Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Politics – August 2017

War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

~Bertrand Russell

Senseless and unnecessary killings in Jerusalem. Respecting religions is a must. Being cognizant of religious sensitivities is a must. Breaking the cycle of violence is a duty.

War is, often, the failure of reason.

Liberalism and Nazism are fundamentally incompatible. Zero sum game exists between the two.

When you sleep with Nazis, don't be surprised to wake up to the sound of long knives.

Hate is the most difficult sentiment. It consumes the hater and suppresses all other feelings.

~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Reflections on Last Newsletter
Unpopular Statements
President Trump and Charlottesville
My Visit to Israel
President Meir Shamgar
Tel Aviv University
Picketing Private Homes of Public Officials
In Health and In Sickness
In Record Pharma Buyout Israeli Drug Maker to Be Purchased by Japanese Firm for $1.1 Billion
Yeah, Right: Israeli Researchers Develop Program to Detect Sarcasm in Language
Ban Boxing and American Football
Reminder: USA Became A Great Nation Because of Its Immigration Policy
My New Article - “The Monopoly of Jewish Orthodoxy in Israel and Its Effects on the Governance of Religious Diversity”
My Interview to Sustainable Security
Books – Rafi Malka, My Life Path (2015, Hebrew)
New Books
Gem of the Month – Jerusalem
Gem of the Month - Israeli Supreme Court
Gem of the Month – Tel Aviv
Gem of the Month - Riki Gal, with Miri Mesika and Yehuda Poliker
Gem of the Month - Danny Litany
Monthly Poems

Light Side

U like Youtube

Reflections on Last Newsletter

Abraham Silverman wrote from Edmonton, Alberta:

I'm somewhat puzzled that you would give time in your blog to the likes of Derek Walters, a known agitator and inciter of hate. Derek lives in a fantasy world devoid of any pragmatism or reality. And his support for B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence just shows how hard left he really is. Israel was right to expel him. Israel has enough agitators and inciters within their own community and the PA. 

And it is no wonder his rants are published in Holland where many NGO's and Churches fund groups that incite hate against Israel. 
Check out Shaun Sacks research in NGO monitor. 
Lets review some of Derek's complaints. 
Democracy no longer prevails behind the green line. Has Derek ever bothered to read Israeli newspapers or watch Israeli television or listened to the debates in the Knesset. Democracy at it's best and it's worst. 

The International Community no longer focuses on Israel. Maybe Derek should read what is coming out of UNRWA and UNESCO.

So Derek believes that Judea and Samaria is occupied territory and he points to the International Community and Law as the measure. And maybe just maybe the International Community is wrong. They have been wrong before. Maybe Judea and Samaria are in fact disputed territory as many do believe. And if it is, maybe the Palestinians need to sit with the Israeli's and find a way to end  the dispute. Poll after Poll in Israel clearly shows the the majority of Israelis support a 2 State solution. Derek should know that Jews and then Israel made offers 6 times to create a 2 state solution. In 1937, 1947, 1967, 2000 and 2008. And each time the Arabs and then Palestinians said no. Does Derek know that as of this very date no Arab or Muslim State have ever uttered the words "Israel is the National home of the Jewish people"  That is by far the largest impediment to peace. 

I think it was Albert Einstein that said and I paraphrase " doing the same thing over and over expecting different results borders on insanity".

Maybe this different approach that Trump and Netanyahu are trying will achieve better results. Engaging the Saudis and the Gulf States with the help of Jordan and Egypt may, maybe just maybe break the log jam. We can only hope. 
Abraham Silverman
Edmonton Alberta 

Shalom Abe

Greetings from Israel.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I will include your thoughts in my next Newsletter.
I should note that I firmly believe that Judea and Samaria are occupied territories. I think the occupation is wrong and vile. I saw how terrible the situation is time and again with my own eyes. Please take time to visit the territories yourself during your next visit to Israel. The occupation is first and foremost wrong to the Palestinians and it also undermines Israeli democracy, Jewish values and humanity.

I have been saying the same thing like Old Cato since 1985, and the situation is only getting worse.

