Sunday, February 28, 2021

 Politics – February 2021


New Dawn for the United States and the world at large. Renewed hopes for a civil, better, saner, calmer, healthier and more peaceful future.


Renewed hopes in the values of tolerance, truth, transparency, cooperation, unity and justice.


Working for the benefit of all, rather than the few. 


Working for a safer planet, with a sense of responsibility to our future generations.


Respect minorities, women, immigrants, veterans, people of different colours, religions and nations.


Zero tolerance to all forms of racism, bigotry and hatred.


I salute Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania for calling spade a spade and for remaining true to their conscience.



Reflections on Last Newsletter


Kamala Harris


New Presidential Commission on Bioethics


The Abraham Accords


The Prime Minister Lecture


MESG seminar: “Gulliver’s Troubles” by Aaron David Miller


The University of Hull adopted the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism 


My Lecture: Taking Hate Seriously


Academic Freedom


Exclusive interview - Part 1 | Prince Bandar bin Sultan on Israel, Palestine and Washington 


Chevron to Invest in Pipelines to Send Israeli Gas to Egypt


Democracy Index 2020

Oscar to Israeli Engineers for Film Technology

My Testimony to the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs 


My New Book Chapter:

Raphael Cohen-Almagor and Amos Guiora, “Democracy and Security in Israel”, in Leonard Weinberg and Elizabeth Francis (Editors), Routledge Handbook of Democracy and Security (London and New York: Routledge, 2021): 172-190.


New Book: Leonard Weinberg and Elizabeth Francis (Editors), Routledge Handbook of Democracy and Security (London and New York: Routledge, 2021).


New Book: Joanne Murphy, Management and War: How Organisations Navigate Conflict and Build Peace (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)


Query: Is it Possible to Mitigate the Effect of Hurricanes?


Did You Know? Pisa


Sir Ken Robinson, Again


Monthly Poems


Monthly Movie: Simon’s Choice


Light Side




Reflections on Last Newsletter


Trump is divisive. Thank you all who wrote to me about that man. We need to move on, and away.



Kamala Harris



Ms Harris might prove to be one of the strongest and most influential vice presidents in the history of the United States. She would not simply stand behind and nod. She will have an active portfolio, and she will move minds and hearts. Ms Harris is a strong-minded woman, with a consolidated agenda, sharp mind and considerable oratory skills. She is bold, fearless and ambitious. She will make a difference.



New Presidential Commission on Bioethics


President Biden should appoint his own bioethics commission as soon as possible. This is vital, especially in the #COVID19 era



The Abraham Accords


The Middle East Study Group hosted Mr Fahad Albinali, Counsellor, The Embassy of Bahrain, London. It was an interesting talk on “The Normalisation Accord between Bahrain and Israel”. Mr Albinali emphasized what he terms to be the main principles and values that guide Bahrain: Cooperation, dialogue, tolerance, openness, upholding international law, respect for others, counter-extremism, and freedom of navigation. These same principles guide most, if not all countries in the western world.

Mr Albinali said that the path of confrontation and violence failed. We need a way forward. We need to build a more secure and prosperous future for all. We need to replace antagonism with cooperation.


Mr Albinali said that Bahrain wishes to have with Israel warm peace. Establish a wide range of cooperative projects. Work together on security matters. The Foreign Minister of Bahrain already visited Israel. There are 14 weekly flights between the two countries. Embassies will be opened soon. Memorandums of understanding were already signed on commerce, IT, postal service, banking, finance, renewable energy and other fields. Bahrain is opting for a deep and broad cooperation with Israel. 

Mr Albinali said that there is a Jewish community in Bahrain, and that his country fights antisemitism and cooperate with the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Speaking about the future, Mr Albinali said that the more we show tangible results to the people of Bahrain, the stronger will the accord become. He said that Iran and its proxies try to undermine the Accords, and that it is important that such behavior is condemned.

Mr Albinali said that the Abraham Accords do not undermine but support the Palestinian cause. Bahrain remains committed to the idea of two state solution that secures the rights of the Palestinian people. Dialogue will bring better results than confrontation. As a result of these Accords, Israel paused its annexation plans.

