The Hundred Years War on Palestine with Journalist Chris Hedges
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Check Hunter. Yeah,
we're ready to go. We just had a technical issue where it had people audio started playing, but then we muted them. All right, the split end was a lot. And I've seen a lot of articles that do send them to steam and cathedra or hello and upload in the villa. First of all, want to welcome everybody as salaam alaikum. Peace be upon you be
the topic tonight, obviously a very difficult one. And we, we were going to read Crime and Punishment this month, which is also a really important work of
philosophy in the guise of literature. But
and would have been appropriate also on on this subject. Because
Crime and Punishment is such a fundamental aspect to our species and the importance of rule of law, and what it means to inflict suffering on other people and then have to live with the punishment of inflicting suffering. So I think there would have been a lot of themes that we could have talked about in relation to what's happening now. But I chose to look at the 100 years war on Palestine, a history of settler colonialism and resistance 1917 to 2017, which is by Rashida Holliday, who's a who was very
much at the heart of a lot of the last several decades in terms of the Palestinian crisis. And I know he's a friend of our guest interlocutor tonight, Dr. Chris Hedges. And
Chris has, I think, been a voice for the unbelief, the voice for the
a lot of oppressed people. He's somebody I think, who really walks his talk, but he's also somebody who, he's a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and and journalists in the real sense of that word, because it's been such a prostituted word today, like journalism. A journalist today is almost an insult to be called a journalist. But
journalism is the only private enterprise. It's mentioned in the Constitution, the United States,
because of free press, according to the people that founded the US really believe that it was essential to have a
type of government where people had a voice and an elected representatives who would pursue their interests, and they felt they had to be educated in the press was the way that they thought was the primary source of that. And I know,
you know, Chris spent a lot of time in horrific war zones. And if you want to read a really powerful book that I think,
what he, what he concluded from all that experience is in his book, war as a force that gives us meaning. It's very powerful book is very important book. And unfortunately, it's it's something it seems to be a go to default setting for a lot of governments when when they need to try to pull people together when they see things unraveling. But he also has, I think, written some really powerful works on
the decline and fall of the society we're in which is not just the US society, but has global implications. I think a lot of we can see the diminishment of trust. So and then I also have sister Fadwa. Send me who is a Palestinian American who's lived in Palestine, her parents are from Palestine. And so I thought it was important to have particular female Palestinian boys because so much of the suffering that has been inflicted up latest on the women and on their children. And then hopefully, we'll have Sr. Hala Hijazi towards the end of this program. The first thing I want to ask you, Chris guy know, you know, this book, and
I don't know if you're familiar with or have ever read him, but Hilaire Belloc wrote a book called The crisis of civilization back in the 30s. But one of the things that he said Is he said that he thought there was some postulates that were necessary whenever you wanted to look at global developments historically, great social developments historically. And his first postulate was that truth lies in proportion.
And and what he meant by that, he said, What's that? That you do not tell him?
Historical Truth by merely stating a known fact. Nor even by stating a number of facts and certain and true order, you can tell it just the only by stating the known things in the order of their values, in other words in relation to other things. So, you know, the idea of proportion being the relation of things that to other things. And one of the things that really strikes me about this crisis of because, you know, there's the material war, the physical war that inflict so much suffering, but then there's this propaganda war that is so effective and has been effective for a really long time. And I just, you know, that the example he uses, if you ask somebody, you know, who
was Shakespeare who doesn't know who Shakespeare is? And you say, Well, he was this guy that wrote plays back in the 17th 16th and 17th century. Yeah, he says, That's not untrue. It's a fact. But it doesn't tell you, truthfully, who Shakespeare is, you have to relate him in relation to the other playwrights of the English language, and conclude that he's the greatest playwright, in the English language, that is a more accurate picture of getting to the truth of who that man is, as opposed to just stating a fact. And I think there's so many facts are stated about this issue. So what I want to ask you first, especially in light of Dr. polities book, like, what do you think in terms of the
facts to put them in a proper proportionality? You know, what, what, how would you state this what this conflict is really about? Well, I think we're she, I think it's an important book, because
the patterns of this settler colonial project haven't changed
since they began. So
you have Historic Palestine, you have the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in the wake of World War One. Now, those who live within Historic Palestine, as is true, I mean, all the way out throughout the Middle East for 20 centuries, are under Ottoman rule, you have the rise of nationalist movements, and national identity. That is true for the Zionists who begin their settler colonial project after the war through British patronage, but it's also true for the Palestinians. So you go from this moment where
on the eve of World War One, only 6% of the population in Historic Palestine were Jewish, and most of them by the way, were not Zionist, and you you through the patronage of the British Empire, and of course, they see these settlers as essentially furthering British policy, British control.
The Balfour Declaration, I think the 1917 is it recognizes the right of this Jewish minority
to settle and have a place within Historic Palestine and doesn't even mention the Palestinians by name. That's the inception. And then what I think Holliday does very well in the book is show the patterns by which the Palestinians have essentially been cursed over this century. First is they don't have adequate patronage.
In many ways, the Arab regimes including their neighboring regimes, will, at best pay lip service to their oppression or often sell them out. The big case would be King Abdullah and then trans Jordan and becomes Jordan, where he cuts a deal with the Zionist militias to take the West Bank through his
through this is British trained and British lead officer corps was British Army. You have eventually
and Sadat. You have everything from the Camp David agreement to Oslo the Abraham accords every it's a constant. They're constantly betrayed by their own. That's one pattern that that Rashid points out the second pattern is also from the beginning and that's deception on the part of the Zinus that are privately within their own correspondents, with the exception of Jabotinsky, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, who Mussolini, by the way called a good fascists. And that strain of Jewish Fascism is also an element within the Zionist movement. I was given expression when I lived in Jerusalem through Merica Hana this racist violent Rabbi
interestingly, he was assassinated finally but but I
When I was in Israel in 1994, they outlawed the cot, his cock party. And what we're seeing now in the Netanyahu government is essentially, the protegees of Kahana have seized power. So you always had this strain of, for lack of a better term, overt Jewish fascism. But you always had this train of deception. You talked about propaganda. We know from the for instance, the private correspondence of high Wiseman that they knew very well, David Ben Gurion, all of these figures understood the idea as an any settler colonial project. It wants to seize the land and displace the indigenous population. The other pattern that Rashid points out correctly, is that the Palestinians have just
been cursed with inadequate leadership, where as many of the Zionist leaders actually came from the west OB Yvonne, who I knew educated at Oxford, Golda Meier lived in the United States, she was an immigrant, but they understood the cultures that they were dealing with, they were able to read the kind of geopolitical scene, I mean, for instance, the Zinus, which clashed with the British at World War One with a white paper. So the curtailed Jewish immigration because they needed support of the Arab world, they understood that geopolitics or power, or that shifted was shifting away from Britain to the United States.
And the third pattern is the
essential inability on the part of the Palestinians to ever build effective resistance movements. Now, Holliday points out Rashid points out I think, correct, correctly that repression. Because remember, up till the Arab Revolt, which I think was the Palestinian revolt, which I think was 1937. And by the way, the British deployed 100,000 Troops, they armed Jewish militias. To crush this. I think one out of four Palestinians were either killed or wounded or displaced. I mean, it was this was all before the Nakba. So
the inability on their part of the Palestinians, if that revolt, it came too early in a way.
It didn't they missed their historical moment. And then, of course, we end today with and I think this is what happens with all settler colonial projects is what they cannot crush that resistance. They engage in open acts of genocide, which is what I would describe happening in Gaza. So they're what the great thing about that book is that it hits those patterns, which have kind of bedeviled the Palestinians up until the present moment, all of which, and, of course, I covered I spent seven years covering Palestine, much of that time in Gaza. And I can assure you, the Israelis lie, like they breathe. I mean, their primary job of the propaganda machine was to discredit whatever it was
we reported on the ground. Right, you know, just, I'm gonna get to something. But before that, you know, one of the books because, you know, the all I've been doing in the last almost two months now, there's just going through several books on this subject, like real deep dive, but one of the books that really shocked me, is this, the British pacification of Palestine. So this is the British Army, the colonial state and Arab Revolt, 1936 to 1939. And what was one of the things that was fascinating, because I think what shocked a lot of people and you actually had Palestinian flying Irish flags.
Yeah, well, because the techniques that were used to subdue from Ireland, were used against Palestine, there many, many cases. It's the same British officers. Yeah, it's amazing. So so the, you know, you have these like the home demolitions. That was all Irish, British practice English practice in Ireland, you know, the assassinations of the leadership, but one of the things that really, I mean, you know,
Piers Morgan recently said, well, the Irish situation gives up some hope, you know, neglecting the fact that it took them 700 years, you know, get where they've gotten, you know, so but I think the,
the fact that so many of these techniques are
I think they're so antiquated and anachronistic in terms of the general tenor around the globe, there are so many people that are so horrified by these things that were standard practice in a lot of the pre modern world, like I think there was just much more of this, but now there's just a real backlash, but one of the things I wanted to ask you, I was curious about the fact that he
didn't really go into the,
the Christian Zionism because one of the things that really strikes me as fascinating about this is that the Christians had more to do with the establishment of the State of Israel than the actual Jews did
it, you know, Shaftsbury and even back this is like 200 years, it goes way back, which is a kind of English Christian heresy. This idea, we have to get all the Jews back to hasten the apocalypse, you know, so that the Jesus can come back. And I was just really struck by the fact that these these Zionists, Christians like Balfour, and
I mean, there were several of them that were just,
I think hell bent on on making this thing happen. But one of the things that
Dr. Thomas Cleary thought, and he's by far the smartest human being I've ever met, but he actually bought that at the root of it was a deep anti semitism, that they they really wanted to kind of deal with what used to be called the Jewish question, you know, this idea of, of, you know, this problem of the alien within our myths, and they believed in a lot of these conspiracy theories.
