Israel's Attacks On Gaza | Crooked Media
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May 11, 2021
What A Day
Israel's Attacks On Gaza

In This Episode

  • Israel carried out air strikes on the Gaza Strip, last night, leading to the deaths of at least 20 people. This was in response to rockets launched by Hamas at Israel, and it marked the most destructive moment stemming from the ongoing conflict in Jerusalem. We discuss the circumstances that produced these violent clashes, as well as the international response.
  • President Biden announced yesterday that he will not put an end to the 300 dollar weekly bonus payments that are currently going to unemployed people, despite Republican calls to do so after a disappointing jobs report last week.  Biden did say that workers who turn down jobs comparable to the ones they lost due to the pandemic should be cut off from unemployment benefits.
  • And in headlines: the FDA authorizes a vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds, state AG’s oppose Instagram for Kids, and China practices COVID safety on the top of Mount Everest.




Gideon Resnick: It’s Tuesday, May 11th.


Erin Ryan: I’m Erin Ryan, in for Akilah Hughes.


Gideon Resnick: And I’m Gideon Resnick, and this is What A Day, where we are rewriting history to say that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez actually never even broke up.


Erin Ryan: Yeah, you say they’re getting back together. I say they’ve been in a non-stop whirlwind romance since 2002.


Gideon Resnick: Happy 19th anniversary, you guys. You inspire me.


Erin Ryan: I’m inspired.


Gideon Resnick: On today’s show, President Biden makes a push to get unemployed Americans back to work. Plus, some headlines. But first, the latest.


[BBC News clip] More than 20 people, including nine children, are reported to have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza after dozens of rockets were fired from the territory towards Jerusalem and other cities.


Erin Ryan: That’s the BBC reporting on the clashes in Jerusalem late Monday night local time. It’s absolutely horrific and the situation is still developing as we put the show together. But Gideon take us through what we know.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I mean, the imagery of what Israel is doing has been honestly sickening over the last 24 hours or so. But here’s the timeline of how we got to this point. On both Friday as well as Monday morning local time, Israeli police effectively raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, during Ramadan. Those officers fired tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets into the crowd of Palestinian worshipers. One Palestinian man who spent last night at the compound told Al-Jazeera, quote “snipers went on the roof of the gate at the mosque compound and began to shoot rubber bullets at everyone—women, men, everyone.” We can post a link to live updates in our show notes. But there are other anecdotes about people suffocating from the gas inside, as well as at least one video of police appearing to violently beat a detained Palestinian man. Really, really, really awful stuff. More than 300 Palestinians were hurt in yesterday’s violence at the mosque, as well as 21 officers, and 7 Israeli citizens. And after that, Hamas called on Israel to withdraw its forces from the compound and shortly thereafter fired dozens of rockets at Israel, including the first directed at Jerusalem since 2014. Then that takes us to the last night. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has continued to ally himself with anti-Arab activists, had said Hamas crossed a red line that led to Israel carrying out airstrikes on the Gaza Strip that killed at least 20 people, according to the Palestinian health ministry.


Erin Ryan: Horrifying. Now that we have that timeline of the past few days, give us some context, because tensions have been simmering for a few weeks. So what exactly has led up to this?


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I mean, it’s a lot of things which we can delve into fully one day, but just to name a few: since at least April, Palestinians have been protesting planned evictions of families living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. It is ultimately a culmination of a decades-long effort to push Palestinians out of East Jerusalem. That effort is one of the reasons why an Israeli rights group and Human Rights Watch recently said that Israel was guilty of international crimes of persecution and apartheid. This past Sunday, the Israeli Supreme Court delayed a decision on this expulsion order. But also last week, Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian man suspected of killing an Israeli in a drive-by shooting. And other troops shot a Palestinian teenager in the back twice, killing him. And all of that is just part of the backdrop going into yesterday. And then yesterday, an event known as Jerusalem Day was set to occur. It is effectively a march that thousands of Israeli nationalists were set to go on. And it has always been viewed, especially now, as a provocation by Palestinians since it would have happened right after these violent episodes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. That march was first going to be rerouted before ultimately being canceled by organizers, but then some people reportedly still went on their way.