Shabbat Shalom

Shalom Rafi
I to have travelled through the West Bank many times during my 37 trips to Israel going back to the early 80's. And like you and most Jews in Israel and the diaspora accept that a 2 State Solution is vital to the State of Israel remaining Jewish and a Democracy. But I don't agree that the West Bank is Occupied. Occupied from whom? I do however agree that the land is disputed and in fact Resolution 242 confirms that it is. And I don't agree that a future Palestinian State should be Jew Free. Just as Arabs live in Israel so should Jews be able to live in Palestine. Just as Arabs live in Israel free from fear and all the freedoms they enjoy like all Israeli's, so should Jews be able to live in a future Palestinian State. But this will never happen if the Palestinian Leadership refuse to say loudly and clearly "Israel is the National Home of the Jewish People"
Shabat Shalom. 

I think both sides made many mistakes. The gaps between the two sides remain wide. The issue is not only recognition of the ageism state. No less important issues are Jerusalem, al Aqsa, refugees and settlements. On these issues Israel and the PLO never reached an agreement.

The occupation is damaging in so many ways that it is baffling not recognising it. Check points. Discrimination. Military order. Institutionalising permits for anything and everything. Oppression. Abnormal reality that harms the Palestinians and also Israel. The occupation cripples Israeli democracy and undermine its existence. The occupation is bad first and foremost to the Palestinians and it also bad for Israel. It is Israeli interest to bring the occupation to an end as soon as it is possible.

Unpopular Statements

If you wish to be unpopular in Israel, dare speaking about the harms of the occupation.

If you wish to be unpopular in Britain, dare speaking about the harms of drinking alcohol.

If you wish to be unpopular in the USA, dare speaking about banning American football.

If you wish to be unpopular in Belgium and in The Netherlands, dare speaking against euthanasia.

What is arguably the most unpopular statement in your country?

President Trump and Charlottesville

Some thoughts on recent events in Charlottesville:

It is incomprehensible that the USA allows a Nazi party, the only nation in the world to allow this nasty phenomenon. If the USA has one thing to learn from the world, it is barring Nazism.

I reckon that if the USA were under the Nazi boot it won't be tolerant of Nazism.

Liberty without boundaries might evolve to anarchy. Nazism is definitely outside the scope of tolerance. More than 60 million reasons, each a world on its own, support my reasoning.

The election of Trump is an extreme example of the democratic pendulum.

Naturally I am a bit suspicious about people who sympathize with Nazis and Jews. After all, the former wish to eradicate the latter from the face of the earth.

A murders B.
President Trump: I condemn violence by A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z!

There are no good Nazis, good Klansmen, or good terrorists. They are not "fine people".

Silver lining stemming from recent events: internet companies begin to understand that with great power comes great responsibility. Empowering bigots and Nazis is anti-social and dangerous. We need to strike a balance between freedom of expression and social responsibility. Both are equally important.

Leaders who constantly reshuffle their team should change their decision-making processes. The present process does not work for them. Adam Rees-Taylor commented: Usually a sign of poor leadership and personal calibre - I've seen it often at senior level 'Rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic'.

Would I miss Bannon? Depends. I would if David Duke would replace him.

If it was up to him, President Trump would disband not only business councils but Congress as well.

Decent Republican supporters voted Trump not because he is vile but despite it. Now they need to look at the mirror, deep into their conscience, and ask themselves: Do I endorse this man's set of values? Does he represent my values?

The combination of these two words, "President Trump", does not sound right.

What will happen first: Trump’s impeachment or global war?

My Visit to Israel

The British government is attempting to turn social sciences into sciences. It does it by introducing “impact”. By impact it means not impact on academic studies and scholarship but impact on society.

University of Hull sent me to gather evidence on two potential impact cases: my impact on the Israeli Supreme Court as evidenced by references to my writings by justices, and my impact on the field of medical ethics in Israel. I was a member who drafted The Dying Patient Law and there are not many academics who have impacted legislation. In ten days, I spent time in the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Health, universities and research centers, and I had some 40 meetings with relevant stakeholders. Busy, interesting and fruitful.