But he saw it as just a really vicious thing to do to put them in the midst of a place in this kind of colonial settler environment, amidst people that are obviously going to going to react at having their land taken from them. And the fact that they have the support of, of now, over a billion people on the planet, but I was just curious, why do you think that? I mean, obviously, he can't write everything. Why he chose 1917 When it really begins, the Alia begins in 1882, and 1914 1913 and 14 were critical years in this conflict. So I'm just curious, because of the Balfour Declaration which formalizes the project and begins the flood of
Jewish immigration, remember, Allenby was also a Christian Zionist.
defeated the Ottomans, a lot of fighting, by the way in Gaza, in World War One, so yeah, that Christian Zionism was an important component because it built allies. And I think you're right that if you really explored, it is anti semitic in the same way that the Christian right in the United States is anti semitic, and more explicitly within the Christian right in the United States. Because at the end times, I think it's 160,000 Jews or something are saved and the rest are incinerated with everyone else. So it is a kind of bizarre mythical vision that has always been part of, you know, within the Christian rubric. But yes, it was this alliance. And I don't think there's any secret
that the British aristocracy the Christian British aristocracy did not really want Jews in Britain. And you had much the same if you look at the early years of Abraham Lincoln, you know, there was all that discussion of moving African Americans back to Africa, to Madagascar, Liberia, wherever it was. So yes, I think you're right, that the Jews for them were a kind of carica tour,
which had kind of, you know, wrapped in a kind of biblical, or Christian mythology. I think that's right.
Yeah, the other thing, you know, this really struck me
is the fact that so many of these early
Jews were totally opposed to,
to Zionism and, and in fact, the overwhelming majority of practicing Jews in particular because as you know, I mean, design is,
you know, Hertzel and Wiseman, I mean, these they were arch secularists, they did not. And then in, in the Jewish state, which is a
fascinating read, but in the Jewish state, he actually talks about settling Argentina, like there was plenty of land there, and maybe they could all go to Argentina. It was a good climate. But then and then he says, but there's a kind of romantic attachment to the a lot of the Jews have to Palestine. So maybe we could convince the
at the Sorbonne of the Hamid, if we get rid of all his debts, that he'll just give us the land, which is interesting now with the debt forgiveness being offered to Egypt, right, if they'll take action, the so I just thought that was fascinating. But one of the things that really struck me was already and you know, there's a lot of arguments that are made against, you know, this idea there was never any Palestinian people. Well, there was really not a Jewish nationalistic idea either. And you cannot argue that Solomon's
Empire was a kind of nationalistic, in a modern nation state idea, but the Palestinians were actually developing a pretty serious national identity very early, and using the term fettucini, which was more of a geographical term for them, like how the fettucini like he Shammi or his little Banani, it was used in the Ottoman period like that. But I thought it was very interesting that the British during the mandate allowed the Zionists to really create a state within a state they were already functioning by the mid 30s as as a state and yet the Palestinians they would not allow them to develop their
their government institutions at that time, even though they had done at the time of the Ottomans. I mean, you had the the enemy Musa enemy was the mayor of Jerusalem, they had courts of law, they had, you know, very serious institutions in the country, but the British did not allow them, while at the same time, they were clearly allowing designers to build up including the Hagia Anna, the building up really a paramilitary, which eventually becomes the IDF jet. I think. Yeah. Jabotinsky, is I mean, that was that was his brainchild. Right? I mean, the Palestinians did have them and it wasn't so much. You're right, that they banned them. And of course, they banned Palestinian newspapers and
all this kind of stuff. But it was that they refuse to grant them any legitimacy, any legal status. And especially with the Palestinian revolt,
the British, not only arm, Zionist militias. But going back to your point about house demolitions targeted us out, they taught those counterinsurgency techniques that they had used in India used in Ireland, they, they taught them to the Zionist leaders who use them to this day.
So, yeah, there was a complete ratio of Palestinian identity under the British Mandate, and that that wasn't done for altruism or any love of Jews. It was done because they saw the Jewish minority as an effective arm of colonial control. And up until 1939. That was true. And then, of course, when they had to limit because they realized that the war was going to be fought throughout the Middle East, and they needed allies, when they limited Jewish immigration into Palestine, then the the Jewish terrorist groups, the stern gang and these others carried out all sorts of terrorist attacks, not only against Palestinians, but against the British, including blowing up the headquarters of at
the King David Hotel, killing I can't remember what it was 61 or something British
92 I think it was that, yeah. Oh, and but at the same time, the Zionists very astutely pivoted, and they found a new patron in the United States.
And the and that is, again, a theme of Rashid's book that, because in this he would even argue and this was I knew our fight, of course, that this was also true within the PLO, that they just, they understood, perhaps the Arab world, but they really didn't understand much outside the confines of the Arab world. And that has always hampered the Palestinians, their resistance movements, where as so much of the Zionist leadership is actually drawn. I mean, Netanyahu is a case in point raised in Philadelphia.
and so the Palestinians have always been hampered. Rashid would argue in his book, I think correctly, by never having roots now that's changing with the next generation. So we see all of these protests, which are very heartening, mostly by very young, I mean, young by my standards in their 20s. I mean, kids who are bi lingual and bicultural and that of course, is terrifying to the Israeli state, which is why they work so hard.
to outlaw up, as they have a Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, along with Jewish voices for peace, it's why they go after the BDS activists on campus, not because these campuses are even remotely considering divesting or imposing sanctions or anything else, but because as an educational tool, it's been so effective and and as they lose support among the new generation of Jews who don't have that old emotional attachment to,
you know what, Amira, ossicles fantasy Israel, as they lose that attachment, then of course, they build stronger and stronger alliances with the Christian Zionist a Christian, right, who are number one anti semitic. And number two, I would argue, essentially, the face of American fascism.
Interesting. Yeah. And I think another thing that's been really extraordinary, extraordinary. And Dr. Khalid, he definitely mentioned this towards the end of the book, that, you know, he felt that it was very important for the Israeli Jews also to, you know, that they have to come up and really recognize what's been happening. And but what what's been really powerful, I think, in the US is so many of the, the Jewish community in this country has shown up, I mean, a lot of these protests have been from within the Jewish community. And it's, I think that this younger generation is just, they're seeing a whole different perspective. I think, you know, obviously, the Palestinian
resistance has made a lot of egregious mistakes that that,
that that we would all hopefully agree on. But I think people are recognizing that, you know, you know, out and I and the public both know what all school children must learn those to whom evil is done, do evil in return. And I think people really forget that the Palestinians historically are profoundly peaceful people. If you actually look in the 19th century, there were over 3000, published travelogues by visitors to Palestine, from Europe that were visiting the Holy Lands over 3000, none of them mentioned violence, or, you know, having some horrific time because of the belligerence of the people that, you know, historically, they have been a profoundly welcoming
you know, to other people, and that's why there's so many really ethnic groups that have kind of come into that land from from different places on Yes, occasions, you have the mahadi bot, which the height, you know, the, the the, the Moroccan quarter that was actually destroyed, I think in 67. You know, that was a historical quarter where you had all of these Moroccans who had migrated to,
to being in the Holy Land to be near the hunter machete. So you know, I think it's it's, I don't know, there's some I think it's hopeful in that sense that you really do see a tide turning, just in recognizing that there has to be a just solution to this, this crisis. You know, I think Rasheed makes a very good point, because most any key juxtaposes the First Intifada with the Second Intifada and covered both of them. So the first intifada was largely nonviolent. But the point he makes like with the march of return, where you had a largely nonviolent protest along the security barrier separating Gaza from Israel, and you had Israeli snipers, so shooting journalists, shooting medics
shooting children, you know, and he makes the point that in fact, that repression on the part of pre 1948 Post 1948, by the by Israel, or by the Zinus is always worse against the nonviolent movement, because it's so hard to demonize, then the Palestinians. So what you had in the Second Intifada, were the use of suicide bombings on buses. I covered several of them. And I remember I knew two of the leaders of Hamas I knew Abdelaziz Ron TCI, new Nissan, both of them were assassinated, and and I used I had dinner and ran to his house more than once his wife was just killed. His widow was just killed a couple of weeks ago.
And I remember he was a very thoughtful came out of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was a physician educated in Egypt. And we dealt with the issue of suicide bombing. And I, I my argument was that yes, it was,
you know, that the violence that was committed by Israel against the Palestinians in terms of numbers and savagery, there was no comparison. But I said by doing that you you lose the more
moral high ground that you have. And his argument back was will stop killing their children when they stopped killing our children.
Far more children have been killed.
Not much of it. Not a moral argument. Certainly. You know, it's interesting.
