Scott talks with Ramzy Baroud about the ongoing crisis for Palestinians in the West Bank, and in particular in the Gaza Strip, who face forced confinement and military occupation as parts of their daily lives. Baroud is reminded of the partial quarantine most Americans are facing today because of the coronavirus pandemic, and has been taking the opportunity to tell his story—and the stories of many like him—who spent their childhoods under a kind of quarantine as refugees. While sympathizing deeply with the hardships being faced all over the country, he and Scott hope that some Americans might come to see how inhumane life for the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli occupiers is, given how strenuous this much smaller taste of quarantine can be.
Discussed on the show:
- “Israeli Forces Demolish Emergency Coronavirus Clinic for Palestinians” (Palestine Chronicle)
- Israel Settlers Spitting on Palestinian Cars Raises Concern Over Attempt to Spread Coronavirus (Middle East Monitor)
- “‘They Spit When I Walked in the Street’: The ‘New Anti-Semitism’ in France” (The New York Times)
- “Edward Said: Permission to Narrate” (Abagond)
- “A Palestinian Guide to Surviving a Quarantine: On Faith, Humor, and ‘Dutch Candy’” (Common Dreams)
- Killing Gaza
- “A Terrifying Scenario: Coronavirus in ‘Quarantined’ Gaza” (Common Dreams)
- “‘Zionist’ Biden in His Own Words: ‘My Name is Joe Biden, and Everybody Knows I Love Israel’” (Counterpunch)
Ramzy Baroud is a US-Arab journalist and is the editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of My Father Was A Freedom Fighter: The Untold Story of Gaza and The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story. His new book is These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons. Follow Ramzy on Twitter @RamzyBaroud and read his work at RamzyBaroud.net.
This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: NoDev NoOps NoIT, by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State, by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; Listen and Think Audio; TheBumperSticker.com; and LibertyStickers.com.
The following is an automatically generated transcript.
All right, y’all welcome it’s Scott Horton Show. I am the director of the Libertarian Institute editorial director of antiwar.com, author of the book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan. And I’ve recorded more than 5000 interviews going back to 2003, all of which are available at ScottHorton.org. You can also sign up to the podcast feed. The full archive is also available at youtube.com/ScottHortonShow. All right, you guys welcome back to the show. On the line, I’ve got the great Ramsey Baroud from PalestineChronicle.net and he also is the author of These Chains will be Broken well, editor I guess. These chains will be broken Palestinian stories struggle and defiance in Israeli prisons. Welcome back to the show. How you doing Ramsey?
Ramzy Baroud 1:05
I’m doing great. Thank you for having me, Scott.
Scott Horton 1:08
Great, man. happy to hear that and very happy to have you back on the show. And I meant to mention, of course that we run almost all your stuff at antiwar.com dot com as well. And we got a few of those to talk about on the show today. But first of all, I wanted to start with this story from the Palestine Chronicle. Israeli forces demolish emergency Coronavirus clinic for Palestinians. It sounds so absurd that it must be true, I guess, in northern Jordan Valley. Can you tell us about that?
Ramzy Baroud 1:47
Well, it is as absurd as it sounds, but it is really the typical type of behavior of the Israeli army in and it’s foolish also to think about And we’ll talk about this in a second. But yes, there is this trend of the Israelis are trying to send political messages to, to the Palestinians. So whenever the Palestinians are trying to, you know, contain the spread of Corona virus in certain areas Israel claims to be part of its, you know, future vision of the Israeli state. For example, yesterday in occupied East Jerusalem, they demolished a makeshift Coronavirus Clinic, they’ve done it in the Jordan Valley and so forth. So trying to send messages to Palestinians that you have no jurisdiction or any claim on these areas whatsoever. And and even if you are sitting and makeshift clinic, you are as if you are trying to tell us that we have some sort of a claim over Jerusalem or the Jordan Valley so they are making it very clear that they don’t want Palestinians to operate within these areas, whatsoever.
Scott Horton 2:59
Yeah. And for the skeptics there it was Israeli journalists who covered the story first right at bat, Selim.
Ramzy Baroud 3:08
Right? And you know, it’s it’s available and I mean, you see it in videos going viral all over, you know, the, I mean, Palestinians are good at anything. They’re really good at documenting these kinds of things. So it’s not just mere eyewitness accounts, we see videos of these things happening. But the other foolish thing that’s been also going on is that Israeli soldiers are also kind of an settlers or are in this sort of spitting rampage. As strange as this may sound, you know, where they are going to Palestinian, you know, shops, ATM machines, in particular have been the target of spitting or this spit on the numbers and the knobs and the whatever they find hoping that Palestinians you know, will contract the Coronavirus and it’s just ridiculous because there’s nothing Have the Coronavirus operates, it doesn’t understand the difference between you know, occupied and occupier and apartheid walls and checkpoints. It operates at a global level but it but it just comes to show you this kind of really mean and and and destructive mentality that that operates within the Israeli mindset whether within the settlers illegal settlers community in the West Bank or among Israeli soldiers in the West Bank as well.
