Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 5th, 2018

“This is apartheid, there is no better word for it’: Calls for boycott growing among mainstream Israelis


Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

A prominent Israeli scientist and a translator penned a joint op-ed for the Guardian last week calling on the international community to intervene on behalf of Palestinians, before time runs out.

The pair, vice-president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities David Harel and writer and translator Ilana Hammerman, gained traction not only because of what they wrote, but who they are: They are not marginal public figures, they are not boycott or BDS activists, and they are not anti-Zionists.

They are established and mainstream career professionals renowned in arts and science circles.

And they fear, “The state of Israel is facing a catastrophic situation, which could, alarmingly soon, lead to extensive bloodshed.”

From their editorial:

“We represent a group of intellectuals and cultural figures central to Israeli society, several of whom are world renowned in their fields. We are patriotic Israeli citizens who love our country and who contribute tirelessly to Israeli science and culture, and to that of the world at large.

We fully intend to stay here and continue to contribute, but we are horrified by the situation and fear deeply for our lives and those of our offspring, and for the lives of the 13 million Jews and “Arabs” (Palestinians?) who live here and who have no other homeland.”

The Palestinian government even picked up the story, posting the op-ed to the PLO’s Facebook page along with this excerpt, a line that closes the article: “… if peace is not established in this part of the world very soon, an area that has become a timebomb of national and religious tensions, there will be no future and no life for us or the Palestinians.”

Screen shot of David Harel and Ilana Hammerman’s op-ed in the Guardian published July 29, 2018.

Harel and Hammerman contend the abuses of the occupation are more or less legal by Israeli courts. The time for Israelis saving Israel is over.

They explain in the Guardian that it’s the international community that needs to step in on behalf of Palestinians to ensure the future of both Israelis and Palestinians.

In a later interview with the Green Planet Monitor, Harel plunges deeper into what he and Hammerman meant by international intervention, and their language was blunt, “this is apartheid, there is no better word for it,” Harel said.

He wants boycotts.

He wants strategic and limited campaigns. Looking at the recent cancellation of a friendly soccer match between Argentina and Israel Harel told the Monitor, “[T]he impact that this kind of thing, a relatively minor issue of a football match being cancelled was unbelievable.”

Harel argues, if Israelis can be made to feel some kind of punishment then they can understand that the occupation is a problem, and one that will cost them too.

As of now, he says there is nothing in current Trump-Netanyahu landscape to indicate Israel needs to change its course. He elaborated “careful pressure” will cause Israelis citizens and the government to “re-think the issue,”

“I’ve always said only half jokingly, that if this US were to cut it’s financial support to Israel by say 30, this would do something, that would make citizens inside Israel think ‘hey what is going on here? are we dong something wrong?’

Because right now if everything is fine. we have football matches, and tv, and baking contests, and our culture and science snap economics is fine. and the americans give us the money we need, we have a big strong army, then why does an average Israeli have to feel that something is wrong here?

Most of the Israeli citizens do not know what happens in the west bank.”

While the plan sounds an awful lot like the BDS movement, Harel sees his call as standing apart.

Yet other than the optics of who is making the appeal–a mainstream figure in this case–it’s not entirely clear how Harel’s activism is different from say leading Palestinian critic and boycott activist Omar Barghouti.

When asked bluntly about abandoning the two-state solution and endorsing a single democratic state for Israelis and Palestinians, the most cited solution from the left but mocked or ignored by more centrist factions, Harel was warm to the idea.

He cautioned at this time Israelis are opposed to living under some form of bi-nationalism, but the notion is one that  “I’m not totally against,” he said,

“My reaction is if that is a solution that is feasible, and you will find an Israeli government and a Palestinian leadership that would agree to that solution, fine. I’m willing to live like in Canada with English speaking and French speaking people.

It’s not the same of course, but if there is a utopian possibility of this entire area, including the West Bank and Gaza and the Golan Heights being one country, one state, one government and all the people living there are equal citizens including voting rights, that’s fine with me.”

Note: It is the USA “Christian” Evangelical Zionist movement that is dictating Israel policies and apartheid decisions. And a 2-State first phase solution is irreversible in order to start any useful communication and negotiation.

Successful organization? Is Good work easier to find than ever before?

Successful organizations have realized that they are no longer in the business of coining slogans, running catchy ads, and optimizing their supply chains to cut costs.

And freelancers and soloists have discovered that doing a good job for a fair price is no longer sufficient to guarantee success.

Good work is easier to find than ever before.

