Background Briefing: May 18, 2021


A Veteran of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations on the Current Israel-Hamas War

We begin with the war continuing to rage between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and the communal violence in Israel itself and speak with a veteran diplomat with unique experience in trying to bring about a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Ambassador Martin Indyk, a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who served as U.S. Ambassador to Israel and as the U.S. Special Envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from July 2013 to June 2014, joins us to discuss his article at Foreign Affairs, “The U.S. Can Neither Ignore nor Solve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Washington Must Actively Manage a Dispute it Can’t End.” We assess whether Prime Minister Netanyahu was negligent in allowing the violence at the Al Aqsa mosque to get out of hand or as some suggest, was cynical in creating conditions to prevent a coalition government between Naftali Bennett and an Arab-Israeli party from forming. We also address the need to deal with the violent mobs of Jewish and Arab vigilantes running amok and how Israeli Arab communities need the government to provide services and protection for citizens who are preyed upon by criminal gangs.


The GOP’s Slide into Authoritarianism and Dictator Worship

Then we look into today’s decision by Republican House Leader McCarthy to oppose a bipartisan deal to establish an independent commission like the 9/11 Commission to investigate the January 6 deadly attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. Joining us is Joseph Lowndes, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Oregon and an expert on conservatism, social movements, race and elections and co-author of Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity. We examine the authoritarian slide underway as Trump’s GOP becomes more and more hostile to democracy and enamored with their strongman they believe won an election he lost.


Conflicting Messages Over Masks and the Lag in Global Vaccination

Then finally we get an update on the pandemic and some clarity over the conflicting messages coming from the CDC and local authorities including the State of California which is recommending people who have been fully vaccinated still wear masks until June 15. Dr. Peter Katona, a Clinical Professor of Medicine in Infectious Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA who has worked at the CDC studying infectious diseases, joins us to discuss the need to vaccinate the 7.8 billion people on the planet with only 675 million vaccinated so far.