Scott Horton 4:29
Yeah, you know, I’d read a story or two about the settlers spitting on Palestinians cars as they’re driving by spinning down from the hilltops and that kind of thing. And, you know, I guess we don’t know for sure if those settlers actually have the COVID or not right. But the point is, so imagine somebody was doing that to you. You don’t know whether they’ve got it or whether they don’t, but you have to presume that they do. And then what are you supposed to do? Of course, it’s not like the Palestinians have a full supply Lysol wipes for going to the ATM or wherever, they just have to turn around and go away. And they don’t get it in the face. Yeah,
Ramzy Baroud 5:08
exactly. And you know, and of course, there’s the the insult connotation, you know, which this is a whole different story. I mean, this has been going on and I documented these stories in a recent article I wrote about, about Israeli spitting. It’s been going on for many years, especially in Jerusalem, where Christians have been kind of the target of spitting and and much of this has been reported in Israeli media, mostly really Haaretz, Jerusalem, post your daughter, her note, have covered it. We’re Christians and women kind of find themselves as the main target of spitting by Israelis. And now it’s kind of really expanding, you know, with this whole Corona scare to include the entire West Bank as well.
Scott Horton 5:54
Well, and all you got to do is put the shoe on the other foot for just one second if it was the Palestinian question. And Muslims spitting on Jews, Israeli Jews, including even settlers, much less, you know, inside so called Israel proper. That would be terrorism with a capital T and probably sponsored by Iran.
Ramzy Baroud 6:15
Well, I mean, that’s the thing because this actually, that’s an audio you just raised Scott does exist. And in my research, I run into this long feature published in the New York Times about Orthodox Jews in in France in few occasions being the victims of spitting as well by others as an act of anti semitism. And the thing that really and of course, this is a boring and it’s terrible and it can’t, it can’t continue but but on the other hand, the New York Times not at all mentioned the, you know, the, this history of spitting that’s going on, in Palestine in Israel sillim and West Jerusalem. In particular, as if this happened completely in a vacuum, and it was designated as it deserved to be designated as acts of anti semitism, and yet it’s actually the Israeli media that have gave this issue so much coverage. And the our campaigns within Israel within the Jewish community in Israel trying to spit other, you know, stop other fellow Jews from spitting at Palestinians, with their Palestinian Christians, or Muslims, or women, including Jewish women who attempt to pray near the holy shrines in, in Jerusalem. So this isn’t a history, a story that has a lot of history, but to actually kind of think that this type of evil, evolving with the Coronavirus, giving them these new ideas and in new imagination to how do we actually spread the virus amongst Palestinians by spitting at them collectively, in Hebrew in Jerusalem in Bethlehem. and so forth. It’s absolutely ridiculous. But again, it’s just part of this trajectory that goes back many years.
Scott Horton 8:08
Well, but I mean, these Palestinians have invaded today and some area that it belongs to the Israelis from somewhere or something. And so these settlers are just defending themselves against Ramsey.
Ramzy Baroud 8:24
Well, I mean, that’s, that’s the thing. That’s the kind of narrative that the, you know, designers have been promoting for many years, despite the fact that we know where design is actually came from, and, you know, the, mostly from Eastern Europe and all of this and, you know, how kind of this history was animated entirely out of scratch and how Palestinians were completely dropped out of that history. So the history of my family, my parents, we go back thousands of years. I mean, there’s no proof that we were anywhere in the world, but this There, and yet somehow we are completely skimmed over, you know, and you have this kind of strangely selected so called history that negate our very existence and give those who came from Eastern Europe, you know, few decades ago or a few years ago, I mean many of the American Jews who come from Brooklyn and elsewhere and go to Israel and take on an OC or some sort of an automatic rifle and, and then they have immediate historical claim immediate, you know, you get out of the airplane and then suddenly there is historical roots that go back, whatever. And people like me cannot even go home. I haven’t seen my family for over 25 years now. And I don’t see any hope of ever actually seeing them because he can’t go he can’t leave and I cannot go back and this is the story of millions of Palestinians as well.
Scott Horton 9:54
You know, I did an interview last night where they asked me about Israel and it was a an honest Question from a good guy. It wasn’t, you know, bent to prejudicial against the Palestinians necessarily, but just the point being that it came from a position of essentially, you know, the average Americans confusion and ignorance and lack of understanding. And so it was, it was an honest question, but it was so broad. It was like, what is going on over there anyway? Because all they know is that it doesn’t really make sense. You know, they hear, for example, we’ve talked about this in the past that Palestine is the state next door that has invaded Israel and is using terrorism to extort land out of them and all this stuff. Oh, and also, it’s up to the Israelis to decide if one day the Palestinians will ever get their own state. And these two things, you know, sit side by side and obviously completely and totally contradict each other. And yet, no one ever really hashing it out, no one ever really explained. And as I was saying to those guys last night, If you just look at a map of Israel, it looks like somebody invaded from the east and took this giant chunk of Israel away from them, the West Bank, when in fact, that’s what’s left that hasn’t been completely conquered yet. And so, but they’ll never explain that really on TV. You know, it was on msnbc once five years ago where they explain this, but never since then. So the average just TV viewer would think that the whole story is, you know, minus tourists under siege by the forces of Mordor from the east, and there’s nothing there’s no backstory to it. There’s nothing that you need to understand better than that. And then even when it doesn’t make sense, you still don’t get clarity. But meanwhile,
Ramzy Baroud 11:44
and you know, and even if you go ahead, go ahead, clarity, Scott. Sorry, but even if you try to give them clarity, they wouldn’t accept it, for example. I mean, I have many stories. I continue my relationship with mainstream mainstream American media, but a recent One was was with the New York Times. Few months ago, they asked me to write an article explaining the context of the great march of return. You know, we’re 10s of thousands of Palestinians go to the fence separating beseech Gaza from Israel and protesting and demanding their right of return to their ancestral homes. So, I tried to do that. I thought I did a very good job at it.
