War Crimes and Collective Punishment: Gina Haspel, Torture, and the Massacre in Gaza

Blacklisted academic Norman Finkelstein, Palestinian student Yousef Mema, and Sen. Ron Wyden are this week's guests.

Photo Illustration: Elise Swain/Getty Images

Subscribe to the Intercepted podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Radio Public, and other platforms. New to podcasting? Click here.


As Jared and Ivanka partied, Palestinian civilians were being slaughtered. This week on Intercepted: Blacklisted academic Norman Finkelstein discusses his meticulous, scholarly documentation of the collective punishment of Gaza, “the largest concentration camp in the world.” The son of two Nazi concentration camp survivors, Finkelstein is an incendiary academic whose work has infuriated the Israeli government for decades. His career was explored in the 2009 documentary, “American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein.” His latest book, “Gaza: An Inquest Into its Martyrdom,” has not been reviewed in a single U.S. newspaper. He talks about the latest massacre in Gaza, the history of U.S. support for Israel’s war crimes, and why he believes Iran is out-maneuvering Netanyahu. Palestinian nursing student Yousef Mema gives an on-the-ground report from Gaza and shares what he witnessed at Shifa hospital. Some Democratic senators are joining the Republicans in publicly backing Gina Haspel for CIA director. Sen. Ron Wyden, a longtime member of the Intelligence Committee, blasts the CIA propaganda campaign in support of Haspel and accuses the Republicans of engaging in a secret confirmation process. Jeremy also asks Wyden if he believes CIA personnel involved with torture should be criminally prosecuted, what he thinks of Edward Snowden, and why the known liar James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, was never charged with perjury. Plus, Jared Kushner speaks a little too much truth at the Jerusalem embassy.


U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman: My good friend Jared Kushner will now offer his thoughts on this historic moment.

Jared Kushner: I am so proud to be here today in Jerusalem. And I’m especially honored to be here today to announce to the world that the United States would fail to recognize right from wrong, provoking violence and to instigate conflict with evil intentions. And so, we have. [Audience claps.]

By moving our embassy to Jerusalem, we have shown the world, once again, that the United States of America will divide people throughout the region and the entire world. The United States stands with Israel because we both are part of the problem and not part of the solution. [Scattered applause.]

President Trump was very clear that his decision and today’s celebration, that we are condemned to relive history. We will look back upon this day and remember pain, sorrow. As we have seen from the protests of the last month, and even today, Palestinians suffer through war conflict and neglect. These are the values that bind us together. May God bless the United States of America.

[Musical interlude.]

Jeremy Scahill: This is Intercepted.

[Musical interlude.]

JS: I’m Jeremy Scahill, coming to you from the offices of The Intercept in New York City, and this is episode 56 of Intercepted.

President Benjamin Netanyahu: What a glorious day. Remember this moment! [Audience applause.]

[Sounds of protests in Gaza.]

JS: Once again, Israel has conducted a premeditated, full-scale massacre in broad daylight, in front of the cameras of the world. Once again, it took place in Gaza.

On Monday, Israeli snipers and other forces gunned down more than 60 Palestinians, and as of this moment, they wounded more than 2,700 other people, including civilians, journalists, and paramedics.

BN: You try all sorts of means. You try nonlethal means and they don’t work, so you’re left with bad choices. It’s a bad deal. You know you try and you go for below the knee, and sometimes it doesn’t work, and unfortunately these things are avoidable!

JS: Among those killed by Israeli forces this week was an eight-month-old infant. Her name was Laila al-Ghandour. They also killed at least seven other children and a man in a wheelchair, and that man had lost his legs after they had to be amputated following an earlier Israeli attack.

Israel has made it clear, as clear as anything has ever been in this world, that it believes that it has the right to systematically murder Palestinians — yes, I said murder — for the crime of continuing to exist. There is no defense for what Israel has done. None.

On Tuesday, I spoke to Yousef Mema, a young Palestinian nursing student in Gaza. You may recall that Yousef was on this show during the last mass-killing operation conducted by Israel in Gaza — that was a few weeks ago.

Yousef is not a member of Hamas. He’s a Palestinian civilian studying to become a nurse. I spoke to him soon after he left Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. That is where many of the dead and wounded from Monday’s mass killings were brought.

Yousef Mema: I’m really shocked by what I saw there. There were tens of ambulances arriving to us at the hospital and transferring injuries. There was a large number of injuries. They were shot directly by Israeli forces. Most of them were shot in the chest and the back and the neck, and I saw tens of injuries on the ground inside the Al-Shifa Hospital because [there were] not enough beds. All the beds was full of injuries. I see, in my eyes, tens to hundreds of injuries on the ground, waiting the doctor to come and give them medical treatment. The hospital was in a horrible situation. The people here in Gaza Strip, they are living in a very hard situation. They are living in open-air prison. There’s no life in Gaza Strip.

The people of Gaza choose this type of peaceful resistance to show the world that the Israeli Army is really war criminal. They [are] killing peaceful protestors at Gaza’s border. Those people who were killed, they have families. Some of them [are] married and have wife and have kids. My dream is to live free from the suffering that we have here in Gaza Strip.

JS: Yousef Mema is a nursing student living in Gaza.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump’s U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley brought plenty of blame to pass around at the Security Council for the deaths of unarmed Palestinians. She blamed Iran. She blamed Hamas. She blamed the Palestinians who protested. But Nikki Haley placed no blame on Israel — quite the opposite.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley: This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake — Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday. No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has. In fact, — the records of several countries here today suggest they would be much less restrained.

JS: By the way, after Nikki Haley blamed the Palestinians for, I don’t know, I guess murdering themselves with Israeli snipers, Nikki Haley wouldn’t even listen to the Palestinian delegation at the U.N. She walked out when they began speaking.

President Donald J. Trump: As he takes up his office in this beautiful Jerusalem embassy and we extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians, and to all of their neighbors, may there be peace. May God bless this embassy, may God bless all who serve there and may God bless the United States of America. Thank you.

JS: It was very fitting that this latest Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza took place as the United States celebrated its official opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. It was fitting that President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were celebrating and enjoying fine dining and partying with Israeli war criminals and religious American zealots while Palestinians were being murdered.

Ivanka Trump: On behalf of the 45th president of the United States on America, we welcome you officially, and for the first time, to the embassy of the United States, here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you.