Erin Ryan: And what has the international response been like so far? What has the Biden administration said? Because it sounds like this would be a big test for any White House.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, so, I mean, previously the UN Human Rights Office had called on Israel to stop the forced evictions of those Palestinian families and said the acts could amount to a, quote “war crime.” Meanwhile, the Bush administration hasn’t done much yet, really, beyond voicing concern about the violence and saying the actions from Hamas were, quote “unacceptable escalation.” The president is really getting pushed on this hard, though. Representative Ilhan Omar referred to the Israeli killings of civilians as a, quote “act of terrorism.” And many other Democrats across the spectrum have also been pushing the administration to be more forceful about what Israel is specifically doing, including Senator Chris Van Hollen, who recently tweeted, quote “This is not a moment for tepid statements.” We barely scratched the surface here. So we will certainly return to this ongoing story. But, Erin, turning to U.S. politics, let’s get into a little bit of what President Biden may have been more focused on in the last day or so.


Erin Ryan: So President Biden had a busy day domestically as well. Yesterday, the administration announced that it will reverse a Trump-era rule that allowed health care providers that receive federal funding to discriminate against patients who are trans.


Gideon Resnick: That is great news on health care equality. What else was on the table?


Erin Ryan: Biden also pushed back on GOP criticism of his administration’s move to beef up unemployment benefits. On Friday, April’s jobs report was released and it was pretty across the board disappointing. Analysts had expected that the U.S. would add over a million jobs. But in reality, the economy only gained 266,000 jobs last month, falling well short of expectations. All those job gains went to men, by the way. According to analysis, 165,000 women dropped out of the workforce last month. More on that later, Gideon. It fuels an important rant I’ve been storing up for these last few days.


Gideon Resnick: You are charging it up like a super saying. I cannot wait. So what is Biden’s plan to get us unstuck, and to actually get more people back to work?


Erin Ryan: So the COVID relief bills in effect right now, grant a $300 weekly bonus payment to unemployed people. But since Friday, Republicans have insisted that those enhanced unemployment benefits are to blame for the sad-face jobs report. They think that people won’t want to go back to work if that unemployment pays more than what they could be earning out there. But Biden didn’t bite. In a speech yesterday, he suggested that perhaps if companies want people to come and work for them, they should do a better job of incentivizing work, like encouraging vaccination and paying employees a living wage. Imagine that. He also announced plans to funnel $350 billion in aid to state and local governments.


Gideon Resnick: And so is he actually going to do away with enhanced unemployment benefits?


Erin Ryan: No. Biden actually rebuked any calls to put an end to that bonus,


[clip of President Biden] So will insist that the law is followed with respect to benefits, but we’re not going to turn our backs on our fellow Americans. 22 million people lost their jobs in this pandemic, through no fault of their own. They lost two jobs to a virus and to a government that bungled its response to the crisis and failed to protect them. We still have 8 million fewer jobs than we did when the pandemic started. And for many of those folks, unemployment benefits are a lifeline.


Erin Ryan: Yeah, the president also added that workers who turned down jobs comparable to the ones they lost due to the pandemic should be cut off from accessing unemployment benefits, and that states should reinforce the work requirements. 29 states have already done this, and Biden says the federal government will help the remaining states do the same. But Gideon, remember how I said that I had a rant prepared.


Gideon Resnick: I actually have the memory of a squirrel, so I do not. But I’m glad that you reminded me. Let it rip.


Erin Ryan: OK, here it comes. This whole workers shortage discussion is a trap. It misses what’s going on. It allows the GOP to reframe this discussion as a question of whether or not people want to go back to work. And honestly, from where I’m standing, it’s not that the government is doing too much to help Americans that are facing unemployment. It’s that they’re doing too little.


Gideon Resnick: Right. As is often the case. I’m intrigued. Continue here.


Erin Ryan: So I also mentioned that women are still leaving the workforce in droves. It’s a full-on crisis. Women are being left behind and it is to everybody’s detriment. And the government has not addressed the root causes of women dropping out of the workforce in the first place. So, first of all, the minimum wage has not budged. And most minimum wage jobs are filled by women. There has also been no permanent move to reduce the cost of childcare and the cost of health care either. Women are usually caretakers of children and elderly relatives. And Gideon, I couldn’t believe this stat when I read it: in 2020, 13% of all daycare centers closed.


Gideon Resnick: That is insane. Of every single one. That is nutty.


Erin Ryan: Yes. And, and even if you can find daycare, the cost of child care continues to be exorbitant. Even with childcare workers barely making enough themselves to get by. And childcare workers, by the way, are also mostly women. Health care costs and the cost of insurance premiums continue to rise as well. Some people dropped out of the workforce to care for an older, sick relative because it’s actually cheaper for them to quit working and take care of the relative themselves than it would be for them to work for a paycheck that doesn’t cover those expenses. So all of this is to say that it doesn’t make economic sense for a person who dropped out of the workforce for any of these reasons to return to work unless they can get a job that more than offsets how much those other things cost.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I mean, it makes total sense to me.


