In our continued coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ralph welcomes James Zogby, co-founder and president of the Arab American Institute and author of "Palestinians: The Invisible Victims.” Then, no-nukes activist Harvey Wasserman joins to warn us about the dangerous condition of nuclear reactors across the country, including the threat of “embrittlement” at the California reactor in Diablo Canyon.
James Zogby is co-founder and president of the Arab American Institute, and he is featured frequently on national and international media as an expert on Middle East affairs. Since 1992, he has written a weekly column— “Washington Watch” —that is published in 12 countries. He is the author of several books, including Looking at Iran: The Rise and Fall of Iran in Arab Public Opinion, The Tumultuous Decade: Arab, Turkish, and Iranian Public Opinion - 2010-2019, Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us, and Why it Matters, and Palestinians: The Invisible Victims.
There are two narratives, and we have to understand both. There's Israeli trauma and Jewish trauma, and there's Palestinian and Arab trauma. Both are real because there are two groups of humanity who each have histories. When we adopt one and ignore the other, then we end up creating the kind of torment the Palestinians have been living with.
This does not make Israel more secure. Taking massive amounts of Palestinian lives, evacuating them, forcing them to flee from their homes, murdering them from the air—doesn't make them more secure. At the end of the day, when the dust settles and the tears dry, you're going to have a whole lot more dead people, a whole lot more anger, a whole lot more frustration, and nothing else will change in Gaza or in the West Bank.
Hamas was a tiny religious organization which was fostered into a more powerful organization by the United States and Israel. They thought that if they built up a religious organization, it would undermine the PLO (the Palestine Liberation Organization). And once again, just as in Afghanistan, we create our own adversaries, blundering back and forth.
Harvey Wasserman is a journalist, author, democracy activist, and advocate for renewable energy. Mr. Wasserman is the author of Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth, and The People’s Spiral Of U.S. History. He has written and researched atomic energy since 1973, and co-authored Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience With Atomic Energy.
There's only one explanation why they're continuing to operate these two reactors and all the other reactors in the United States. And that's because the commercial reactor industry is now the infrastructure of the nuclear weapons industry. If you like nuclear power, you love nuclear weapons. They are joined at the hip, these two industries.
These two reactors are upwind of the entire United States. An accident at Diablo Canyon could—within four hours—send an apocalyptic radioactive cloud into Los Angeles, into the Central Valley where we get our fruits and vegetables for the winter, and into the Bay Area. The stakes could not be higher. And again, these are military facilities, masquerading as fighters of global warming, which is absolutely ridiculous.
In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis
1. The Huffington Post reports that the State Department has imposed a censorship regime, directing high-level diplomats involved in Middle East affairs to refrain from using the following phrases: “de-escalation/ceasefire, end to violence/bloodshed, and restoring calm.” This mirrors White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s response to a reporter’s question during a recent briefing, when she deemed calls for a ceasefire by progressives in Congress “wrong…repugnant, and…disgraceful.” Rejecting this censorious framework, Rep. Jamaal Bowman tweeted that the “Official statement from [his] office [is] De-escalate. End the violence. Restore calm.”
2. According to Semafor, MSNBC has “quietly” pulled their Muslim anchors from the air, preventing them from covering the rapidly escalating situation in Gaza. “The network did not air a scheduled Thursday night episode of The Mehdi Hasan Show…reversed a plan for Ayman Mohyeldin to fill in this week…for…Joy Reid’s 7 p.m. show… [and] the network also plans to have Alicia Menendez fill in …for Ali Velshi.” This piece goes on to quote from anonymous MSNBC sources who “[feel] all three hosts have some of the deepest knowledge of the conflict.” NBC denies this is an intentional and coordinated move, instead claiming these shifts are merely “coincidental.” Meanwhile, MSNBC did prominently feature New York City Mayor Eric Adams making the extraordinarily dubious claim that “the DSA and others [were] carrying swastikas and calling for the extermination of Jewish people.” DSA members are now mulling a suit against the mayor for defamation, per City and State NY.
3. The Intercept is out with a story about divisions within the liberal Zionist advocacy group, J Street. Per the story, J Street is supporting a congressional resolution that “pledges unconditional support to Israel’s war in Gaza,” which “makes no mention of Palestinian civilians.” In response, over 1,000 former J Street staffers and representatives are urging the organization to join calls for a ceasefire. J Street’s position mirrors that of many congressional progressives who have been hesitant to call for a ceasefire even as the civilian death toll continues to mount.
4. Law schools have become another major venue for conflict on this issue. The Jewish Law Students Association of the City University of New York has issued a statement, expressing their “uncompromising solidarity with the Palestinian people in their righteous struggle for self-determination,” and noting that “institutions like the UN have consistently demonstrated an unwillingness and/or inability to hold Israel accountable over its blatant disregard for international law.” Similar statements have come out of Harvard, Columbia, and NYU – leading top law firm Davis Polk to rescind job offers they had extended to students from these institutions, per NBC. Some donors have also cut ties with Harvard over the statement, including the Wexner foundation, founded by former Victoria’s Secret CEO and close Epstein associate Leslie Wexner.
5. The Washington Post reports Venezuela and the United States have reached a breakthrough agreement in which the U.S. will ease sanctions on the country’s oil industry, and in exchange the country will hold “a competitive, internationally monitored presidential election next year.” This agreement represents a win for both nations, with the Biden administration hoping it will ease oil and gas prices, while the Maduro administration will, at long last, have the opportunity to reaffirm its legitimacy following the Trump-backed coup attempt that began in 2019.
6. Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania has called on the full Senate to expel Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey following his indictment on corruption charges and allegations by the Department of Justice that he was acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Fetterman’s statement reads “Senator Menendez should not be a U.S. Senator. He should have been gone long ago. It is time for every one of my colleagues in the Senate to join me in expelling Senator Menendez…This is not a close call.” This from the Hill.
7. Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP have broken down yet again, this time over two specific issues. The first, according to the LA Times, is the actors’ demand for a 2% share of streaming revenue, or alternatively 57 cents per subscriber per year. The studios have called this an “overreach” which would “create an untenable economic burden.” The other major point of contention is AI, with the studios “continuing to demand ‘consent’ on the first day of employment for use of a performer’s digital replica for an entire cinematic universe (or any franchise project),” per Deadline. Meanwhile, the guild has lauded a new Senate bill – the NO FAKES Act – which would “prevent a person from producing or distributing an unauthorized AI-generated replica of an individual to perform in an audiovisual or sound recording without the consent of the individual being replicated.” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said of the bill “A performer’s voice and their appearance are all part of their unique essence, and it’s not ok when those are used without their permission. Consent is key,” per Deadline.
8. Finally, the Guardian reports that Indian officials have approved a trial for sedition against renowned author Arundhati Roy concerning a 2010 speech she made on Kashmir. The article notes Reporters Without Borders has warned that “press freedom is in crisis” in India. Roy herself has been an outspoken critic of the rising tide of Hindu nationalism in India, which has earned her the ire of right-wing authoritarian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.