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Call Me Back - with Dan Senor

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Political and geopolitical analysis from the world's top experts, hosted by Dan Senor.
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Share on Twitter: https://tinyurl.com/3wv3d77z As we try to make sense of the past two weeks, consider this: 1. IDF withdraws from most of the Gaza Strip while it now also appears increasingly likely that the IDF will conduct an operation in Rafah. 2. An historic Iranian attack of 300 ballistic missiles, UAVs and cruise missiles, and an historic coalition force that includes Israel, the US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan that shot down almost all of the projectiles. 3. A week later, Israel attacks Iran. 4. A widely backed U.N. security council resolution recognizing a Palestinian state, which the US vetoed. So a lot is happening, but is Israel closer to achieving the war's objectives? To help us understand what’s going on, our guest today is NADAV EYAL, who returns to the podcast. He is a columnist for Yediot. Eyal has been covering Middle-Eastern and international politics for the last two decades for Israeli radio, print and television news.
There has been growing tension within Israeli society over where to prioritize a hostage deal – at what cost (in terms of how many and which Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons should be part of the deal and the length of any temporary ceasefire). At the same time, the sense of urgency behind Israel's hostage cause in capitals around the world is…drifting. Not disappearing, but drifting. A turning point seemed to be when the UN Security Council passed a resolution – 14-0 (made possible by a US decision not to veto) – that, for the first time, did not call for a ceasefire that was conditioned on the return of the hostages. It’s a sense we get from families of hostages, who are in regular contact with media, NGOs and governments around the world. It’s against that backdrop, that we sat down in person with Maya Roman, who was in New York and Washington, DC. Maya Roman is an Israeli journalist from Tel Aviv. On October 7th, Maya’s cousin, Yarden Roman-Gat, was visiting her husband’s parents in Kibbutz Beeri along with other family members. Yarden and her sister in law, Carmel, were taken hostage. Yarden’s mother-in-law (and Carmel’s mother), Kinneret, was murdered. Yarden was released as part of the hostage deal last November. Carmel is still being held. Since 10/07, Maya has not stopped organizing or advocating for the release of her family. When we hear of the hostage families movement, Maya is the kind of person who has been in the middle of it. In our conversation, Maya talks about what they have learned from Yarden since her return from captivity, and where the hostage movement may go from here, at this crucial and very raw phase. "Bring Carmel Back" on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bringcarmelback?igsh=MTBkaGlsd3JtbXI4eQ==
30,000. You hear that number and you already know exactly what we are referring to. It’s 30,000 casualties. That’s the number of Palestinians that have been killed in Gaza as a result of the IDF response to the October 7th invasion of Israel, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Of course, we don’t know how the Gaza Health Ministry arrived at that number. How does it collect this data, analyze it, and how does it account for civilian casualties versus Hamas terrorists? It’s a big round number that everyone - from news reporters, to aid organizations to governments - mindlessly repeat. Well, a data scientist at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has taken the time to try to understand how these numbers are computed. He published his study in a piece in Tablet Magazine — it’s called “How the Gaza Ministry of Health Fakes Casualty Numbers”. You can find it here: https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/how-gaza-health-ministry-fakes-casualty-numbers Abraham Wyner is Professor of Statistics and Data Science at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Faculty Co-Director of the Wharton Sports Analytics and Business Initiative. Professor Wyner received his Bachelor's degrees in Mathematics from Yale University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with distinction in his major. He was the recipient of the Stanley Prize for excellence in Mathematics. His PhD in Statistics is from Stanford University.