JS: While Jared and Ivanka partied, Palestinians were being gunned down for daring to protest for their right to return to lands they were expelled from at the barrel of guns and tanks and under bombardment some 70 years ago. It was fitting that the Barbie and Ken of international diplomacy were there to kick off the carnival in Jerusalem, because that’s what U.S. policy actually boils down to — celebrating Israel no matter how atrocious the crimes, no matter how despicable the justification, while claiming that Palestinian children and disabled people are weapons that need to be neutralized in the name of security. And this is not hyperbole from me: The IDF’s official Twitter feed put out a graphic titled “Hamas’ Tools for Infiltrating Israel.” It included things like Molotov cocktails, rocks, wire cutters and what they called “arson kites”. But also, and this is verbatim, the IDF listed children, disabled civilians and rope tied to fence. They listed those as Hamas weapons, as though Hamas is launching people in wheelchairs at Israel’s nuclear stockpile or slingshotting eight-month-old infants at Israeli drones. Just listen to the justification that came from the Israeli government spokesperson Michal Maayan explaining why Israel just needed to kill all these unarmed Palestinians.

Michal Maayan: Well, we can’t put all these people in jail. These are, we’re talking about hundreds of people that are attacking the fence, and I can tell you that the IDF, our military, is not aiming to kill. It is aiming to deter people from moving, and we can also see that amongst these 40 people, if I’m not mistaken, about a dozen or more, even 20 people, were known Hamas terrorists.

JS: We can’t fit all these people in jail, so we have to kill them. They’re making us kill them, actually. You know what? You already have Palestinians in jail. It’s a prison called Gaza, and you’re shooting them dead for simply existing.

Never in modern history have you had such a merciless, sustained campaign of collective punishment like the one that Israel has meted out against the people of Gaza. And that punishment is horrifying enough, just when you consider the humanitarian consequences of the blockade and the poisoning of the environment and the water supply. But then add to that the regular massacres of people literally trapped between the sea and a nuclear-armed nation-state, with the most advanced mass-killing machinery on the planet and you have to ask: What does Israel really want? And the answer, it seems, is submission and acceptance of dehumanization by the Palestinians or they die.

And this systematic, multi-year killing spree has been backed and supported and defended by the vast majority of U.S. political figures and government officials — Democrats and Republicans. This isn’t just Donald Trump and what he’s doing with the embassy. This was also Barack Obama. This was also George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and on and on. This is what happened when Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr. actually told the truth about what Israel did.

Eddie Glaude, Jr.: All of those babies are dead. All those people are dead. They’re dead! And we’re talking about racehorses. I mean, the politics — you know, a lot of folks that are dead today. For what? I’m sorry — this is me being a moralist, I suppose.

MSNBC Anchor Katy Tur: No, I understand. And the White House, today, their response to that was: It is Hamas’ fault, and they’re using them as tools for propaganda.

EGJ: That’s like saying the children in the Children’s March on Birmingham, it was their fault that Bull Connor attacked them.

JS: The truth can never just be true. You have to give Israel’s propaganda line without even remarking on how outrageous and disgusting and flagrantly false it is. Coming up on the show, we’re going to be talking to the blacklisted academic Norman Finkelstein. He has an important new book out that is certainly a contender for being the definitive history of the Israeli slaughter in Gaza. The book is called: “Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom.”

Norman Finkelstein: Is it accurate, is it calling things by the proper names to say that the Palestinians in Gaza are trying to breach a border fence? No. The Palestinians in Gaza are trying to breach a concentration camp fence. They’re trying to breach a ghetto fence. They’re trying to breach a prison gate.

JS: Norman Finkelstein is going to be joining us later in the program.

[Musical interlude.]

Senator Ron Wyden on Gina Haspel, Edward Snowden, and James Clapper

JS: We begin today with Donald Trump’s nominee to head the CIA, Gina Haspel. And her agency, the CIA, continues to wage its propaganda campaign to secure her confirmation as its new director. On Monday, we learned that Haspel had written to Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the big headline from that letter was that Haspel said in a very circuitous way that the torture program, those are my words, certainly not hers, “is not one the CIA should have undertaken.” That’s what she has to say about this. The enhanced interrogation program was not one that the CIA should have undertaken — that’s the best she can offer.

But then she goes on to say that she will not condemn those that made these hard calls and continued to insist that valuable intelligence was collected from that program. Gina Haspel won’t condemn it, she continues to defend it and her first concern was damage that it did to CIA officers. In other words, nothing real changed.

Remember this exchange from last week, when Senator Kamala Harris asked Gina Haspel about the immorality of torture.

Senator Kamala Harris: Do you believe that the previous interrogation techniques were immoral?

Gina Haspel: Senator, I believe that CIA officers to whom you refer —

KH: It’s a yes or no answer. Do you believe the previous interrogation techniques were immoral? I’m not asking: Do you believe they were legal? I’m asking: do you believe they were immoral?

GH: Senator, I believe that CIA did extraordinary work to prevent another attack on this country given the legal tools that we were authorizing.

KH: Please answer “yes” or “no.” Do you believe in hindsight that those techniques were immoral?

GH: Senator, what I believe sitting here today is that I support the higher moral standard we have decided to hold ourselves to.

KH: Can you please answer the question?

GH: Senator, I think I’ve answered the question.

KH: No, you’ve not. Do you believe the previous techniques, now armed with hindsight, do you believe they were immoral? Yes, or no?

GH: Senator, I believe that we should hold ourselves to the moral standard outlined in the Army Field Manual.

KH: OK. So, I understand that you — you’ve not answered the question, but I’m going to move on.

JS: This little kabuki show that Gina Haspel did with her letter — it worked on Senator Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. He came out publicly saying he’s backing Haspel for CIA director. On Monday, my colleague Ryan Grim reported that one of Warner’s senior advisers wrote an e-mail to Democrats on the Intelligence Committee announcing that a classified memo that was compiled by the intelligence committee’s minority staff, that is the Democrats on the Senate committee, that was aimed at examining Haspel’s involvement with torture and destruction of evidence, that that memo was removed from the Senate. It was supposed to be housed in a secure facility inside the Congress so that senators and their staff could read it before the vote on Haspel’s nomination. We understand from our reporting that the memo provided classified details on Haspel’s role in torture, the destruction of evidence, and her tenure more broadly. The memo was based, in part, on the investigation by special prosecutor John Durham, who investigated CIA activities following 9/11. So, on the eve of Haspel’s vote in the Intelligence Committee, that memo was moved out of the U.S. Congress and Warner’s office said that senators would need to ask his office in order to arrange to see it. Our reporting indicates that few senators have actually seen that minority report.

