How the Trumps Screwed Palestine

Two Palestinian women, co-chair of the Women’s March Linda Sarsour and foreign policy analyst Rula Jebreal, join Mehdi Hasan to discuss the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem.

NAHAL OZ, ISRAEL - APRIL 13: (ISRAEL OUT) Israeli soldiers take positions as Palestinian gathered for a protest on the Israel-Gaza border on April 13, 2018 in Netivot, Israel. Thousands of Gaza residents assembled on Friday at the border with Israel to stage another protest as part of their "March of Return" for a third consecutive week.  (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka, left, and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner attends the opening ceremony of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Monday, May 14, 2018. Photo: Sebastian Scheiner/AP

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On Monday, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and other members of the Trump administration celebrated the opening of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, while at the same time and just a few miles away, Israeli snipers shot at hundreds of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza. More than 60 people were killed in a single day, including children. Predictably, the U.S. media went into pro-Israeli propaganda mode, blaming all of the violence and killing on Hamas, which for all its many sins, didn’t actually kill anyone this week. On this week’s episode of Deconstructed, two Palestinians join Mehdi Hasan to discuss U.S. coverage of Palestine and how to get prominent Democratic politicians to take the Palestinian struggle for freedom seriously. Rula Jebreal was raised in East Jerusalem and is an academic and foreign policy analyst. Linda Sarsour, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from the occupied West Bank, is the co-chair of the Women’s March and the former director of the Arab American Association of New York.

Linda Sarsour: Silence is complicity. Palestine is going to be an issue that’s going to come up in the presidential elections. If you want to run for president in the United States of America, you better come up with an opinion about this, and it better be an opinion that centers the human rights of the Palestinian people.

[Musical interlude.]

Mehdi Hasan: I’m Mehdi Hasan and welcome to Deconstructed. Today I want to talk about Gaza, Jerusalem, Palestine, Israel, and I want to do something very weird, very odd: I want to talk about all those issues with two Palestinian guests, Rula Jebreal and Linda Sarsour. Yeah, Palestinians! Why would you want to talk to Palestinians about Palestine? Madness, right?

Rula Jebreal: The failure of U.S. media to cover this in an unbiased manner will come back to haunt American media, and American politics, and Americans around the globe.

MH: On Monday, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and other members of this hideous administration were celebrating the opening of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem —

Jared Kushner: While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American Embassy once in office, this president delivered.

MH: — while at that same time, a few miles away, 100s of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza were being shot at by Israeli snipers. More than 60 were killed in a single day, including kids.

Yet the vast majority of U.S. media outlets, whether conservative or liberal, didn’t want to hear from Palestinians. Like the U.S. government, they went into full pro-Israeli propaganda mode, blaming all of the violence and killing on Hamas, which for all its many sins, didn’t actually kill anyone this week. Only the Israeli military did. And yet:

Newscaster: The White House is putting the blame solely on Hamas.

TK: The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas.

TK: What Hamas wants to do is have a lot of civilian causalities. They think that Israel will be blamed for these civilian causalities.

TK: Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response.

Thomas Friedman: Let’s start with Hamas and Gaza. I mean, that was an act of human sacrifice. When you throw thousands of your youth, the flower of your youth, against an Israeli fence, it was inevitable that a lot people would get killed. Israel was not going to open the border to them.

MH: That last voice was of Tom Friedman, liberal columnist at the liberal New York Times, basically dehumanizing and pathologizing the Palestinian people — as usual.

The Washington Post went one step further: their lead editorial accused Hamas of assembling quote “thousands of nominal civilians” at the Gaza border fence. Nominal civilians? What the hell are nominal civilians? Pretend civilians? Crisis actors? Again, this is the language of dehumanization, and it’s brazen, it’s blatant, it’s shameless.

Now, we covered the violence in Gaza on this show with the amazing Israeli human rights activists Hagai El Ad and Avner Gvaryahu just a few weeks ago — and if you haven’t listened to that show, do please go back and have a listen.

This week I’ll be talking to the Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour and to the Palestinian-Italian journalist Rula Jebreal, both of whom offer really valuable and unique perspectives on this issue.

But first, I want to take a step back. Because there is a massive problem with the way the U.S. media tend to cover this subject. Israel, they tell us, is just trying to defend its border against these mobs in Gaza that are throwing stones and burning tires for no good reason. Israeli just wants to have foreign embassies located in is own capitol city, Jerusalem.