Over the past several weeks, especially the Biden administration’s statements Thursday, Israel has been subjected to a fresh round of harsh criticisms. We’ll be turning to the elevating U.S.-Israel tensions in our Monday episode with Nadav Eyal. But today we have a conversation about the criticisms we have been hearing in intra-Jewish community debates here in the U.S. and other Diaspora communities. While there is a growing number of American Jewish leaders calling on Israel to change course and pursue a permanent ceasefire -- or at least wage a more “humane” war -- these voices are still a small minority (albeit a very loud minority). These voices get outsized attention, but they should not be ignored. They are people that many of us know. Some have large platforms. Many non-Jews hear them on those platforms and cite these Jewish figures as sources. What does all this tell us about trends in American Jewish life long before October 7? What is the impact now on Israel? These are some of the questions we try to unpack with: -Yossi Klein Halevi, who is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Yossi has written a number of books, including his latest, "Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor," which was a New York Times bestseller. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Times of Israel. He is co-host of "For Heaven's Sake" podcast. -Rabbi David A. Ingber is the new Senior Director for Jewish Life and Senior Director of the Bronfman Center at 92NY. He serves as the founding rabbi of Romemu, the largest Renewal synagogue in the United States. Items discussed in this episode: -Rabbi David Ingber's Shabbat sermon on Israel (03/22/24): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=px5i9mIxd5E&t=3942s -Rabbi Angela Buchdahl's letter to her congregants on her position on the war in response to the "Times of Israel" article: https://centralsynagogue.cmail20.com/t/j-e-sulquk-dhkutlbli-r/ -Yossi Klein Halevi's books: https://www.amazon.com/stores/author/B001IXOA04
On Wednesday, Benny Gantz announced he was calling for new elections to take place in September. What is the significance of this announcement? Is it a sharp turn for Israel’s Government? What are the implications for the war and the War Cabinet? What does it mean for the protest movement? Anshel Pfeffer — who has covered Israeli politics, Israeli national security, and global affairs for over two decades — joins our conversation very late at night in Jerusalem. He is a senior correspondent and columnist for Haaretz and Israel correspondent for The Economist. Anshel is the author of the book: “ Bibi: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu.”
Since October 7, the United States has vetoed three resolutions put before the UN Security Council calling for a ceasefire. But suddenly, this past Monday, in a jarring change of course, the U.S. abstained, which -- for all practical purposes -- means the Biden administration chose to allow the 15-member Security Council to pass a similar resolution by a 14-0 vote.
The new edition of The Economist Magazine features a photo of an Israeli flag, blowing in the wind…all alone. The cover title of this issue’s editorial is just that — “Israel Alone”. The editorial reads: “Today Israel has destroyed perhaps half of Hamas’s forces. But in important ways its mission has failed. “As estrangement from the West deepens, so deterrence may weaken. Firms could be blacklisted. Bosses could move high-tech businesses abroad or, if they are reservists, be arrested there.” But is Israel actually alone? This is what we unpack today during our regular check-in with Haviv Rettig Gur. And in the first part of the conversation, we wound up discussing why the criticism of Israel today looks almost identical to criticism of Israel in previous wars, regardless of which politicians are leading Israel.
In the days ahead, Minister Dermer will be flying to Washington with a small delegation to meet with the Biden administration about the IDF’s options for Rafah, which we discuss. We also discuss where the overall military operation in Gaza stands now, the hostage negotiations, whether the Israeli Government should be expected to have a day-after plan rolled out now, what role the Arab world can or should play in that day-after planning, and the Government of Canada’s decision to ban future arms sales to Israel.
On October 6th of last year there was a long-standing ceasefire in place between Israel and Hamas. On October 7th, Hamas launched a massive war against Israel. Israel responded to this war that Hamas launched. Wars are violent. In all wars, civilians tragically get killed in the crossfire. What is unique about this war is how Hamas has used violence against civilians – Israeli civilians and Palestinian civilians -- as core to its war-fighting strategy. What is unique to this war is how Hamas has built a 300-plus mile tunnel system underground to protect Hamas leadership and fighters while it set up its own civilian population to suffer. What is also unique about this war is the lengths the IDF has gone to telegraph so many of its operations so Palestinian civilians can re-locate in advance of those operations. This is the reality of this war. And, yet, the Biden administration has supported Israel in this war from Day 1. Israel articulated its objectives in this war. The Biden administration made clear it supported Israel in pursuit of those objectives. But suddenly, the Biden administration and some of its allies on Capitol Hill are excoriating Israel's government. In fact, they are calling for the toppling of Israel’s leaders in the middle of this war. Well, as Minister Benny Gantz said on Friday, “ Israel is a strong democracy, and only its citizens will determine its leadership and future. Any external intervention is unacceptable.” How does this shifting US-Israel relationship impact actual events on the ground? The actual things that matter in this war -- the hostage negotiations, the debate about a day-after plan for Gaza, and the coming operation in Rafah, to name a few. To help us understand what’s going on here,guest today is NADAV EYAL, who returns to the podcast. He is a columnist for Yediot. Eyal has been covering Middle-Eastern and international politics for the last two decades for Israeli radio, print and television news.
