Sunday, March 21, 2021

 Politics – March 2021

Reflections on Last Newsletter

Israeli Elections: My Choice is…

Call for Assistance: A Film on Theodor Herzl

My Lecture: Taking Hate Seriously: The Scope and the Challenge of Hate Speech on the Internet

Ambassador Forum

Listen to Aaron David Miller


Allocetra v COVID19

British-Israeli Partnership

Cyprus, Israel, Greece Sign Deal On Electric Cable Link

Bill to Encourage Reporting of Abuse of Children and Vulnerable Adults
to Law Enforcement Passes Legislature

The Puzzle of Motivation (Dan Pink | TEDGlobal 2009)

Did You Know? 

My New Book Chapter: “The End of self-Regulation: On the Role of Internet intermediaries in Countering Terror”, in Jack Goldstone et al (eds.), The Post ISIS-era: Regional and Global Implications (The Netherlands: IOS Press, 2021): 215-238. 

New Books: Emile Chabal, France

Andrew Knapp, Charles de Gaulle

Monthly Poems

Light Side

Reflections on Last Newsletter

Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig wrote from Israel:

Hi Rafi:

A small addition that should be noted. Israel is one of the few countries in the world that does not permit overseas, absentee voting. Other than the diplomat corps, no Israeli citizen can vote if s/he is overseas on Election Day. The general estimate is that 8-10% of all Israeli citizens permanently or temporarily reside overseas. That means that the REAL voting percentage for those who can vote on Election Day is close to 80%! Among the highest rates in the world for countries that don’t “mandate” election (i.e. a penalty for not voting) but rather enable each citizen to decide freely whether to vote or not.

All the best,


Dr Yoav j. Tenembaum wrote from Israel:




I think that the Second Lebanon War is a good example of the gap that can exist between intention and result.


I think the Second Lebanon War will be remembered both for its bungled decision-making process and for the deterrence and relative peace it produced for quite a long time. It was none other than Nasrallah who said that had he known how Israel would have reacted, he would not have given the order to kidnap the Israeli soldiers.


Regarding his peace initiative vis a vis the PA, my misgivings notwithstanding, he should be given the credit for having gone as far as an Israeli PM could have been expected to go to reach a permanent agreement with the PA. Condoleezza Rice acknowledged that, upon being apprised of Olmert’s final offer to the PA, both she and President Bush were astonished. They couldn’t believe an Israeli PM would agree to those terms.


Contrary to Olmert’s current version of events, for quite some time Olmert was critical of Abu Mazen for his refusal to accept those terms. He became less critical as the right-wing politicians in Israel began to quote him in order to show how intransigent the PA leadership was.


His two greatest successes, in my view, were the way he and his government handled the crisis over the Syrian nuclear reactor and the way he and Roni Baron handled the beginning of the financial crisis of 2008.



Israeli Elections: My Choice is…

Meretz faithfully represents the values ​​I believe in: freedom, tolerance, peace, equality, social justice and human rights.

Call for Assistance: A Film on Theodor Herzl

One of the key figures in the history of Zionism, if not the most important figure, is Theodor (Binyamin Ze’ev) Herzl (1860 - 1904), the man with the vision and energies to establish a home for the Jewish people. These days, when Zionism becomes a derogatory word in many parts of the world, and people smear it as colonialist and racist, we need to go to the roots and understand the origins of the Zionist movement and how it came about.

Surprisingly, no dramatic film was ever made about Herzl’s fascinating life and mission. Herzl was a man of many contradictions: A PhD scholar who decided that his true calling was journalism; a successful individual who came to realize the evil of anti-Semitism when he witnessed mobs shouting “Death to Jews” during the Dreyfus affair; an assimilated Jew who understood the power of religion; he never visited Palestine until late in life but was forced to recognize that it was the place for his people; a middle class man who depicted the home of the Jewish people as socialist; a man of ideas, of great zeal and of effective action who in 44 years left an unforgettable impression on the history of the Jewish people. 

I wish to contact Haim Saban and Arnon Milchan. If any of you could put me in touch with them, that would be greatly appreciated. 

My Lecture: Taking Hate Seriously: The Scope and the Challenge of Hate Speech on the Internet

Middle East Study Group (MESG)

Ambassador Forum

Wednesday 24 March 2021, 18:00-20:00

Challenges Jordan is Facing Today

His Excellency Mr Omar Al Nahar

Ambassador of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United Kingdom

Link to register:

Opening words: Professor Stephen Hardy, PhD, LLB, SFHEA, MCIArb, FRSA, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Law and Politics 

His Excellency Jordanian Ambassador Omar Al-Nahar will discuss Jordan’s role in advancing peace and moderation in the region, whilst also addressing Jordan’s plans for reforms. His Excellency will highlight Jordan’s active role in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution guaranteeing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.  The Ambassador will also talk about the historic Hashemite role in protecting the Holy Christian and Muslim sites in Jerusalem, as well as discussing the importance of Jordan’s geopolitics, highlighting how it influenced the flow of refugees into the country.  Jordan took the responsibility of hosting refugees from 48 different nationalities, thereby shouldering the burden from the international community.  His Excellency will discuss how Jordan follows altruistic values that put its citizens and guests first.  This was particularly evident in the strict COVID-19 measures which Jordan enforced sooner than many of its western counterparts.  The Ambassador will go on to explore how this came at a cost to Jordan’s economy, whilst having a positive outcome on the country’s digitalisation efforts.


