Saturday, October 21, 2017

Politics – October 2017

It's easier to see what someone is really like by how they treat their inferiors, not their equals. 

~ J.K. Rowling:

Leaders should identify long-term and short-term goals, not confuse between the two, and not sacrifice the former for the latter.

Evil thrives when silence prevails.

We should not come to terms with slavery because it undercut our humanity, our civility, our decency.

The police should be there to help people who are unable to help themselves.

~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Reflections on Last Newsletter
Former Presidents of the USA – Call for Action
Trump Diet
Interpol Admits State of Palestine
Lecture: Jon Riley, “Mill’s Absolute Ban on Paternalism”
Middle East Study Group (MESG) Program 2017 – 2018
Israel Approves New Settler Housing in Hebron for first time in 15 years
Thousands of Palestinian and Israeli Women March for Peace
Israel joins US in pulling out of Unesco
Israeli Company Develops Revolutionary Artificial Cornea Implant
Spain’s Disintegration
1,516 mass shootings in 1,735 days: America's gun crisis – in one chart
Senate Unanimously Passes Bipartisan Bill Targeting Hezbollah Financing

Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped of Freedom of the City of Oxford

The Wilberforce World Freedom Summit
President John Agyekum Kufuor on Corruption
Special Symposium on Confronting the Internet's Dark Side: Moral and Social Responsibility on the Free Highway
Gem of the Month – Venice
Gem of the Month – Justin Hayward
Monthly Poems

Light Side

Reflections on Last Newsletter

Professor Giuliana Mazzoni wrote from Florence, Italy:
Dear Rafi,

I heard on the BBC of the new stance Hamas is planning to take both with the Fatah government (more clear in my opinion) and the openings with the Israeli government. Let's hope the Israeli government will not create major obstacles. In a world full of disasters this is for me heart-warming news. 


Professor Art Hobson wrote from Arkansas, USA:

Trump’s Foreign Policy

The U.S. is currently a big part of the world's security problem.  We are armed to the teeth and we have lots of ideas about how other nations should conduct themselves.  At $773 billion this year, our military spending is greater than the next eight military powers combined.  We could buy more security by spending most of that money solving America's own problems at home.  We are over-armed and too pushy.  From the world's perspective, the U.S. acts like a hammer, and when you're a hammer everything else looks like a nail.  

Our eternal war in Afghanistan only further destabilizes the Mideast, creates anti-American fervor, and supports corrupt government.  Our pressure for regime change in Syria helped create and sustain a disastrous civil war that has killed nearly half a million, created 4.8 million refugees, and displaced another 6.3 million.  Our regime-change operation in Libya and our counterproductive tinkering in civil wars in Somalia and Yemen has only made those bad situations worse.  
Iran could easily become another North Korean-type standoff if we continue treating them as an enemy.  Far from questioning the U.S.-Iran nuclear weapons agreement, we should enthusiastically support it.   Now we are toying with militarily involvement in the struggles between Russia and Ukraine, and sending U.S. troops into Venezuela.  

Obama’s Legacy

Obama passed the Affordable Care Act providing health insurance to twenty million more Americans.  It is not the single-payer universal-coverage plan we need and deserve, but an expansion of healthcare had been sought unsuccessfully by every Democratic president since Truman, and Obamacare is far better than nothing.  He successfully appointed two fine women to the Supreme Court, ended the military's "don't ask don't tell" policy, banned the CIA from using torture, rescued us from financial calamity in 2009, reduced unemployment from over 10 percent in 2009 to under 5 percent today, and presided over a record 78 consecutive months of economic expansion and a significant drop in the violent crime rate.  He negotiated a deal that averted a potential war with Iran and kept it from acquiring nuclear weapons and ended 55 years of isolationism toward Cuba.  

Obama's 2014 agreement in which China pledged to peak its carbon emissions by 2030 led to the 2015 Paris accord on climate change.   Obama deserves our thanks for his central role in the 2015 treaty, under which 195 nations promised action against climate change.  Obama and 19 other national leaders also committed to double their annual spending on clean-energy research and development.  