Since October 7, we have heard from more and more friends in Israel who came of age -- politically -- in the 1990s. Some of these friends were key political figures on the Israeli Left and were committed to working on a two-state solution as the final resolution to achieve regional peace. Dr. Einat Wilf joins us to discuss the sobering of many of these figures and what it means for Israel's future. Einat also discusses an essay she penned for Sapir journal about the tendency of activists in other countries to project their political debates on Israel -- something happening today -- however disconnected from Israel those debates may be. Her essay is called "How Not to Think About the Conflict" and it can be found here: https://sapirjournal.org/social-justice/2021/04/how-not-to-think-about-the-conflict/ Einat was born and raised in Israel. She was an Intelligence Officer in the IDF. She has worked for McKinsey. She was Foreign Policy Advisor to Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres and an advisor to Yossi Beilin, who was Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Wilf was a member of the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset) in the early 2010s, where she served as Chair of the Education Committee and Member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. She has a BA from Harvard, an MBA from INSEAD in France, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Cambridge. She was a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University and is a lecturer at Reichman University in Israel. Einat is the author of seven books that explore key issues in Israeli society. “We Should All Be Zionists“, published in 2022, brings together her essays from the past four years on Israel, Zionism and the path to peace; and she co-authored “The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace”, which was published in 2020. "THE WAR OF RETURN" -- https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-war-of-return-adi-schwartz/1131959248?ean=9781250364845
As Ramadan begins, many analysts are speculating on what this means for Israel’s coming military operation in Rafah. There is a threat from Hamas to deter a Rafah operation. There is a threat from the Biden administration seemingly designed to encourage Israeli’s War Cabinet to re-think the operation. Are these real threats? How does Israel evaluate these threats? This is what we unpack in our weekly check-in with Haviv Rettig Gur. Then we discuss whether President Biden is beginning a turn against Israel. Is it real or is it performative? Is there a difference? What are the implications?
Micah Goodman is on the speed-dial of a number of Israeli political leaders – from right to left, but especially on the center-left and the center-right. He is a polymath, a podcaster and one of Israel’s most influential public intellectuals, having written books ranging from biblical lessons for the modern age to Israel’s geopolitics. One book in particular, had an outsized impact in terms of its framing of the conundrum that Israel has been in with the Palestinians since 1967. That book is called Catch-67: The Left, the Right, and the Legacy of the Six-Day War, Not only have all of his books been bestsellers in Israel, he essentially created a new genre; books that bring core texts of Jewish thought to a general, secular audience. But Micah has a new book, which he wrote in a four-month sprint following October 7. His new book is called ‘The Eighth Day’, in which Micah tries to understand the implications of the nation’s trauma and what it means for the other ‘day after’ (not the ‘day after’ in Gaza, but the ‘day after’ inside Israel). What does this moment mean for Israelis? How will 10/07 re-shape Israeli society…and its politics?This is the first interview Micah has done about his new book, which will be published (in Hebrew) at the end of March. Micah Goodman’s books: Catch-67 — https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/catch-67-micah-goodman/1128089735?ean=9780300248418 The Wondering Jew — https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-wondering-jew-micah-goodman/1136574622?ean=9780300252248
Will there be a negotiated pause in fighting in advance of Ramadan, or will the IDF move against the remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah? At the same time, what to make of the new external and internal pressures on Israel? Externally, there is mounting pressure on Israel regarding delivery of humanitarian aid, and increasing internal pressure — specifically on Prime Minister Netanyahu — relating to how he’ll hold his Government together in the midst of a new debate about exemptions of Haredim from military service. To help us unpack what’s going in with these intensifying external and internal political pressure points, we are joined by Haviv Rettig Gur, for our regular check in.