It's my own Abu Shanna, who was one of the founding members actually opposed to it, and thought it was not a wise thing. But I think he's succumb to the majority vote. But
yeah, I think that's for me, it's I've always been opposed to that. And I really believe by the Sharia of Islam would never, I genuinely believe that that it would never sanction suicide bombing,
least of all reasons is it opens the door to deeply depressed people to commit suicide in a kind of noble way, quote, unquote. But, you know, I think it's very clear that from this book, one of the things that really affected me was if Obama's assessment of,
of the idea of violent resistance and the fact that they brought him in, and this guy, you know, he was in the Algerian revolution he was he was compatriot with Franz Fanon. And he actually did support violent resistance to settler colonialism. But he thought it was a completely untenable strategy for the Palestinians because of the the historicity of their own narrative of suffering and the Holocaust. And I think one of the most fascinating aspects to me of the effectiveness
of the Israeli perspective, is that they have made it David and Goliath. But they're there, the David and the Palestinians are the Goliath. And I find that so amazing that that that kind of leisure domain could actually pass muster, because the,
the British knew that they wouldn't win 48 That that was already in all their documents, even though the British back to Palestinians in that war and gave them the weapons and things. But they knew that they had totally ineffective leadership, they knew that they were militarily completely incapable. And they also knew 6773. I mean, it's just amazing that they've known that the superiority militarily of this country has been so massively
asymmetrical, and yet, people really think the Palestinians somehow are an existential threat to the Israeli people.
Yeah, it's even worse than that home. So I mean, you have Netanyahu calling them the new Nazis. So it's not just the David and Goliath narrative, which is ridiculous. The Palestinians don't have artillery, they don't have mechanized units. They don't have an Air Force. They don't have naval guns. They don't have
Hellfire missiles, they don't have attack helicopters. They're trapped in a hill. It's called what it is a concentration camp being leveled as we speak.
And, of course, you can't even describe that I would argue as a war. So
it's the language that's used is not only
a distortion in terms of the balance of power, but it's the way Palestinians are dehumanized and demonized and painted as a kind of absolute evil. I mean, if you see the the media when they describe Israeli victims from October 7, and these were certainly horrible, many cases of atrocities. It's always a doctor or a teacher or a mother. But the Palestinians are they don't, they don't have they're not individualized. There are dehumanized maps. We don't hear about Palestinian poets or this or and, and, of course, the, you know, we had the New York Times my former employer run an editorial, which I don't I just couldn't believe it when I read it, saying there shouldn't be
a ceasefire. It was remarkable.
Yeah, I think the the aspect of the warmongering element, just this idea somehow that, you know, that there's some level of proportionality here and that also the there's another narrative that really, I think, troubles me deeply that that people still seem to be able to say it with a straight face this idea that
We don't target civilians.
And, and the idea, you know, one of the things
one of the things that they use, and I've seen this in several interviews, is they use the Dresden bombings as this kind of moral justification. Like, you know, the West, bombed Dresden to get rid of the Nazis, and they were, but they targeted specifically civilians. And that was somehow acceptable in the West. And then and then they make the argument that we don't specifically target civilians. And so there's, there's, there's no moral equivalency here. One of the things I don't know if you you've had a chance to see that book, but it's, it's by AC grayling, among the dead cities. I know. Yeah. And so he makes an argument. And I thought this was really fascinating. He makes an argument
that, that the reason, in 1977 that the Geneva Convention protocol, one of 1977, it was actually addressed to deal with fact that they came to terms that aerial bombardment was criminal activity, you know, that, that, in essence, bombing
civilians, is a war crime. And and grantley makes an argument that Churchill was guilty of war crimes, you know, and that it was morally unjustifiable. And he actually makes an argument that the, the bombers should have refused to bomb civilian targets. And one of the fascinating things to me was that Simpson went when the US chose to use nuclear weapons on the Japanese, they chose to largely civilian populations, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, but they actually originally intended to blow up Kyoto, which is, I mean, I visited Kyoto it's one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But Simpson argued against it because he had actually visited Kyoto, and was so struck by how beautiful
it was, that he said it would be a crime to destroy that city. So it's not a crime to destroy, you know, 10s of 1000s of people, but to destroy these works of art, would be a crime. And I think this distortion, this moral distortion, that seems so evident, the fact that that's missed on so many people, I don't know. I mean, I, I read, spend linguist, his book history of aerial bombardment. And the first bombings were actually done by the Italians, on Bedouin in Libya, and they were just, they just dropped bombs on veterans to see if it worked or not. And, and, and then Churchill use them to test the British aeroplanes on Iraqi Bedouin, they owe the Italians, that's a good idea. Let's,
let's see if it works with our planes as well. So they actually just bombed. And that gets to a, you know, I don't like to use the race car, but the rate the overt racism.
And this, this Eurocentric superiority is just another thing that seems to be so profoundly evident. And I think that's why so many young people are rejecting this narrative, because I think a lot of them are coming to terms with a lot of the painful aspects of, of European, and also Canadian, American and South American history.
Yeah, and, you know, you talked about, you know, the way Israel when they use euphemisms to describe mass murder, which, of course, is somebody who was reporting I've been in Gaza, when it was hit by Israeli war playing. So you know, Israeli children who are murdered are caught in the crossfire, or
when they bomb houses and apartment blocks, it's a surgical strike, bomb making factory or when they destroy Palestinian homes, it's the demolition of the homes of terrorists. I mean, it's, it's just completely predictable. So we would report these events. And that was always how was countered with these kind of, you know, this kind of double think or logic against logic, which Orwell writes about. And I think that these lies,
you know, which of course, abolish any kind of ambiguity or
nuance it, they don't permit any gray zones. It's a kind of cognitive dissonance, which feeds into the Israeli narrative of good and evil, black and white. And I think that those lies are important, and we've seen them all around Gaza.
I'm because the Israelis need them in order to and they want to believe that there's a kind of thirst for them, and it feeds their kind of moral superiority, that kind of logic proof compartment of dogmatic adherence Edward Bernays writes,
and they don't want, you know, you have a population and much like the American population over Iraq and Afghanistan don't really want to know the truth, because the truth would force them to look at some very unpleasant aspects of themselves and their society. And then finally, I think those lies send a very ominous message to the Palestinians, because Israelis are saying, in essence, we will wage a campaign of mass terror and genocide and we will never take responsibility for
for our crimes. So it obliterates, in one fell swoop that kind of dignity of human thought, human action, obliterates facts, obliterates history,
obliterates hope, and essentially reduces the entire dialogue to one of violence. So why did the hijackers on 911 carry out attacks against the World Trade Center in the Pentagon because they understood that huge explosions and death in the city skyline are how you communicate. That's how we have been communicating to the world. You know, for decades. Robert McNamara, when he orders the saturation bombing of Vietnam, called sending a message to the North Vietnamese and sent in many ways, it's the same phenomena where Israel they call it mowing the lawn, but it's about sending a message and, and as you quoted on, I mean, you you look at any national revolt, and they're very
ugly. I mean, CLR James, when he writes about the Haitian uprising, the only successful slave revolt in human history and ad has been paying for it ever since. Would they were they tortured, it was very brutal to the French, planter slaveholding class in the same way that during the Nat Turner rebellion, Nat Turner and his followers also by the way, religious zealots, murdered every white that they saw even the French Revolution. Remember, they were, you know, severing the heads of clergy and Arista, cat crabs, and putting them on pikes and carrying them through the streets of Paris. So that's not in any way to defend, you know, what happened on October 7, but we have to
understand to understand is not to condone,
keep people trapped in an open air prison or a concentration camp for 16 years and humiliate them and impoverished them and shoot them as if they were beasts, and not this kind of response. Well, I think also one of the things that Dr. Hardy points out, is that, you know, Hamas who had used obviously,
the these against civilians, which is a war crime, you know, whether it comes from the Israelis or from the Arabs, you know, to, to attack civilians is a war crime in Islam as well as in just international law. But one of the things that he points out is that when when they were when they were elected in 2006, the they were actually surprised that they won but but they they toned down a lot of their rhetoric and basically we're willing to kind of enter into in a similar fashion the way you know, Michael Collins, and and it's interesting that design is and I think a lot of the Arab resistance, both saw the Irish
rebellion as as a in fact, Yitzhak Shamir, he actually use Michael as his codename after Michael Collins. So the Zionists saw the RA, the RIA as a kind of, you know, a model when they were when they were using terrorist tactics against the British. But what was interesting was they did not allow Hamas to have any participation in a political process that immediately they got the PLO to, to to attempt to take over the place and that you have that civil war. I don't know if you were a rat rat, were you in us at anytime during that period? I was in Gaza when our fight came back. That was 2001 and was still wanted was a colonial police force. Right. They get under a bus. Yeah, by he
has no support. And those were by every account free elections. 2006 and then not only did they
Set up the siege. But they also tried to carry out a failed coup d'etat to overthrow it. And I think we should note that from its inception, you know, going all the way back, there have been negotiations with Egyptian intermediaries between the Israeli leadership and Hamas. And I would also say that when you look closely at the violations of the ceasefires that have been in place, that's almost always Israel that's violated them, because they're looking for a provocation that gives them an ability to, to, quote unquote, mow the lawn to carry out egregious bombing campaigns that leave 1000s of Palestinian civilians, dead or wounded. Well, one of the arguments that's been made is
like, this is what they voted for, you know, the the, whereas the elections, which were in 2005, there hasn't been election, since they only got 44% of the actual vote in Gaza. And largely, it was due to the fact that they were people were so frustrated with the corruption that they were seeing in the PA. And so, you know, almost I think over half of this population wasn't even alive when that when that election took place. And, you know, I think the
just the, you know, I'd like to hear also from photo about her own experience in the Intifada, because, you know, the levels of frustration and the attempts at using peaceful because there have been, as you know, there have been serious, nonviolent attempts at addressing this issue, and they've really been brutally.