Erin Ryan: Yeah. So something has to give. Either the cost of childcare and health care and elder care goes down, or the amount that employers are willing to pay goes up. Threatening to cut off unemployment benefits to people in these categories may only force many Americans from a situation where they’re barely treading water into a situation where they’re drowning. America’s economy will not be OK until we’ve addressed the needs of women. So we need paid parental leave, subsidized or free childcare, and lower health care costs. There is no getting around it. And I’m sure we’ll be talking more about this. But until then, that’s the latest.


Gideon Resnick: It’s Tuesday, WAD squad, and for today’s temp check, we are discussing civil engineering. So panels of a 330-foot high glass suspension bridge in northeast China shattered last week—dear Lord— in response to gale force winds, leaving one tourist stranded on it for about a half hour. The man eventually crawled to safety and is OK. But the event has led many to question the safety of these glass tourist bridges, which are popular tourist attractions in China. So, Erin, as a devoted traveler and lover of adventure, will you stand on the glass bridge?


Erin Ryan: Gideon as a devoted traveler and lover of adventure and crosser of many mountain bridges, absolutely not, because I have heard of and seen the wind. The wind is a thing that I am aware of. And look, I’m no engineer, I majored in English, the last math class I took was like in 2004—so I’m not that, I’m not that brushed up on my engineering. But even I know, even I know that when you’re dealing with something that is suspended high in the air, you’re going to deal with wind. And if you’re putting a glass bottom on it, you’re making it susceptible to flipping in the wind or having those panels being blown out. It seems like a adventure idea come up with by a team of inside boys, and embarked upon by a team of inside boys who are like: let’s have an outside adventure. Yeah. Wind. It exists. Anyway, same question for you, Gideon. I don’t know if you love adventure, but as someone who may love adventure, what do you think?


Gideon Resnick: I’ve been interested in adventure. I think that would be the fair way to put it. First of all, like the idea of looking down at what is below me when I am traversing a bridge that is getting me over what’s probably a pretty scary place because it’s a bridge, we’re relatively high up—sounds heinous to me. And this is just confirming every possible worst nightmare that, you know, any bridge at any time, especially if it’s glass, is going to give way beneath me to—like you said, wind, which is not something we can really do much about. That’s not like, not a good incentive for me to pursue adventure.


Erin Ryan: No. And a lot of those bridges that already exist on trails like in the mountains, in in Asia, like in Nepal, in South America, in the Andes—they have slats built into them. They’re built to be flexible so they can move in the wind. So as you’re walking over them, if you look down, you can basically see what’s underneath you anyway, because it’s just slats of metal with gaps in between them. So, like, I don’t know what you need to make it out of glass. It just seems like a like a whole bunch of bad ideas.


Gideon Resnick: This is our civil engineering dissertation. I hope it gets accepted. But just like that, we have checked our temps. Stay safe, choose adventure within your comfort zone, whatever that is. And we’ll be back after some ads.


Gideon Resnick: [ad break] Let’s wrap up with some headlines.


[sung] Headlines.


Erin Ryan: The FDA has authorized the Pfizer & BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use for 12 to 15 year olds, making it the first drug to be judged safe for preteens and adolescents. If the CDC follows suit and endorses the vaccine’s use for that age group, 85% of the entire U.S. population will officially be eligible for vaccination. A clinical trial from earlier this year involving over 2,000 kids revealed that the vaccine had a 100% efficacy rate in that age range. That’s pretty good.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah.