PART 1 of 2 For more than 30 years of ‘on again-off again’ peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, many Israelis, and certainly most interested observers in the West, looked to the 1967 Six-Day War as the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If only we could reverse the results of that defensive war in which Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza, the problem would be solved, so the narrative goes. And this served as the basis for all peace talks and agreements that have taken place since. But, to anyone willing to listen, the story that Palestinian leaders were telling had nothing to do with 1967, and everything to do with 1948. And the story they tell goes something like this: ‘In the 1940s Jews escaped the Nazis, fled Europe, colonized Palestine, and unprovoked - ethnically cleansed the Arabs. A textbook case of settler colonialism.’ They have managed to propagate this false narrative throughout much of Western society, where millions are mindlessly chanting those six words - ‘from the river to the sea.’ So while we never thought we’d need to re-litigate this topic, we invited to the podcast (for a special two-part discussion) one of the quintessential historians of 1948 - Benny Morris. Professor Morris has dedicated his entire career to studying and writing about the war of 1948, the circumstances that led to it and its aftermath - i.e The Palestinian Refugee Problem. Morris's first book was “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949”. His other books include: “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War”, and “Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001”. He completed his undergraduate studies in history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and received a doctorate in modern European history from the University of Cambridge. Links to all of Benny Morris’s books can be found here: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Benny%20morris His recent published essays can be found here: https://quillette.com/author/benny-morris/?gad_source=1
PART 2 of 2 For more than 30 years of ‘on again-off again’ peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, many Israelis, and certainly most interested observers in the West, looked to the 1967 Six-Day War as the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If only we could reverse the results of that defensive war in which Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza, the problem would be solved, so the narrative goes. And this served as the basis for all peace talks and agreements that have taken place since. But, to anyone willing to listen, the story that Palestinian leaders were telling had nothing to do with 1967, and everything to do with 1948. And the story they tell goes something like this: ‘In the 1940s Jews escaped the Nazis, fled Europe, colonized Palestine, and unprovoked - ethnically cleansed the Arabs. A textbook case of settler colonialism.’ They have managed to propagate this false narrative throughout much of Western society, where millions are mindlessly chanting those six words - ‘from the river to the sea.’ So while we never thought we’d need to re-litigate this topic, we invited to the podcast (for a special two-part discussion) one of the quintessential historians of 1948 - Benny Morris. Professor Morris has dedicated his entire career to studying and writing about the war of 1948, the circumstances that led to it and its aftermath - i.e The Palestinian Refugee Problem. Morris's first book was “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949”. His other books include: “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War”, and “Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001”. He completed his undergraduate studies in history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and received a doctorate in modern European history from the University of Cambridge. Links to all of Benny Morris’s books can be found here: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Benny%20morris His recent published essays can be found here: https://quillette.com/author/benny-morris/?gad_source=1
Last week, Prime Minister Netanyahu released to his cabinet what could be interpreted as a first sketch, an early blueprint, or a statement of principles for post-war Gaza planning. At the same time, and much more newsworthy, it appears that there is some progress on the negotiations to return more Israeli hostages. To help us understand what’s going with both tracks, our guest today is NADAV EYAL, who returns to the podcast. He is a columnist for Yediot. Eyal has been covering Middle-Eastern and international politics for the last two decades for Israeli radio, print and television news. One of Israel’s leading journalists, Eyal was a winner of the Sokolov Prize, Israel’s most prestigious journalism award. Eyal has been covering Middle-Eastern and international politics for the last two decades for Israeli radio, print and television news. He received a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a law degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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Comments (5)

Marnix Labadie

can't download or play the episode on castbox

Apr 17th
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Wasim Muklashy

How long will we continue to ignore Netanyahu's insistence for 20 years that a Palestinian state will never happen? Yes, Hamas is an evil hellchild, no doubt about it! But how much longer can we continue to ignore Benjamin Netanyahu's role and the settlement's role in all of this? I mean members of his own coalition have been banned from government in the past for Christ's sakes!! If we're going to have a real conversation about this, it has to be REAL.

Feb 21st
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Oct 22nd
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Jul 21st
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