I mean, that guy, Bassem Tamimi, I think, what, you know, I think he's in Hebron. Hadiya. And, you know, he was, like, totally non violent, like, didn't even believe in violence. And he was considered, you know, an agitator, and, and the fact that it's, like, 400,000 or more have been arrested. I mean, if we think of those numbers, you know, 400,000 I mean, that out of out of the, you know, the, the 4 million people,
huge number of people that have experienced incarceration, interrogation, and a lot of it without habeas corpus without, you know, I mean, it's pretty shocking. And then the children also the fact that there's been so many of these children. So but, you know, can you talk a little bit about maybe just about your own experience during the Intifada, what you saw?
Sure. So I, I was born in San Francisco. But my family moved to Palestine in 1986.
I was 10. And I was a student at the friends Quaker school, and blah, blah, blah, but living in Montana. So when the first time people started, the checkpoints were set up between the West Bank and Jerusalem, you'd have to cross into Ramallah to go to school. And was interesting for us as as children.
our schools getting tear gassed, shot at we saw, you know, soldiers in the streets in Ramallah, shooting at, you know, once, if they shut down schools, and checkpoints, we had to figure out a way to get past checkpoints to get back home. And, you know, this was I was 11 grew up in the Bay Area. And this is something that we had to figure out how to do with our schoolmates. A lot of them a lot younger than us. But I think what was most impactful for us was picking up tear gas canisters in our village, turning them around and seeing made in the USA, and what that what that meant for us, as
you know, having been born in the United States, and now living in our homeland in Palestine, you know, it sort of sets up this, you know, what does it really mean?
What does it mean for us?
You know, witnessing, our schools were completely shut down by the springtime, and realizing that education was being used as a weapon like we were denied schooling as children, because
there's power and knowledge and understanding that even though we didn't have schools, we still needed to figure out a way to study and learn. So just just as a young child being exposed to occupation being exposed to,
you know, soldiers visiting in the summers seeing settlers with you know, aka
47 is on their shoulders as just walking in the streets and what that meant for us. I was also there in a second with the father actually happened to be visiting my grandparents, we got stopped at a checkpoint. And we were about a mile from home. And we had US passport, we don't have a Palestinian residency, we don't have the wheels or anything like that. So showing and saying, you know, we're US citizens, we need to be able to cross back and saying that your passport means nothing in this country, you're us. And once you enter this country, your passport means nothing here, because you're a Palestinian, and never really been understood here.
Not people not being familiar with the Palestinians, situation, the story the country, and trying to teach people when we were living here about being Palestinian, what it meant to be a Palestinian what it meant to be under occupation.
Just in my own high school experience, sharing like the daily life of a Palestinian in a class and getting a three day suspension, for expressing the daily lack of Palestinian children getting arrested and shot at and it was it was no, my parents were never asked about it I was never questioned about it was just automatically assumed that I had done something wrong, and having to advocate for myself, and being strong enough to do that. So I think part of being Palestinian, whether it's inside the United States, or living in Palestine is that you just have to, you have to be able to advocate for yourself, and you have to have a voice to tell people your story. Because
mainstream media, government
educational institutions are not doing that job. They're not expressing any truth in terms of what we experience. So that's, that's our lived experience. I think, especially in this latest assault on on ESA, you know, a lot of people are learning about what's happening in Palestine. And they're surprised. Wait a second, they just released a 15 year old who was in jail for eight years. So why why was he arrested in the first place? Oh, you know, we know, children are arrested, we know that children are held without charge and without
any day in court, but it's new to a lot of people. So having having to just tell our story. I think it's it's comforting now that people are starting to listen, I've attended, you know, my father came here protested the Vietnam War, when he came in the 60s, as a college student, I was protesting the wars that Iraq and, and the other wars that were happening around the time I was in college, and now attending protests with my own children, about what's happening in Palestine, and just seeing how the crowd has changed. For me, even in the Bay Area in the last few weeks, seeing the you know, the crowds double and quadruple, and looking around and seeing a lot of diversity in turn a lot of
American Jews joining the protests, I think has been really comforting, because
I've always felt that on our part, as Palestinians existence is resistance. So we continue to keep our traditions, teach our children history,
hold on to the art culture, our way of life, what's you know, olive oil and olive picking tree from our trees and things like that. But for the public, it's for me been about getting Americans and especially the American Jewish community to
voice their opposition to what Israel is doing. And what the Zionist plan is, it has to come from within. I really feel like that, because like you said, we historically had been a silenced group. We don't have advocates, even within our own people, our own government hasn't really been together enough to really advocate effectively on behalf of the Palestinian people. We don't have
a structured form of resistance, we don't have armies. So we can continue to exist as Palestinians as and have families and hope that they survive. But it's really on other communities to give us to be self reflective, and recognize the wrong that's being committed against our people. And I think that's what I'm seeing now. I think that's finally happening. I think that's something that you've also mentioned,
just being able to have, you know, show houses a two and a half this type of event where our history is being told and shared. And, you know, it's really comforting. It's something welcomed, it's something I appreciate, and I'm thankful for that
But I know that you've been doing this work in journalism for a long time. And I appreciate that. I appreciate that about you have a lot of family members who are big fans of the work that you do, and appreciate your efforts as well. So I wish you were here so I can properly. Thank you for the work that you do. But yeah, it's it's an interesting you know, I, we've always heard stories from our grandpa, my grandfather always told us that when he was living in Palestine, they were neighbors with Jewish families, they traded they work together, they ate the same fruit, fruits and vegetables, from the vendors. And things changed. What during the 1967 War, he had to take 10
children, his wife and sister and walk
to safe a safe place where they weren't going to be bought. And I looked now at images of what families are having to do, carrying their children carrying their whatever belongings they can manage to hold on to, and leave their homes. It's very overwhelming when you hear things like 10s of dozens of family members passing. And you try to explain that to the American public who don't have I have 24 cousins on my father's side. And I know them all very well. And they have their children, I know my family very well, not to have that perspective not to have that. So imagine your you know, sometimes I tell people imagine the whole school was blocked, or your whole neighborhood, you may
not know your family, but at least you're imagine that just nobody's nobody's there anymore. Yeah. And then they often live together. Yeah, one of the really beautiful, quality traditions that they had, before. All of this madness, was it, if they had children on the same day, and people have the heart or the height, they would actually make them brothers or sisters. And that was irrespective of their religion.
You know, when you take down one building, it's the grandfather, all of his sons, all likely his daughters, the grandchildren, and the great grandchildren in one shot. And what that does to people who've value family, so much, it's such an important part of who we are.
But I'll say, you know, I will say that in terms of hope, and
I know you said like the curse of power of being Palestinian, but really, it's, we believe in God. And I think that's what carries a lot of Palestinians. We believe that what comes to us from God, and it's, it's our duty, to patient to be patient.
And understand that, ultimately, there will be accountability.
And there will be relief. So you know, when I hear like Palestinian mothers in the USA, say that their children are asking them
if it hurts when they get bought.
You know, I have three children, I just think like, you don't want anything to happen to your child. Yeah, that's another really horrific trope, this idea that, you know, this, it's a death cult. And these people don't care about their children,
you know, at the pain that you see.
And often these kinds of performative displays
which are really attempts to mask something because they want to show the strength and fortitude but this idea that they don't suffer you know, that that they want death. I mean, the Hamas told them to stay, and you could clearly see everybody was leaving, you know, so I think they want to live it's it's, it's just a lie to say that these people somehow have this death wish. They want that. I mean, you wrote that letter, which I hope everybody listens to it was beautifully read. By unis long, but you wrote that letter, you know, maybe talk a little bit what inspired you to write that letter about, you know, is a letter to the children less? Yeah, letter to the children of Gaza? Which my
wife who's an actor read you can find it. Chris I just off substack.com There's no paywall, so you can get it. Well, I was flying.
I was gonna go to Rafa i The Egyptians didn't let me get in but I, I, I you know, I spent so much of my life and Palestine and
carry all of the, you know, heartache and emotions that you, you know, you both have. And I just I didn't want to do nothing. So I sat up all night on the plane and listen to it because she's, you know that she brings out the emotional power of it.