Erin Ryan: That’s about as good as it can be. Pfizer and BioNtech also began testing the vaccine for children 2 to 11 years old last month. And if those trials go well, the companies could apply for emergency use authorization by September. Gideon, I have to say in my college friends group contains a lot of moms in it, and almost all the moms were chomping at the bit to get their from 2 to 11 year old kids involved in vaccine trials. So they are seething with jealousy at the parents who got their kids in this vaccine trial, and eagerly looking forward to getting their little kids vaccinated. So sending love out to the parents who are waiting for this to get done.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah. Shout out to the parents and shout out to the teens having shot mitzvahs in the future. Branding that for my own purpose. OK, the US government has identified the group that carried out a hack on an unlikely target late last week: a pipe. Pipes, for god’s sakes, just log off, if it would help everybody. The group is a Russian cyber gang called DarkSide, and they held nearly 100 gigabytes of data hostage and demanded ransom from Colonial, whose Colonial Pipeline supplies about 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast. Colonial responded to the attack by stopping all pipeline operations over the weekend. And as of yesterday, the company was still working with the federal government to restore its systems. DarkSide put out a statement yesterday claiming their goal was only to make money and not cause problems for society. Frankly, these are words to live by— and the main message I communicate to students in my viral entrepreneur class, available for a limited time only for $9.95 for four weeks, if you are interested in purchasing, DM me. Further doubling down on the noble Russian hacker narrative, the group says on their website that they donate portions of their ill-gotten gains to charity and never target hospitals or schools. Can Beto O’Rourke say the same about his GenX hacker collective from the 90s? We will need to check the transcripts. Officials say if services aren’t restored by today, there could be drastic gas supply shortages in some states.


Erin Ryan: Yeah, the nerdiest thing that that hacker collective could have done was hack the pipes to say “This is not a pipe” on them, and make some like art history joke—Rene Magritte, shout out to that. OK, more than 40 state attorneys general signed a letter yesterday calling on Facebook to abandon its plan to launch Instagram for kids. Clearly, these AGs want to keep all the good weight loss teas to themselves. They also cited concerns about children’s privacy and mental health on social media. News of a Kidz Bob Instagram broke earlier this year when BuzzFeed found mentions of the app in an internal memo. Instagram doesn’t currently allow anyone under 13-years old to join. And Facebook spokespeople say that a platform specifically targeted at that group could give parents more visibility and control over their kids’ activity online. Sure, that’s feasible. Presumably that means you’d get some sort of notification if your preschooler started following all anti-vaxx accounts. Facebook has said that Instagram Junior would be ad free. And when has Facebook ever lied to us about intending to not sell our information or track us online? I feel like this is totally on the up and up. Let’s just trust Facebook here. They seem like they don’t lie to us ever.


Gideon Resnick: That’s my motto, is Trust Facebook and look how far it’s gotten me. I’m doing great. We’re still learning how coronavirus spreads in different settings, but there’s one potential site of transmission we know almost nothing about: the tops of the world’s tallest mountains. That is why China isn’t taking any chances with Mt. Everest and has announced plans to create a line of separation on the summit, stopping climbers coming from China’s Tibet region from getting in contact with climbers coming from Nepal. Everest is on the border between these two places, and recently there were reports of a COVID outbreak at an Everest base camp in Nepal. Overall, Nepal is recording a record number of new cases, partly as a consequence of the even deadlier surge in its neighboring country of India. Still, the top of Everest seems like a pretty unlikely place to get infected, considering most climbers there will already be wearing heavy-duty oxygen masks. There is no question in my mind this will lead to a viral video of mountain security guards dealing with someone called Everest Karen. Ultimately, they’re going to have to kick her out via the helicopter.


Erin Ryan: Yeah, Everest Karen, also, listen, Karen, of you’re going to go to the top of Mt. Everest. You might want to know that it’s going to be like 60 degrees below zero up there with 100 mile an hour winds. You are going to have to cover your face. Even if you don’t believe that masks prevent the transmission of COVID. Like Everest Karen’s face would freeze. It would not be a good time for her. Everybody’s face is covered up there. This is another very bad idea.


Gideon Resnick: Don’t even try it, Karen. And those are the headlines. One last thing before we go, in the latest episode of America Dissected, Dr, Abdul El-Sayed sits down with Congresswoman Cori Bush to talk about her time as a nurse without health insurance and about her thoughts on what advocacy should look like in 2021. New episodes of America Dissected are out every Tuesday. You can subscribe on Apple podcast, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Gideon Resnick: That is all for today, if you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, log off if you’re a pipe, and tell your friends to listen,


Erin Ryan: And if you’re into reading, and not just your young child’s Instagram feed like me—creepy—What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Erin Ryan.


Gideon Resnick: I’m Gideon Resnick.


[together] And stay tuned for Everest Karen!


Gideon Resnick: She is up to something. I just hope she’s safe. You know.


Erin Ryan: She’s up to no good.


Gideon Resnick: Don’t freeze. We warned you.


Akilah Hughes: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media.


Gideon Resnick: It’s recorded and mixed by Charlotte Landes.


Akilah Hughes: Sonia Htoon and Jazzi Marine are our associate producers,


Gideon Resnick: Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran, Akilah Hughes and me.


Akilah Hughes: Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.