And this is just the latest extremely suspicious event to take place in this Haspel saga. It follows the CIA’s domestic propaganda campaign, the selective declassification of documents that are intended to make Haspel look not as bad, and refusal to declassify information that could answer crucial questions about her actual role in potential crimes. But this latest obstruction appears to have been signed off on by the ranking Democrat, Senator Warner, and, on Tuesday, Warner announced that he is team Haspel.

For more on this and also to discuss the sweeping surveillance authorities that were recently renewed with the support of powerful elite Democrats and given to President Trump, we are joined now by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. He’s a longtime member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and he’s been perhaps the most vigilant person in the U.S. Senate on issues of surveillance, targeted assassination, and torture. He was one of the only Democrats to participate in a filibuster of the nomination of John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director. And Wyden has been leading the charge in the Senate against Haspel’s nomination. Senator Ron Wyden, welcome to Intercepted.

Senator Ron Wyden: Thanks for having me.

JS: So I want to ask you about this latest news on the Gina Haspel confirmation, deliberation, debate.

We understand that Gina Haspel sent a letter to your colleague Senator Mark Warner in which it’s being portrayed in the media as her actually answering the question that many of you were asking during that confirmation hearing about her views on the interrogation program that involved torture. She didn’t denounce it. She, in fact, continued to defend it, indicated that there was crucial intelligence derived from it and basically seems to be evading the question once again, albeit this time in writing.

RW: That’s correct, and from the very beginning, Ms. Haspel put on a virtuoso performance of evasion and misleading comments. And, you know, I will tell you that when you start with a huge advantage, which is that you personally get to decide what is classified and what is declassified, and you have this enormous public influence campaign being waged on your behalf, at a minimum you out to give straight responses in a public hearing with respect to the key issues, and Ms. Haspel was unwilling to do that.

As you know, I referred to public sources on a matter I felt very strongly about, when it was being discussed that the program was winding down sort of in the vicinity of 2005 or thereabouts, I asked her whether she was in favor of continuing it or expanding it. She wouldn’t give an answer. She just completely passed on it and that was I think a pretty good metaphor for how she has handled this whole approach. She started with an enormous institutional advantage — I don’t know of a similar instance where the nominee gets to decide what is declassified about her and what isn’t, and a number of members of the committee formally asked that there be at least some shard of independent, some little shard of independence by saying let’s have Dan Coates, the head of National Intelligence do it, and they were unwilling to do that as well.

JS: You referenced a public influence campaign, and this is something that we’ve been talking about for weeks. I’ve never seen anything like this, but I’m not a senator and I’m not on the Intelligence Committee. What it seemed was happening to me, Senator Wyden, was that this whole thing, her nomination, the way she conducted herself before you on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and then the social media accounts of the, the official accounts of the CIA, were openly campaigning for Gina Haspel to be confirmed. And, I’m sorry, the bottom line for me is it felt like we were all being targeted in a very carefully crafted CIA propaganda campaign aimed at a domestic audience in the United States.

RW: I think you can’t conclude otherwise. I mean, what you have is they lined up all of these individuals, ex-directors and others, almost all of whom were intimately involved in some aspect of this at some point and they all said, “We’re all in here to campaign for Ms. Haspel.” And still, she has managed to duck key questions. I mean, just here, overnight, you know we hear talk about a letter to Senator Warner in which Ms. Haspel says the program was not one the CIA should have undertaken.

Well, it took her 16 years and the eve of a vote on her confirmation to get even this modest statement, and again, she didn’t say she had any regrets other than it offended some people. And she never indicated anything that identified with what John McCain, you know, was talking about.

I’m a John McCain guy on this, always have been. I think torture is wrong. I think, in addition, it sends a horrible message about American values around the world and it’s not effective. And she has never gotten close to approaching anything resembling what I think is the McCain view and one, I believe, is shared by a number of others in her party.

JS: I want people to know, if there are people listening that are not familiar, Senator Wyden, with your track record from more than a decade on the Senate Intelligence Committee, you, on these issues, are far from a partisan. In fact, the first time that Barack Obama sought to nominate John Brennan to be CIA director in the first term, they had to pull that nomination because of concerns raised by you and others about his views on torture.

The second time around, when he finally was confirmed, you participated in the filibuster of his nomination.

RW: Congress and the public need to know what the rules for targeted killings are so that they can make sure, as Senator Paul has touched on in the course of this day, that American security and American values are both being protected.

JS: My question for you, given that you’ve been so consistent, whether it’s Donald Trump’s nominees or Barack Obama’s nominees, isn’t it true that the failure by the Obama administration to hold torturers accountable, people like Gina Haspel, that it paved the way for someone like Haspel to rise through the ranks and be in this position because she never was actually held accountable. In fact, she was promoted.

RW: There is no question that there is history here and that I disagreed with President Obama on a number of these issues. You mention the whole Brennan, you know, operation. I basically said: “I’m not going to let this move forward until we get basic information with respect to drone strikes.” So, I’ve always felt that the responsibilities of a member of the Intelligence Committee has to be strong oversight of all the nominees.

And, by the way, this kind of work is particularly hard. People ask often about when I questioned James Clapper and he lied to the American people. I asked him whether the government collected any type of data at all on millions of Americans. It took us six months to be able to prepare that question. So, yes, I mean there is a lot of history on both asking tough questions and on this set of issues surrounding the Obama administration and the Trump administration.

JS: As a student of history, I know also that you’re aware that in many countries where the military or intelligence services have committed atrocities against their own people or against those that they’re fighting that they claim are their enemies, that there have been truth and reconciliation processes and there’s been prosecutions.

And, of course, the United States and its allies, after World War II, set up not only prosecutions of Nazis in Germany but in several other countries including Japan. And in Japan, there are at least two cases of Japanese soldiers or intelligence operatives that were prosecuted by the United States in these tribunals for waterboarding and for other acts of torture that are very similar to those that we know happened at CIA black sites. Would you support the prosecution of individuals like Gina Haspel for the acts of torture that they oversaw or conducted?