I met some very good people in Israel. They are agonising regarding the government conduct on social and political affairs. With the majority of my friends and colleagues I heard the same views, similar to mine. The general feeling is of frustration and pessimism. They see the government leading the people in the wrong way but do not know what to do. They think the situation needs to become even worse for any change to happen.

Former President of the Supreme Court, a former EZEL member, Meir Shamgar, for the first time in his life entered the political debate, saying that Netanyahu should resign over his conduct in many affairs, verging on the legal yet their moral staunch is unmistaken. 

Tel Aviv and Jerusalem always supplemented each other. The contrast between the two cities is widening. One is free-spirited and secular. The other is religious, political, right-wing. The two cities represent the religious and ideological divide.

The public agenda, as reflected by the media, is clearly dictated in the main by two factors: (1) government and Knesset decisions, and (2) terrorism. It is difficult to enter any other items between the frantic activism of the former, and pressing security considerations. The discussions in the news are populated by ministers, MKs, settlers, religious figures and security figures. The voice of the people I met in Israel, salt of the earth, is hardly heard. This is very sad.

Senior security officials spoke of the stupidity of government policies regarding Al Aqsa, saying that the government does not bother to consult them before making decisions as they are intent to pursue policies notwithstanding what experts say. Their decision making process is dictated by internal competition over public vote, from the centre to the right. They are not interested to convince the Israeli left. They are interested to win the support of the majority. The competition is between Likud, Jewish Home (Bennett) and Yisrael Beitenu (Lieberman).

A few days after installing the metal detectors in Al Aqsa, and a few murderous incidents in which people lost their lives, the government withdrew the "essential" metal detectors. Damage to the Wakf and its relationships with Israel was inflicted. Trust lost. Damage to Israel's relations with Jordan, Morocco and other Arab countries and unnecessary conflict with Jordan. All because a few people, without consultation, are competing for popular votes. Sad.

The July Peace Index has surveyed public opinion on this issue:

The prime minister’s handling of the Temple Mount crisis: The survey findings show that a majority of the Jewish public (64%) does not see the prime minister as handling the current crisis on the Temple Mount judiciously. A segmentation of the Jewish interviewees’ responses by political camp revealed that even among those defining themselves as right-wing, most do not view the prime minister as managing the crisis judiciously, and that this view is even more pronounced in the center and on the left, though apparently for different reasons than among the right-wingers. In the Arab public, the rate of those who do not regard Netanyahu as contending well with this issue comes to about three-fourths (74%).

The installation of the metal detectors at the entrances to the Al-Aqsa Mosque: At the same time, on the question of whether the prime minister acted properly in deciding to install the metal directors at the entrances to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, even though according to media reports the IDF and the Shabak opposed the measure, the Jewish public is almost evenly split between those who think he acted properly (45%) and those who maintain the opposite (47%). In the Arab public a lopsided majority (82%) considers that Netanyahu did not act properly in deciding to install the metal detectors. 

USA attitude was revealing. The Trump administration stood by Israel. It seems that with this administration, Netanyahu feels he can do whatever comes to mind. He is probably right. Peace becomes an even more distant dream.

Senior legal officials do not think that the investigations regarding Netanyahu's conduct in multiple affairs would yield anything. Strong proof is lacking in all affairs, so they think. While morally, ethically the conduct is wrong, legally there is not enough evidence for prosecution.

I was pleased to visit Tel Aviv University, where it all started for me. It is still the most beautiful campus in Israel. Back to Naftaly Building where I spent four years of my life doing BA and MA, paving the way to Oxford.

At the Supreme Court I met Deputy President Elyakim Rubinstein. I hope to bring Justice Rubinstein to deliver a lecture in Hull. I trust the lecture will be fascinating.

It was great to meet Deputy President (ret.) Eliyahu Mazza. Dignity, decency, humility, wisdom and humour. A wonderful mensch

I enjoyed meeting President Dorit Beinisch (ret.), Rafi Malka and Justice (ret.) Itzhak Zamir. We share similar views on justice and security.