It's only seven minutes long. But yes of course of that's true and you know, go back to the Vietnam War, and they would make the same kinds of callous
comments about Vietnamese that they don't love their children and the way that we do that. It's a death called I mean, this is standard practice for all settler colonial projects. Because when you seek to suppress an indigenous population, as brutally as Israel has, and we could argue that this may turn out to be even worse than the Nakba. In terms of numbers 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed 1947 1948 several dozen massacres Darya seen and other places. But uh, you know, in terms of scale, and I every I know Bibi Netanyahu, I know some of the figures in this government, I think we have to take their rhetoric very seriously.
you know, the one point we didn't make is that Gaza is a very tiny place. It's only 20 miles long and five miles wide. I was in Sarajevo during the war. And we were hit with three to 400 shells a day, along with constant sniper fire. So that was about three to four deaths a day, two dozen wounded a day. And I don't want to minimize that I still have nightmares about it. But you have to juxtapose that with Gaza where upwards of 100, sometimes 160 children a day are being murdered. And they don't really know the numbers because of course, so many people are missing, trapped under the rubble. But it gives you a sense of the savagery, the scale. And you'd would have to go back to I
don't know, you know, Chechnya, maybe Mariupol, maybe Stalingrad. I mean, we're talking about a level of bombardment. That is certainly unlike anything we've seen in this century. And it's a, it's their civilian. I mean, you could probably make a pretty good case that Israel's killed more UN workers, and they've killed members of Hamas.
The, you know, the last chapter of this book, he he,
I mean, he makes a really interesting point about, you know, this idea of, you know, scientists have insisted, referring to the state's Declaration of Independence that Israel could be and was both Jewish and democratic. As the contradiction inherent in this formula grew evermore apparent, some Israelis admitted Indeed, even declared with pride that they were forced to choose if they were forced to choose, the Jewish aspect would take precedence. And I think, you know, it's very interesting to me that the,
you know, in some ways, the idea of an ethnos state is a complete anachronism.
Because of the nature of the world that we live in today, I mean, we can just see these massive demographic shifts that have occurred all over the planet. And so, you know, to hold on to this idea of an ethnos state,
which, obviously, I mean, there are some benefits to having like Japan is arguably a pretty, pretty strong, ethno state, but even within Japanese culture, they have their own distinctions like Okinawa is not the same as mainland, they have different
ethnicity ethnicities within the Japanese culture itself. And China's the same way. And heterogeneity is one of Aristotle's 11 causes of civil war, that when you do have different groups, so, but you've got 6 million Palestinians, if you look at the the 2 million that are in, in Israel itself, and then the formula, and it's a very significant number, as far as you know, I mean, I find it very interesting that, you know, we believe in God, I mean, the fact there are 6 million Palestinians that is a significant number for for Jewish people. And, and he ends this book by saying, you know, what,
there has to be a solution, and it can't be the elimination of these people. And this idea somehow that, you know, oh, the Arabs, you know, because they framed it in this idea of Arabs never really giving the Palestinians this identity of being Palestinians, which they are. And as you know, I mean, you've traveled in many places in the Arab world. You
Even though they're linguistically united, relatively, you know, I mean, they're very I know, several Arabic dialects. And they're very different. They're very different cultures. There's a lot of unity, but they're very different Moroccan culture is very different from golf culture. These are not, quote unquote one people, they're very distinct, even within if you go to Morocco, there's northern Morocco is very different culture from Southern Morocco Seuss, the Amma Zia are different from the Arabs, Egypt say these are very different from Alexandrians, who are different from people from Cairo. These distinctions are very powerful. And this idea somehow, well, you've got plenty of
Arab countries, you can go to just leave us this country. I mean, that seems to me to be a really unreasonable argument.
Well, of course, it is. I mean,
you know, these I mean, as you point out, these are they have their own distinct national identities and which are often antagonistic. I mean,
so, you know, linguistically, they may be united, although I don't understand I studied Arabic Levantine Arabic, I don't understand much of what any Moroccan speaks Arabic says.
But yes, of course, they are. I mean, and you have countries like Egypt, I mean, these are their national identity. I mean, you arguably goes back like, like, the Persian just goes back. millenniums, you know, it's so yeah, it's but that, you know, again, it's part of the caricature, it's part of the,
the, the kind of demonization of Muslims and Arabs, as if they're all one homogenous group, and, of course, an inferior group, if you look at it from the perspective of, of the Israelis. So
yeah, I mean, Israel was never set up as a democracy, certainly not for Palestinians, even those Palestinians who held Israeli citizenship. And they were there. They're either treated like second class citizens, or if you go to Gaza, they're treated as like prisoners.
You know, he, so he ends this with some of his suggestions.
And one of the things I mean, he says that the Palestinians cannot afford to remain divided. And there's there really is their leadership. I mean, if you look at the PLO, the actual members, and the different groups, because you've got, you've got everything from Marxists, to Baptists to socialist members of that group. So they're not unified in terms of just ideas, and then even within the Muslim community, they're very different iterations
of Assad, but he makes an argument that unity is really, really important. And I think that's something even though
tragically, I think, in some ways, the the Netanyahu Well, let me rephrase that. So people don't misunderstand that. Tragically, this happened at a time when that government was about to collapse. And this was kind of the best thing that could have happened. And I know, there's been a lot of speculation that the six hour lag time, and the fact that you know, there was such egregious security breaches. I mean, there are some people that kind of feel that maybe something happened now we're coming out. I mean, one of the things that I've mentioned when I first spoke about this was the Ponsonby report. Are you familiar with that? The the it was done by after World War One, it was
done by a member of parliament in 1921. And I found out about from one of the Mitford sisters I saw an interview with one of the Midford sisters and they and they and the interviewer asked, you know, how could you How could have you been fooled by Hitler, and she said, Well, everybody had read the Ponsonby report. So we figured a lot of it was just propaganda. So I ended up finding the Ponsonby report. And it's an amazing document that basically
they exposed and it's something you have to love about Western culture is that they often do expose all the evil that they do after they do it.
But this book is fascinating because it documents all the lies the British government told the British people
during world war one among them you know this idea the Huns were stabbing Belgian babies, you know, and that first report of 40 beheaded babies. And then also apparently it looks like a lot of the casualties may have actually been been caused by Apache helicopters that were in
just shooting these cars that probably had some Israeli so we don't we're in the fog of war. And I think it's always wise to kind of be very careful about what you
and you know, as, as a, as a real journalist, you know how much false journalism there is out there. And the fact that, you know, even the intelligence agencies,
have their own journalists, you know, that they, that they use to plant stories and do all these things. So
one of the things that he argues and this is something that Malcolm X argued in 1964, and his famous autobiography, he said, The Arabs need public relations. So that was in 1964. So like, 50 years later, you know, it's, I mean, it still seems to be a major PR problem. And do you have any suggestions on, you know, helping? The problem is that the, the, these powerful moneyed forces, you see it with these wealthy donors at universities, Harvard, Columbia, UPenn. You know, presidents have grumbled before these,
you know, Zion, wealthy Zionists, because they don't work for the university work for these wealthy people on the trustee boards. These are the same people that on the media, and look at the statements that have come from CNN, the hierarchy of CNN, the hierarchy of MSNBC, they pay, you know, you may get an occasional report on Gaza. But you know, I would say 80 90% of the information is filtered through Israel, its spokespeople, its victims, it's and, and that, of course, I think, especially among a younger generation, they realize how bankrupt the media is. So part of the problem is just finding the platform and the diversity of platforms and social media as improve this
somewhat, but just finding a platform by which you can speak a truth that defies the dominant narrative is extremely difficult.
You know, one of the things that, I mean, I really hope that
just there's, there's more people within the Jewish community, and there are many, many very decent people that see the problems here within that community. But I think, you know, we were always challenged to,
to condemn our extremists, you know, which we did vociferously since 2001. I mean, I lost my, my children's childhood, traveling around the world. You know, I went to Denmark when the that fiasco happened, and met with the Danish
heads of state about the crisis that they had with the cartoons. You know, that's what I was doing going around. Like, this is not Islam. You know, this is the these are extremists. And I think I really feel the Jewish community has to condemn their extremists because, you know, I mean, Adam, which is this idea that demonic you know, the Amalekites, which I know, you know, well, because you know, the Bible very well, but a lot of people don't know, your reverence, but I like to remind people, you know, and you have a degree in theology from Harvard.
So, but you know, the Amalekites. I mean, that's the word that Netanyahu used remember the Amalek. You know, what we're going to do to the demonic and the Amalek. And Samuel that it's told to kill every man, woman and child and leave nothing breathing. And that's what they call in this culture of dog whistling, right? I mean, they always use that term, you know, this is the Trump dog was thing or so and so dog was thing, but that's quite a dog whistle. Because most people don't know who the Amala gar he said it in Hebrew. But heaven, which is not mainstream Judaism, this idea that you can just wipe out people. I mean, they have very strict laws. And interestingly, you know, in Surah 10,
Matt EDA, when it quotes the oral
Mishnah, when it quotes the Mishnah, because the Quran says about Cain and Abel, for that reason we have prescribed for Benny is Surah eel, that whoever kills whoever kills a life without justification, or corruption in the earth. It's as if they've killed all of humanity and whoever brings life to one life, it's as if they brought life to all of humanity, that which is quoting Jewish scripture. And you know, I've
seen these Jews that have written saying, Oh, well, that was that's not Muslim doctrine. But that is most of doctrine even though it says we prescribe for vinius. Right, we have something called a Shadowman. Covenant, the there are things from the Shetty as a people before us that are included in Islamic law. And that's that's one of them that we understand that that that is a truth. But what's interesting to me is in the Mishnah, there is, in one version, it says whoever saves a Israeli life, it's as if they've saved all of Israel. So so so sol, sol, or all of humanity, like the Israeli line, that that is considered something that's not in the original text. So the Quran is quoting the
original text. And I think this is the demarcation the extremists, Jews and the extremist Muslims that have this exceptionalism, this idea somehow that, that they are above everybody else, and that they can kill people with impunity. You know, whether it's Muslims doing it in a distorted name of Islam, or whether it's Jewish zealots doing it in a distorted name of Judaism, that has to be condemned from both sides, like I want to hear the Jewish voices condemning these these extremists as well, because some of these settlers, I mean, they're, they really sound terrifying, and you can see them like they say things now they're being recorded and, and put up and you even have people
within the cabinet that have said, really genocidal thing. So they can say, Oh, we're not committing genocide, but there are people in there that clearly seem to be arguing for genocide.