Scott Horton 12:24
You’re good writer.
Ramzy Baroud 12:26
Oh, thank you, Scott. But also keeping in mind that I’m dealing with the New York Times and their editors and their audience of trying to kind of find some sort of really bad balance but an honest way of conveying the truth. And no, no, no, we don’t want history with you need to tell us about Hamas and Fatah, you know, the Palestinian rival factions. And I said, Okay, this is this is fine. I will discuss this, but it has to be placed within historical context. What happened in 1948? How did these kids became refugees? How did the families become refugees? What are they they would not accepted it carried on I had to rewrite the article over 10 times and it carried on for nearly two months and at the end they said nope Thank you We don’t want it you know, so and yet if you are an Israeli right wing politician or whatever making all sorts of bizarre claims, they get published in the New York Times no questions asked. If you are Ramsay baru trying to convey really basic well known information documented not only by Palestinian historians and world his students but by Israeli historians, the likes of Ilan Pepe the likes of of Avi schliemann. In the likes of maker pellets, so many of them are saying the exact same thing. You are barred You are not allowed. We want you Ramzi to tell us about the conflict amongst your own people forget about Israel. This is not to be touched or criticize in any way on the pages of the New York Times. So this is no wonder why people ask what seems to me basically Or, you know, supposedly stupid questions they are not they’re basing that, based on the knowledge that is available to them through mainstream media. Mainstream media is not telling them anything.
Scott Horton 14:11
That’s exactly it. And you know, it’s funny too, because in this case, who here explained to me the march of return? Well, I mean, God dang, it’s got returned right in name of the march returned to what from where, you know, as you’re saying, the population of the Gaza Strip is something like 80% of the population of the Gaza Strip are refugees. Well, refugees from where you’re not allowed to say where they’re refugees from where they’re trying to return to?
Ramzy Baroud 14:40
God forbid it’s you’re exceeding your mandate. You need to tell us why Palestinians are dysfunctional. Fine, I am I am. I am ready to tell them why we have factional rivalries. I never shy away from you know, I followed the the ideas of Edward side, the Palestinian great Palestinian historian. And, and Professor it Woodside who said, any criticism always has to start with the self to be a genuine criticism, right?
Scott Horton 15:09
Yeah And of course, all the time I’ve known you you have no problem criticizing Fatah or Hamas, you’ve never been loyal to either side either faction in that whatsoever.
Ramzy Baroud 15:18
Exactly. But you can’t just simply come and say, oh my society is dysfunctional, and Israel is the greatest democracy in the world. I mean, you you have to really put things in the proper context and and and yet, we have no space. I mean, you mentioned my book about the prisoners, thank you for that. But do you think that I will ever expect any mainstream newspaper anywhere in the United States or even Europe to actually run a review or a write up about it? We are as Palestinian intellectuals and forget about me I don’t want to use myself as an example. Think of all the great Edwards say but also think of Norma Salha and Guard Academy and and these great historians. novelists, they almost never ever get space in any their books, their writings, their ideas, their theories, we are invisible to mainstream media, they don’t acknowledge our existence on the intellectual map. So how can people ever understand things from our point of view? If you have this this quarantine on our ideas? Yeah. And our intellect.