I had an interesting talk with my mentor and teacher, President Aharon Barak (ret.), who is in the process of writing two books. We will continue our cooperation.

In my next visit to Israel I hope to interview Aharon Barak for his involvement in the peace process between Israel and Egypt. Barak played a key role in Camp David, a model for successful negotiations.

I continue my research on the failed peace process, interviewing Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich and Maj. Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan, former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff. I reminded Uzi that we first met at the funeral of Moshe Dayan.

It was wonderful to meet my friends from the Van Leer Medical Ethics Think-tank Asa Kasher, Avraham Steinberg and Shimon Glick. Great men.

I thank Aharon, Ariel, Asa, Avraham, Bety, Dorit, Efraim, Ehud, Elie, Eliyahu, Eti, Eyal, Gila and Ruby, Ilana, Itzhak, Keren and Meir, Marina and Bill, Meir, Meron, Mira and Yizhar, Noam, Ofer, Orit, Pupi and Zvi, Rafi, Shiri, Talya and Uzi for their kind and most helpful hospitality.

President Meir Shamgar

Former President of the Supreme Court grew up in a revisionist home, served in the EZEL underground, was imprisoned by the British and after the establishment of the State of Israel served in the most prominent judicial echelons of the country. Some years ago he retired from the presidency.

 Like many justices of the court, Shamgar is a very guarded person. He has political views which he usually keeps to himself. He may reveal them to people he trusts in private conversations. Shamgar was and remains on the right of the Israeli political map.

On July 21, Shamgar gave an interview to Yedioth Ahronoth together with his wife Michal in which he voiced the opinion that Netanyahu should resign over the costly gifts he has received from affluent people over the years, gifts whose value is in the hundreds of thousands dollars. To the best of my knowledge, this was the first time that he has ever became involved in public disputes of political nature. I asked him why he did it and what reactions he received. Shamgar answered that he felt he needed to say something. He felt it was important to raise his voice at this time. He said he received many reactions to this interview, all positive, complementing him for his candid and sharp words. He hopes his criticism of Prime Minister Netanyahu will make a difference. Shamgar appeals, of course, not to Netanyahu but to the legal community that greatly appreciates him. After all, Shamgar has great dividends in shaping the legal history of Israel, a true giant figure.


I enjoyed visiting the Fulbright organisation in Tel Aviv. Fulbright is a great scheme that had a major positive impact on my life. I trust the American administration treasures this remarkable asset

Tel Aviv University

It was good to return to Tel Aviv University, where it all started for me. It was, and remains, the most beautiful campus in Israel.


IDC is a success story. Professor Reichman, I trust, is very proud of his creation. The campus is busier than TAU campus, buzzing with students. Kol HaKavod!

Picketing Private Homes of Public Officials

Given the controversy regarding picketing of a public official in Israel, you may find interest in my 2001 piece,
In 2017, controversy has risen again regarding the…


I do not like to see how people drive in Israel. Total madness. Car jungle. Irresponsibility in motion. No wonder so many people die on the roads. 

As if the cars are not enough, now people are on the move with wheels and tiny motors attached to everything: onecycles, bicycles, tricycles. The jungle is now also on the pavements. No escape. You need eyes and ears in your back. 

In Health and In Sickness

My good thoughts are with Moshe, Shuki, Tony, Eyal and two other friends. I wish you strength and good health.

In Record Pharma Buyout Israeli Drug Maker to Be Purchased by Japanese Firm for $1.1 Billion
NeuroDerm, an Israeli clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing next-generation treatments for central nervous system disorders, will be acquired for $1.1 billion in cash by Japanese company Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation. 

The deal, expected to close in late 2017 pending shareholder approval, reportedly would be the largest-ever acquisition of an Israeli pharmaceuticals company. The transaction will be completed by way of a merger under the Israeli Companies Law. 

NeuroDerm’s drug-device combinations enable new routes of administration for existing drugs that overcome their current deficiencies and achieve enhanced clinical efficacy. 

Its portfolio of four product candidates specifically addresses major unmet needs in the field of Parkinson’s disease and cognition, from the moderate to the most severe stage of the disease. 