These are excerpts from pieces first published in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.   

Abe Silverman wrote from Edmonton, Canada: 

Dear Rafi 
Your response to Tim Freedman very thoughtful analysis of the Israel Palestinian conflict is a bit baffling. "What Israel needs to do" and you go on to list 7 actions. Isn't this what Israel tried accomplish when negotiating the Oslo Accords with Yasser Arafat. How did that turn out? And how about the Peel Commission recommendation in 1936 and the UN Partition Plan of 1947 and the famous 3 No's in 1967 and the disengagement in Gaza in 2006 and Ehud Barak's peace Plan in 2000 and Ehud Olmert's peace plan in 2008. I believe it was Albert Einstein who said, and I paraphrase, doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is a sure sign of insanity.  
And on a different note I take exception to what sounded like your endorsement of the Reform Movement as being Tolerant, Pluralistic, Respectful and Peaceful unlike other Jewish movements. At 75 I can say without any doubt that I know and have known many Conservatives and Orthodox who share those same values. 
L'Shana Tova. May the New Year bring good health, happiness and Peace to all.
Abe Silverman

Dear Abe

Thanks as ever for writing.

You have rightly noted past attempts to reach peace. Some of these attempts were significant and bold. Today’s Israel government does not press for peace.

As I am now writing a book about the failed peace process, I rather not put forward my conclusions on the peace talks in Oslo, Stockholm, Camp David, Taba etc. Suffice to say that I do not put all responsibility on the Palestinians. The responsibility lies with the PLO, Israel and the USA. All three parties made many mistakes although not equal share of mistakes.

For such a momentous achievement of resolving a deep, entrenched conflict, three things are absolutely essential:
  • An Israeli leader who is committed to bring peace to his people and is willing to pay the necessary price;
  • A Palestinian leader who is committed to bring peace to his people and is willing to pay the necessary price;
  • Shared belief by both leaders that the time is ripe for peace. By “time is ripe” it is meant that both leaders believe that enough blood was shed, that they need to seize the moment because things might worsened for their people, and that they have the ability to lead their respective people to accept the peace agreement and change reality for the better.

I think that during the past two decades, at no given time the three ingredients coexisted.
I am very happy to learn that you have a very positive experience with Orthodox Judaism. I was never allowed to sit with my family in an Orthodox shul, and we have been to more than a few in Israel, England and the USA. For some reason, my wife and daughter were asked to move to an obscure place, where they cannot be seen (nor see very much). In the theatre, their seats would be sold for the cheapest price due to restricted view.

Best wishes for Shana Tova

Former Presidents of the USA – Call for Action

Here is an idea. It would be wonderful if all former living presidents of the USA will come together and issue a simple statement:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

All people are equal. Women and men. Members of all cultures and races, notwithstanding their sexual orientation.

Simple, bold and true.

There is a need to reiterate the United States Declaration of Independence.
I call upon Barack ObamaGeorge W. BushBill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter to issue this simply and much-needed statement. It seems some people need a reminder.


Trump Diet

I continue with this diet. It is healthier and, as you can see, I focus on positives.

Interpol Admits State of Palestine

On September 27, 2017, the International Police Organization (Interpol) voted to accept the State of Palestine as a member. After the UN, Interpol -- with 190 member states -- is the largest international organization in the world.