His Excellency Mr Omar B. Al- Nahar assumed his post in London as Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James’s in October 2017, whilst also serving as a non-resident Ambassador to Ireland and the Republic of Iceland.  

Ambassador Al-Nahar joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in 1992.  Since that time, he has held a number of senior positions at M oFA and the Prime Ministry, including Special Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates; Director of the European Affairs Department; Head of the Peace Process Negotiations Coordination Bureau; and Director of the Political Department and Advisor to the Prime Minister.  

Early diplomatic postings included five years in Tel Aviv; as well as Second Secretary & Consul to the Jordanian Embassy in London; and - from 2010-2016 - Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the Republic of Korea.   

Born in 1969 and brought up in Amman, Ambassador Al-Nahar has a degree in Political Science and Business Administration from the University of Jordan, Amman. He is married to Hiba and together they have two children, Haya and Hussein.

Date: Wednesday 24 March 2021, 18:00-20:00

Please register directly with the online platform:

All are welcome to attend

Listen to Aaron David Miller

If you missed Miller’s lecture and interested to listen to it,


Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital announced that 29 out of 30 serious to critically ill COVID-19 patients given a new treatment recovered and were sent home and that report received international attention.

The treatment developed by Prof. Nadir Arber’s lab is only in the early stages of its work, but the results are phenomenally promising.

The patients received EXO-CD24 that also fight’s the cytokine storm, but this treatment is inhaled once a day for five days and delivers the medicine directly to the lungs to calm the storm there.

Arber said that in all cases that oxygen levels increased, respiratory rates and cytokines in the blood decreased. And, subjectively, the patients said they felt better. The primary end point of the Phase I study was safety.

“We are now sure about the safety,” he said. “We have a good feeling about efficacy.”

“Me and my team have been at the hospital every day, including Friday and Saturday, for the last six months,” he said. “We are now full of excitement and hope that we can find a cure for this pandemic.”

“Even if the vaccines do what they are supposed to, and even if no new mutations are produced, then still, in one way or another, coronavirus will remain with us,” and Arber said his drug “can be produced rapidly, efficiently and reliably, and at a low cost.”

Allocetra v COVID19

The new drug Allocetra shows amazing promise, with 19 out of 21 COVID-19 patients who were in serious or critical condition able to leave the hospital within a week after receiving the new treatment developed by researchers at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Allocetra treats a wide range of cases in which there is an overreaction of the immune system that causes something called a “cytokine storm” that occurs when the immune system essentially goes into overdrive and begins attacking healthy cells.

“I collect white blood cells from healthy donors. After engineering them to be in a dying state, I infuse them into the patients with COVID-19, patients who are in severe or critical condition, who are in the cytokine storm phase of the disease,” explained Prof. Dror Mevorach, saying that after infusing the patients with the cells the effect is evident.

In other words, these white blood cells, administered through the vein, calm the storm.

The drug developed in partnership with the Enlivex Company has also been successfully tested on sepsis and bone marrow transplant patients.

British-Israeli Partnership

I was pleased to hear about the new partnership between Stagecoach, Britain's biggest bus, coach and tram operator, and Tel Aviv-based Optibus that will help plan the bus networks of the future to match the changes in how people travel coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans to connect Israel, Cyprus and Greece with a 2,000 megawatt undersea electricity cable took a key step forward on Monday, when the three countries signed an agreement to speed up technical work on the project.



Bill to Encourage Reporting of Abuse of Children and Vulnerable Adults
to Law Enforcement Passes Legislature


The following is from Professor Amos Guiora who has invested a lot of his time in discussing and debating the role of the bystander in criminal events. Amos has written extensively about this problem, and has been involved in legislation efforts that recently bear fruit. The following is a major step in addressing/criminalizing the Bystander. Thank you, Amos, for your important work!




Media Statement

March 10, 2021



Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist

Utah House Democratic Caucus

(801) 618-9997 |



SALT LAKE CITY – During the 2021 Legislative Session lawmakers passed significant legislation that will encourage the reporting of abuse of children and vulnerable adults when there is a reason to believe abuse is happening. 


H.B. 218 3rd Substitute, sponsored by Rep. Brian King (D-House District 28), enhances the consequences for anyone who fails to report to Adult Protective Services or law enforcement when there is reason to believe abuse, neglect, or exploitation exists.  Under the current law, the only consequence of willfully failing to report abuse is a potential Class B misdemeanor charge.  But now, a failure to report abuse will include reporting to the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing of a healthcare worker who fails to report, reporting to the employing law enforcement agency if a law enforcement officer fails to report, and reporting to the Utah State Board of Education if a teacher fails to report. 


