Outrage Intensifies After World Central Kitchen Strike | Crooked Media
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April 03, 2024
What A Day
Outrage Intensifies After World Central Kitchen Strike

In This Episode

  • José Andrés, the celebrity chef and founder of World Central Kitchen, said that Israel “targeted” his aid workers when the country killed seven of them this week. He gave an interview to Reuters on Wednesday, and he also rebuked the claims by the Israeli and U.S. governments, which both say the strikes were a tragic accident. In a statement issued late Tuesday, President Biden said he was “outraged” by the deaths, and he criticized Israel for failing to protect aid workers and civilians during the war in Gaza. But the White House still hasn’t announced any plans to change its policies in support of Israel.
  • Nearly 50,000 Wisconsinites voted “uninstructed” in Tuesday night’s Democratic Primary instead of voting for Biden. That’s more than double the goal set by organizers, who hoped to send a message to the president over his handling of the war in Gaza. It’s also more than double the margin by which Biden won the state in 2020. Reema Ahmad, the campaign manager for Listen to Wisconsin, explained what’s next for the movement.
  • And in headlines: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed legislation to lower the draft age for men, the prosecutor in the classified documents case against Trump criticized the judge for entertaining a “flawed legal premise,” and LSU’s Angel Reese declared for the WNBA draft.


Show Notes:




Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, April 4th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver. And this is What a Day, the pod that says forced retirement might be in order for some TV shows. 


Priyanka Aribindi: This week, ABC renewed Grey’s Anatomy for its 21st season. And we’re just asking when these doctors get to hang up their scrubs, cash out their 401K’s and retire. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. When Grey’s is old enough to buy itself its own drinks, I feel like we gotta let her go. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yup. 


Juanita Tolliver: Had a good time. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We had a great run. [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: On today’s show, NCAA star Angel Reese says she’s going pro. Plus, we hear from the campaign manager behind Wisconsin’s successful voting effort to get Biden’s attention on Gaza. 


[clip of Reema Ahmad] If we’re going to avoid fascism later this year, we need this administration to respond now. 


Priyanka Aribindi: But first, the fallout from Israeli airstrikes that killed seven aid workers in Gaza earlier this week continues. On Tuesday evening, President Biden issued a statement describing his response to this attack with a word that he’s rarely used since the start of this war, outrage. Biden wrote that he was, quote, “outraged and heartbroken by the deaths,” which he called a tragedy, and he emphasized that this wasn’t a stand alone event. Since the start of the war in October, just shy of six months ago, 203 aid workers have been killed in Gaza, according to the Aid Worker Security database. And if that figure is news to you, it might be because all of those people were Palestinian. Whereas this group of World Central kitchen workers was made up primarily of international aid workers and has the backing of a very prominent humanitarian figure. Biden went on in his statement to blame Israel for its failure to protect aid workers and civilians, saying, quote, “incidents like yesterday’s simply should not happen.” But despite the outrage, as of yesterday, the White House still hasn’t announced any changes to their policies on Israel or their continued support. When asked by CNN if these deaths and Biden’s reaction changed anything, national security spokesman John Kirby said that the administration had been clear and vocal about their objections, but would not go so far as to withdraw their support. 


Juanita Tolliver: I feel like the most frustrating thing is to hear that behind the scenes, Biden was enraged and how outraged he is, but they’re going to keep doing what they’re doing. So the condemnations since the strikes on Monday night have continued all around the world. I know World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres has also been very vocal. Tell us more about what he’s had to say. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. And just for a little background here, Andres is a renowned chef and humanitarian. He founded World Central Kitchen to feed people in need who are on the frontlines of wars and crises, and they’ve become known as one of the most agile and effective groups that does this. He is really, truly a hero. But he spoke out yesterday to reject the explanation that these strikes were not a deliberate attack against humanitarian workers, which is an assertion that Israel and the US continue to stand by. Take a listen to him speaking with Reuters yesterday. 


[clip of Jose Andres] What I know is that we were targeted, deliberately, nonstop until everybody was dead in this convoy. This happened over more than 1.5, 1.8km. So this was not just a bad luck situation where, oops, we dropped the bomb in the wrong place. No, this was over 1.5, 1.8km with a very defined humanitarian convoy that had signs in the top and the roof. 