The problem is that this is not some generic conflict between two equal, sovereign states. It is a conflict between occupied and occupier. And if you frame it any other way, you have completely lost the plot.

To explain this a little better, we are going to go back in time a bit. Because history matters. Facts matter. Especially on this show. So here we go:

Newsreel: Jerusalem! A sacred place to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Today it is a place of conflict between Arab and Jew.

MH: Back in 1947, the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 181: The Partition Plan for Palestine. It divided what was called Mandate Palestine into two states: a Jewish state and an Arab state. And under the Partition Plan the holy and historic city of Jerusalem was supposed to be part of neither state, it was supposed to be an international city under international control. The language used in that resolution referred to Jerusalem as a “corpus separatum” — a separate legal entity.

Newsreel: The Jewish state will include the ports of Haifa and Tel Aviv, and the whole of the Negev valley. The Arab will occupy the fertile eastern part. Jerusalem will come under United Nations trusteeship.

MH: Under U.N. trusteeship! Because it was considered such a holy city, such a contentious city, claimed by so many people.

The problem is that in 1948, the Israelis fought what they call their war of independence and what the Palestinians call the Nakba, “the catastrophe”, in which they lost their land. And after that war, by 1949, Jerusalem had been split into West Jerusalem, populated mainly by Jews and under control of Israel, and East Jerusalem, populated mainly by Palestinians and under the control of the Kingdom of Jordan.

Now let’s fast-forward 18 years, to 1967.

Relations between Israel and its neighbors had never normalized after that 1948 war. And in 1967, the tensions exploded.

Newsreel: The tension in the Middle East over the Gulf of Aqaba blockade develops into full-scale war.

MH: Israel launched a preemptive strike against its Arab neighbors —

Newsreel: Israeli spearheads race to the Gaza strip! Advance across the entire Sinai!

MH: — and invaded and occupied East Jerusalem in the process. And the diplomatic struggle over that illegal occupation dominated discussions at the U.N. TK

Newsreel: The Six-day Middle East War echoes along a second front. The diplomatic struggle at the United Nations Security Council.

MH: Several U.N. resolutions were passed saying you cannot be controlling East Jerusalem, this is occupied territory, as much as the West Bank and Gaza are occupied territories.

But the occupation has continued, becoming the longest military occupation in the world. In fact, by the 1980s Israel had decided to basically annex East Jerusalem, and a law was passed in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, saying Jerusalem was the unified and undivided capital of Israel. The thing is, no one else agreed with Israel.

Not their Arab neighbors, for sure; not the United Nations, either; not the Europeans! Not even the U.S. government which considered East Jerusalem occupied territory, right up until the Donald Trump administration. Right up until late last year, when the U.S. president made his now-infamous announcement.

President Donald J. Trump: It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

MH: That was over five months ago, and this week, on Monday, the U.S. formalized Trump’s decision by moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. But just to take a listen to how the president and other prominent U.S. officials and former officials framed their dishonest argument in favor of that embassy move in the weeks and months running up to it.

DJT: Israel is a sovereign nation, with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley: We’re going to do like we do in every other country, and we’re going to put the embassy in its capital.

Donald Rumsfeld: It’s a no-brainer, it’s the right thing to do. President Trump made the right decision, he stepped up and did it. It’s inevitable that there will be some criticism about it.

MH: That was, respectively, Donald Trump, his U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, and, of course, George W. Bush’s defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, a blast from the past, coming back to give us all his infamous pearls of wisdom on the Middle East.

Look: It’s a common argument from these guys, that Jerusalem should be no different to any other capital city; Israel should be treated no differently to any other country; if Israel says Jerusalem is their capital, then we need to put our embassy there.

But as the history makes clear, Israel is not like every other country, and Jerusalem is certainly not like other capital cities.

When it comes to Russia and Ukraine, for example, the U.S. government position is so crystal clear: You cannot annex Crimea in violation of international law, you cannot change borders by force. And the West, the international community does not recognize Crimea as part of Russia. It’s still part of Ukraine, is the international community’s view, even today.

It’s funny that when it comes to Russian aggression, Russian occupation, Russian annexation, we’re very clear about what is and isn’t okay. But when it comes to Israeli aggression, Israeli occupation, Israeli annexation, in regard to Jerusalem: Well, that’s their capital they should be able to do what they want with it.