What matters now:

  • Trust
  • Permission
  • Remarkability
  • Leadership
  • Stories that spread
  • Humanity: connection, compassion, and humility

All six of these are the result of successful work by humans who refuse to follow industrial-age  rules.

These assets aren’t generated by external strategies and MBAs and positioning memos. These are the results of internal struggle, of brave decisions without a map and the willingness to allow others to live with dignity.

They are about standing out, not fitting in, about inventing, not duplicating.

TRUST AND PERMISSION: In a marketplace that’s open to just about anyone, the only people we hear are the people we choose to hear.

Media is cheap, sure, but attention is filtered, and it’s virtually impossible to be heard unless the consumer gives us the ability to be heard. The more valuable someone’s attention is, the harder it is to earn.

And who gets heard?

Why would someone listen to the prankster or the shyster or the huckster?

No, we choose to listen to those we trust. We do business with and donate to those who have earned our attention.

We seek out people who tell us stories that resonate, we listen to those stories, and we engage with those people or businesses that delight or reassure or surprise in a positive way.

And all of those behaviors are the acts of people, Not machines (Not robots emulating humanoids).

We embrace the humanity in those around us, particularly as the rest of the world appears to become less human and more cold.

Who will you miss? That is who you are listening to .

REMARKABILITY: The same bias toward humanity and connection exists in the way we choose which ideas we’ll share with our friends and colleagues. No one talks about the boring, the predictable, or the safe.

We don’t risk interactions in order to spread the word about something obvious or trite.

The remarkable is almost always new and untested, fresh and risky.

LEADERSHIP: Management is almost diametrically opposed to leadership. Management is about generating yesterday’s results, but a little faster or a little more cheaply.

We know how to manage the world—we relentlessly seek to cut costs and to limit variation, while we exalt obedience.

Leadership, though, is a whole other game. Leadership puts the leader on the line.

No manual, no rule book, no überleader to point the finger at when things go wrong. If you ask someone for the rule  book on how to lead, you’re secretly wishing to be a manager.

Leaders are vulnerable, not controlling, and they are racing to the top, taking us to a new place, not to the place of cheap, fast, compliant safety.

STORIES THAT SPREAD: The next asset that makes the new economy work is the story that spreads.

Before the revolution, in a world of limited choice, shelf space mattered a great deal.

You could buy your way onto the store shelf, or you could be the only one on the ballot, or you could use a connection to get your résumé in front of the hiring guy.

In a world of abundant choice, though, none of these tactics is effective. The chooser has too many alternatives, there’s too much clutter, and the scarce resources are attention and trust, not shelf space. This situation is tough for many, because attention and trust must be earned, not acquired.

More difficult still is the magic of the story that resonates. After trust is earned and your work is seen, only a fraction of it is magical enough to be worth spreading.

Again, this magic is the work of the human artist, not the corporate machine. We’re no longer interested in average stuff for average people.

HUMANITY: We don’t worship industrial the way we used to. We seek out human originality and caring instead.

When price and availability are no longer sufficient advantages (because everything is available and the price is no longer news), then what we are drawn to is the vulnerability and transparency that bring us together, that turn the “other” into one of us.

For a long time to come the masses will still clamor for cheap and obvious and reliable. But the people you seek to lead, the people who are helping to define the next thing and the interesting frontier, these people want your humanity, not your discounts.

All of these assets, rolled into one, provide the foundation for the change maker of the future.

And that individual (or the team that person leads) has no choice but to build these assets with novelty, with a fresh approach to an old problem, with a human touch that is worth talking about.

I can’t wait until we return to zero percent unemployment, to a time when people with something to contribute (everyone)  pick themselves instead of waiting for a bureaucrat’s permission to do important work.

Posted by Seth Godin on March 27, 2013

Toward zero unemployment

A dozen generations ago, there was no unemployment, largely because there were no real jobs to speak of.

Before the industrial revolution, the thought that you’d leave your home and go to an office or a factory was, of course, bizarre.

What happens now that the industrial age is ending?

As the final days of the industrial age roll around, we are seeing the core assets of the economy replaced by something new. Actually, it’s something old, something handmade, but this time, on a huge scale.

The industrial age was about scarcity.

Everything that built our culture, improved our productivity, and defined our lives involved the chasing of scarce items.

On the other hand, the connection economy, our economy, the economy of the foreseeable future, embraces abundance.

No, we don’t have an endless supply of the resources we used to trade and covet.

No, we certainly don’t have a surplus of time, either.