Scott Horton 16:22
Yeah, exactly. Well, and you know, I mean, here’s the thing, too. And this is, believe me, just descriptive not normative here. But it is understandable. And I mean that in the literal sense, understandable. Not, I can sympathize with the point of view, but just it’s understandable that in 1948, a rabs are just a bunch of towel heads and sand and words and they just don’t matter. They’re just you know, like American Indians or black Africans or what they can be pushed out of the way and and not respected in the way that European Jews, even though they were Jews in the city. social rank of things back then. They’re wider than you guys. And so that counts for something. And it’s the last hurrah of white settler colonialism. We’re outlying invading other people’s countries and transferring your populations into those countries, except for this one last exception here for the survivors of the Holocaust. We’re going to move them down there, and we’re just going to pretend like these Palestinians don’t exist. I mean, I think I told you before about Eric Margolis, talked about how, at the time his mother was a great journalist in the Middle East, and there was a total cover up about the Nakba, it was denied that the Palestinians even existed at all. And when his mother reported that, yeah, there are millions of people who are now refugees on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip here, who are suffering from this thing that are, you know, hundreds and thousands of them who’ve been removed from their homes, almost 1,000,003 quarters of a million people that, you know, they threatened to kill her and threaten to kill him when he was a young boy at the time that this was amazing. This was a crazy conspiracy theory that these people even existed. But anyway, you can see The rationalization there that the Jews are wider the European Jews, and they just survived the Holocaust, the ones who did survive it. And so okay, but the point I’m trying to get to is, yeah, but now it’s 2020. And we’re at the absolute epitome of anti racist political correctness in the West here, and even to insane degrees beyond reason, the political correctness and a lot of ways and so it’s not understandable. Now, the way that people just pretend that they’re you’re not dealing with a system of Jim Crow, or South African style apartheid at the expense of the natural human rights of millions of innocent people who are essentially suffering in this situation simply because their parents, you know, gave birth to them while having the wrong religion and and for no other crime. And I knew, you know, they’re sitting here talking about Yeah, we’re gonna go ahead and start annexing what’s left to the West Bank, you can’t even have your measly 22% of what’s left, you’ll be lucky if you get 22% of 22%. And somehow, as you’re saying, you can’t get an essay in the New York Times, you can’t get you know, you know, leftists obviously leftist media Yes. But, you know, mainstream progressive and liberal media to pay attention to this. No dice whatsoever. And, and in the university setting, I know you could tell me about that. The the uphill battle that Palestinian voices have to climb to even be heard here at all. It would be like if we just refuse to pay any attention to the American Indians on the reservation or even keep attacking them and refuse to even hear their voices about what’s going on or something that, you know, continuing Jim Crow segregation in the south up to 2020. Even and refusing to go ahead and implement Brown versus Board of Education after all this time. It’s completely bananas. And yet it just can And frankly, it’s hard for me to understand. I mean, as you as you mentioned, in Israel, you have Israeli Jews trying to stop other Israeli Jews from spitting on Palestinians. In America, there are huge numbers of American Jews who absolutely resent Israel and, and detest and support a two state solution and all that kind of thing. And yet still, even their voices don’t really get heard by the mainstream at all. It’s really remarkable in its own way, you know, I’m kind of fascinated by the success of the propaganda and of the propaganda by omission, maybe more than anything else.
Ramzy Baroud 20:39
Exactly. And you know, Scott is excellent as say bye, bye, delete the word site since I mentioned his name twice in our chat, quote, permission to narrate. It was published in 1984. And it it was discussing more specifically how the Israeli war on Lebanon War dealt with in, in American mainstream media and how any voice that that that seemed to object to what Israel was doing and they’ve been on the illegal war, the the massacres and all of this in 1982, how it was completely these voices were muffled or marginalized or completely blockaded from presenting a counter point of view to what is really propaganda machine was spoofing worldwide. And and it’s just how sad it is that that essay could actually be read in, not in 1984, but rather 1948 or 2020 and still applies so that you have a so called conflict this speak of a conflict. Mainstream media doesn’t hesitate to call it a conflict fine. Yet somehow, one of these so called conflicting parties, which is our spare Estonians are not to be allowed to speak You can’t hear our voices we don’t exist and therefore, oh and not just that, but also any Israel Ed or any any Jewish person, anywhere in the world who seemed to side with the Palestinians or say wait a minute, they do have a point they do have rights. That person is immediately smeared as a self hating Jew. And now it’s beyond cultural and societal smearing. It went as far as few years ago, the Israeli Knesset, the parliament began producing laws not targeting Palestinians only, but targeting dissenting Jews within Israel, preventing them from accessing state money and state funds non non for profit organizations being shut down. And Israelis find themselves also prevented from challenging any governmental narrative. So this this goes beyond Jews and Arabs, Jews and Palestinians. This is something that this is this is a fun Between the Zionist narrative that hijacked the Jewish cause entirely and claimed to speak on behalf of all Jews and against anybody else who dares reject this narrative including Israelis and Jews themselves. Right And so, this is this is so important for us to emphasize that this is not this will define this is not a fight with this will define racial, religious and ethnic lines. It is really about the narrative itself. So, if you are pro Israel, christian fundamentalists in Washington DC, you are as Zionist as as, as Israel wants you to be and you could be very much a religious Israeli Jew who is against what Israel is doing and somehow you are not a member of the tribe and you are completely marginalized and neglected. And in fact punished at times.
Scott Horton 24:02
Yeah. And, you know, I mean, the polls I’ve seen say that the majority of the majority of American Jews support independence from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and a Palestinian state. I think it’s even a third of American Jews don’t identify with Israel in any real way or think about it whatsoever is one of the answers on the multiple choices. is Israel even an issue in your life at all? And they The answer is shrug. No, I’m an American. What do I care about Israel? And then if they do care about Israel at all, most Jews are liberals and, and progressives, and so they think, Well, yeah, there should be civil rights for minorities. That’s one of the things about being a liberal in America, right is supporting civil rights. So it’s a very loud and very determined minority, who, you know, are determined to frame things the way that they do and and have succeeded to such a great degree. It’s Again, it’s really remarkable. It’s as remarkable as it is, you know, tragic for the people of Palestine. And then so speaking of which, that includes you, as you said, You’re from there. You didn’t just you weren’t born of Palestinian parents in the West, you’re from Palestine. And then I was trying to remember actually, as I was reading this great article at anti war calm a Palestinian guide to surviving a quarantine on faith humor and Dutch candy, great piece here. And I was trying to remember if your family were refugees from another part of Palestine or whether they were from Gaza all along or what and how it was that they had ended up in the Gaza Strip and then but if you could just tell us you know, you can stick with the theme of the peace if you want but it just brings up so much about what life was like there in the Gaza Strip for you as a boy.