Mitsubishi Tanabe is banking on Neuroderm’s Parkinson’s drug, now in advanced clinical trials in the United States and Europe, to help it reach a US sales target of $722 million by 2020. 

The deal will be the largest acquisition of an Israeli company by a Japanese company since Rakuten’s $900 million purchase of chat app Viber in 2014. 

NeuroDerm, based in Rehovot, expects to launch two Parkinson’s products in the next two years. 

(via Israel21c)

Yeah, Right: Israeli Researchers Develop Program to Detect Sarcasm in Language

Sarcasm is no laughing matter for people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, who have difficulty interpreting subtle irony and humour. 

Researchers in the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology say they can transform sarcasm into straightforward statements using machine translation and artificial intelligence. 

Sarcasm SIGN (for “Sentimental Interpretation GeNerator”) would transform the sarcastic sentence above to read “The new ‘Fast and Furious’ movie is terrible.” 

Existing apps get stuck interpreting sarcasm, says Lotam Peled, the industrial engineering and management graduate student who developed Sarcasm SIGN. 

Peled, under the guidance of Assistant Prof. Roi Reichart, compiled a database of some 3,000 sarcastic tweets tagged with the #sarcasm hashtag. Five human experts then turned the tweets into non-sarcastic sentiments. (“Best day ever” became “worst day ever,” for example.) The tweet pairings were subsequently fed into the Sarcasm SIGN system, training it to identify words with strong sarcastic sentiments. 

A second batch of human judges scored the system’s interpretations for fluency and adequacy. In most cases, the judges said it produced “a semantically and linguistically correct sentence.” 

If Sarcasm SIGN becomes available to people with autism and Asperger’s, it could improve communication between people and computers and between social media users. 

(via Israeli21c )

Ban Boxing and American Football

As a matter of principle I do not watch boxing and American football. I do not wish to add to their ratings. These are the new modern gladiators who pay a very high personal price to entertain the eager public. I think these "sports" are disgusting. If I had the power, I would ban both.

A recent research told us, yet again, what we all know: American football gladiators inflict substantial damage to their brains.

A neuropathologist has examined the brains of 111 N.F.L. players — and 110 were found to have C.T.E., the degenerative disease linked to repeated blows to the head.

By Joe Ward, Josh Williams and Sam Manchester
July 25, 2017
Dr. Ann McKee, a neuropathologist, has examined the brains of 202 deceased football players. A broad survey of her findings was published on Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Of the 202 players, 111 of them played in the N.F.L. — and 110 of those were found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., the degenerative disease believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head.

C.T.E. causes myriad symptoms, including memory loss, confusion, depression and dementia. The problems can arise years after the blows to the head have stopped.
The brains here are from players who died as young as 23 and as old as 89. And they are from every position on the field — quarterbacks, running backs and linebackers, and even a place-kicker and a punter.

Linemen make up the largest share, by far, of those tested by Dr. McKee, partly because nearly half of the 22 players on the field are offensive and defensive linemen.

But that may not be the entire reason.

Linemen knock heads on most plays, and those who study brain trauma say the accumulation of seemingly benign, non-violent blows — rather than head-jarring concussions alone — probably causes C.T.E.

Data compiled by researchers at Stanford showed that one college offensive lineman sustained 62 of these hits in a single game. Each one came with an average force on the player’s head equivalent to what you would see if he had driven his car into a brick wall at 30 m.p.h.

Quarterbacks, the stars and most highly paid players in the league, are now provided more protection against hits to the head than other players. But that has hardly eliminated concussions and other blows to their heads. The quarterbacks still hit their heads hard on the turf when they are sacked, or take head-jarring hits when they leave the pocket to run.

Linebackers, like linemen, sustain many sub-concussive blows to the head, the ones that show no immediate symptoms but can have a cumulative impact over time. Dr. McKee has said that linebackers who play in the league for 10 years could sustain upward of 15,000 of these sub-concussive hits.

“It is no longer debatable whether or not there is a problem in football — there is a problem,” Dr. McKee said.

