Background Briefing: May 16, 2021


Divisions Among Middle Eastern Rulers and the Arab Street Over the War in Gaza

We begin with an analysis of how the current war between Hamas and Israel and the communal violence in Israel itself between Jewish vigilantes and Israeli Arabs is playing out in the Arab street and how it is impacting governments in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Bahrain, Sudan and the UAE which have recognized Israel. Sarah Leah Whitson, the executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now, DAWN, an organization set up to continue the work of Jamal Khashoggi who was murdered on orders from the Saudi Crown Prince MBS, joins us. The former executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, we discuss the extent to which the U.S. is enabling this conflict and the asymmetry in a war between the most powerful military and only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East and the divided Palestinians caught between a corrupt and impotent Palestinian Authority and a fanatical and cynical Hamas.


The Asymmetry of Overwhelming Force Against a Captive People Caught Between Corruption and Fanaticism

Then we speak with Noura Erakat, a human rights attorney and professor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University and a member of the editorial committee of the Journal of Palestine Studies and the author of Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine. She joins us to discuss her article at The Washington Post, “Sheikh Jarrah highlights the brazenness of Israel’s colonialist project” and the suffering of a stateless, occupied people caught between overwhelming military force and the divided representation of corrupt sellouts and religious zealots.


A Way to Address Climate Change and Reimagine a Healthier, Happier World

Then finally we go to the U.K. to speak with Laurie Laybourn-Langton and Mathew Lawrence, the co-authors of a new book, just out, Planet on Fire: A Manifesto for the Age of Environmental Breakdown which offers a roadmap for a global social, economic and political transformation to urgently address climate change and reimagine a new way of life that can bring about a healthy and flourishing environment for all.