Ramzy Baroud 25:52
Right, And that was really the idea I wanted to convey. I’ve seen a lot of, you know, people are shocked by all of this. What’s happening and the quarantines and the lock downs and tragic death tools and all of this, and I just didn’t want to pile up. I didn’t want to approach this story from Oh, yeah, well, you know, we have suffered a lot more Look what is happening in Gaza and Yemen and, and Libya and so forth. I didn’t want to approach it from that point of view, I wanted kind of like an honest human touch, but also with a spin of a humor in it, as well because I think people relate more sometimes to this type of narrative. So it was like, Okay, well, you know, I can tell you a few tips from you know, my past on how to survive this type of situation. And you know, it’s relative. You know, a lot of these things may apply to you may not apply, but I will, you know, kind of use my own story growing up as a refugee in in the Gaza Strip. My family come from a village that was destroyed. By the Zionist militias in 1948, it’s called bid das das is a village that when I wrote my book, my father was a freedom fighter, I managed to trace it back to over 1000 years and, and beyond that I really couldn’t find any sources that would kind of confirm its existence. But I there was no reason to believe that it hasn’t been there for over 1000 years. And like nearly a million Palestinian, who were expelled in 1948 by the Zionists, my family ended up coming to the Gaza Strip, where we pitch the tent. And we started to live there as Palestinian refugees and identity that remains part of our identity until today. And the strange thing is that even though I’m a US citizen now, I still see myself as a Palestinian refugee because we don’t we don’t see the refugee experience in terms of You know, on the need for humanitarian aid, it becomes more like a political identity for us. As long as I’m a refugee as long as I’m still fighting for the rights of my people to go back home, that sort of thing. During the first Intifada, that’s the Palestinian popular uprising of 1987. Israel use all sorts of harsh collective punishment measures against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank. I was living in the Gaza Strip with my family. I was a teenage boy. And we lived in a refugee camp. The treaty was one of the hardest hit areas, in terms of we were quite rebellious. We, we protested all the time. We demanded our rights all the time. We even threw rocks at the Israeli army that constantly invaded our camp. And as a result, I would say within the seven years of Intifada, I would say maybe I was home consulting. For anywhere between three to four years, not leaving the house period, and the other three, four years, I would say that we were not allowed to venture beyond our neighborhood. So it’s kind of like seven years of almost complete lockdown. So you know, you would think that you kind of learn few things from that experience that when the lockdown started here in Seattle, where I’m speaking to you right now, for me, it was like, Okay, I need to revert to an experience that helped us survive during these difficult times. And of course, the first thing that comes to mind was the Intifada, and how we managed to survive the seven years of complete quarantine, if you will. That’s the idea behind the article.
Scott Horton 29:46
Yeah, well, and sure sounds like pretty terrible childhood there. And you know, the way it starts here with the announcement in poor Arabic that Stay inside anybody who comes outside after dark will be shot. And he had the IDF. They mean it when they make a threat like that that’s a promise. And I guess you probably seen the results of them. following through on that promise, probably pretty often, huh?
Ramzy Baroud 30:20
Absolutely. I mean, I’ve lost dear friends of mine during that time. You know, just students, you know, pupils at school, my classmate, Allah was one of the one who was shot. He was my football buddy. We always played what we call soccer you call football here in the us together, it was this tiny little kid, he was so very smart and very well, very well behaved and polite and, and we were just coming home from school, you know, schools would open for a couple of days and they would shut them down for two months and so forth. And we were excited to Go back to school at least you know for that time and on the way back the Israeli army cornered us near the neighborhood and, and open fire killing Allah on the spot. So yeah, of course you have numerous such stories and I am being facetious when I compare, you know, that experience with the corona virus quarantine, of course, I mean, people here are not being shot dead in the streets and, and so forth. But it was just kind of an attempt at maybe even a desperate attempt at kind of getting people to relate to what we went through and what Bill was and Palestine are still going though until this moment.
Scott Horton 31:43
Yeah, no, and, and it was, I think he did a good job on it. I it should work. I mean, I’m already with you here, pal. But uh, you know, I think you know, people are feeling extremely constricted right now, especially people who have lost their jobs and the new numbers come In this week, say 20 million Americans have been thrown out of work in the last month. And all of us locked up in our houses like this and a lot of people are really going stir crazy. And so yeah, it should be a great opportunity for them. I mean, frankly, you know what upper middle class life live in Texas and could even begin to imagine what it’s like to be a Gazan, right? I mean, it’s just as we were talking about before, it’s never in the media. They don’t ever say here’s 60 minutes, here’s 20 minutes of it is what it’s like to be a godsend for you here. It’s just completely outside of Americans experience in any way. And so here’s a small taste of that, you know, locked in your pretty nice house with your loving family and and still the groceries are delivered and everything is you know, not falling completely apart yet. And yet, think of how bad it already is. How afraid people are of this disease of losing Their ability to continue to provide for their families and everything else. And then there’s just no question. This is just the smallest little taste of what it would be like to be a Palestinian under Israeli siege. And for years for decades on end, where, you know, as you said, You can’t even travel to go see your family and they can’t travel to see you. They’re locked in there, like a concentration camp. And, and for not committing a crime, other than wanting their property back.
