Aug 11, 2023
Today we have two interviews from our US correspondent, Michael Arria.
First he speaks with Josh Ruebner about the shifting politics around U.S. aid to Israel, and later, he checks in with the victim of an anti-Palestinian smear campaign at Florida State University.
We begin with U.S. aid to Israel. The fight in Congress continues to build over the billions of dollars we send to Israel every year. Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen is the latest to call for conditioning US aid to Israel, joining other high profile figures such as Bernie Sanders, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and others. At the same time, however, a high-profile delegation of Democrats in the House Representatives were in Israel meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu. This trip was sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, and they have been furiously promoting it online over the past several days. Many, if not all of the Congress members on the trip filmed videos for AIPAC’s social media channels in which they profess their love and admiration for Israel. Phil Weiss, our founder and senior editor, said they looked like hostage videos.
So, what is happening with the issue of aid funds for Israel? Michael spoke to Josh Ruebner about the history of US aid to Israel and the emerging fractures in Congress over this enormous amount of money.
Josh is the author of Israel: Democracy or Apartheid State? and Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace. He is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University.
Then to Florida.
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights recently announced that it was opening an investigation into Florida State University's handling of a smear campaign targeting one of its students.
Ahmad Daraldik was elected FSU student senate president in June 2020, but immediately faced backlash from campus groups, pro-Israel organizations, and even local politicians over his criticisms of Israel.
Social media posts Daraldik made as a child, while facing Israeli oppression, were dug up in the process. Michael spoke to Ahmad about the smear campaign, his original complaint, and the historic Education Department probe.
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