Oh, I think the statements are very clear. When you turn Gaza into a parking lot. This is a second NACA, these are all from government ministers. Yeah. The language is genocidal. And the and what they're carrying out in terms of the military Obliteration, certainly of the north, and I don't think they're going to stop with the North is, is genocide, cutting off the food and the water and the fuel. I mean, it's which are war crimes, you know, these are Yeah.
And also the
750,000 settlers that we know up in the occupied territories, which is again, prohibited under international law, you cannot settle people in in territories that you occupy. So on an on a on a hopeful note, the Ecuadorian
legal system just returned
some traditional land to an indigenous people in the Amazon forest that they lost in the Ecuadorian Peruvian war back in the 1940s.
Unfortunately, there's only 800 left in the tried. But
Are you open to taking a few questions from some of the people that you feel? Right?
I'm sure. Just when it comes to q&a, we also had Hannah Hijazi lined up, I want to bring her in.
Just to give some,
we can do that. Now. In fact, this is open to that, because Hala is
how this last 30 members of her family
anyway, there, she has been a friend and her father was a dear friend of mine, and still is, but they're from us. And but how does been, you know, she's been just advocating for decades now.
At least a few decades, and has worked in the Democratic Party in particular. But I think she really understands the ins and outs of how this system works. And it's one of the things that Russia, how to do you really points out is that the Palestinians never really understood the importance of lobbying the importance of, of the vote in the United States, the importance of public relations and and getting their narrative. So I wanted her maybe to talk a little bit about maybe some of the things that people could do this, I want something practical, practical to come out of this also, because I mean, understanding it is really important, and not many people have the time, the energy
and the resources to actually do the type of deep dive that that you've done, Chris, and we honor you for that and for your voice that you've just put forward but also, you know, it's something that that I'm I've been doing the last couple months, and it's been a very illumined
At experience for me to really, I just really want it to get to the bottom of this and understand it at a deep level, because it seems to me it's such a fundamental, you know, village brand, and you're old enough to remember the north south, you know, but he really understood something about what's wrong with this planet. And when you look at the UN resolutions and the UN resolutions, I mean, it's like a gaggle of geese making a resolution against winter because they have to go south, you know, I mean, there's just not a whole lot that comes out of these resolutions. But the, you know, the, the importance of just understanding this, I think, and getting it into a kind of succinct narrative
where people can just see, you know, it's not complicated. You know, at one level, it's actually quite straightforward. So, you know, hello, welcome.
Thank you so much. Salaam Alaikum. Everyone, I'm
not supposed to get emotional Sheikh Hamza, I know, I apologize. Like not to get emotional to, I think it's over close to 100 people from my extended family that's been killed so far.
We have a large family. We've been in Gaza for generations, before 1948. And so
we have, you know, we have roots there. And so
we're very devastated. But you know, at the same time, you know, we have Taqwa. And we have,
yeah, art, you have faith.
And we have to be strong for all of them for for all of them.
And also, you know, for me, I don't condone any killing of any innocent life, regardless of who it is, you know, we work in this multi faith communities that we've worked in. So we value all of life, and so we must protect it.
But I'm not here just as a as a more of an interfaith person, I'm here to kind of talk about some of the things that we can do. First of all, I want to say I am so proud of the community, I'm so proud of the Muslim Arab community and allies, I have been doing this work for 25 years, and I have never seen, you know, as devastating as the score. And the situation has been for two months, I have never seen this community come together for something because this is no longer about lesbians or Palestinians or Muslims. It's about humanity. And it's about human rights. And it's about just the dignity of life in a dignified life. And so to see the community kids and 80 year olds, you know,
protesting and marching has been a very, very powerful thing. And so I am so proud. So I just want to start by saying, you know, this has really brought this community together in a way that I have never seen it ever before. So I'll find the land. And thank you to all that been going to protest and doing that. So I just wanted to rush. And we can do a separate conversation, but just want to kind of give you a macro level
of the importance and why you see certain groups succeeding more having more power than others,
is really, because of relationships. In our civil and political societies, cultivating and sustaining relationships are critical. And having diverse and as many relationships and allies as possible, is really power. And I believe this is where we need to do more and better. And I really want to just talk about a few areas around family, around places of worship, around philanthropic efforts, and then of course, around politics, and engaging our public officials. The one thing about this country is built on two numbers, number of votes and number of dollars raised so when you're talking regardless if you're Republican or Democrat, or whatever you are, this country is really
about the people that win and the people of power know how to count those. But the one good thing about this about numbers is that we as Muslims and as Arabs, and people of faith are growing in large numbers. And I think one thing they underestimate is because we're Muslim, we're black Muslim, we're Chinese Muslim, or white Muslim, or Latino Muslim, we're Asian, Muslim, or Pakistani Muslim. And many of us don't say we're Muslim, like under the census, it doesn't have different categories. So sometimes we're not, you know, we're not categorized, and so they don't realize that we are really impacting, you know, Biden won in 2020, because of three main categories of people, the the
women, the black vote and the Muslim vote. If he did not win, Michigan, he would have lost Michigan was critical, and it was because of the Muslim and Arab boat. And so I think that's why you're seeing a lot of articles in us about the fact that a lot of
People are upset right now. And he may lose his re election, because of the Muslim and Arab vote. And not just in Michigan, we're talking about Virginia, Arizona, Pennsylvania. And then we were talking down down the ballot with him about Ohio, and Texas, and we're talking about Florida. So I want you guys to know, like, our voices matter of voice votes matter. And I know some people are really upset now. And they're like, we're not going to vote. You need to vote. I'm not telling you who to vote for. But you need to show our numbers. And right now, it's a really critical time in our country's history to show our power, especially our power. Because the truth is, we've never had a
seat at the table. And Chuck comes in noseless, whether it's me or others, we had to create our own tables. And that's what we're doing right now. And so, first of all, when it comes to family, I think one missing component is our families. We don't sit around the table and say, Hey, let's read the ballot. Let's see who's affecting us. School board races are critical. That is the entree way. Most people think, Oh, it's just a school board or have children or my children's grown. But those school board races are so important because they end up running for mayor, then the that is permanent stage where they went for assembly or State Senate and then governor. So we need to as a
family really have those dinner conversations around the table about why it is important for that for if you're in Sunnyvale or San Ramon, regardless of where you are, those races are critical. And so as a family, I think we need to do that. The other part about family is that a lot of us in the Muslim community and I fight this with with a lot of my friends, they want their kids to go to medical school, law school, accounting, tech, we really need to get our little children to start thinking about being a journalist working for the government, we need to have better representation. And I really like love, Islamic scholar to find really love with zaytuna College are doing. But we
really need to start creating a pipeline for the PR part of this that Chris Hedges is talking about. And so I really encourage you guys to think of ways of how to diversify
our pipeline of for students so that they have more to look at. And the other one is places of worship. We have hamdulillah in California, amazing places of worship, especially in Santa Clara, with Sheikh Hamza lives and then in LA. The reality is we do a lot of internal event internal facing, but we're not doing external facing events. We need to really open our places of worship, we need to start having community of tars that are for non Muslims. I know we do it once in a while. But we really need to do it not just also when we're in crisis mode, but also just for happier times. The other thing that's important, we need to desegregate our places of worship. In San
Francisco, in particular, we just have the Yemeni that does the Yemeni than the Iraqi than the black. We really need to do a better job of desegregating and doing more of a multifaith engagement, and invite the Jewish members of our community. Our Hindus are Christian and Catholic. I think the problem is right now everyone has gone to their corners. And this is not also healthy, because we really need to establish relationships with them, and show them who we are. You know,
I say this all the time. Like, we as Muslims, we are a beautiful people, we are generous, we are hospitable, we are humble, we would give you the shirt off our backs, we would give you the food off our plates. So we need to show the Muslims not. That's who we are, that we are not what the media is trying to portray us to be, or a small group of powerful right wing racist, what they're trying to show. So please like one of the things that we need to do more is open your hearts and open your doors so that we're invite your neighbors, even if it's a hard thing to do, invite them, include them in your, at your homes at church, or parties, at your picnics. Choose and I also say this, like
we need to have allies. It hurts me when Muslims Arabs are not hanging out with their African American friends, or their Latino friends or their Filipino friends. This is where we are at a disadvantage where the other folks that's what they're doing. They're everywhere. And they should they look like they're the hospitable and they are the righteous and no but we are tubed, we need to do more and be better at that. So please, I really encourage all of you if you have cultural centers, or places of worship that you're leading to do more of that.