Ramzy Baroud 33:28
And I think it’s it. That’s another missing part of our narrative. And I encourage other Palestinian writers and intellectuals and ordinary people to understand that, you know, we could sit and debate you know, the issue from a political point of view from a historical, you know, comparative historical point of view and so forth. But, you know, until people actually appreciate what, what you go through at a personal level, they will never truly understand and I think this is how The Israelis managed to really kind of coerce people into accepting their narrative. Hollywood played a huge role in kind of manufacturing, that history that that that allowed ordinary Americans to sympathize with Israel without really fully or in any way understanding what is well is actually is all about and what it’s doing to Palestinians. I really do think that if ordinary Americans truly understand in a in a tangible way, what is actually underway in Palestine, I think the vast majority of them will not allow their names and they will not allow their numbers and stats to be viewed as pro Israel in any way. So this is why it’s so important for us to connect with ordinary Americans in in a different way at a human level. And I think the story really starts there. When my book came out, my father was a freedom fighter, which did very well I could not Even it took me by surprise of how many just ordinary people who’s like Ramsey, I saw this title. You know, my father died in Australia last year. And I saw this book and I bought it. And I know nothing about Palestine, Israel until I read this book. It was just relating to, you know, to his father, or someone is relating to the love stories in the book or the the comedian at the refugee camp on how ordinary people survive and, and thrive under the most difficult of circumstances. And I think it’s so important that we could not at this level because politics can be polarizing, and it’s very, very difficult sometimes to change. Someone’s built in ideas, if you don’t truly tap into that aspect in their brain or their hearts that connect them to you as a human beings.
Scott Horton 35:53
Yeah, absolutely. Hold on just one second. Be right back. So you’re constantly buying things from amazon.com Well, that makes sense. They bring him right to your house. So what you do though, is click through from the link in the right hand margin at Scott Horton. org and I’ll get a little bit of a kickback from Amazon’s into the sale won’t cost you a thing. Nice little way to help support the show. Again, that’s right there in the margin at Scott Horton. org. Hey, I’ll check it out. The libertarian Institute. That’s me and my friends have published three great books this year. First is no quarter, the ravings of William Norman Greg. He was the best one of us. Now he’s gone. But this great collection is a truly fitting legacy for his fight for freedom. I know you’ll love it. Then there’s coming to Palestine by the great Sheldon Richmond. It’s a collection of 40 important essays. He’s written over the years about the truth behind the Israel Palestine conflict. You’ll learn so much and highly valued this definitive libertarian take on the dispossession of the Palestinians and the reality of their brutal occupation. And last but not least, is the great Ron Paul. The Scott Horton show interview 2004 through 2019 interview transcripts of all of my interviews of the good doctor over the years on all the wars, money taxes, the police state and more. So how do you like that? Pretty good, right? Find them all at libertarian institute.org slash books. You need stickers for your band your business will Rick and the guys over at the bumper sticker comm have got you covered great work, great prices, sticky things with things printed on them. Whatever you need the bumper sticker comm we’ll get it done right for you. The bumper sticker.com. You know, it’s been a little while since I’ve mentioned this, but there’s this documentary by Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen, where two nice Jewish boys who went to the Gaza Strip after the assault of our guests during the middle of the assault in 2014, and then stayed for the aftermath. And the whole movie is essentially just Dan Cohen, sticking his camera in the face of local Gazans and saying so what’s on your mind And they talk about how they think and how they feel and what happened to them. And nobody says a thing about Allah said I should hate Jews and some garbage like Americans would assume every bit of it. They sound like a bunch of Texans, right? This is my land, and you can’t have it, you see this dirt off fight you to the death for it and this kind of thing. That’s exactly what a citizen of any state in this land would say, to a foreign occupier who comes to invade and confiscate their property, take it from them, slaughter them in a giant canned hunt like they do in the various, you know, repeated assaults on the Gaza Strip since the siege was declared. And all of this, and just seriously, they sound like any man in the world in the same situation saying the exact same thing. You know, it’s the essential humanity of it is just completely plain to see that, you know, what are you so upset about? Well, they dropped a bomb on my apartment building. And they killed 15 people. And so yeah, I met pretty simple stuff. Yeah. So let me ask at the end here, about COVID. Now, I mean, this has been a huge fear, I’m sure of yours and everybody else’s who cares about this is what’s going to happen when there’s a real outbreak in the Gaza Strip. I mean, the West Bank too, but in Gaza, obviously, the situation is far more desperate for it, you know, many more people. So How bad is it so far? And what if anything is being done?