Lecture: Jon Riley, “Mill’s Absolute Ban on Paternalism”

Research Seminar sponsored by FBLP and FACE

Thursday 19 October 2017, 4.00pm – 6.00pm
Wilberforce Lecture Room 30

“Mill’s Absolute Ban on Paternalism”
Professor Jonathan Riley
Tulane University


John Stuart Mill is commonly said to prescribe an absolute ban on paternalism. But this is true only if paternalism is understood as coercive interference with a competent person’s conduct solely for his own good. While he has multiple arguments for his view, Mill says that his most important argument is what may be called the provisional epistemic argument, according to which a competent individual, though not always prudent, is the best judge of her own good as she conceives it, and should be permitted to choose any self-regarding action which she judges is needed to attain it, provided she is in possession of any readily available public information (which others may need to supply through advice and warning) about the condition of external objects (such as a public bridge but also her own body and reputation) so that she can do as she wishes in accord with her feasible intentions. My main claim is that this epistemic argument is sound. Moreover, Mill never abandons it, despite claims to the contrary in the literature. He does insist that society should not enforce by law or stigma so-called contracts-in-perpetuity, that is, long-term irrevocable contracts such as a voluntary slavery contract or a no-divorce marriage contract. But this does not entail any coercive interference with self-regarding conduct.

Jonathan Riley


Jonathan Riley is Murphy Professor of Philosophy and Political Economy, Tulane University, and a founding Editor of the Sage journal Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He has published extensively on Mill’s philosophy. He has also received several major awards, including Killam, NEH, NHC, and Rockefeller fellowships, and has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, the University of St. Andrews, Princeton University and the University of Hamburg. His most recent publications are Mill’s On Liberty (Routledge, July 2015), which is an expanded version of Mill on Liberty (Routledge, 1998), and Mill’s Radical Liberalism: A Study in Retrieval (forthcoming from Routledge).

Date: Thursday 19 October 2017, 4.00pm – 6.00pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre
Please RVSP

All are welcome to attend.

Middle East Study Group (MESG) Program 2017 – 2018

25 October 2017, 16:20, WILB-LT29

Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor
Director, Middle East Study Group (MESG)

Discrimination against Women in Jewish Law (Halacha) and in Israel

Democracy is supposed to allow individuals the opportunity to follow their conception of the good without coercion. Generally speaking, Israel gives precedence to Judaism over liberalism. This paper argues that the reverse should be the case. In Section I it is explained what the Halachic grounds for discrimination against women are. Section II concerns the Israeli legal framework and the role of the family courts. Section III considers Israeli egalitarian legislation and ground-breaking Supreme Court precedents designed to promote gender equality. Section IV analyses inegalitarian manifestations of Orthodox Judaism in Israeli society today, especially discriminatory practices in matters of personal status. It is argued that Judaism needs to adapt gender equality because of Israel’s commitment to human rights. Israeli leaders should strive to close the unfortunate gap between the valuable aims and affirmations voiced in the 1948 Deceleration of Independence and the reality of unequal political and social rights for women.

Raphael Cohen-Almagor received his DPhil in political theory from Oxford University. He is Chair in Politics at University of Hull, UK. He was the Director of the Center for Democratic Studies, University of Haifa, Fulbright-Yitzhak Rabin Visiting Professor at UCLA School of Law, Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins University, and Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Author of more than 200 publications, among his more recent books are Speech, Media and Ethics (2005), The Scope of Tolerance (2006), Voyages (2007, poetry, Hebrew), and Confronting the Internet's Dark Side (2015). Blog:

Please RSVP

The MESG Annual Lecture for 2017

8 November 2017, 16:20, WILB-LT15

Dr Emile Chabal
University of Edinburgh

A Multicultural Problem: immigration and the legacy of France’s colonial past in North Africa and the Middle East

Over the past two centuries, France has played host to a huge variety of immigrants. So much so that even the most insular visitor to France quickly realises that it has become a veritable melting-pot of cultures, languages and ideas. Why, then, does the concept of multiculturalism cause such trouble? And why does the French state persist in denying the existence of ethnic communities? This paper will address these questions by looking at the relationship between French republicanism, contemporary patterns of immigration, and the legacy of France’s colonial past in North Africa and the Middle East. It will suggest that, while France’s resistance to multicultural ideas has deep roots in French political culture, it has nevertheless become a uniquely postcolonial problem.