Sources: VA Boston Healthcare System; CTE Center at Boston University; News reports. Images were not available for all brains.
Additional production by Jon Huang, Becky Lebowitz Hanger and Jeffrey Furticella. Additional reporting by Bill Pennington and John Branch.


FIFA should introduce cap on transfer money and salaries. €50 million transfer, and €10 million salary, otherwise the Neymar scene will become more and more obscene

Reminder: USA Became A Great Nation Because of Its Immigration Policy

There is no dull moment with Trump. Every day there is something, usually negative, stemming from the unrelaxed White House. If I am asked to depict the Trump days in one image I will pick the image of a vortex, or swirl. He sucks everything and leads to oblivion.

Trump put everyone around him in frenzy and it seems all around him are competing for his attention by raising the most ridiculous, astonishing and radical proposals which, of course, get his attention and within minutes his consent. No homework. No process. No brain-storming. No responsibility, thinking about short-term and long-term consequences. And now the White House is proposing to drastically cut legal immigration by half. Trump’s alt-right adviser Stephen Miller championed the measure as a "pro-American immigration reform that the American people want, that the American people deserve and that puts the needs of the working class ahead of the investor class".

I certainly hope that this silly bill will not receive congressional approval.

On August 4, 2017, the Guardian reported that Trump is planning to take 17-day vacation and my immediate thought was:  Will we have 17 quiet days, with no scandals, silly initiatives and radical statements? I look forward. We all need vacation from Trump.

My New Article - “The Monopoly of Jewish Orthodoxy in Israel and Its Effects on the Governance of Religious Diversity”

“The Monopoly of Jewish Orthodoxy in Israel and Its Effects on the Governance of Religious Diversity”, in Anna Triandafyllidou and Tariq Modood (eds.), The Problem of Religious Diversity (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017), pp. 250-272.

The article is dedicated to the memory of two of my teachers whose work is quoted here, who influenced my thinking in different ways, and who are no longer with us: Asher Arian and Ronald Dworkin.

The paper is opened by explaining the nature of liberal democracy and its underpinning principles. It then outlines the difference between liberal and illiberal societies, and the nature of Israeli State Judaism. The paper explains that State Judaism in Israel is Orthodox, and that Jewish illiberal Orthodoxy does not promote diversity. It limits freedom of choice citizens have in leading their lives. It is argued that there is a widespread institutional discrimination against other forms of Judaism, Reform and Conservative, and against the Palestinian-Arab minority (I use the terms Palestinian and Arab interchangeably). It is further argued that if Israel aspires to be an egalitarian-liberal democracy it should respect secularism and other forms of religion (Jewish and non-Jewish).

My Interview to Sustainable Security

My recent book, Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side: Moral and Social Responsibility on the Free Highway (2015)examines the dark side of the internet and the issue of social responsibility on the net. In this interview to Oxford Research Group (August 14, 2017),
I explain why I choose to examine this subject as a research project; identify hate speech; distinguish between hate speech and free speech, and between religious incitement and critique of religious beliefs; observe the connection between hate speech and violent acts, and advise practical actions that can and should be taken to counter hate on the Internet.

Books – Rafi Malka, My Life Path (2015, Hebrew)

I have been reading Rafi Malka's autobiography. Rafi is a natural. What language. Hebrew at its best. Captivating style. Grateful to know his fascinating and trying life journey. The book concludes with Malka's account of the SHABAC affair, one of the most troubling episodes in Israel's history.

I thank Rafi for a copy of this book.

New Books

The Problem of Religious Diversity
European Challenges, Asian Approaches

Anna Triandafyllidou, Tariq Modood (eds)
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017.

Religious diversity is one of the toughest challenges that today’s European societies face in their search for identity, equality and cohesion in an increasingly globalised world. This book engages critically with the different models and approaches for managing religion adopted in Europe, Asia and Oceania in order to seek answers to this pressing normative, conceptual and policy issue.