RW: Well, what I can tell you, Jeremy, and I’ve thought a lot about some of the issues going forward, this is why it is so critical that the American people get straight answers with respect to the destruction of the torture tapes. In other words, you’re asking a basic question about accountability and the question involves prosecutions and other sorts of matters. Well, to me, the first step on real accountability is to find out what happened on those torture tapes.

And here’s where we are on this: we have Ms. Haspel’s boss, Jose Rodriguez, directly contradicting her to a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist on her story of how as she thought that when she ordered the tapes to be destroyed her boss was going to get Porter Goss, the CIA chief, to, you know, approve it. Her boss directly contradicted her on that.

Then there’s a question about what she did after the cable was sent. She testified that she was at her desk across the hall from Mr. Rodriguez, and so she knew the cable went out shortly after Mr. Rodriguez sent it. She also testified that Rodriguez did not copy the lawyers because he was doing it, in her words, on his own authority.

So what you would normally want to know is, having seen the cable went out, did she intervene to stop the tapes from being destroyed? So there are a whole host of accountability issues. You’ve asked, I believe, about one that will continue to be debated about prosecuting, you know, individuals. To me, this has to start with real accountability and the facts about what happened to the torture tapes that were destroyed and why.

JS: If we saw evidence that Haspel was directing torture, and I don’t mean to just identify her, we could say this about a lot of personnel, would you as a senator take the position that they should be accountable in the same way that an ordinary person who assaults someone is held responsible. Like, why is it that we hold other countries and our own citizens accountable for crimes but not public officials?

RW: What I’m prepared to talk about today, Jeremy, and there are a whole host of questions that can be debated in the future, is I want to make sure when we’re on the eve of voting on this nomination, I want the American people to know that the agency is covering up her background. They’re covering it up because they’re trying to prevent what I think is the threshold issue of accountability. You’ve asked about another one. They’re covering up the threshold issue of accountability. Because if the American people knew what I know, I believe the Senate would have no choice but to reject her confirmation.

JS: What is it that you know?

RW: What I know is her story about the destruction of the torture tapes which, as I talked about, is about as basic as you can get when it comes to going for it, is riddled with holes, not just something modest, but basically her own boss directly contradicts what she has been saying for years with respect to what happened in destroying these tapes.

I believe that what the CIA has done is taken her role during this crucial period, which largely is in the ballpark of 2002 to 2007, and very carefully, selectively declassified materials that only make her story look like it’s, you know, accurate and I think that this has been truly a virtuoso performance and self-serving abuse of power.

JS: You know, you regularly mention that there is a secret, what you characterize as a secret set of laws in the United States that if the American people knew the details of, that they would be shocked. And here is something directly that you said:

RW: The fact is anyone can read the plain text of the Patriot Act, and yet many members of Congress have no idea how the law is being secretly interpreted by the executive branch because that interpretation is classified. It’s almost as if there were two Patriot Acts, and many, many members of Congress have not read the one that matters. Our constituents, of course, are totally in the dark.

JS: Explain what you mean by there being a secret set of laws in this country.

RW: Jeremy, fairly early on in my service on the Intelligence Committee, we tried to advance doctrine that we call secret law, and it goes essentially like this: When you’re talking about sources and methods, you know, how you classify information, and, you know, these courageous people, and by the way, we’re talking about one I have disagreed profoundly with but I don’t want anybody to walk away and say that I don’t have admiration for the thousands and thousands of good people we have in the intelligence field, day in and day out perform, you know, valuable service. You have to protect classified techniques that deal with sources and methods. But the law always has to be public and that’s because voters have a right to be informed on policy issues. And what we saw, in connection particularly with the phone records, is basically, and it was why I felt I had to ask James Clapper that question.

RW: Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?

James Clapper: No sir.

RW: It does not?

JC: Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect. But not, not wittingly.

RW: He lied to the, you know, American people and it had a big impact on our finally getting reforms in the program.

I was tired of seeing the law, which always has to be public, twisted into something else. In secret, the government had gone and gotten this interpretation, where they could collect millions of phone records on law-abiding people.

JS: Why wasn’t James Clapper hit with a perjury charge?

RW: As you know, there was a lot of discussion about that at the time and I thought carefully about how we might look at our options and the first thing that came to mind is when I was a young member of the House, I was on the health committee, and the tobacco executives came before our committee, and I asked them when they were under oath whether nicotine was addictive.

RW: Let me begin my questioning on the matter of whether or not nicotine is addictive. Let me ask you first, and I’d like to just go down the row, whether each of you believes that nicotine is not addictive.

RW: And we went right down the row, and I said, “You think nicotine is addictive?” “No.”

RW: You believe nicotine is not addictive.

William Campbell:I believe nicotine is not addictive, yes.

RW: Mr. Johnston.

James Johnston: Congressman, cigarettes and nicotine clearly do not meet the classic definitions of addiction. There is no —

RW: We’ll take that as a no, and again, time is short, if you can just, I think each of you believe nicotine is not addictive.

RW: And they all lied, because what was in their files indicated they knew it was addictive, and I think like 95 percent the American people in some survey said these executives have lied, they ought to be prosecuted for perjury.

It went to the Justice Department to look into a perjury action, and they dismissed it because they couldn’t prove intent, and I think that’s what ultimately made it difficult.

And, of course, the Obama administration and I again, disagreed with the president on this, basically stuck up for Mr. Clapper on it.

JS: Why is it, you referenced the sort of secret interpretation of laws and I know you’ve really been at the forefront of trying to expose these secret, these authorizations and how they’re being interpreted but also in trying to raise awareness of the sweeping surveillance powers that the executive branch is given by this legislation that passes actually out in the open and my question on that is: if Donald Trump is a great threat to democracy as many of your Democratic colleagues state, and that there is great fear of the damage that he’s doing to the democratic spirit of this country and the threats that he poses, how on earth are your Democratic colleagues voting for these surveillance authorizations while simultaneously portraying Trump as this grave threat to democracy? It makes no sense to me. How do you make sense of it?

RW: Well, let’s unpack something that is a very raw sore right at this point, and that is how the FISA law, the FISA surveillance law that in effect allows for backdoor, you know, searches got reauthorized. And, overwhelmingly, my Democratic colleagues stood with our side which was that: This really amounted to an abuse of power.