And then about community and philanthropic initiatives. The other thing that we're not doing is we're not doing philanthropy outside. We need to start doing more with like the American Red Cross or the American Cancer Society. You guys say Well, that's not politics, but it is. This is where a lot of these major
sponsors and fundraisers and donors, to buildings and to City Hall and to politicians are also the chairs of these organizations. And we need to have more of us working in the spaces, joining boards, volunteering, giving blood, and again, we need to be more active. And so when we call on them, when there's a problem on a board of supervisor issue, or when we have a visual, and we need them to come to one of our prayer services, that they have an existing relationship with us that they feel comfortable, that that we also feel like we're in a safe environment where we can lean on them in our time of need. And I really, really implore you to do more around philanthropy, we are, as pew
research have shown for the past couple of decades, that the Jewish community, the Muslim community are the most giving generous communities in this country. And the problem is with us, we're only giving it mostly to Muslim organizations and masajid. And to Muslim causes. But we're really need to also start showing our power and our strength by giving money also elsewhere so that we can cultivate those relationships. And again, all this is political, like, again, everything we're doing is political, this is not. It's not just about voting. As our Prophet sallallahu sallam said, his just walking is political, and engaging, and having these conversations with people that don't look
like you, and then don't believe it look the same way that you do. And I think we need to do more of that. And now to the part that everyone is waiting for about politics,
engagement is really, really key right now, one of the things that we're missing, I'll just talk about what we're missing, and then go back to some some practical things we do not have. And I just want to say this loudly, we do not have a major political action committee. We don't, there's like one or two in the country, they're small, they only come around every four years. We need to like unlike AIPAC, or Democratic majority for Israel, there's like hundreds of political action committees that do fundraisers for mayors to congress people to to the President. So the problem is, we have so much money, we have so much resources, we are so qualified on so many different things.
But we have not created a political action committee, whether it's local, regional, or national, to compete with that. And unfortunately, as Chris said, the power comes where we're money. And until we cheat the political system, or, or the lobbying system, we're gonna be at a disadvantage. So I encourage all of you, I know, there are a lot of people that are talking about political action committees, I think it's really important to think thoughtfully, me personally, I'm working on one inshallah will be like, for me, I'm, I have, after this situation, I am dedicating
it read dedicated my life to this, because I know this, I breathe this every day. And so instead of me raising money, just to raise money, I have raised Hamdulillah, over $2 million for causes. But this time is personal. And this time, we have to be more strategic
about how do we raise money? And who would you give this money to? So political action committee, so if you guys are interested, to create your own, that's really important. But the more important things right now that you guys already are doing, but we need to do more of is we need to start meeting regularly with your mayor, regularly. Every like in San Francisco, I'll give you a poignant example. In San Francisco, we have regular meetings with the District Attorney's Office, we have regular meetings with the police chief, we have regular meetings, sometimes with the FBI, we have regular meeting with the Attorney General, we have establish relationship. So when someone like me
sees a crazy post, by an elected official, I can call them on their cell phone and say, Hey, do you understand that either you or your or your staff just tweeted something racist Islamophobic. And calling our protesters pro Hamas protesters is an abomination to anything democratic. Those are things that are happening, and we're not going to be able to make those phone calls and have them take down those tweets. If we do not afford not organize and from now on, establishing relationship with there's no crisis, the problem with the community, we only run to them and yell and scream and lose our minds. When when when we're confronted with wars, or the Muslim ban. We need to from day
one and shut up you know, whatever, whether it started October 7 or eighth or starting tomorrow. You guys need to start from now on regardless of the city you live in. It is power. Even if you get rejected, you're not your constituent and we will help you we're going to start rolling out talking points and words the
You need to be using trigger words that inshallah will get the response that you that you like. So again, the most important thing, honestly, right now, especially a release to this war, you need to contact the governor's office, you need to call or know if you've noticed, but the University of California, right, the university has 1010 of the best, most important universities in the world right now. The problem is right now, they have ADL, and a POC and JCRC. And briefing notes from God knows where that are telling them, their children, and only their children are in harm's way that their children are feeling safe, that their children are the only ones that are being impacted,
while our children are the one being stabbed to death shot or ran over. So their response this is this is the response of universities recently is like, well, the Muslim community is not reaching out to us. So why should we provide resources, if they if they don't, there's a problem, we will assume they're reaching out to us. So you guys need to understand when you get mad at some people can't get mad also, because if we're not making the effort before, if we're not holding them accountable, then that would be a problem. So I really encourage you to start email campaigns directly. This is public information. These are you are paying taxes, your taxes are literally
employing the mayor's, the District Attorney's of the city attorney's, you need to have a sheet sheet, every city, every community center, every measure, it needs to have a sheet sheet of the police, from the mayor, to the police sheet, to to to the emergency service response unit to the department public health. The other important thing is language. One thing I realized that our community would do better is if we start every city needs to now enact, make sure that if Arabic is missing, if you have a large population right now, just you know you have Cisco, anything that goes out through Department of Public Health, we made sure that it's an Arabic And sometime in Urdu, and
we pass it out to the masajid and to cultural organizations. And so those are really, really important things that you guys need to consider. The other thing that some of you are not as comfortable with, is working on campaigns right away, even if you don't like the candidate, you need to start understanding the process and the way they think. So I really think it's important. And then the other one thing that a lot of you don't like to do is fundraising. Now, the reason fundraising is important is that unfortunately, how this game is played. I'm just gonna be honest with you, I just attended a major event, a major event with Biden, in San Francisco, and half of the
people on there was from lobbying groups half, half.
There was there was, you know, I don't have 120 $45,000 or two and $50,000. I co host and put my name how that does your the Muslim community or whatever. But half of the people on that host committee, are the people that are telling him no ceasefire?
Yeah, we're running out of time, but I just wanted to get Chris to just maybe host a couple of questions. And then, but I really appreciate your I know, You've been working tirelessly for a long time in this area, and you're one of our community's probably, you know, most knowledgeable people about how this system works. So I think, you know, we should take seriously, your advice, and what you're saying.
SNA. So here's one question, how do these book is distinguished by its use of your manuscript and other primary sources, something that's not always found in books, exploring topics like this on contemporary geopolitics and so on. Which of these insights were novel to you as someone who is an expert in the topic?
So yeah, I agree that is part of the gives the book a lot more texture, because his family was a very prominent Palestinian family that dealt directly with the Zionist settler movement.
And he had relatives who had prominent positions. And and he uses it to describe the relationship between the Zionist settlers and members of his family and how duplicitous they were. How they worked very, very hard to mask the settler colonial project that they privately knew was going to lead to the expulsion of hundreds of 1000s of Palestinians and the seizure of
Palestinian land and property so that that that was really interesting. And I think the other thing is that his post was certainly very highly educated. And at the time, certainly if you go back a century ago,
a large number of the inhabitants in Historic Palestine, we're probably not even literate. And he contrasts that a bit. So his relatives, you know, had one relative who spoke fluent German, and understood completely because he could read the Austrian press, it can read the kinds of things I'm Weissman was writing and saying, but how that lack of that educational disparity, he uses his personal family to show how that lack of understanding made it very difficult for the Palestinians, the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine to understand what was happening to them.
Another question we had was, do you think the fallout and scale of recent events might mean a reset in foreign policy in the Middle East, the UK already has made some indications in this direction through the comments of the new foreign secretary, former Prime Minister David Cameron.
Well, the the only way to get a reset is to recalibrate the relationship between Washington
and Jerusalem. And I don't see that happening.
The power of the Israel lobby is such not only added funds, candidates, and is able to exert tremendous control within institutions, universities, the media and everything else. But of course, it uses his resources to destroy those who stand up like Rashida to leave and speak out on behalf of Palestinian human rights and denounced the genocide. I mean, AIPAC is just announced that they're spending $100 million to go after Rashida to leave and a handful of others who
have had the courage to stand up
to these Israeli war crimes and call them out for what they are. So unfortunately, we the system itself is one of legalized bribery.
the power of the Israel lobby is not so much that it has a lot of popular support within the Democratic Party. It doesn't actually. But it has money. And it uses it
to essentially shut down any debate and make sure that whichever party I mean, you know, look, we have to be clear that
Obama had a very strained relationship with Netanyahu was tried to sabotage his Iran nuclear deal and got himself invited to Congress, behind Obama's getting you doing an end run around Obama to denounce it. When Biden was vice president, he was humiliated by Netanyahu, they've called for restraining settlement expansion. And they, the day he was in Jerusalem, they just expanded it.
Netanyahu doesn't care if Biden becomes collateral collateral damage, because he gets Trump.
you know, in many ways, Biden is kind of hostage to this. I mean, look, he sent his Secretary of State Blinken around the Arab world, like an errand boy begging
Arab heads of state to take ethnically cleanse Palestinians. I mean, they they shut the door in his face was kind of humiliating. And we know from the latest appropriation, that there's a line item in there to for resettlement. So we're going to have to really,
you know, reengineer, the entire political system, because of the I'm a strong supporter of BDS, because like South Africa, once we sever those ties, that's going to create the kind of pressure that's going to force Israel into a settlement they may not want but one that hopefully will be more equitable to the Palestinians.