Mr Albinali is certain that more countries will come to the table and join the Accords.

You can watch this important event at

The Middle East Study Group (MESG)

Wednesday 17th February 2021, 18:00

The Prime Minister Lecture

My Quest for Peace: A Personal Account of My Negotiations with President Abbas

Mr Ehud Olmert

Prime Minister of Israel 2006-2009

Chair and Discussant: Sir Tom Philips KCMG


Here is the link to the webinar recording

PM Olmert and President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Mahmoud Abbas, known also by the name Abu Mazen, held extensive negotiations. Between December 2006 until 2008, the two leaders met 36 times and discussed all the pertinent issues. Olmert gave Abu Mazen the most generous peace offer to date. Abu Mazen did not reject it, but neither did he accept it. The offer was left in the air and did not translate to a concrete and abiding peace deal. Despite his extraordinary investment, PM Olmert was unable to sign a peace agreement with President Abbas.

Mr Olmert presented his views on the peace negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, focusing on his own contribution and involvement, and explaining why the extensive and most detailed negotiations did not lead to a comprehensive peace agreement between the two parties.


Middle East Study Group (MESG)

Wednesday 3 March 2021, 18:00-20:00

“Gulliver’s Troubles”

Aaron David Miller

Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Chair: Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh

Link to register:

Tied up by powers large and small whose interests either episodically coincide with America's or don't at all and by its own illusions, the US is like a modern day Gulliver wandering around in a region that has become increasingly less important pliable for US interests. What are core American interests in this region and how can America best protect them


Aaron David Miller is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, focusing on U.S. foreign policy. He has written five books, including his most recent, The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President (Palgrave, 2014) and The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace (Bantam, 2008). He received his PhD in Middle East and U.S. diplomatic history from the University of Michigan in 1977.

Between 1978 and 2003, Miller served at the State Department as an historian, analyst, negotiator, and advisor to Republican and Democratic secretaries of state, where he helped formulate U.S. policy on the Middle East and the Arab-Israel peace process, most recently as the senior advisor for Arab-Israeli negotiations. He also served as the deputy special Middle East coordinator for Arab-Israeli negotiations, senior member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and in the office of the historian. He has received the department’s Distinguished, Superior, and Meritorious Honor Awards.

Miller is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and formerly served as resident scholar at the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies. He has been a featured presenter at the World Economic Forum and leading U.S. universities. Between 2003 and 2006 he served as president of Seeds of Peace, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young leaders from regions of conflict with the leadership skills required to advance reconciliation and coexistence. From 2006 to 2019, Miller was a public policy scholar; vice president for new initiatives, and director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Miller is a global affairs analyst for CNN. His articles have appeared in the New York TimesWashington PostPoliticoForeign PolicyUSAToday, and He is a frequent commentator on NPR, BBC, and Sirius XM radio.

Chair: Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh

Educated at the Universities of Bombay and London, Lord Bhikhu Parekh is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Academy of the Learned Societies for Social Sciences and a Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Westminster. He taught at the University of Hull from 1964 until his retirement, and was also a visiting professor at several international institutions. He was Deputy Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality from 1985 to 1990, and chaired the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, whose report (the Parekh Report) was published in 2000. Lord Parekh has received many awards throughout his career including the Distinguished Global Thinker Award by the India International Centre Delhi (2006) and the Padma Bhushan honours in the 2007 Indian Republic Day Honours list.

Date: Wednesday 3 March 2021, 18:00-20:00

Please register directly with the online platform:

All are welcome to attend

The University of Hull adopted the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism 

I was very pleased that Hull has finally done so.

Zero tolerance to all forms of racism, bigotry and hatred.

I signed the ISGAP petition. You are welcome to consider signing it too.

My Lecture Taking Hate Seriously

Join my lecture "Taking Hate Seriously: The Scope and the Challenge of Hate Speech on the Internet." Tuesday 2 March at 18:00 (London time),

Academic Freedom

I delivered a lecture “Ethics, Academic Freedom and Politics”, International Teaching Month, Institute of Law, Nirma University, India (10-22 February 2020, online).

