Background Briefing: December 12, 2019
Trump Brands Criticism of Israel on Campuses Antisemitism
We begin with the Executive Order just signed by President Trump which allows the Department of Education to penalize colleges who are deemed to be tolerating anti-Semitism by allowing criticism of Israel. A veteran trial attorney, Mark Kleiman, who represented San Francisco State University Professor Rabab Abdulhadi against a frivolous lawsuit that targeted her academic freedom and threatened campus advocacy for Palestinian rights, joins us. He is now representing two professors sued by the Brandeis Center which was founded by Kenneth Marcus, a right wing pro-Israel operative now the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights in the Trump Administration who has been a tireless advocate for branding criticism of Israel anti-Semitic, conflating Judaism with Zionism. We discuss Jared Kushner’s article in today’s New York Times which claims American students in schools and on college campuses who are Jewish, face anti-Semitic harassment. We will assess whether Kushner’s citing of the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States since 2013 by the Anti-Defamation League has anything to do with campus activism in support of Palestinians, but rather is a result of Kushner’s father-in-law’s coddling of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. In fact murderous anti-Semitic attacks on synagogues in Poway, California and in particular, Pittsburgh, were carried out white supremacists who in the case of the Tree of Life synagogue, the shooter was motivated by Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric to kill Jewish worshipers because they helped resettle refugees in the U.S.
The Author of “Shadow Network: Media, Money and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right”
Then we speak with Anne Nelson, who teaches journalism and public affairs at Columbia University and is the author of the new book just out, “Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right”. She joins us to discuss how the innocuous sounding Council for National Policy founded by Republican operatives, plutocrats, oil barons, gun lobbyists and evangelical leaders, has been behind the rise of the right and the attacks on civil liberties and the social safety net.
The Gloves Are Off Between Moderate and Progressive Democratic Candidates
Then finally we look into the sharpening campaign rhetoric between progressive and moderates Democratic candidates running for president, with Elizabeth Warren today aiming a broadside against Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, accusing them of being naïve in accepting Republican calls for unity or bending to the whims of wealthy donors instead of standing up to the rich. Robert Hockett, a Professor of Law at Cornell University, who is an advisor to Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, joins us to discuss this escalating battle ahead of next week’s debate.