And what happened was: On the evening of the key procedural vote, the intelligence leadership came up to the Capitol, because they thought we had a shot at winning on this, they were not far from the Senate floor and they basically told Republican senators, “You have to vote for this because if you don’t, at the end of this week we won’t have any capacity to do this surveillance on foreign targets.” That was just factually untrue. And the director of national intelligence had, in fact, told the New York Times several weeks earlier that they had authority beyond that date.

So, I can tell you these are tough, tough fights. But, you know, I continue to believe that in America the truth always comes out and that’s why I am very glad that there is a free press. So that’s what we try to do on the Intelligence Committee is to ask the hard questions, comply with the rules, but ask the hard questions, and stay at it until you get real accountability.

In the case of the Clapper matter, even after he lied, we urged him, and this is all documented, to go and correct the record. We said, “That’s not true,” and he still didn’t tell the truth. And, as you know, it’s been said various places, Mr. Snowden was watching that, too.

JS: Speaking of Snowden, do you think he should be able to return to the U.S. without the almost total certainty that he would spend many, many years in prison?

RW: I’ve always taken the position that when there’s, you know, a criminal proceeding I’m not going to get directly involved. But I’ll tell you, I’m sure troubled by the double standard. Because you’ve got a situation where there’s one standard for General Petraeus and another for other people.

JS: Yeah, and that’s a very fair point. One last question then, before you go to vote on the floor, what would happen to you if, if you, Senator Wyden, were to reveal some of the information that is classified that you refer to about secret legal interpretations or about Gina Haspel’s track record that you have said you believe the American people should see? You have protection to speak about those things on the Senate floor, what would happen, what would the consequences be if you did that?

RW: I’m not fully aware of all the legal, you know, issues. It’s certainly a violation of the rules.

And what I’ve said, and, you know, Jeremy, you think a lot about these kinds of issues. I’m the co-chair of the whistleblower caucus. I have enormous respect for, you know, whistleblowers. I may look back on this, my wife always says, “When Ron’s out of public service, he’s going to shoot baskets with the children, we’re older parents, and drink chocolate milk.” And I may one day regret having handled these matters the way I have, but I’ve come to feel that where I can make the biggest contribution is to be in the room and that requires that you follow these rules. That a big chunk of the time you gnash your teeth with, and in the case of Gina Haspel, and this is something that I think is a good comment, at least from my vantage point: The bottom line on the Haspel nomination, is the vast amount of information about her background could be classified without compromising sources and methods and that really does a disservice to the American people.

There’s one other point touched on what you’re talking about when you talked about secret law — I think it’s also important to know that today we’re seeing what amounts to a secret confirmation. And I’m worried that if you have a proceeding like this, and a nominee confirmed this way with zero meaningful declassification, this is not going to be the last secret confirmation. You will see other nominees coming up and their record will be covered up as well.

JS: Well, on that note, Senator Ron Wyden, I do want to thank you for always pushing the envelope. And strategically, I understand, if you were removed for some procedural reason from the Intelligence Committee, I think we, the American people, would be far worse for the wear because you’re one of the few people that is consistent, whether it’s Democrats or Republicans, and I thank you for that Senator Ron Wyden.

RW: Well, the privilege is mine, and it’s why I’m so grateful to people of Oregon.

JS: Ron Wyden is a Democratic senator from Oregon. He is a longtime member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

[Musical interlude.]

Norman Finkelstein on the Latest Massacre in Gaza and the History of U.S. Support for Israel’s War Crimes

JS: One of Norman Finkelstein first books was “The Rise and Fall of Palestine: A Personal Account of the Intifada Years,” and he describes his trips to the West Bank, beginning in 1988, at the start of the first intifada.

Norman would go back every summer and stay with Palestinian families, and this was the start of a long career and life dedicated to the liberation of Palestinian people and to a disciplined, scholarly multi-decade examination of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The story of Norman’s family is a harrowing one: His father was a Jewish resistor to the Nazis and survived both the Warsaw Ghetto and the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. His mother also survived the Warsaw ghetto and she was put in the Majdanek concentration camp; she also was sent to slave labor sites.

Norman grew up in Brooklyn. His father was a factory worker and his mother stayed home with the kids.

Maryla Husyt Finkelstein: I remember that my biggest desire and dream was if I ever survived, I would stay tall and tell people the story. I now am strictly a pacifist, and I believe that if you kill, you don’t achieve. With the first killing, you already lost.

JS: Norman’s life story is told in the documentary, “American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein.” His first involvement publicly and politically with the Israel-Palestine issue was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June of 1982. Norman started to demonstrate outside of the Israeli consulate just off 42nd Street here in New York City. And from his first protest, Norman didn’t shy away from using language that described the situation exactly as he saw it. The sign that he carried read: “This son of survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Auschwitz, and Majdanek will not be silent. Israeli Nazis, stop the Holocaust in Lebanon.”

Norman Finkelstein: So now I have both a political commitment and a scholarly commitment, and then obviously I’m Jewish, so I have a personal commitment.

JS: Norman Finkelstein became a serious and principled academic on Palestine and Israel, and he soon gained attention from Noam Chomsky. Norman was working on his doctorate at Princeton University, and for it, he carefully evaluated the claims made in a very popular book at the time by Joan Peters. It was called “From Time Immemorial” and it was on the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Norman wrote a long, detailed critique of her work and sent out his findings on that book to about 25 people. Noam Chomsky soon gave him a call and provided a warning.

Noam Chomsky: I answered him, and he told me later that I was the only person that answered him, and his question, “Does it look as if this is a good topic, a serious topic to study?” I said, you know, “I read it, it’s very solid. It’s a very good topic to study. But if you go into it, do it with eyes open. You are not only going to undermine this book, and show that it’s a fraud, but you’re going to undermine the whole U.S. intellectual community.”

JS: With each new book he’s written, Norman has found himself being chased out of the academy, usually under the guise of budget cuts or other technical issues. After teaching for nine years at Hunter College in New York, where Norman published “The Holocaust Industry” in 2001, the school claimed they had a shortage of funds and offered him less courses. That book was a searing indictment of the money made by using the stories of Holocaust victims.

Norman Finkelstein: I am not happy with what happened. I didn’t ask for a lot. I was earning $18,000 a year at Hunter. Nothing. And they kicked me out in the street after nine years.