But we do have an abundance of choice, (except for third world citizens traveling to colonial State powers? Whose passports do Not require visas and denial of visas)

An abundance of connection, and an abundance of access to knowledge (without labs or practical training?)

We know more people, (meaning see more crowd?) have access to more resources, and can leverage our skills more quickly and at a higher level than ever before.

This abundance leads to two races.

The race to the bottom is the Internet-fueled challenge to lower prices, find cheaper labor, and deliver more for less.

The other race is the race to the top: the opportunity to be the one they can’t live without, to be the linchpin we would miss if he didn’t show up.

The race to the bottom is the Internet-fueled challenge to lower prices, find cheaper labor, and deliver more for less.

The other race is the race to the top: the opportunity to be the one they can’t live without, to be the linchpin we would miss if he didn’t show up.

The race to the top focuses on delivering more for more. It embraces the weird passions of those with the resources to make choices, (and create choices?)and it rewards originality, marketability, and art.

The connection economy continues to gain traction because connections scale, information begets more information, and influence accrues to those who create this abundance.

As connections scale, these connections paradoxically make it easier for others to connect as well, because anyone with talent or passion can leverage the networks created by connection to increase her impact.

The connection economy doesn’t create jobs where we get picked and then get paid; the connection economy builds opportunities for us to connect, and then demands that we pick ourselves.

Just as the phone network becomes more valuable when more phones are connected (scarcity is the enemy of value in a network), the connection economy becomes more valuable as we scale it.

Friends bring us more friends.

A reputation brings us a chance to build a better reputation.

Access to information encourages us to seek ever more information.

The connections in our life multiply and increase in value. Our stuff, on the other hand,  becomes less valuable over time.

… [this riff is inspired by my new book…]

Seth Godin, 2013


Lebanon National Debt: A rough computation?

Note: this article was published in 2013 and nothing changed but the amount of debt that ballooned from barely $9 bn in 1993 to $90 bn (or 130% of Lebanon GDP. Same as in Greece). A third of the budget goes to repaying the interset on the debt

As clear as water….thank you George Sabat !
The story of the Lebanese National debt is simple to tell to the uninitiated citizen who cannot understand how a small country like Lebanon could have built a $60 billion (reached 90 this year of 2018) debt in the short space of 20 years.
It starts with an initial budget deficit of some $2 billion of Lebanese Budget in 1993 to which one ought to add the entire civil war reconstruction cost that amounted to some $7 billion as declared officially and detailed by the Authorities in their famous book: “Rebuilding Lebanon”.
From this initial debt of some $9 billion that has never been repaid, one ought to add the accumulated compound interest at the end of every year.
Of course the table shown below is not the authentic one that appears in the Government Accounts but, for the uninitiated, it explains clearly enough how this Debt has grown from an initial amount of nine billion US dollars in 1993 to reach today over sixty billion US dollars.
The Authorities will never explain to you such matters so simply.
They will use a lot of complicated and obscure terms and definitions to keep you in the dark over a matter which is, after all, frighteningly simple.
The people of Lebanon, represented by their government (that is you and me and four and a half million other Lebanese citizens) borrowed in 1993 some two billion US dollars, then another seven billion US dollars to pay for the reconstruction.
The rest, or some $53.5 billion is the amount of interest paid to bankers and foreign depositors over the past twenty years. That’s all folks.
Note 1: The late Rafic Hariri PM clan (known as the Future movement, Al Moustakbal) pread the word to its close friends to deposit their wealth at 18% interest rate and each one of them reaped millions in 3 years.
Most of the borrowed money were distributed to the militia/mafia leaders who kept running the country after the war. No political party won the war, but the militia leaders stayed in power and were absolved of all the killing and mischief against humanity they committed during the war
Note 2: After the assassination of Rafic Hariri in 2004, his wealth amounted to $14 bn  (from barely $2 bn when he first became Prime Minister with the total support of the Syrian regime of Hafez and then his son Bashar Assad) and his family members paid just a single million as taxes to the government run by his protegee’ Fouad Seniora PM
Note 3: It is common knowledge that Rafic gave his first wife to the Saudi Monarch Fahd to marry.
Note 4: Lebanon has since been begging borrowed money for no economic reasons, and the loaners didn’t mind to raise Lebanon national debt to $90 bn (130% of its GDP). Obviously, those loans are meant to take Lebanon hostage for later deals related to regional situation and giving the Palestinian refugees the nationality.
Note 5: More than a third of the population are in the public sector and most of them don’t even show up to work and receive another third of the budget.




July 2018

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