Emile Chabal is a Chancellor’s Fellow in History at the University of Edinburgh. He is a specialist on postwar French politics, with a particular interest in French political culture, Franco-British relations and the legacies of the French empire. He has published widely in this field, most notably his book A Divided Republic: nation, state and citizenship in contemporary France (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He is currently working on an intellectual biography of Eric Hobsbawm and the history of global Marxism.

Please RSVP

MESG Ambassador Forum

6 December 2017, 16:20, WILB-LT29

Ambassador Peter Ford

Lessons to be drawn from the Syrian Conflict

This lecture aims to draw some lessons from the recent Syrian conflict. It discusses the role of experts, the power of hubris and wishful thinking, geopolitics, and the relevant lessons from Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The lecture will also analyse US policy and the role that secular leaders in the Middle East play.

Peter Ford is an expert on the Middle East. An Arabist, he served as British Ambassador to Syria (2003-2006) and Bahrain (1999-2003) and also held positions with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Beirut, Cairo, Singapore, Paris and Riyadh before joining the UN to work on refugee issues. He is a frequent commentator on Syria in the media. Presently he is Adviser to the Bahrain Royal Charity Organisation and Co-Chairman of the British Syrian Society.

Please RSVP

21 February 2018, 16:20, Venue to be announced

Mr Samuel Passow
Founder & Managing Director, The Negotiation Lab

Successful Strategies for International Mediation
Why are some attempts at international mediation successful while others fail? Is it the process or the players? Is it the scope of the issues covered or the political will to deliver? Is the trade-off between transparency and secrecy expediency? Is success in the resolution of one conflict necessarily transferrable to another? This lecture will explore these questions specifically through the lens of the three Middle Eastern conflicts, the Israel-Palestinian peace talks, the Iran nuclear deal, and attempts to resolve the civil war in Syria and more broadly through conflict mediations in Northern Ireland, the Balkans and North Korea.

Samuel Passow was trained as a negotiator and mediator in the United States at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School of Government (1995-1997) where he received a Masters Degree in Public Administration and was a Research Fellow and case writer at the Harvard Center for Business and Government.
Samuel headed the consultancy and training program of the Conflict Analysis Research Centre in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent where he created the Negotiation Lab in 2006. To date, the Negotiation Lab has trained over 1,400 government officials, business executives and post-graduate students from 135 countries in the Harvard method of “Principled Negotiations”.
Samuel is the author of numerous books and articles on negotiation, mediation, crisis management and international trade.
Please RSVP

Israel Approves New Settler Housing in Hebron for first time in 15 years

People should be judged not only by their talk but also by their walk, by their deeds. While the Israeli government is still officially committed to two-state solution, its actions undermine any peaceful solution. Now the government has approved plans for new housing in Hebron, paving way for the first settlement homes to be built in the city for 15 years.

Thirty-one units will be constructed in Beit Romano in Hebron's Old City as part of proposals for up to 3,800 new homes in the occupied West Bank.
The area where the housing permits were granted is home to around 35,000 Palestinians and 700 Jewish settlers.
Human rights groups have previously raised concerns about severe and deeply discriminating” restrictions imposed on Palestinians moving around the area, with the regular closure of major streets and armed security checkpoints. 
Presently, plans for 1,844 units in Jewish settlements across the West Bank are considered by the civil administration's planning committee.

Peace remains a dream.


Just published: “Fifty Years of Israeli Occupation”, E-International Relations (14 October 2017),

My aim in this article is to suggest that the Trump administration should work together with the Israelis and the Palestinians to reduce the friction between the two sides, relaxing Israeli military rule in the West Bank, transferring responsibilities to the Palestinians, and by this change the course of history for the better, both for the Palestinians and for the Israelis as the occupation is detrimental to the well-being of the Palestinians and is also undermining Israeli democracy.

Thousands of Palestinian and Israeli Women March for Peace

Thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women have joined together to march through the desert for peace. Dressed in white, the women came together to demand a political solution to the conflict which has divided the two communities for decades. 
They also demanded women have an equal say in peace negotiations.