It’s easier to say stuff like that when Palestinians are nowhere to be seen or heard in the U.S. media, when their voices are silenced or erased, their suffering is disregarded, their basic humanity is questioned, again and again.

So my first guest today is someone with deep roots in Palestine, in Jerusalem, in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian who was raised in East Jerusalem and who has now become a journalist, author, academic and foreign policy analyst. Earlier I spoke to Rula Jebreal about the U.S. embassy move and about the fact you never can seem to tell from U.S. cable news coverage that this is occupied territory: Jerusalem is occupied territory.

[Musical interlude.]

RJ: Most Americans don’t even know that Palestinians don’t have a state and don’t have any basic rights.

I think what President Trump did is emboldening more the extremists on both sides. So now Al-Qaeda and ISIS and every fanatical group around the globe is calling this a holy war. So this might be transformed from a political conflict or religious conflict, and this is a dangerous space.

MH: Rula, what are your memories of growing up in East Jerusalem? What does Jerusalem mean to you as a Palestinian.

RJ: Look my father worked at the Al-Aqsa Mosque for almost 30 years. We lived two blocks from the Dome of the Rock, the mosque. But also we had families who are Christians and we celebrated Christian holidays — basically Christmas and Easter, in my school.

My memories are horrific memories of basically segregation. I remember when I was eight years old and I was walking to school with my father rushing, and a soldier who was 20 at the time, maybe 19, stopped us and asked my father for his ID. My father gave him the ID, and the kid, my father at the time was in his late 50s, the Israeli soldier dropped intentionally in the mud, that ID. And I remember he locked eyes with my father and he said, “Grab it.” So that humiliation. This is what I grew up seeing my people, my relatives, my father humiliated and basically suppressed and oppressed on a daily basis.

I remember that was the first action where I decided to do something and I was, you know, a tiny kid but I grabbed the ID immediately and I gave it to my father and said, “We need to rush to school.”

I remember the tear gas. I remember the first Intifada. I remember the shooting, the killing, the arrests — but I also remember my relatives who believed that Israel as a democracy, sooner or later, will allow citizens, Palestinians, to basically have equal rights. And the conversation in my neighborhood was, “You cannot have it both ways. You can’t be a democracy and call yourself a democracy without extending equal rights to all citizens.”

What we’re seeing now is full-blown apartheid regime settler-dominating — not only the country, but dominating the political agenda. And we’re seeing also the infiltration of religious fanatics in every, basically in every branch of government, but also the security apparatus.

MH: Why is that Jerusalem as an issue, as a symbol, what I slightly struggle with, matters so much to the Palestinians and the wider Arab and Muslim worlds. Why is it such a red line for the Palestinian leadership in a way that say settlement expansion hasn’t been?

RJ: I think Jerusalem has a special place in the hearts of millions of Christian and Muslims around the world. Jerusalem is the nuclear core of the conflict for centuries. For centuries, the agreement between communities was there’s no domination of one group above another. I think, except for 80 years during the crusade, Jerusalem was always a shared formula, shared agreement between various communities — Muslim Christian and Jews — but the idea that one group put their hand on the most sacred place in the entire Middle East, where it’s shared among these three monotheistic religion, it entrenched the occupation to such level where it’s a smack in the face of every community.

MH: So what do you say to a Jewish-Israeli who says, “Look, this is our capital, this is the center of our identity, it always has been, always will be.” That’s what Donald Trump’s recognizing.

RJ: This is also the center of identity of Palestinian Muslims and Christian Palestinians.

MH: What’s the solution? Jerusalem is not the capital of anything.

RJ: West Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Nobody is denying that West Jerusalem, under international law is the capital of — but what was occupied in 1967 is East Jerusalem, and I’m talking about the old city, where I grew up, where I was raised, where my family come from, where there is native indigenous people who lived there for a generation, for centuries, our ancestors are from there.

I don’t know who decide who belongs where, but if you are an indigenous native Palestinian who was raised and born, who is the president of the United States to tell you that you are not there because of a biblical verse written somewhere? This is not politics. This is not a 21st century model of citizenship. The failure of U.S. media to cover this in an unbiased manner will come back to haunt American media and American politics and Americans around the globe.

MH: That was foreign policy analyst, journalist, and novelist Rula Jebreal. Coming up Palestinian American activist and Bernie Sanders’ supporter Linda Sarsour on the Democrats’ shameful silence over Gaza. We’ll be back in a moment.