The book assembles papers presented in a workshop held in The European University Institute, Florence, in June 2015.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Religion and Religious Diversity Challenges Today
Anna Triandafyllidou and Tariq Modood 1-22

Part I
The Governance of Religious Diversity: Freedom of Religion or Freedom from Religion

Chapter 2
Nation and Religion: Dangerous Liaisons
Anna Triandafyllidou, EUI 23-47

Chapter 3
Multiculturalism and Moderate Secularism
Tariq Modood, University of Bristol 48-73

Chapter 4
Secularism: Public Space and Visible Diversity
Tariq Ramadan, Oxford University 74-94

Chapter 5
Living with religious diversity: The limits of the secular paradigm
Gurpreet Mahajan, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India 95-111

Chapter 6
Freedom of Religion in Europe: Finding the golden mean between too little and too much protection
Marie Claire Foblets, Max Planck Institute, Halle 112-141

Part II
The Governance of Religious Diversity in the Public Space: Perspectives from Asia and the Middle East

Chapter 7
The Governance of Religious Diversity in the Public Space:
Indonesia in Comparative Perspective
Alfred Stepan, Columbia University, New York 142-169

Chapter 8
Governance of religious diversity in Malaysia: Islam in a secular state or secularism in an Islamic state?
Zawawi Ibrahim, University Brunei Darussalam and Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Chapter 9
The Governance of Religious Diversity in India: Some Reflections
Rochana Bajpai, SOAS, London 170-207

Chapter 10
Secularism as Proto-Multiculturalism: The Case of Australia
Geoffrey Brahm Levey, University of New South Wales, Sydney 208-233

Chapter 11
The Monopoly of Jewish Orthodoxy in Israel and Its Effects on the governance of religious diversity
Raphael Cohen-Almagor, University of Hull 234-255

Chapter 12
Secularism as Double-Edged Sword: State Regulation of Religion in Turkey
Haldun G├╝lalp 256-276

Chapter 13
Epilogue: Four Dogmas or Heresies in the Discussion of Secularism and Religion
JHH Weiler, President, European University Institute

Chapter 14
Bhikhu Parekh, House of Lords and University of Hull 277-301

Why Dissent Matters – Because Some People See Things the Rest of Us Miss
By William Kaplan, McGill-Queens University Press, 2017

An inquiry into dissent and how it might save the world.

Frances Kelsey was a quiet Canadian doctor and scientist who stood up to a huge pharmaceutical company wanting to market a new drug thalidomide – and prevented an American tragedy. The nature writer Rachel Carson identified an emerging environmental disaster and pulled the fire alarm. Public protests, individual dissenters, judges, and juries can change the world – and they do.

A wide-ranging and provocative work on controversial subjects, Why Dissent Matters tells a story of dissent and dissenters – people who have been attacked, bullied, ostracized, jailed, and, sometimes when it is all over, celebrated. William Kaplan shows that dissent is noisy, messy, inconvenient, and almost always time-consuming, but that suppressing it is usually a mistake – it’s bad for the dissenter but worse for the rest of us. Drawing attention to the voices behind inter- national protests such as Occupy Wall Street and Boycott, Divest, and Sanction, he contends that we don’t have to do what dissenters want, but we should listen to what they say.

Our problems are not going away. There will always be abuses of power to confront, wrongs to right, and new opportunities for dissenting voices to say, “Stop, listen to me.” Why Dissent Matters may well lead to a different and more just future. 

This is a stimulating and thought provoking book. I promise you that you won't remain indifferent. 

I thank Will Kaplan for a copy of this book.

Gem of the Month – Jerusalem

Jerusalem, a city in which I feel like in no other city in the city. The word unique should be used in unique situation. Jerusalem is such.

Gem of the Month - Israeli Supreme Court

I have been visiting the Supreme Court since 1994 and every time I am impressed with the architecture. It combines Jerusalem stone, empty spaces, green, old and new, antiquity and modernity. The architecture symbolises what the court should be, a bridge between past and future, with a sense of history and embodiment of Israeli-Jewish-liberal culture, with the complexities involved. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Jerusalem that is certainly worth your visit.