"We are women from the right, the left, Jews and Arabs, from the cities and the periphery and we have decided that we will stop the next war," said Marilyn Smadja, one of the founders of the organising group, Women Wage Peace.

Their march lasted for two weeks and culminated in a meeting in a "tent of reconciliation", where women and children crafted signs reading "peace be upon you" in Arabic and Hebrew. 

The tent was named for Hagar and Sarah, scriptural mothers of Ishmael and Isaac, the half-brother patriarchs of Muslims and Jews. 

Women Wage Peace was established after the 50-day Gaza war of 2014 when more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed. Israel put the number of its dead at 67 soldiers and six civilians. 

Source: The Independent

Israel joins US in pulling out of Unesco

Israel has withdrawn from Unesco following America's decision to leave the United Nations body.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Unesco has become a theatre of absurd. Instead of preserving history, it distorts it".

In a statement, the State Department criticised Unesco for its "continuing anti-Israel bias", and spoke of a need for "fundamental reform".
"US taxpayers should no longer be on the hook to pay for policies that are hostile to our values and make a mockery of justice and common sense," said Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN.
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Leiberman praised the US decision, calling it an "important step in the right direction by our biggest ally." He assailed Unesco as "an anti-Semitic and politically biased organisation," and claimed it had "lost its way".

Israeli Company Develops Revolutionary Artificial Cornea Implant

An early-stage Israeli ophthalmic medical devices startup has developed a revolutionary artificial cornea implant that holds out hope to millions of blind and visually impaired people suffering from diseases of the cornea. 

The nanotech-based solution by CorNeat Vision of Ra’anana is a synthetic cornea that uses advanced cell technology to integrate artificial optics within ocular tissue. 

After successful initial tests on animals, the company plans to move to human implantations in Israel in the middle of next year, and also to begin a larger clinical trial of 20 to 60 patients in the United States. 

According to the World Health Organization, diseases of the cornea are the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, second only to cataracts. As many as 30 million people are affected. 

CorNeat KPro uses advanced cell technology to integrate artificial optics within resident ocular tissue. The implant is produced using nanoscale chemical engineering that stimulates cellular growth. 

The surgical procedure takes just 30 minutes, and the company believes it can provide an efficient and scalable remedy for millions.

(via Israel21c)

Spain’s Disintegration

The Centre in Spain is weak. While Madrid appeals to large parts of the population, it alienates others. People in Catalonia and the Basque country do not feel part of Spain. They are estranged from the centre because Madrid has undermined their culture rather than embracing it and celebrating difference. National sentiments in Catalonia and the Basque country are strong and local. Both believe they have lot to gain by separating from Spain. They feel neglected and have no strong incentives to remain as part of Spain.

Thus I was not surprised by the decisive vote for Catalonia independence. I was disturbed to see what Madrid was willing to do in order to disturb elections. The police brutality, firing rubber bullets and using excessive force that resulted in injuries to one thousand people was a reminder of the Franco days, not something liberal-democracies appreciate. Influencing elections by shutting down hundreds of polling stations is appalling.

Spain has a lot to lose. Catalonia is a rich and powerful province. Catalonia, together with its capital Barcelona, is a powerful part of the country. The gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of Catalonia lies closer to that of the Eurozone than to that of Spain as a whole. If Catalonia will succeed in its cessation, it is most likely that the Basque country will follow. Years of neglect and estrangement from the centre yield these results.

1,516 mass shootings in 1,735 days: America's gun crisis – in one chart

The attack at a country music festival in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 that left at least 58 people dead is the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history – but there were six other mass shootings in America this past week alone.
No other developed nation comes close to the rate of gun violence in America. Americans own an estimated 265m guns, more than one gun for every adult.
Data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive reveals a shocking human toll: there is a mass shooting – defined as four or more people shot in one incident, not including the shooter – every nine out of 10 days on average.