[Musical interlude.]

MH: Before we continue, last week, you may remember, I spoke about the Iran deal with Tommy Vietor from Crooked Media. He hosts the Pod Save the World podcast for Crooked Media. Today, I just I want to tell you about another podcast, also from Crooked Media.

With Friends Like These is a show that explores the differences between us without letting them divide us. Host Ana Marie Cox has conversations with guests that you might not expect about what they believe, why they hold those beliefs and how they arrived to them. It’s not necessarily about finding common ground, but rather learning to see the world through someone else’s eyes. She talks to Republicans, former white supremacists, people with completely different life experiences than her own to discuss privilege, mental health, religious upbringings and the experiences that shape our political beliefs.

With Friends Like These comes out every Friday and is part of Crooked Media.

MH: So why is it that U.S. liberals are so silent on what’s going on in Jerusalem, in the West Bank and especially in Gaza? How do you get prominent politicians from the Democratic party to take seriously the Palestinian struggle for freedom?

My next guest is best known for being one of the organizers of the Women’s March and a prominent supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign but before that she had a long history of activism related to Middle East communities and was executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. Her Palestinian parents came to the United States from the occupied West Bank.

Linda Sarsour, welcome to Deconstructed.

LS: Thank you so much for having me.

MH: Linda is it fair to say that if Iran or Syria or Venezuela were currently gunning down unarmed protesters, killing dozens upon dozens, wounding thousands upon thousands, week after week, U.S. politicians, the U.S. liberal media would be up in arms condemning those killings, covering those killings talking about those killings.

LS: Absolutely, 100 percent. I mean unfortunately, Mehdi, the Palestinian people have been discardable people for so long. They have been dehumanized. Their humanity has been taken away from them. And, unfortunately, the Israeli government has been so far pretty successful around creating a narrative that Palestinian equals terrorist, and there is no such thing as an unarmed protester in the eyes of the Israeli government. So, right now, the narrative is shifting and no one can deny the brutality and the violence and the very calculated massacres of unarmed protesters in the Gaza Strip. There is no way that your eyes can deny you what you see.

MH: Yep. So true. Who are you supposed to believe: The Israelis or your own lying eyes?

I mean, it’s interesting, you talk about the narrative shifting. In the last 24 hours, 48 hours, ever since somehow Hamas guy said, “50 of our people were killed,” the Israelis are now jumping up and down and their apologists are saying, “Well, see, they’re all Hamas, they all deserve to die.”

Number one, we don’t know if they’re all Hamas. And number two, simply being a member of Hamas doesn’t mean you get the death penalty, especially if you’re a kid, surely.

LS: You know, Hamas has been used as a red herring, and for folks that are Palestinian and live in Palestine or have family who live in Palestine, people in Palestine are disillusioned with all the leadership. And we cannot say that the two million people who live in the Gaza Strip, which is the world’s largest open-air prison, are all Hamas. I think that argument again is being used over and over and it was being used way before some guy stood up and said those are folks from Hamas. They were using that before, saying that Hamas was being provocative.

And I always wonder why is it not provocative to be strangling 2 million people under siege for the past 11 years with inconsistent electricity, inconsistent water. They have lack of medical supplies, there’s lack of jobs there. These are a hopeless people. There is no equation there.

MH: How do you explain so many Americans, liberal Americans, progressive Americans, people who you stand shoulder to shoulder with on so many issues, who are decent people, who would have spent their lives trying to fight for equality, justice at home and abroad, but when it comes to this conflict, they bend over backwards to justify or defend the killing of Palestinians? How do you explain that?

LS: I try to find some rationalization. When I think back to the time when brave Americans stood up against the Vietnam War, and I think about a decade ago when people stood up against South African apartheid, it wasn’t the entire progressive left and it wasn’t everybody that stood up against those moments in history or stood up in those moments in history.

And there are people in the progressive left that have stood up. I’m very proud of our colleagues and allies in the Black Lives Matter movement — in particular, people of color and dreamers and people who I’ve been on the front lines with.

