allegiance from a second set of targets and to intimidate or to impress a wider audience (p. 6).
Crelinsten distinguishes between “September 10 thinking” to counterterrorism and “September 12 thinking” to counterterrorism. He argues that prior to the September 11 attack, terrorist use of WMD was perceived to be unlikely. The view had changed to “likely” after that momentous event. The importance of state sponsorship of terror was not the primary focus prior to September 11. It became a primary focus after the attack. Furthermore, prior to September 11, the preferred counterterrorism approach was the criminal justice model. After the attack, the approach changed to war model.
Regretfully, the view on preserving human rights during counterterrorism has changed significantly: from central importance and holding that human rights must be respected to the view that human rights protection is a luxury at best and a hindrance at worst. Human rights can be circumvented or compromised. The use of torture became acceptable. Resorting to military options became central. The use of hard power replaced soft power (p. 13).
Crelinsten considers (chapter 3) proactive approaches to counterterrorism including threat assessment, intelligence gathering, and blocking terrorist financing. Intelligence was and remains the key factor of counterterrorism. Disappointingly, Crelinsten prefers to describe more than to analyse. For instance, he rightly notes that after 9/11 the most controversial surveillance program in the so-called “war on terror” was the NSA’s eavesdropping program (p. 99). But he does not say what does he think of it: Was it, indeed, necessary? Should it be conducted differently, on a more limited scale? Was it a mistake to resort to it? Crelinsten speaks about the use of CCTV in public places, noting that the UK makes an extensive use of such cameras and that France, New York and China are considering expanding their use (pp. 99-100). But is the use of CCTV in democracies different than the use of this surveillance in authoritarian countries? Crelinsten contrasts between human rights considerations and efficacy considerations about surveillance and leaves us to make up our own minds about the desired balance between the two. He points out potential dangers to democracy (pp. 108-109) but provides little analysis of those dangers. Can democracies reconcile between effective counterterrorism methods and preserving basic human rights? How can we maintain a desired balance between contesting principles?
Crelinsten then examines (chapter 4) the communicative dimension of counterterrorism: propaganda, psychological warfare, and providing incentives for terrorists to abandon violence. Reflecting on the role of the media, Crelinsten argues that, on the one hand, the media promulgate official perceptions of the terrorist event but, on the other hand, the media play a watchdog role, criticizing government action and defending the public’s right to know (p. 155). Here, again, we find an extensive discussion about the methods and no consideration of the ethics of those methods.  In chapter 5, Crelinsten analyses preventive measures, including critical infrastructure protection, crisis management, contingency planning, border control, civil defense and the promotion of citizen resilience (strengthening citizens’ capacity to cope with stress, anxiety and fear), while in chapter 6 he probes long-term strategies aimed at changing the environment in which terrorism thrives. Such strategies which include the promotion of human rights and cross-cultural dialogue, implementation of education programs, democratization, foreign aid, trade and development projects are expensive and not always easy to implement (p. 206).
Crelinsten rightly notes that terrorists need food, shelter, training, weapons, explosives, safe houses, communications, travel documents and money. Making these difficult for them reduces the risk of terrorist attacks (p. 174). Yet again, regulating the flow of people, goods and services is fraught with challenges: the danger of selective profiling (or racism); maintaining basic human rights, and avoiding 1984-like Orwellian society (p. 180). Maintaining the right balance between conflicting considerations is, indeed, difficult and readers need to look elsewhere in order to find potential recipe to reconcile between desired ends. Crelinsten mainly denotes the problems, not the solutions. In the Conclusions chapter, he quotes Israeli Supreme Court President Aharon Barak who said that fighting terror is like fighting with one hand tied behind one’s back (p. 244) but Crelinsten does not unfold the intricacies and does not provide us with an ethical compass to guide as to how to wage the fight, what restrictions should we adopt in the fight, and to what extent democracies can be “like them” (the terrorists), if at all, when waging the fight, considering that our moral inhibitions are working for the terrorists but they also preserve the democratic character of the state in which we live and progress. The questions are difficult and they remain difficult also after reading this book.
Counterterrorism is rich with examples and interesting insights on counterterrorism. While discussion as to how to maintain ethical standards in the fight against terror is not its strongest suit, the book is highly informative in mapping counterterrorist strategies. It is a valuable resource on counterterrorism methods when decision-makers are forced to deal with terrorists and violent radicals.
For the second edition I recommend dedicating a chapter or two on the role of the Internet in fighting terrorism. Terrorists are increasingly using the Internet to promote their ends. There are many similarities between modern forms of terror and the Internet: both are diffusive, decentralised, cheap to use, global, innovative and contesting the boundaries of liberty and tolerance. As the Internet serves the abusers of freedom, it may also serve counterterrorists. Innovation will lead the way in the fight against terror. Specific attention should be given to the role of social networking sites; use of chat rooms; encryption as a double-edge sword; filtering and monitoring. I also suggest expanding the Index. The Index is quite limited and does not reflect the rich content of this book.

Gem of the Month – Jeff Lynne

Lynne is one of the most gifted musicians of our time. My teenage years were accompanied with his distinctive voice and music as the leader of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). I was thrilled to hear that he is back in business, performing.

His concert evoked memories. Nostalgia. Lynne looks remarkably similar to the way I remembered him from the photos some thirty years ago. His voice remained more or less the same. Amazing. As if time stood still and this talented musician has not changed.

The concert was well-planned. 90 minutes of LEO’s greatest hits and some songs from Lynne’s new album. The audience were my age and older. We all came to relive our youth.

Thank you, Jeff.

Lynne’s many achievements are recorded at

Monthly Poems

Houses of Dreams 

You took my empty dreams 
And filled them every one 
With tenderness and nobleness, 
April and the sun. 

The old empty dreams 
Where my thoughts would throng 
Are far too full of happiness 
To even hold a song. 

Oh, the empty dreams were dim 
And the empty dreams were wide, 
They were sweet and shadowy houses 
Where my thoughts could hide. 

But you took my dreams away 
And you made them all come true -- 
My thoughts have no place now to play, 
And nothing now to do. 

Sarah Teasdale 


I love this

Suite Francaise 

Light Side

I am selling Encyclopedia Britannica. My wife knows it all!
Ten years later:
I am divorcing my wife. My friend Google knows better
Woody Allen:
I can't listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.

Chag Cherut Sameach

This week, millions of people, Jews and non-Jews, come together to celebrate Pesach, Passover; to sit together and recite the story of transition, of rebirth, of freedom, when the Jews who were slaves in Egypt were freed and started their journey to a new life in their promised land – Israel. May I wish you all a joyful and tranquil holiday, filled with blossom and light. Happy Passover!

Peace and love.

Yours as ever,


My last communications are available on
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