“For far too long, too many abuse cases have gone unreported,” said Rep. King.  “This bill takes a nuanced and sophisticated approach to encouraging the legal and moral obligation of reporting abuse, neglect, or injury to a child or vulnerable adult.  It promotes good behavior while also balancing potential priest-penitent and attorney-client privileges.”


The consensus bill came together through extensive collaboration with the Division of Child and Family Services, Adult Protective Services, criminal defense lawyers, the ACLU, and the Attorney General’s office.  The bill received overwhelmingly bipartisan support and Republican Sen. Curt Bramble was the bill’s Senate sponsor.


The legislation will allow discretion for cases such as failing to report abuse if a person believes it would put themselves in danger, such as with cases of domestic violence.  It also retains a provision for immunity from civil or criminal actions for people who, in good faith, report abuse – a provision that incentives people to do the right thing and report.


Gov. Spencer Cox is expected to sign the bill into law.

The Puzzle of Motivation (Dan Pink | TEDGlobal 2009)

A powerful talk about the power of autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Did You Know? 

Scientists Played Music to Cheese as It Aged. Hip-Hop Produced the Funkiest Flavor

Researchers played nonstop loops of Led Zeppelin, A Tribe Called Quest and Mozart to cheese wheels to find out how sound waves impacted flavor

My New Book Chapter: “The End of self-Regulation: On the Role of Internet intermediaries in Countering Terror”, in Jack Goldstone et al (eds.), The Post ISIS-era: Regional and Global Implications (The Netherlands: IOS Press, 2021): 215-238. 

Terrorism is a significant concern worldwide. Criminals, jihadists, and terrorists are quick to use technology to protect their anonymity, privacy, modes of operation, and secret antisocial plans. They adapt to new innovations and exploit any technological advantages as means to ends. Clandestine operations are used to raise funds. Criminals, jihadists, and terrorists are working in international cells and rings that contest geographical boundaries and that require large resources and international security cooperation to obstruct their activities. Addressing these cross-country challenges require cross-country cooperation. The aim of this essay is to analyze the role of Internet intermediaries in countering online terror. I argue that Internet intermediaries can and should do far more than what they do to proactively fight online terrorism and that self-regulation is not effective enough. It is time for governments to step in and to protect vulnerable third parties by demanding that Internet intermediaries be vigilant and proactive in fighting terror. The idea of a new browser, CleaNet, is proposed to ensure a safe environment for Net users and for society at large.

Keywords: CleaNet, Internet, ISPs, jihad, social responsibility, terror, violence

New Books: 

Emile Chabal, France

France is the most-visited country in the world. It attracts millions of tourists, most of whom come in search of beautiful architecture, good food, and fine art. But appearances can be deceptive. France is not only a place of culture and glamour; it also carries the bitter memories of violence, division and broken promises. 

In this arresting book, Emile Chabal, a leading specialist of contemporary France, tells the story of a paradoxical country. From the calamitous defeat by Hitler's armies in 1940 to the spectacular gilets jaunes protests, he explores the contradictions that have shaped French history over the last eighty years. The picture that emerges is one of a nation struggling to reconcile its core political values with the realities of a diverse society.

Andrew Knapp, Charles de Gaulle

In this new biography, Andrew Knapp concisely dissects each of the major controversies surrounding General Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French during the Second World War and President of France from 1959 to 1969.

From the beginning of de Gaulle’s military career in 1909 to an analysis of legacies and myths after his death in 1970, this study examines the path by which the French came to honour him as the greatest Frenchman of all time, and as the twentieth century’s pre-eminent world statesman. In each chapter, Knapp analyses de Gaulle’s participation in key events such as the development of France’s resistance against Nazi Germany, the decolonisation of Algeria, the birth of the French Fifth Republic, and the gigantic upheaval of May 1968. Simultaneously, this study questions de Gaulle’s actions and motives throughout his life. By exploring the justification of the contemporary ‘de Gaulle myth’, Knapp concludes by shedding new light on the influence of de Gaulle in the political culture of twenty-first-century France.

Through careful analysis of primary sources as well as recent scholarship, this biography is an invaluable source for scholars and students of modern history, the history of France, political institutions, and international relations.

Monthly Poems

All That is Gold Does Not Glitter

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

Light Side


This little piece was originally published as “a man and a woman get into a car accident…” Guess who was the man, and who was the woman, in the original.


Denver and Alex get into a car accident. Both of their cars are totally demolished, but amazingly neither of them is hurt.

After they crawl out of the wreckage, Denver says, "Wow, look at our cars - there's nothing left! Thank God we are all right. This must be a sign from Him that we should be friends and not try to pin the blame on each other."

Alex replies, "Oh yes, I agree with you completely."

Denver points to a bottle on the ground and says, "And here's another miracle. Somehow this bottle of scotch from my back seat didn't break. Surely God wants us to drink this scotch and celebrate our good fortune."

Then Denver hands the bottle to Alex. Alex nods his head in agreement, opens it, and drinks about a third of the bottle to calm the nerves. Alex then hands it back to Denver. Denver takes the bottle, immediately puts the cap back on, and hands it back to Alex.

Alex asks, "Aren't you having any?"

Denver replies, "No. I think I'll just wait for the police... I'll let them decide who's fault it is."

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