JS: Eventually, Norman landed at DePaul University in Chicago. But then, during a televised debate hosted by “Democracy Now!,” Norman accused the famed lawyer and major Israel supporter Alan Dershowitz of plagiarism and he attacked what Norman viewed as his flimsy evidence to back up his positions on Israel and Palestine.

NF: If we’re going to have a civil debate, you’re going to have to remain —

Alan Dershowitz: It’s not going to be a debate about me, let me be very clear about that.

NF: I’m not debating you. I have no interest in you, Mr. Dershowitz. None at all. I’m interested in the scholarship and I’m interested in the facts and I’m interested in your book.

Now, in 1984, one Joan Peters published a book called “From Time Immemorial.” The book was universally recognized by serious scholars to be a fraud. Without wanting to toot my own horn, I’m widely recognized as the person who exposed the fraud. I know that book inside out. I read it at least four times, and I went through all 1,854 footnotes.

I started to read your book, Mr. Dershowitz. I then came to chapter one, footnotes 10, footnote 11, footnote 12, footnote 13, footnote 14, footnote 15, footnote 16. All of the quotes are from Joan Peters.

JS: Once again, Norman’s academic career came to a halt as he was attacked in the media.

Sean Hannity: That was Dr. Finkelstein, he’s a professor at DePaul University who might get his tenure on Tuesday if the university allows it, but how can people like this be teaching our children in the classroom.

JS: There was a battle at DePaul University over Norman’s tenure, and it was shut down after a public campaign against him. Norman says that he has not been offered an academic teaching position for more than a decade.

All in all, Norman Finkelstein has authored eleven books, including “The Holocaust Industry,” “Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History.” Norman’s latest book, which was published in January, is called “Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom.” The book is Norman’s opus on Gaza. It’s a meticulous, 440-page study of international law, of Israel’s sustained attacks against Gaza, its people and the book offers what may well be the definitive history of one of the most horrifying and sustained campaigns in modern world history. Not a single major publication has reviewed Norman’s new book. You won’t see him on cable news. He is, it seems, completely blacklisted. But he joins us now here on Intercepted.

Norman, welcome to the show.

NF: Well, thank you for having me.

JS: First, just your response to what’s happening right now on the ground in Palestine.

NF: Well it was eminently predictable. In fact, it was predicted. The Great March of Return, as it’s been called, and even if you looked at the Israeli papers, they were speculating about how many they would kill and it’s still unclear how many at the end of the day will be killed.

JS: When you say that it was entirely predictable, what do you mean?

NF: Well the Israelis said they were going to kill the people if they attempted to breach the prison gate. The people inside the prison said they’re going to try to break out of the prison. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out what’s going to happen in that scenario.

JS: When you say prison, what are you referring to?

NF: I don’t want to get too pedantic about this, but Confucius once said, “The beginning of all wisdom is to call things by their proper names.” I know that might sound like a fortune cookie entry, but in fact, it’s a pretty profound idea.

So, in the case at hand, if you look at the mainstream publications which echo Israeli propaganda, or if you just look at the Times, they keep referring to a “border fence.” A border fence is if two sovereign states stand on each side of that fence.

But then let’s look at the facts: The Hebrew University sociologist Baruch Kimmerling, who’s a distinguished sociologist, and he described Gaza, and now I’m quoting him, “the world’s largest concentration camp ever.”

The respected Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, they refer to the Gaza Ghetto, with the obvious resonances for Jews, the Warsaw Ghetto.

And then if you take the conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron, he referred to Gaza as an open-air prison.

So, is it accurate, is it calling things by their proper names to say that the Palestinians in Gaza are trying to breach a border fence? No. Palestinians in Gaza are trying to breach a concentration camp fence. They’re trying to breach a ghetto fence. They’re trying to breach a prison gate.

But that’s only half the story. Because it’s not even a prison.

Number one, beginning in 2012, United Nations began issuing reports. It said, “Will Gaza be livable in 2020?”

Then, in 2015, another report was issued by UNCTAD, one of the premier U.N. agencies. It said, “Gaza, on its current trajectory, will not be livable in 2020.”

Then, in 2017, a senior U.N. official said, “It seems like our forecasts have been optimistic.” Sanguine. He said, “Gaza has crossed the threshold of unlivability a long time ago.”

We’re not talking about poetry. We’re not talking about hyperbole. We’re talking about the assessment, the verdict of very conservative but professional and competent U.N. bureaucrats. Gaza is an unlivable space. 97 percent of Gaza’s water is contaminated. It’s unfit for human consumption.

Well what does that mean? Well, let’s take the opinion of Sara Roy, who is the world’s leading authority on Gaza’s economy. Both of her parents were in Auschwitz concentration camp. So, consider her language. She said: “Innocent people, most of them children, (because Gaza is overwhelmingly, majority children, 51 percent children) are daily being poisoned.”

And that’s a fact. And people don’t want to hear it, they get all squeamish. Why are you talking about concentration camps? Why are you talking about poisoning? Well, hey, don’t blame the messenger for the bad news. Israel is poisoning one million children.

Are the people of Gaza trying to breach a border fence? No. The people of Gaza are trying to breach an unlivable space in which the population is daily being poisoned. Those are the facts. But there’s something here that’s profoundly wrong.

I was profoundly wrong in my opinion. I like Bernie Sanders, and I worked very hard for Bernie during the campaign.

JS: So Sanders tweeted this on Monday when this was still very, very much in its early stages. “Over 50 killed in Gaza today and 2,000 wounded, on top of the 41 killed and more than 9,000 wounded over the past weeks. This is a staggering toll. Hamas violence does not justify Israel firing on unarmed protesters.” “The United States must play an aggressive role in bringing Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and the international community together to address Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and stop this escalating violence.” Your response, Norman.

NF: There was no Hamas violence. I’m not a defender of Hamas. I’m not an apologist for Hamas, but I do care about facts and I do care about truth.

The fact of the matter is, for anybody who is in the least bit familiar with the situation, Hamas has given very strict orders: No violence, no guns, no weapons, no provocations.

For the past two weeks, Hamas has been absorbing one provocation after another by the Israelis, because the Israelis are desperate, they are desperate, as they said in that famous WikiLeak, “we don’t do Gandhi well,” which means they don’t know how to cope with nonviolence because it looks bad when they start using their brutal force against nonviolent protestors.