Source: The Guardian


Senate Unanimously Passes Bipartisan Bill Targeting Hezbollah Financing


The United States Senate passed the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2017 (S. 1595), which seeks to cut off the flow of resources to the Lebanese-based terrorist organization. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

“Iranian-backed Hizballah terrorists are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, and continue to pose grave threats to the United States and our allies, including the democratic state of Israel,” Rubio said in a statement. “Congress should exercise every tool at its disposal to confront Iran’s destabilizing activity in the region…particularly in Lebanon, where Hizballah continues to stockpile rockets and other weapons that directly threaten our ally Israel and provide military support to the murderous Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” Shaheen added. 


The legislation would impose blocking sanctions against Hezbollah for conducting narcotics trafficking and other significant transnational criminal activities, and strengthen reporting requirements on both Hezbollah’s racketeering activities and efforts by foreign governments to disrupt Hezbollah’s global logistics networks and fundraising, financing and money laundering activities.

The new legislation strengthens and expands the scope of economic and financial sanctions imposed on the terrorist group by previous legislation, the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015.


Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped of Freedom of the City of Oxford

Aung San Suu Kyi is to be stripped of the Freedom of the City of Oxford, where she studied as an undergraduate, over her response to the Rohingya crisis.

Oxford city council voted unanimously to support a cross-party motion that said it was “no longer appropriate” to celebrate the de facto leader of Myanmar. The council is to hold a special meeting to confirm the honour’s removal on 27 November.
The council leader, Bob Price, supported the motion, reportedly calling it an “unprecedented step” for the local authority, according to the BBC.

In recent months, Aung San Suu Kyi has drawn increasing criticism for her apparent defence of Myanmar’s treatment of its Rohingya minority, described by the UN as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

I do hope Israel and Britain have no negative, short-sighted involvement in the Rohingya tragedy. During the 1970s Israel aligned itself with the South African Apartheid regime. This alliance continues to hunt Israel to this day.

The Wilberforce World Freedom Summit

On September 28-29, 2017, the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation organized a two-day conference on modern slavery. There are various estimates about the number of slaves in the world today and it seems that there are no exact numbers. But we are talking about dozens of millions of people (40-50 million?) who are subjected to women trafficking, child trafficking, organ trafficking, forced labour, and forced soldiering. The powerful people exploit the vulnerable and use them for their own purposes, making profit at their expense, and using them to promote their selfish ends, subjecting them to harassment, abuse, threats, poor living conditions and torture. Many lose their homes, families, health and life.

Image result for modern slavery

Slavery, unfortunately, is not only an issue of the past. It is alive and kicking with great brutality. The estimated number of slaves in the UK is 13,000. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of it. Often when I speak to people on the evil of slavery, they first think I am talking about a historical phenomenon. Something of the past. I need to explain that I am talking of 2017. Thus, first step to fight slavery is to promote awareness of its existence, that is very much part of our global economy.

Slavery – past and present -- should be taught at all schools, primary and high schools, making it a mandatory subject. When there is awareness, more people will protest against it. This will prompt politicians to assert influence, allocate resources and reduce its numbers. We need decent politicians to put the issue on their agenda, to instruct police that they should allocate manpower to fight against it, to work with business to ascertain that they are not involved in slavery. Many powerful people benefit from slavery thus they have an interest to keep it quiet, under the carpet.

Business are for profit. Many UK companies may work to see that they abide by the law. But they are not that invested to inspect their supply chain. They will publish a tender in Asia or Africa and then they will pick the cheapest option, not enquiring about their suppliers’ business model. Are they abiding by international law? Need to promote Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Evil thrives when silence prevails. Raise your voice against slavery.

We should not come to terms with slavery because it undercut our humanity, our civility, our decency.

President John Agyekum Kufuor on Corruption

John Agyekum Kufuor was President of Ghana between 2001-2009 and former Chair of the African Union. One of the keynote addresses of the World Freedom Summit was delivered by President Kufuor. I asked him what are the keys to fight corruption.