No, I also want one of the things that just is really ignored in this is
just think what Eisenhower appropriately called the military industrial complex and the amount of money involved and the kind of need for these conflicts to keep this game going. China had a very small budget military budget, but because they felt so threatened,
you know, they're catching up to the United States. They did not put a lot of their money into their military but we
Got another arms race. And I think also that fiasco in Ukraine, and I know you have been opposed. And I was horrified. I mean, Ukraine was bad enough because, you know, I just the average age of Ukrainian soldiers 43 You know, they they massacred a whole generation of Ukrainian young men. And it's just and they knew it all along, that they knew that it would never, it was a no win situation. But believe Russia, you know, Russia as the, as Churchill said, the, the riddle, wrapped in an enigma seals, the real wrapped in an enigma sealed in a mystery. You know, it's been the boogey man for so long. And to keep this game going, you know, John Carroll's book The the abode of war, you
know about America, and the other, you know, the other thing that Eisenhower and I really think that speech is probably one of the most important speeches in American history, his farewell address, you know, they always tell the truth when they're leaving office, you know, but the other thing that people I think, Miss on that speech, because they always quote the military industrial, but the out he had two warnings, and the other was the, the, the CO option of our university system by corporations and, and, and the fact that technology now and the research industry was no longer the the solitary scientist in his garage, tinkering with an invention, but with this massive federally
aided research and funding, which would destroy the intellectual freedom of our universities. I mean, that was his second warning. So I just, you know, I guess I'm kind of concluding, in some ways at at my lay agent life that we're in almost like a malevolent Truman Show, you know, because, like, at least Truman, they had a nice town that he lived in, and, and, you know, he had a relatively nice life, even though he was in a prison, but this kind of prison that that people are putting in with Big Pharma, you know, big agriculture, and then the armaments industry.
Give them food that makes them sick, give them drugs, that, that basically just maintain their sickness, you know, enable them to live with their sickness, and then have wars from time to time to keep this fear. And everybody's in this state of fear. When the reality of it is most people I mean, I've been around long enough, I'm in my seventh decade, you know, on this planet. Most people, if you treat them with dignity, they reciprocate. That's 99% of the you know, there's a malevolent 1%, they're demons. I mean, Susan Sontag said that, you know, 10% of the world was cruel and 10% was merciful and the other 80 were swayed by one group or the other. And maybe there's some truth in
that, but my experience is, most people really are decent, that want to live in peace. They don't want wars, you know, and so these war mongers are just, you know, they're they are the enemy.
Thank you. We had a question for Sheikh Hamza as well. It's in the state of tribulation. Are there particular DUA and Earth car that you would recommend that Muslims engage in for the protection of the people of Earth?
I mean, there's a lot of two answers from the both sides and one of the best ones is where he asks
similar name and official cover letter who then and obey them, I'll see when a particle multivendor could be genetic women in the beanie, Monica hall when I Nina, Messiah dunya, you know, give me a certainty that that makes the tribulations of this world insignificant in my eyes, my experience. I mean, that's a really important too. And then we asked, you know, that peace prevail. I mean, the Prophet asked for peace five times a day, and we should be out there, you know, really promoting peace and one calls written, edited a really important book about the peace movements in Islam. You know, people see Islam as a religion of war and violence, which is a lie. One calls written a
beautiful book called Muhammad prophet of peace. And, you know, he's making an argument as a world class historian, that the documents the tradition, everything shows that the Prophet avoided war whenever he could. He was not a war monger, and he asked God for peace, and he wanted to see peace in the world. So I think we should really, I'm totally anti war. I'm not anti self to
penance I believe in self defense. But modern warfare, as Caleb Carr shows in his book, The history of terror, which is a history of warfare against civilians, Modern Warfare, 90% of the victims of Modern Warfare are civilians. And nobody knows this better than then Chris Hedges, who, you know, for decades, went around the world witnessing firsthand. And I know like Sam Kean in his phases of the enemy. You know, you saw the demonization and what follows always after this demon, I named a demonization of a people, you know that the Jews are human beings and we assert their humanity we believe in, in the truth of the great Jewish prophets. We are commanded by God to believe in Moses,
and in David and and then in the profit of the Christians, Jesus, this is an obligation on us. And we see the you know, there's a tradition we have, where Adam smiles and grimaces and, and, and, and he was asked about it, and he smiled when he saw his children righteous, and he grimaced when he saw them, shedding blood. And so, you know, we forget that the Jewish people are children of Prophets, you know, and we would want good for the children of prophets. I mean, these these are the children of of Isaac and Jacob. And we would want to see them in the Quran says your you did, the Quran says to Benny is right, yeah, you do not. You're not on a sound footing unless you implement your Torah,
which is about justice. And that's why so many of the Jewish people have been motivated by justice. I mean, we know the history of this country and the role that the Jewish community played in so many of the social justice movements, you know, that I, the Columbia Law professor, who was, you know, Mark,
Barbara, oh, SHAN ski, and Mark Rittner. He was
a Jewish law professor that I interviewed after 911, he was defending the Guantanamo
people, you know, this was a professor at Columbia University. And when I asked him why he was doing that, he said, In our tradition, we have something called Sadoc, which is in Arabic city. You know, it's the righteous person that believes in truth and justice and righteousness. And he said, I saw nobody was defending them, and they needed defense. And so my,
my desire to be at Sonic, you know, to be a truthful person, is what motivated me to do that. And so, you know, we as Muslims, we have to really be aware of demonizing, you know, our Jewish brothers and sisters, and recognize that there are many, many people that are on the side of truth and justice, and many of them also are just, you know, they, they had a lot of propaganda, they've grown up in environments where they don't know. You know, the whole story. They know, part of the story.
Shamsa, we're just about getting to the two hour mark.
You know, Chris, do you have any final words that you'd like to say?
No, I think we've covered it. I mean, you know, when you live, as I did in
countries like Palestine, you stop using these terms. I don't even like particularly the term arrow. I mean, because their friends are, you know, ochman.
Shakira, and I mean, you don't you eradicate all of this
kind of rhetoric, which essentially, is used to push people away from you. And I think that is the great blessing that I spent 20 years overseas as a foreign correspondent. And I don't even particularly think of myself as American, I find my kinship with those and they are there and every culture and every religion who rise up
against the oppressor on behalf of the oppressed, and that is my community, and many of them are Muslim.
Thank you for that testimony. The most repeated story in the Quran is Moses and Pharaoh. And
you have to choose your side in this world. Neutrality is not an option on that one. So you know, anyway, I hope these are do you want to have any I would just say thanks.
due again to Dr. I mean, what's allowed you to I think learn about Palestine and then the and visit is what I would call people to which is, you know, being faithful and honoring people being hospitable, being conscious of how you spend your money. It's being intentional. It like you mentioned, BDS it matters, who you engage with and what you support. Because,
you know, you're either eating or you're not, and you're either on the side of justice or not. So I appreciate that about you. And I just continue to call on people to, like you're doing to elevate the voice of Palestinian people. That was one of the things when I was there, in the Second Intifada that people asked me to do when you return to the states, tell people what we're experiencing, and let them know, because they have a, they have a belief that people are good, that if they hear the truth, that they will side with them. And that's something that's I think the Palestinian people have held on to over the years and everything that they've endured, is that if you tell people the
truth, they will side with the truth. And that's what keeps people going. And that's what allows these young people who are in Gaza to risk their lives to videotape what's happening. They believe that if you show people truth, they will, that they were that they will, you know, support the truth. And so thank you for that. And thank you to Sheikh Hamza for opportunity to really tell our story. I'm gonna thank you for being here. I, you know, I just want to say if I think everybody, this affects the whole globe, and one of the things that, you know, Barbara Tuchman's book on, you know, August, you know, the days August, it's, you know, one idiot, fired a shot that was heard
around the world, you know, I don't think people realize the potential for a global conflagration. I mean, it's very real. And, and we don't want to see that, you know, we have children, and we're people that that believe in life, not not in debt.
So I think it's really important for people to get educated about this. I saw one
Jewish person, and you know, who was advocating for Palestinians. And he was asked by the interviewer, are you pro Palestinian? He said, No, I'm pro truth. And I think that's a really important distinction. Because if the Palestinians are wrong, we have to be against the Palestinians, the Quran says and be witnesses unto the truth, even against yourselves. So if they're wrong, you know, if they killed civilians, we have to condemn that. And that's wrong, you know, but we also have to recognize that when other sides are wrong as well, we can't be seen as a partisan thing. And also, you know, anti semitism, like racism becomes a term of abuse. And as you know, a
term of abuse is only effective if it doesn't have a definition. You know, like, somebody cuts you off on the road, and you say, you idiot, and the guy could be a Nobel Prize winning professor at MIT, you know, who's not an idiot, but the term works because it doesn't have a definition. And words have meaning and I know you're somebody committed to that truth also, you know, anti semitism should be a real word that means something and should not be glibly thrown around to anybody that has criticisms that are legitimate whether they be Jewish to be called a self hating Jews or whether they be a Muslim or somebody a Christian or a secularist, you know that it's just really important
but I hope this has you know, been I really appreciate you I know you're you're really busy, and we have to rearrange it, but I really wanted to have you on Chris I I dedicated my book to you the prayer of the oppressed because of the work that that that you've done for the Palestinians so I mean, I hope these are ironic points of light that flash out wherever the judge would change their messages. So may I composed of arrows and dust like them, beleaguered by the same negation and despair?
affirm showing affirming flame? So hopefully, that's what we're trying to do.
Thank you, Chris. Yeah. Okay. Appreciate it.