Day: April 30, 2024

Background Briefing: April 30, 2024

As Campus Protests Intensify and Spread, Northwestern University Serves as a Model for De-escalation

We begin with more campuses erupting across the country as protests against Israel’s war in Gaza intensify and spread and speak with Wendy Pearlman, a professor of political science and director of the Middle East and North Africa studies program at Northwestern University. Her books include Violence, Nonviolence, and the Palestinian National Movement and Triadic Coercion: Israel’s Targeting of States That Host Nonstate Actors. She is a signatory to an open letter from staff at Northwestern University urging productive conversations regarding students’ rights to protest peacefully and we discuss how the agreement between students, faculty and the administration at Northwestern has led to a de-escalation, serving as a possible model for other universities whose leaders have often made bad decisions that have led to escalation and confrontation. 


The Disturbingly Accurate Analogies Between Hitler’s Rise to Power and Trump’s Threat to Democracy

Then with Trump fined $9,000 today for violating many gag orders and threatened with jail by the judge, we will explore in depth the chilling and disturbingly accurate analogies between the rise of Hitler in 1932 and the American political moment in 2024. One hundred years ago in 1924, Hitler’s grandstanding in court, then being jailed as a martyr for the cause of making Germany great again, only boosted his popularity. Then he rose to power thanks to a divided gerontocracy on the left, weakened by a split with the far-left, which allowed a deranged demagogue, supported by a one-third minority (but with help from rightwing media barons and short-sighted plutocrats), to seize power and end democracy. Joining us is Timothy Ryback, who has written on history and politics for more than three decades. He is the author of Hitler’s Private Library, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and The Last Survivor, a New York Times Notable Book. He is co-founder and director of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation in The Hague, and his latest book, just out, is Takeover: Hitler’s Final Rise to Power and we discuss his article at The Los Angeles Times, “Trump turns his trials into a soapbox. Does he know he’s channeling Hitler?