President Kufuor opened his answer by saying that corruption is everywhere, not only in Africa. He maintained that education is important as it empowers people. Particularly in Africa, poverty is a major problem. Poverty pushes people to find personal solutions outside the law. Need to create jobs.

President Kufuor maintained that there is a need for better governance, not to succumb to temptation. Africa is rich but the wealth is not going to the people.
There is need for good economic management. It is up to Africa to do the right thing for their people and then acquire the right partnership with others. Accountable and transparent governments.

Finally, President Kufuor emphasised the role of external powers in Africa. African countries open their markets to external powers and this time in their history they do it voluntarily, not to be exploited but to empowered, to build, to go forward, seeking cooperation and collaboration to develop economy.

The African Union is now accepting these principles and is working to implement them. President Kufuor is optimistic, thinking that within the next decade or so we will witness a positive change in Africa.

Special Symposium on Confronting the Internet's Dark Side: Moral and Social Responsibility on the Free Highway (NY and Washington DC.: Cambridge University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2015), Philosophia 45:3 (2017).

Professor Asa Kasher, Editor of Philosophia initiated a call for papers on issues pertaining to my last book, Confronting the Internet's Dark Side: Moral and Social Responsibility on the Free Highway.

This issue, 45:3, has now been published. It includes:

Why Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side? By Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Limits of Free Speech by Lord Bhikhu Parekh

Business Ethics and Free Speech on the Internet by Brian Berkey

The Psychology of Social Networking: the Challenges of Social Networking for Fame-Valuing Teens’ Body Image by Tali Te’eni-Harari & Keren Eyal

Hate Speech on Social Media by Amos Guiora & Elizabeth A. Park

Balancing Freedom of Expression and Social Responsibility on the Internet by Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Gem of the Month – Venice

Always happy to return to Venice, one of the most charming cities in the world. This time Venice was not extremely crowded. Every city in the world would have liked to be able to offer visitors even one Venice corner. Below is one photo of hundreds that every city would have been proud to offer its residents and tourists. 

Gem of the Month – Justin Hayward

Justin Hayward has one of the most distinctive voices in pop/rock. A gifted musician, songwriter, lead singer, and guitarist, Hayward and The Moody Blues have been a constant part of my life. His coming to Hull to perform was a tremendous gift. I could listen to him time and again signing one of the most beautiful songs of all times “Nights in White Satin” as well as other unforgettable songs “Tuesday Afternoon”, “Gemini Dream”, “The Voice” and “Forever Autumn”.

Monthly Poems

The summer sun is fading as the year grows old
And darker days are drawing near
The winter winds will be much colder
Now you're not here.
I watch the birds fly south across the autumn sky
And one by one they disappear.
I wish that I was flying with them
Now you're not here

Like a song through the trees you came to love me
Like a leaf on a breeze you blew away

Through autumn's golden gown we used to kick our way
You always loved this time of year.
Those fallen leaves lie undisturbed now
Cause you're not here

Like a song through the trees you came to love me
Like a leaf on a breeze you blew away

A gentle rain falls softly on my weary eyes
As if to hide a lonely tear
My life will be forever autumn
'Cause you're not here!

A Calendar of Sonnets: October

The month of carnival of all the year,
When Nature lets the wild earth go its way,
And spend whole seasons on a single day.
The spring-time holds her white and purple dear;
October, lavish, flaunts them far and near;
The summer charily her reds doth lay
Like jewels on her costliest array;
October, scornful, burns them on a bier.
The winter hoards his pearls of frost in sign
Of kingdom: whiter pearls than winter knew,
Oar empress wore, in Egypt's ancient line,
October, feasting 'neath her dome of blue,
Drinks at a single draught, slow filtered through
Sunshiny air, as in a tingling wine!

Helen Hunt Jackson

Light Side


If God is watching us, the least we can do is be entertaining.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of payments.

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

Yours as ever,


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