Gem of the Month – Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is my kind of town. I love everything about this bustling, buzzing, beautiful city. I love the people and music. I love the theatre, cinema, restaurants and coffee shops. I love Maccabi (there is only one). I love the beach and the promenade. In each and every visit, the promenade is becoming more enchanting, my favourite place on earth. I also love its wrinkles, its ageing spots, its sad places. I love its spirituality and culture, its free-spirited secularism. I love its multiculturalism and hearing the many languages on the street. 

Each and every evening I strolled the promenade. There is a new craze: beach volleyball. The municipality arranged dozens of courts to the enthusiasts who play from morning until midnight. Delightful.

Tel Aviv is blessed to have Ron Huldahi as mayor. A visionary doer who rebuilds the city with good taste and aesthetics. I call him the new Herod.

Tel Aviv is one of the most cultural cities in the world, third after NY and London. Extraordinary variety.

Gem of the Month - Riki Gal, with Miri Mesika and Yehuda Poliker

Gal has been the most prominent Israeli female rock star for the past forty years. An amazing rock of energy, with tremendous vocal abilities. We saw her at Shoney, an open amphitheater, where she hosted two great talents of different generations, Mesika and Poliker. Great musical event that made many people very happy.


See Riki Gal


See Miri Mesika - Ba'a Elechem,

See Yehuda Poliker

Gem of the Month -Danny Litany

I love blues. In Israel, when you say blues you say Danny Litany. For fifty years, Litany is singing blues, telling stories from Israel, the USA and other places. At the age of 74, he sings in his deep, beautiful voice, explaining the songs in his cynical sense of humour. Great entertainment.

See Danny Litany

Monthly Poems

One of Danny Litany’s favourites:

"Blowin' In The Wind"
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, and how many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take 'til he knows
That too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Bob Dylan

On Imagination

THY various works, imperial queen, we see,
How bright their forms! how deck'd with pomp
by thee!
Thy wond'rous acts in beauteous order stand,
And all attest how potent is thine hand.
From Helicon's refulgent heights attend,
Ye sacred choir, and my attempts befriend:
To tell her glories with a faithful tongue,
Ye blooming graces, triumph in my song.
Now here, now there, the roving Fancy flies,
Till some lov'd object strikes her wand'ring eyes,
Whose silken fetters all the senses bind,
And soft captivity involves the mind.
Imagination! who can sing thy force?
Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?
Soaring through air to find the bright abode,
Th' empyreal palace of the thund'ring God,
We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,
And leave the rolling universe behind:
From star to star the mental optics rove,
Measure the skies, and range the realms above.
There in one view we grasp the mighty whole,
Or with new worlds amaze th' unbounded soul.
Though Winter frowns to Fancy's raptur'd eyes
The fields may flourish, and gay scenes arise;
The frozen deeps may break their iron bands,
And bid their waters murmur o'er the sands.
Fair Flora may resume her fragrant reign,
And with her flow'ry riches deck the plain;
Sylvanus may diffuse his honours round,
And all the forest may with leaves be crown'd:
Show'rs may descend, and dews their gems disclose,
And nectar sparkle on the blooming rose.
Such is thy pow'r, nor are thine orders vain,
O thou the leader of the mental train:
In full perfection all thy works are wrought,
And thine the sceptre o'er the realms of thought.
Before thy throne the subject-passions bow,
Of subject-passions sov'reign ruler thou;
At thy command joy rushes on the heart,
And through the glowing veins the spirits dart.
Fancy might now her silken pinions try
To rise from earth, and sweep th' expanse on high:
From Tithon's bed now might Aurora rise,
Her cheeks all glowing with celestial dies,
While a pure stream of light o'erflows the skies.
The monarch of the day I might behold,
And all the mountains tipt with radiant gold,
But I reluctant leave the pleasing views,
Which Fancy dresses to delight the Muse;
Winter austere forbids me to aspire,
And northern tempests damp the rising fire;
They chill the tides of Fancy's flowing sea,
Cease then, my song, cease the unequal lay.

Phillis Wheatley

Light Side

Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.

U like Youtube

We called the Israel Ministry of Education to ask a question. The call taker provided an access code, spelling it:

F like flower; U like Youtube…

Peace and love. I wish us a tranquil, peaceful and enjoyable summer.

Yours as ever,


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

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