So, they’re praying, they’re doing everything to provoke Hamas into resorting to some sort of violence so then they have their pretext to come in, and, as they call it, mow the lawn.

Well, Hamas has resisted the provocations and there are 10,000 things to criticize them for and I’ll be the first one to do it. But to their eternal credit, they’re exercising Herculean restraint in the face of the Israeli systematic methodical desperate provocations. It’s gotten so preposterous, so ridiculous that they need a pretext.

And now for Bernie to weigh in and talk about Hamas violence, first of all, let’s be clear: They have the right to use violence. They have that right under international law. As a general proposition, they have that right. That’s the law. A people fighting for self-determination or under alien occupation, they have the right to use violence in order to free themselves.

On the other hand, the law is very clear: An occupying power or a power denying people the right to self-determination, they have no right whatsoever to use violence.

So as a general principle, the people of Gaza, Hamas they have the right to use violence. But they’re not. And now for Bernie to do that. No — it’s unacceptable. That’s not calling things by their proper name. That’s being opportunist. It’s being cowardly. I know Bernie doesn’t believe it, but he has to protect his flank, pretend to be even-handed. No, this is not the time to be even-handed. It’s not the time to be even-handed. Those people have been suffering for 11 years under that brutal, inhuman, illegal, and immoral blockade.

I’ll quote now the New York state judge Mary McGowan Davis: “The blockade of Gaza has to be lifted immediately and unconditionally.”

Now, I want the listeners to hear that word. It’s unconditionally. It doesn’t say Hamas has to disarm. It doesn’t say Hamas has to stop constructing tunnels. That blockade is illegal under international law. It’s a flagrant violation of international law. It has to be lifted immediately and unconditionally. It doesn’t depend on Egypt, it doesn’t depend on the United States, it doesn’t depend on the Palestinian Authority — all of whom want to destroy Gaza.

No, the law is “immediately and unconditionally.” That merciless, cruel, brutal blockade of Gaza has to be lifted.

JS: We hear Raj Shah and others that are speaking on behalf of the Trump administration placing the blame entirely on Hamas, even when confronted with the number of civilians that have been killed —

Raj Shah: Well, as I said earlier, we believe Hamas bears the responsibility. This is a propaganda attempt. I mean, this is a gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt —

JS: As though Hamas is launching Palestinian civilians at Israel to be killed. How different, though, is that response that the Trump White House is offering versus previous assaults, onslaughts on Gaza when Democrats are in power?

NF: Well, it was the same. I’ll just give you two examples of the exemplary figure, namely Barack Obama. Operation Cast Lead began December 26, 2008, it ended January 17, 2009; what Amnesty International called 22 days of death and destruction.

And up until that point, it was the most murderous of the Israeli periodic operations against the people of Gaza.

Barack Obama had already been elected president in November. Now, Operation Cast Lead ends January 17. Why does it end January 17? Because Obama’s going to be inaugurated on January 20, and that stupefying narcissist didn’t want any distractions, any diversions from his inauguration. So, he passes the word to Israel: Stop Operation Cast Lead. That’s the only reason.

Now turn to Operation Protective Edge, which unfolds during Barack Obama’s term of office. Operation Protective Edge began July 7, 2014. It ends August 26, 2014.

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross is a fellow named Peter Maurer. And you go to your Google and your Google “Peter Maurer Afghanistan.” He’s been there. Syria, Yemen, Central African Republic, Iraq — he’s been there. His job description is to bear witness at war zones.

In 2014, after Operation Protective Edge, Peter Maurer went to Gaza. He came out of Gaza and he said, “I’ve never seen such massive destruction ever before.”

Peter Maurer: I have seen a lot of children here suffering, a lot of serious injuries and you can only be shocked and shaken by what you see as a consequence of the war here.

NF: Bear in mind, that is the eighth Israeli murderous operation in Gaza in the last 15 years. Operation Days of Penitence, 2004. Operation Rainbow, 2004. Operation Autumn Clouds, 2006. Operation Hot Winter, 2008. It begins to sound like an Irving Berlin production. Operation Cast Lead, 2008-9, Operation Pillar of Defense, 2012. And then Operation Protective Edge. And now we have to add the new massacre the past few days.

What did Barack Obama do? He kept going out and kept saying, “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

President Barack Obama: I reaffirm my strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself.

President Barack Obama: We are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes.

President Barack Obama: As I’ve said repeatedly, Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks that terrorize the Israeli people.

NF: You know when he finally criticized it? It’s an interesting story. Israel was systematically targeting the U.N. shelters. These were U.N. schools which had been converted into civilian shelters.

JS: This is 2014, you’re talking about.

NF: Yes. He bombed one shelter, a second shelter, a third shelter, a fourth shelter, a fifth shelter and then the pressure begins to build in the U.N. system. Ban Ki-moon, he finally had to say something and he condemned the bombing on August 3 of the U.S. shelter.

Now, the United States no longer even had the fig leaf of Ban Ki-moon. So finally, in the afternoon of August 3, the United States says.

Josh Earnest: The shelling of a U.N. facility that is housing innocent civilians who are fleeing violence is totally unacceptable and totally indefensible.

NF: And lo and behold, the night of August 3rd, Prime Minister Netanyahu announces Israel’s withdrawing from Gaza.

Only thing you needed to end that operation was one word from the United States. They could have stopped it. Barack Obama did nothing. Israel had the right to protect itself? Let’s just take some basic numbers: 550 Gazan children were killed. You know how many Israeli children were killed? One. 18,000 — 18,000 Palestinian homes were destroyed. You know how many Israeli homes were destroyed? One. 550 to 1. 18,000 to 1. And the only thing Barack Obama could see was Israel has the right to defend itself.

And not Israeli, not just today, but in the last six weeks, not a single Israeli, forget about killed, forget about wounded, not even a scratch. And you invoke Hamas violence? That’s way off base. It’s unacceptable.

JS: Has there been any significant change from Obama to Trump as regards Gaza?

NF: I would not say as regards Gaza. I would say it is probably true: The United States was putting some restraint on Netanyahu in previous administrations — I can’t document it but I think it’s reasonable to assume. You remember, for example, at that famous news conference where Israel demolished Shujaiya

— that’s another story. And it bears repeating.