Unfortunately, the people who are not speaking up that should be speaking up are the Democrats. Because I don’t expect much from the Republicans, but the Democrats have to understand that the voter base is becoming a lot more pro-Palestinian and a lot more progressive on this particular issue, and we saw that with the type of voter base that Bernie Sanders had during the election. It also was demonstrated in me being a national surrogate as a Palestinian-American during the 2016 primaries, where I stood on major platforms and stages for Bernie Sanders proclaiming my commitment to the Palestinian people and proclaiming my unapologetic Palestinian heritage.

And the progressive left is moving in that direction, and if the Democrats want to win and if they want to build and rebuild the Democratic Party, well, they got to start talking and they’ve got to start saying that what is happening in Gaza, what is happening in Palestine is unacceptable.

And to be honest, Mehdi? Now’s the time to do it, it’s very easy. Because if you contextualize it with this racist administration.

MH: Linda, now is the time they’re not doing it. We’ll come back to Bernie Sanders in a moment. Put Bernie Sanders to one side for a moment — the rest of the Democrats are not doing it. You know, you look at their Twitter accounts. You look at the people who are running for president, probably, in 2020, the Kamala Harrises, the Cory Bookers, the Joe Bidens, there is silence from these people.

I think 11 Democratic senators signed a letter this week to the State Department urging more humanitarian aid, the easing of the blockade on Gaza, which is all good and well, but a very low bar. Only 11 were even willing to sign that letter. So it’s pretty shameful to see these Democratic senators who would raise their voices on all sorts of other conflicts — Syria and the rest — they are not even saying anything, let alone condemnation.

LS: Silence is complicity, and I’m telling you right now, Mehdi, as someone who is a very, very integrated into the progressive movement, Palestine is going to be an issue that’s going to come up in the presidential elections and these, if you want to run for president of the United States of America, you better come up with an opinion about this and it better be an opinion that centers the human rights of the Palestinian people. And I know for a fact that that the progressive left, in particular those who I organize with, are looking for that leadership and for those statements from those elected officials. And you’re right — a lot of them haven’t said something, and they haven’t said anything, and are ignoring it like it’s not even happening, but it’s going to come back and bite them and they’re going to be challenged and we’re going to make sure they’re going to be challenged because we’re going to make sure it’s part of the platform that we push in the progressive left in the 2020 elections.

MH: And indeed, and we had a bunch of senators voting to confirm Gina Haspel, who oversaw torture as a CIA chief this week. I interviewed Bernie Sanders on Monday for The Intercept, Linda, and this is what he said about Israel, perhaps one of the strongest statements I’ve ever heard him make.

Senator Bernie Sanders: They are terrible actions. Instead of applauding Israel for its actions, Israel should be condemned. Israel has a right to security, but shooting unarmed protesters is not what it is about.

MH: Bernie’s actually moved on this issue, hasn’t he, Linda? He was much more pro-Israeli back in 2014 during the Gaza War, when the Israelis were killing around 500 Palestinian kids over the course of the summer, progressives were criticizing Bernie Sanders back then. Do you think it’s because of pressure from below, from activists such as yourself that he’s actually moved?

LS: Absolutely. This is how politics works. It’s all about building deep relationships, it’s about conversations and it’s about our consistency, and we as the progressive left have to learn consistency.

Bernie, proved also, and you know this Mehdi, he didn’t win into the 2016 primaries and I think it was for many other reasons, but I don’t actually think he lost because of Palestine. He actually was applauded for his, you know, in the, during the New York debate with Hillary, talking about the disproportionate, you know, aggression from Israel.

MH: Yes, I remember.

LS: He actually was applauded by the majority of the progressive left movement and I think towards the end that actually became the breakthrough for the Democratic Party.

And you saw the fight on the platform, as the Democratic Party was putting their platform together, so I see the evolution. But the Democratic Party got to get their folks to start talking, because if you’re not talking about Palestine, you’re not going to see young people in your base during the 2020 election. It’s just not going to happen.

MH: But when you start talking, the problem becomes what do you talk about?

For example, you’re a supporter of the boycott divestment and sanctions movement, the BDS movement, which for a lot of U.S. Democrats and progressives, that’s a line too far. It’s a red line. It cannot be crossed. Even Bernie Sanders has come out very strongly against BDS. Does BDS, this idea of boycotting Israel, isolating Israel diplomatically, economically, financially does it risk isolating the pro-Palestinian movement here in the U.S. from mainstream U.S. politics, from the wider progressive movement. Is that dangerous?

