Background Briefing: October 15, 2023

Can Israel Destroy Hamas Then Hand Over Gaza to the UN and Arab States to Rebuild and Sustain it?

We begin with an overview of the U.S. getting dragged back into the tormented Middle East as a war between Israel and Hamas rages while Washington tries to focus on a far more serious war of Russian aggression that is destroying Ukraine and threatening Europe. Furthermore, the Secretary of State, who is in the Middle East, is warning that Azerbaijan may launch a military invasion of Armenia at any moment, further distracting the U.S. government. Joining us is Steven Simon, who served on the National Security Council staff as senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs from 2011 to 2012. He also worked on the NSC staff from 1994 to 1999 on counterterrorism and Middle East security policy. These assignments followed a fifteen-year career at the U.S. Department of State. Currently a Fellow in International Affairs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he is the co-author, among other books, of The Age of Sacred Terror, winner of the Arthur C. Ross Award for best book in international relations. His latest book is Grand Delusion: The Rise and Fall of American Ambition in the Middle East.


Rising Tensions on Campuses Between Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestinian Students

Then we examine rising tensions on university and college campuses as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian students clash leading to the firing of some professors and the criticism of some administrators. Joining us to discuss the efforts by the Trump era’s Kenneth Marcus, the former head of the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights, to revive Trump’s executive order to pull federal funds from colleges who did not accept Marcus’s edict that criticism of Israel equals anti semitism is Katherine Franke, a Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law at Columbia University. Among the nation’s leading scholars writing on law, sexuality, race, and religion, she is the author of Wedlocked: The Perils of Marriage Equality and Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Slavery’s Abolition. She is a member of the board of directors for Palestine Legal which provides legal resources for activists advocating for Palestine across the U.S.