Ramzy Baroud 39:34
Well, of course, because it’s far more desperate because Gaza itself was struggling and we’ve been writing about it and anti war has been kindly publishing our work on the subject that Gaza has been really in a desperate situation in terms of the the medical facilities that are lacking everything, even a clean water is not accessible to most of these hospitals and and so forth. And now add to this the COVID-19. And I wrote an article about, I would say, 10 days before the breakout started in Gaza, saying, you know, you might you may think that Gaza because of this political quarantine the Israeli decision blockade, you may think it’s safer than the rest of Palestine and the rest of the world perhaps. But once COVID-19 arrives there, it’s going to be an absolute disaster because I know that they have absolutely no preparedness, no facilities to deal with it. They couldn’t even deal with with basic diseases, but they really can’t deal with it. Imagine with the Coronavirus, strikes Gaza, the thing that worries me even most is not the number of cases that have been declared is that they really have no way of knowing why people are dying or why people are getting sick who has COVID-19 and who doesn’t. Israel allegedly gave Palestinians to hundreds of persons As in Gaza, 200 testing kits, that’s it. This is a population of 2 million people. And they were given only 200 test kits. And, of course, they ran out like in immediately. And not only now they have no way of knowing or testing or let alone treating, you have hundreds of people who have been quarantined that they can’t release them without testing them negative for the virus. So you have people who are trapped until who finds a way to convince Israel perhaps or to work with the Egyptians or buy some sort of a miracle to actually allow more testing kits in Gaza and even a few testing kits make it to Gaza again, to hold Gaza over for another 24 hours. You’re dealing with a protracted problem. And and and in my articles, I argued that if we can’t liberate Palestine, at least the medical the health care system in Palestine has to be placed under the authority of someone else of the united nations of the world health organization of any other entity that does not see helping Palestinians in terms of treatment and health care. Part of a political bargain. Israel is using this to bargain with the Palestinians. The Israeli Justice Minister actually just said that about a week ago, we reported on that in the Pakistan Chronicle, saying to the effect of Listen, you have the bodies of two of our soldiers. For us, that’s a humanitarian issue to you want us to talk about COVID-19 for you, let’s talk about our issues as well. So it’s a complete tit for tat, complete swap, release the bodies of our soldiers, we release, testing kits and so forth. So this is I think, when the world recovers from COVID-19. I think guys that will just be just really going on its own trajectory. And we need to pay attention to it because we know that this disease if you don’t care about Palestinians, per se, or you don’t have sympathy for the people in Gaza, you have to think that this is a disease that travels. And it doesn’t just it will travel through United Nations workers through journalists through, you know, so many other people who could possibly, you know, acquire and transmit the disease later on. So this is a very, very pressing issue, and, sadly, is not getting the kind of coverage that it needs, if any coverage at all.
Scott Horton 43:36
Yeah, well, you know, I guess it could be an important turning point. You know, I don’t know I’m sure you saw where the Secretary General of the United Nations has proposed and then apparently, the actual veto holding members of the UN Security Council are close to agreement on a rescue Aleutian declaring a global ceasefire in the name of this crisis, which I don’t know if they’re really going to do that or not. I mean, the story I read said Trump is signaled he’d support it. They were just going to try to talk to Putin next, they already had China on board for it. And who knows what that would really mean, in practice, whether the Americans would, you know, I can’t see him pulling out of Iraq and Syria, all of a sudden, based on it or anything like that. But at least it goes to show that, you know, the idea is apparent to everyone here that, you know, this crisis is a great kind of a clarifier about what it is we’re doing what counts as a national security threat, and what are we doing about those different threats and this and that, it’s kind of time for a reassessment, where all this money’s being spent, where our priorities lie. And so maybe it’s an opportunity for people to, you know, expose himself to the reality of the occupation. of the Palestinians and to try to come up with a way to pressure the Israeli government to finally lift the siege, especially of the Gaza Strip here, and figure out a way to either, you know, force them from public opinion around the world to either grant the Palestinians independence on the west bank of the Gaza Strip, or once and for all, admit that it’s too late for that, and go ahead and give them citizenship and figure out a new way forward in a single state solution type of a situation. Because, I mean, jeez, it’s been, what, 14 years, 13 years since they 14 since they put the siege on over the election of Hamas back in 2006. where, you know, they’re, you know, probably what a huge percentage of the population of Gaza was born after that, right, like a third of them or something, or too young. And, of course, you know, half of them were minors then and didn’t have the right right to vote then. So assuming you’re collectively punishing them for electing Hamas and oh six, now you’re talking about their parents and grandparents who did that, who, you know, the the, such a huge percentage of the people couldn’t possibly under any theory, bear responsibility for that. And in in such a bad time of this disease and the threat of it. And as you said this the threat that if it’s that bad in Gaza, it’s going to continue to spread outside of there as well. That, you know, maybe there’s opportunity for real rethink here along with everything else.
Ramzy Baroud 46:37
Absolutely. I mean, this is this is what we are hoping for, at least you have these useless conflicts and in frankly in in Libya and Yemen that are not going anywhere and you use the magic word opportunity. I mean, sometimes, you know, you’re fighting a losing war, knowing it’s a losing war, knowing that you have no strategic objectives anymore, but you are working That if you pull out of this war, it might tarnish your reputation and your your regional input and so forth and so on. Maybe this is their opportunity saying this is not about strategic goals anymore. It’s about protecting the world, we need to pull out a VM, and we need to stop this nonsense in Libya, and so forth. I hope that some some countries do take advantage of this golden opportunity to save face and to stop these nonsensical wars that are killing 10s of thousands of people for really no objective anymore.
Scott Horton 47:31
All right, now listen, I’m sorry, I’ve already kept you so long. But can you just give us a real brief rundown here about this great piece that you wrote Zionist Biden in his own words?
