Day: December 18, 2023

Background Briefing: December 18, 2023

The White House Tells Israel That “Protecting Palestinian Civilians in Gaza is Both a Moral Duty and Strategic Imperative” 

We begin with increasing pressure from the White House on Israel with Defense Secretary Austin meeting with his Israeli counterpart urging the IDF that “protecting Palestinian civilians in Gaza is both a moral duty and strategic imperative” as Palestinian civilian casualties approach 20,000 dead, mostly women and children. Joining us is Dov Waxman, Professor and Chair in Israel Studies at the University of California Los Angeles. He has also been a visiting fellow at Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Oxford University, and is the author of dozens of scholarly articles and four books: The Pursuit of Peace and The Crisis of Israeli Identity: Defending / Defining the Nation, Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within, Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel, and most recently, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know.


Pope Francis Approves Blessing For Same-Sex Couples

Then we look into today’s major doctrinal shift in the Catholic Church with Pope Francis approving blessings for same-sex couples and divorced and remarried couples. Joining us to explain this shift and Pope Francis’s crackdown on right wing American bishops is Joshua McElwee, the News Editor of The National Catholic Reporter and their former Vatican correspondent. His reporting and feature writing have earned numerous awards from the Catholic Press Association of the U.S. and Canada and have been featured in Vatican Insider, The Irish Catholic and The Official Catholic Directory. He is the author of 10 Things Pope Francis Wants You to Know About the Family.


Republicans Hold Biden Hostage With An Immigration Deal That Will Anger the Democratic Base

Then finally we assess what kind of deal Biden can make with the Republicans who are holding hostage money for Ukraine while demanding changes to border policies that will anger the Democratic base and erode Latino support. Joining us is Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Policy Director at the American Immigration Council where he directs the Council’s administrative and legislative advocacy effort and works on border and immigration court issues. We will discuss his article at The Hill, “Trump 2.0: A second term would see him pick more and uglier fights on immigration.”