LS: For me there is no line. Because I don’t need Bernie or Kamala or Cory to come join me and say we all sponsor or support the BDS movement. What I need them to do is to stand up against any policies that work against my right to engage in boycott, divestment and sanction. This is a free speech matter and there are bills being passed, including one recently in a place like South Carolina. So, on a federal level what I’m looking for is that you better not be an obstacle to my right, based on the Constitution of the United States of America that allows me to organize nonviolently using tactics like boycott, divestment and sanction. That’s all I need.

I don’t need people to join my movement or — it’s not my movement, but our movement or the movement — I just need them not to work against my rights. Or support bills that work against our rights.

MH: And let me just ask you this: What do you think is the solution, if there is a solution to this conflict, because people talk about two states living side by side. Other people talk about one bi-national state with everyone — Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Arab, Zionist, whatever — everyone equal living inside of it. Where do you stand on it?

LS: It’s logistically impossible, Mehdi, for there to be a two-state solution, so that really has to be off the table and many people who believed in a two-state solution have said it’s not possible.

I believe in a one-state solution. I believe one man, one vote. I believe in a diverse country where everybody is treated with dignity and respect, that everybody has access to employment, access to health care, that people can thrive and survive and enough is enough, the Palestinian people have suffered 70 years and I don’t know what else has to happen for people to understand that the Palestinian people deserve liberation and they deserve to live in a country that respects their humanity. And that’s what I believe. I live in the United States of America, a diverse nation, one man, one vote. Everybody should have access to things. Obviously, as you see, that’s why I’m an activist and an organizer, because not everybody gets at the same access. But we’re working towards that. And I want to live in a country where people can participate in a democracy and push their country to be a better nation.

MH: Just listening to you speak there, so passionately , and it’s all about one person, one vote in civil rights. Do you think the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, you know what MLK and others did in the ’60s, do you think that’s a good analogy to use for American progressives to try and get them on board with the Palestinian freedom struggle, to make that analogy?

LS: Absolutely and I’ve been I’ve been working on, you know, telling stories and building, in particular with African-American communities, communities I have a deep affinity to.

When Dr. Martin Luther King went with his marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, and when they walked over that bridge, Mehdi, guess what? They knew Bull Connor was on the other side. They knew they were going to be met with violence. And you know what they did? They went anyway.

And when the Palestinian people go to protest by the Israeli border, guess what? They know they’re going to be met with violence, but they go anyway. People have to understand that they have the right to protest and the black people in America have a right to protest against the killing of unarmed people. They have a right to protest, they have the right to vote and to be treated with dignity and respect and that is what the Palestinian people want in Palestine.

MH: For your entire life, Linda, the West Bank, where your family is from, has been illegally militarily occupied by Israel, as has the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Do you believe the Palestinians in those territories will be free of occupation, will be able to live in freedom in your lifetime? Are you an optimist or pessimist when it comes to Palestine?

LS: I’m optimistic but not in my lifetime. I think that what I see would happen in my children’s lifetime. You know, I have, my children are second-generation Palestinian-Americans and seeing the passion that my children who were born and raised in Brooklyn have for Palestine, for their family in Palestine, knowing that this work is going to continue and you know this, Mehdi, as a first-generation Palestinian-American, I never lived in Palestine. But Palestine is a cause that lives deeply in our hearts and I know that our next generation is going to be able to win freedom and liberation for the Palestinian people. I just don’t see it in my lifetime.

MH: Well I hope you’re right about freedom and liberation. I hope you’re wrong about it not being in your life time.

LS: I hope so, too. That’s a good thing to be wrong about.

MH: Linda Sarsour, thanks for joining me on Deconstructed.

LS: Thank you so much for having me, Mehdi.

[Musical interlude.]

MH: That was Linda Sarsour and that’s our show.

Deconstructed is a production of First Look Media and The Intercept, and is distributed by Panoply. Our producer is Zach Young. Dina Sayedahmed is our production assistant. Leital Molad is our executive producer. Our theme music was composed by Bart Warshaw. Betsy Reed is The Intercept’s editor in chief.

And I’m Mehdi Hasan. You can follow me on Twitter @mehdirhasan. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to the show so you can hear it every Friday. Go to to subscribe from your podcast platform of choice, iPhone, Android, whatever. If you’re subscribed already, please do leave us a rating or review — it helps people find the show. And if you want to give us feedback, email us at Oh and if you’re fasting for Ramadan, as I am, good luck. Thanks so much!

See you next week.

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