Ramzy Baroud 47:42
Right. So So Joe Biden is kind of, I remember when I think Jimmy Fallon, in one of his comedy episodes many years ago refer to him as the drunken uncle. And then, you know, when he was the vice president of President Obama and and People laughed. And there was this thing that is quite amiable about Joe Biden is that he is non threatening, you know, he’s, he’s not the kind of people you would kind of associate with vile Zionist racist ideas and so forth and so on. So I began researching the piece when, when Bernie Sanders was still in the race, and I, you know, everybody is discussing Sanders views of Palestine, Israel and Trump’s views of Palestine, Israel, but Biden is kind of like, as if he is not relevant to that discussion at all. And I could have really tapped into something I didn’t realize what it was tapping into. One of the first pieces that I was I worked on was, by them giving a speech saying, you know, you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist. I am a Zionist, and another one where he would give a speech in Jerusalem when he said, my name is Joe Biden, and I love Israel and I was like, okay, maybe this is just an opportunistic politician. Just trying to go on Vote money support and so forth. But then I kind of keep tracing his story all the way back to the early 1980s, where he has this very consistent pro Israel line, anti Palestinian line, all the way from them until today, over the course of 40 years, that has been a truly dedicated pro Israel and by his own admission, Zionist and I kind of really wanted the reader to know this is okay, you hate Trump, or you want to bring change to your own country, but you have to understand that you’re dealing with, you know, war mongering, you know, terrible politicians who cannot possibly be the answer to whatever problems you are dealing with at the moment. So it ended up I wrote two versions of this piece of this a long version where I borrowed heavily from his speeches, and there was a more recent version that was published in golf news that followed the Bernie Sanders exit from the Democratic primaries and and and the article is doing very, very well which I’m hoping that it kind of opened the eyes and minds of people to who actually Joe Biden is.
Scott Horton 50:15
Yeah, you know, I wonder this is probably a good question for Philip Weiss who really specializes in this angle. But I wonder how much of the media consensus against Sanders and for Biden was based on Biden Zionism and Sanders. You know, he’s been a Zionist, you know, in his life, of course, lived over there for a while. But under the influence of Matt Dulles and others, it seems like he’s gotten quite a bit better about this in the last few years. And I certainly know at least some anecdotes of American Jewish Zionist talks. Absolutely cursing Sanders name I don’t know how representative that is of the organized lobby, but it seems like quiet Media consensus. And on those Sanders fan everybody listening knows I’m a libertarian here, but I’m just saying it was pretty obvious that the orders just like in 2016 had come down from on high that the media narrative will be that you may not choose this Kook no matter what. And and it sure worked. But I wonder how much of that do you think is because of Israel lobby?
Ramzy Baroud 51:25
Well, there are two quick points I want to make. Number one is this is kind of really goes back to exactly what we were talking about earlier. The the Zionist view of friend and foe is not really based on who’s being who’s Jewish and who’s not. Because Netanyahu is absolutely enamored. He is absolutely in love with Joe Biden and he just hates Bernie Sanders despite the fact that Bernie Sanders is Jewish. And then Joe Biden is not you see? So so this is really comes to show you that what we’re talking about is true. The Jewish element here is an element of political expediency and convenience and about historical narratives. But not the everyday reality if you deviate as Sanders has numerous times and eloquently, so from any, you know, adherence to the Zionist narrative, then he is considered this crazy guy who cannot be trusted. But then there’s the other issue of electability, you know, we have been, you know, this, I hate this term, so very much, you know, the fact that, you know, is such and such electable, meaning does he conform to a mainstream media agenda of who is an electable and who’s not. And Israel is one of the main issues that makes or breaks your chances of being electable or not. And I think from the very beginning, Bernie Sanders electability was put in question because of the issue of Israel, that he is deviating so much from American foreign policy regarding Israel. To the point that in one of his speeches, Joe Biden, or rather one of his answers to a question, during a democratic debate, when Bernie Sanders took the side of the Palestinians and said, Israel is a racist state, this is a racist government referring to Netanyahu government. Joe Biden tried to correct him, he said, I really hope that he didn’t mean that I really hope that it was just a slip of the tongue. It means that you know, is this crazy old man who just saying all these ridiculous things, to the point that Biden didn’t even want to engage with him? So no, this is This is madness. It’s not even worth engaging with. So you can imagine who is the electable from a mainstream American media’s point of view?
Scott Horton 53:43
Yeah. All right. Well, we’ll leave it there. Thank you for staying on extra time with me here. I got endless questions, but we’ve got to call it quits at some point. But I really do appreciate you joining me again on the show Ramsey a lot.
Ramzy Baroud 53:55
I thank you very much, Scott. And keep up the good work, man.
Scott Horton 53:58
All right. Stay safe out there. Thank you, aren’t you guys, Ramsay Baroud. He is journalist, author and editor of the Palestine Chronicle. He’s author of five books, including my father was a freedom fighter and the latest. These chains will be broken Palestinian stories of struggle and defiance in Israeli prisons. And you can find what he writes at anti war calm. The Scott Horton show anti war radio can be heard on kpfk 90.7 FM in LA, APSradio.com, antiwar.com Scotthorton.com and libertarianinstitute.org
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