Shujaiya is a civilian neighborhood in Gaza. It’s among the most densely populated civilian neighborhoods in Gaza, which is among the most densely populated places in the world. There had been a firefight outside Shujaiya and several Israeli soldiers were killed. So Israel went mad. Israel dropped more than 100 one-ton bombs on Shujaiya and fired thousands — thousands — of indiscriminate high explosive artillery shells into Gaza. And that was at that point, you might recall, in the news conference this is, they called it, a pinpoint operation — which in fact was true. They pinpointed Shujaiya and they proceeded to decimate it and Kerry was kind of infuriated and he uttered, I guess his mic was open and he wasn’t aware of it, he said:

John Kerry: That’s a hell of a pinpoint operation. It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation.

NF: So there had to be some constraints that were work. With this guy Trump, and that Pence guy, there are no restraints. Netanyahu said, “Don’t worry, all will be forgotten in two days.” All will be remembered is the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. And he’s right!

JS: So, this week, Israel is not only celebrating the founding of the state of Israel, but also it’s the date of the creation of the Israeli Defense Forces, the combined defense forces, and I want to read a quote to you that I know you’re familiar with from a lecturer at the IDF National Defense College, Arnon Soffer, he said this in 2004: “When 2.5 million people lived in a closed-off Gaza it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today. With the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam, the pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war, so if we want to remain alive we will have to kill and kill and kill, all day every day.”

NF: Now let’s just stop for a moment, go to my website, it’s going to be a little ways down, it’s going to be Netanyahu’s speech before the Jewish nation. Read what he says:

JS: “It’s easy to declare the people of Gaza must be exterminated, but it’s not an easy task to accomplish. Most of you will know what it’s like when 100 bodies lie together, when 500 are there or when there are 1,000. To have executed this ghastly charge and to have remained decent, it has earned us a glorious page in the annals of history. We have the moral right, we have the duty to our people to kill this people who would kill us. We have carried out this most difficult task out of love of our people and we have suffered no defect within us, in our soul or in our character.”

NF: Yeah. We’re killing this people who want to kill us. It’s a terrible task. We all shoot and cry, but that’s what we have to do.

JS: So, whose words did I just read there?

NF: If you substitute “Gaza” for “Jews,” that was Heinrich Himmler. It’s a very famous speech of his, where the Nazis, like some others who came later, they derived this kind of sick pleasure in pitying themselves.

JS: The notion that is put forth consistently by Israeli political figures, or, I just mentioned this geographer who is an instructor at the IDF University, that Israel has a right to kill these people because it’s in their defense, and that is sort of how it’s framed. If you say anything about Gaza on social media, you get hounded immediately by people saying, “Are you saying Israel doesn’t have a right to defend itself?”

NF: It doesn’t have the right to defend itself. You have the right to defend your border from attack. You have no right to cage in a people in unlivable space who are slowly being poisoned. You regain, you reclaim your right when you do three things. One, you end the illegal blockade of Gaza. Two, you end the illegal occupation of alien territory. And three, you give the people in Gaza and the West Bank the right to self-determination and statehood. The denial of all of those three rights means you lose any right to quote-unquote “defend yourself.”

Until and unless you end those three consecutive compounded illegal situations, you don’t have a right to self-defense. You lost that right because you do not have the right if you are inflicting a wrong.

Yes, Israel has the right to defend itself but not until and unless it stops tormenting and torturing the people of Palestine, and, in particular, the people of Gaza, until and unless: They have no right except to pack up and leave.

JS: What is Israel’s ultimate end goal in Gaza, particularly with Netanyahu in power?

NF: Netanyahu is a very narrow politician. He looks for quick victories. If you ask: What’s the long-term vision? There isn’t a long-term vision.

You have to understand, the whole Zionist movement, its history and then the state of Israel, they have holding actions. They wait. They wait. If you were to ask me now, what’s the holding action, what are they waiting for? Probably they’re waiting for a cataclysm of such dimensions that they can carry out another, you know, “miraculous clearing of the land.” That would be the ideal situation.

Until they reach the ideal situation, they’ll just wait. You know, people say: How much longer can it last, it’s gone — ? No, it doesn’t have to end. For Christ’s sake, the occupation has already lasted a half-century. They could keep it going.

As for Gaza, they’ll just let it vegetate and die.

JS: What is your analysis of Trump quote-unquote “ripping up” the Iran deal?

NF: It’s hard to gauge, first of all, whether there’s any foresight or far sight involved in what he’s doing. Now, I don’t believe that Netanyahu wants a war with Iran. However, it is quite possible that they have crossed the Rubicon, and Nasrallah, his speech he gave about a month ago, he’s not a fear monger and he’s not a scaremonger. He said: “I’m not saying it’s probable. I won’t even say it’s possible.” But he said: “We might be heading towards a regional war.” And if he says it, I think we need to pause and we need to really worry.

You know, people like Trump and Netanyahu who don’t look past the next day, Iran is a 5,000-year-old civilization. It’s very patient. You could see over the long term how slowly but surely, it’s building up a pretty impressive, what they call resistance front in the Middle East, and so they’re patient. And they may patiently wait for the right moment. And then we’re going to have a very — it’s not a mess, it’ll be a nightmare. It will be a nightmare.

JS: On that uplifting note, I want to thank you. No, I know, you always are — you take your work and the work of those around you very seriously, and I appreciate that stance. And thank you so much for all of your work Norman.

NF: Thank you.

JS: Norman Finkelstein is the author of “Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom.” That book may not be getting reviews in the most prestigious publications — or, really, any publications, except The Intercept — of our time, as, well, journalists are writing endless copy about Donald Trump’s tweets and other issues, but I do encourage our readers to pick up Norman’s book and make your own decision.

[Musical interlude.]

JS: That does it for this week’s show. If you’re not yet a sustaining member of Intercepted, log onto theintercept.com/join. You can also follow us on Twitter. Our handle is simply @intercepted. Intercepted is a production of First Look Media and The Intercept. We’re distributed by Panoply. Our producer is Jack D’Isidoro, and our executive producer is Leital Molad. Laura Flynn is associate producer. Elise Swain is our assistant producer and graphic designer. Emily Kennedy does our transcripts. Rick Kwan mixed the show. Our music, as always, was composed by DJ Spooky.

Until next week, I’m Jeremy Scahill.


Update: May 17, 2018
This article was updated to include a link to the documentary on Finkelstein.

Join The Conversation