The presentation is available on YouTube on the Institute of Law, Nirma University Channel.

Exclusive interview - Part 1 | Prince Bandar bin Sultan on Israel, Palestine and Washington


Chevron to Invest in Pipelines to Send Israeli Gas to Egypt


Israel Natural Gas Lines Ltd. is to lay a new subsea pipeline to export Israeli natural gas to Egypt. The $228 million route will send as much as 7 billion cubic meters of gas annually to Egypt. Gas is expected to begin flowing down the pipeline by April 2023 at the latest.



Democracy Index 2020


Hyper participation in Israel and small changes afoot in the Gulf Israel—the highest scoring country in the region—largely maintained its score (dropping only marginally from 7.86 to 7.84) as the negative impact of lockdowns on civil liberties was offset by a rise in the political participation score. Unlike other countries in the region, voter turnout is trending up in Israel; average turnout of around 65% over the past decade was surpassed by turnout of around 70% for two parliamentary elections in 2019. Even after indecisive results in the two 2019 polls and consequent political deadlock that required another parliamentary election in March 2020, voter turnout continued to rise, reaching 72%, confirming popular investment in the political process. One further positive trend started to emerge in the Gulf in 2020. The combination of the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic and the crash in global oil prices in 2020 has devastated the oildependent economies of the Gulf states. As a result, Gulf state rulers have been focused on attracting foreign investment to speed up economic diversification and protect against further oil price volatility. With the aim of improving their attractiveness to Western investors, many Gulf countries have taken modest steps to broaden political inclusion, improve transparency and increase civil rights. For example, Qatar announced that long-touted Advisory Council elections will be held in October 2021. Meanwhile, the introduction of new anti-corruption regulations and the establishment of Nazaha, an oversight and anti-corruption authority, have improved Saudi Arabia’s functioning of government score. However, the kingdom remains a deeply repressive authoritarian state that denies almost all civil liberties and political rights and discriminates systematically against women and religious minorities. All of the six Gulf states ranks firmly in the “authoritarian” category, with some of lowest scores in the world—for example, their average score for electoral process and pluralism is 0.7.



Oscar to Israeli Engineers for Film Technology


Several Israelis will be awarded an Oscar this year, but not for a film. Prof. Meir Feder, Dr. Zvi Reznic, Guy Dorman and Ron Yogev will receive a 2021 Academy Award for Science and Engineering for the development of technology that has influenced the film industry.


Feder and Reznic began developing their Amimon technology at Tel Aviv University’s engineering school, creating a wireless chipset that enables high-quality, on-set, encrypted digital video monitoring.


They received the official notification of their win one month ago. The award will include an Academy plaque presented at the Scientific & Technical Awards online ceremony on February 13, 2021.


By using digital data transmission and compression algorithms, the Amimon chipset supports the creation of systems with virtually unrestricted camera motion, expanding creative freedom during filming.

My Testimony to the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs 

I spent one afternoon giving testimony to the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs/Comité sénatorial permanent des affaires juridiques et constitutionnelles - C-7 on end-of-life. 26 Canadian senators were present. 2 hours of presentations plus Q&A.

My major contribution is emphasising that if they are looking for a model of implementation and monitoring, they should look to follow the Oregon model and not the erroneous Dutch or Belgian models.

I hope that this suggestion has struck a chord with some senators.



My New Book Chapter: Raphael Cohen-Almagor and Amos Guiora, “Democracy and Security in Israel”, in Leonard Weinberg and Elizabeth Francis (Editors), Routledge Handbook of Democracy and Security (London and New York: Routledge, 2021): 172-190.


Israeli security policy began to formulate in the early 1950s by its first leader, David Ben-Gurion. The three pillars of the defence doctrine were deterrence of possible threats; detection of impending attacks, and decisive military defeat of the enemy when the deterrence had failed. Up until the 1990s, the major perceived threat was an Arab military invasion into Israel and a war between states. In the early 1990s, Israel started to formulate a new security concept according to which the main threat might not emanate from states but from sub-state organizations such as Hamas and the Hezbollah. Israel is surrounded by non-state actors: Hamas, Hezbollah, rebel organizations in Syria, jihadist elements in the Golan Heights, Sinai and in Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority. Since the mid-2000s, a lot of attention is given to the Iranian nuclear threat and to rocket and missile attacks from Gaza, Lebanon and potentially other hostile areas. 