Priyanka Aribindi: He reiterated that the IDF had been made aware of the convoy’s location ahead of time, and called for investigations into what happened not only by Israel, which has already launched one, but by the U.S. and the home countries of every aid worker who was killed. He also said, quote, “the US must do more to tell Prime Minister Netanyahu this war needs to end now.” 


Juanita Tolliver: On the topic of aid. We touched on this yesterday, but these deaths have impacted aid delivery into Gaza. What more do we know at this time? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, at least two other aid groups have suspended their operations in Gaza since the deaths of these workers. Groups that are still delivering food say that they are being much more cautious. Countries like the US, France, Jordan and Egypt are still air dropping supplies into Gaza. But according to the UN, the only way to sufficiently ramp up aid to the levels that they need it to be is by truck. As we said yesterday, half of Gaza’s two million plus people are on the brink of famine. It’s a humanitarian disaster, to say the very least. Just last week, the U.S. State Department said that famine is probably already present in some parts of northern Gaza. And the interruption in these deliveries of food, even if it’s only for a few days, will have dire consequences for people who have already been struggling for months on end now. Andres did say that World Central Kitchen is assessing the safety risks in Gaza and contemplating restarting operations in the midst of their own losses. But in addition to this strike and the logistics of delivering aid, he did use this opportunity to speak more broadly about this war. He penned a very moving op ed in The New York Times yesterday, not only about the deaths of his colleagues, but pleading with the Israeli government to stop using food as a weapon of war. We’ll link to that in our show notes if you want to read more, I highly recommend. And I will also leave you with this from his interview with Reuters. 


[clip of Jose Andres] Humanitarians and civilians should never be paying the consequences of war. This is a basic principle of humanity. At the time, this looks like it’s not a war against terrorism anymore. It seems this is a war against humanity itself. 


Juanita Tolliver: I think that’s the explicit exclamation point that people have been making since Israel started its bombardment in Gaza. I appreciate Jose Andres for explicitly making that clear yet again. I’m also dumbfounded by the fact that World Central Kitchen is still prepared to continue delivering aid. I think that’s heroic at this stage, knowing the–


Priyanka Aribindi: Sure. 


Juanita Tolliver: –dire strait that Gazans are in. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Truly. 


Juanita Tolliver: Let’s turn to Wisconsin now, where Democratic voters there made a big statement on Gaza with their ballots in Tuesday’s primary. More than 48,000 people voted for uninstructed instead of for Joe Biden. That more than doubled the original goal of 20,000, said by the Listen to Wisconsin campaign. It also more than doubled the margin that President Biden won the state with during the 2020 election, and these numbers demonstrate a stark reality for the Biden campaign. The same coalition of voters who elected him in 2020 hold the power to oppose him in 2024. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely. And these numbers are really serious business. Michigan, Minnesota, Washington and Hawaii have all earned party delegates for uncommitted so far for the Democratic National Convention in August, and so all of those uninstructed votes from Wisconsin have to get the administration’s attention. No, but has it?


Juanita Tolliver: That’s the hope of the Listen to Wisconsin campaign and the hope of the uncommitted united movement writ large. In response to the primary election results on Tuesday, Ben Wikler, chair of the Democratic Party in Wisconsin, told NPR that the president is listening and his party is working to gain their support. However, Priyanka, as you mentioned, we haven’t seen Biden change his posture with Israel as the United States continues to send military aid and munitions to Netanyahu. So we turned to the Listen to Wisconsin campaign to hear what Tuesday night’s results meant and what the movement looks like going forward. I spoke with Reema Ahmad, campaign manager for Listen to Wisconsin. Take a listen to our conversation. [shifts to interview] From a human perspective. Considering the latest reports of violence in Gaza, what were you thinking and feeling as you watched those returns? 


[clip of Reema Ahmad] Oh gosh, am I really going to get this emotional? It was surreal. I’m fasting right now. It is the month of Ramadan, and there was a moment leaving our volunteer site and getting prepared for the polls to close to watch the results, where it struck me that here I am at the end of my fast, and I have the luxury of being able to break it and thinking about how our tax dollars are imposing a manmade famine on the people in Gaza. I come from organizing. I do a lot of civic engagement work. I’ve been part of many different political campaigns before, but this is hands down the most impactful thing, the most important campaign I’ve ever been a part of because it’s about life. We are trying to stop a genocide and we are using every tool in the toolbox, every opportunity through our democracy to register dissent and push this administration towards drastic policy change. 