New Book

Leonard Weinberg and Elizabeth Francis (Editors), Routledge Handbook of Democracy and Security (London and New York: Routledge, 2021).

ISBN-13: 978-1138799981




I am truly delighted to contribute, together with my good friend Amos, a chapter to this fantastic collection of thoughtful essays.




Joanne Murphy, Management and War: How Organisations Navigate Conflict and Build Peace (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)




Murphy is interested in the agency of individuals and organisations as peace-building entrepreneurs: seeking to deliver their organisation’s mission in a way which did not just ‘do no harm’ but actively participated in resolving disputes. This interest emerged from an understanding that ethno-political conflict and war are organisational as well as a political processes, and that moving beyond conflict cannot be successfully achieved without an understanding of organisational actors as key to that resolution process. 

While much has been written about the impact of violence and disorder, how people and organisations adapt to these environments is poorly understood. This book tells the often hidden story of people managing, delivering services and sustaining economies through and beyond violent conflict. It is written for both general readers and academic specialists, combining first person interviews, insights from ‘witness seminars; and informal conversations with more scholarly research. Building on what we already know about organisational behavior and conflict transformation, the book looks at the delivery of housing and public amenities, the management of public space and commemoration and the role of local businesses during and beyond violent conflict. In particular, it focuses on the role of organisational managers as peacebuilding entrepreneurs, generating and sustaining conflict transformation efforts.

Management and War: How Organisations Navigate Conflict and Build Peace: Murphy, Joanne: 9783030492519: Books


Query: Is it Possible to Mitigate the Effect of Hurricanes?


A query to scientists among you. We are able to know when nature is about to inflict havoc on us. The measure we take is to escape. But is there a way to mitigate the effects of, say, hurricane? Can we interfere in their making and prevent them from happening, or at least making them less strong and powerful? Is there any way we can put nature under our control and minimize natural disasters?



Did You Know?

Leaning Tower of Pisa has never been straight

Soon after building started in 1173, the foundation of the Pisa tower settled unevenly. Construction was stopped, and was continued only a 100 year later. It then became visibly clear that the Tower of Pisa is leaning, tilting to the south.

Since regular measuring of the tower began in 1911, the top of the tower has moved 1,2 millimetres (0,05 inch) per year. Today the top of the Tower of Pisa is some 5,3m (17,4 ft) off-center.

Leaning Tower of Pisa has never been straight (



Sir Ken Robinson, Again


By public demand, here is Sir Ken Robinson, again.

In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning -- creating conditions where kids' natural talents can flourish.



Monthly Poems


Jerusalem of Gold

Female Cantors from around the world united In song & prayer


The Hill We Climb

Amanda Gorman

From the Joe Biden’s inauguration 



When day comes, we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.
We’ve braved the belly of the beast.
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice.
And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken,
but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.


And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine,
but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge our union with purpose.
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried.
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made.
That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare.
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit.
It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it.
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
This effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith, we trust,
for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption.
We feared it at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour,
but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So while once we asked, ‘How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?’ now we assert, ‘How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?’

We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be:
A country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.
We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change, our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left.
With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the golden hills of the west.
We will rise from the wind-swept north-east where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sun-baked south.
We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.
In every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country,
our people, diverse and beautiful, will emerge, battered and beautiful.
When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.


Monthly Movie: Simon’s Choice

Simon Binner was diagnosed with an aggressive form of motor neurone disease in January 2015 and given just two years to live. He died in October 2016. This documentary follows the last months of his life. 

Watch How To Die: Simon's Choice Online | Watch Full HD How To Die: Simon's Choice (2016) Online For Free PutLockers



Light Side


I heard this in the Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk creativity:


If a man speaks up his mind in the forest, and no woman hears him, is he still wrong?

Peace and Good Health to you all




My last communications are available on Israel: Democracy, Human Rights, Politics and Society,

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Twitter at @almagor35