Juanita Tolliver: And you mentioned that 71% of Democratic voters in Wisconsin support a cease fire. And based on these turnout numbers, it’s clear that the uncommitted movement is not confined to the Arab community. It’s not confined to the Muslim community. So how would you describe the coalition that turned out in support of the Listen to Wisconsin campaign? 


[clip of Reema Ahmad] It is a multi-faith, multiracial, intergenerational and statewide group. We’ve been leaning into one another, learning about different communities, seeing how intersectional Palestinian liberation is for many different people of varied backgrounds and experiences. And so that is the coalition that made up the folks that came out and voted. And it also is importantly, the coalition of people who are going to continue to organize. 


Juanita Tolliver: While President Biden has recognized people’s right to speak out and cast protest ballots, his position on Israel’s bombardment of Gaza hasn’t shifted, even with a large turnout for the uncommitted movement across the nation. So what does that mean for the movement’s goals going forward? 


[clip of Reema Ahmad] I’m going to offer some grace to this administration because um, I could see how seeing this type of onslaught from a place like Wisconsin, where, again, the margins are so close to see this very clear statement from voters that had been part of his base saying, we need this, we need these demands met now. We need a permanent, an unconditional cease fire. We need an end to military funding of Israel. And we need you to take seriously that there is a threat to democracy seven months from now in the general election. And so what happens now is, frankly, the ball is in this administration’s court. We need them to take seriously the demands that week after week through this primary election season have been made of this administration. Poll after poll showing that a majority of Americans have been calling for a cease fire. A majority of Wisconsinites do not want a war, are against a war with Israel. My hope is that they do so much sooner than later because democracy is on the line. And if we’re going to avoid fascism later this year, we need this administration to respond now. 


Juanita Tolliver: Now, of course, my follow up has to be what if they don’t respond come the fall? How are you all prepared to act in that reality or potential reality? 


[clip of Reema Ahmad] It’s hard to answer that question if I can be perfectly honest and vulnerable, because there is an ongoing genocide right now. Every single day, innocent people are killed and they are being killed with missiles funded by our tax dollars. It is unconscionable for me or anyone else in the antiwar movement to have to answer for what is going to happen in seven months, when we have the ability to take action right now, and we need our president, this administration, to heed the words of a growing majority of Americans all across this country saying, enough. We do not want to be complicit anymore. You need to listen to us. And that starts with our election in Wisconsin uninstructed. Listen to Wisconsin. 


Juanita Tolliver: That was my conversation with Reema Ahmad, campaign manager for Listen to Wisconsin. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Before we wrap up, there is another important result out of Wisconsin’s primary elections, and it has to do with two constitutional amendments that passed. What do we need to know about those? 


Juanita Tolliver: These two constitutional amendments were championed by Republicans, and they basically hurt efforts to make future election days go smoothly. One of them blocks the use of private funds and grants to help run elections. The other limits who can run those elections to just official government workers. So that means people who volunteer as poll workers or in other roles might not be allowed. What’s more unfortunate is that this will likely impact voters access to the polls in November, and that’s just bad news for democracy. If this makes you mad, it should. But as always, you can be part of the solution by heading to VoteSaveAmerica.com. That’s the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break]




Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: There are at least nine people dead in Taiwan and hundreds more injured after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck off the country’s eastern coast. It happened Wednesday morning local time, and it predominantly affected a rural coastal region. However, several large buildings throughout Taiwan collapsed because of the shaking. Massive rescue efforts are currently underway. As of our recording time at 9:30 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday night, there are more than 100 people trapped in mines and in collapsed tunnels along roads. The quake was the biggest one to strike Taiwan in 25 years. We’ve got links to some local aid organizations in our show notes so you can help the victims. 


Juanita Tolliver: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed legislation on Tuesday that lowers the age for men to be drafted into the war from 27 to 25. It also eliminates some medical exemptions to military service, and younger men drafted under this new law won’t be mobilized until they are 27. Ukraine’s parliament originally approved the bill last summer, but Zelensky put off signing it knowing it was a deeply unpopular policy. Ukrainian military officials, however, pressured him to find more troops amid Russia’s ongoing invasion. Many soldiers who have been on the frontlines since the war started two years ago have had little to no time off, and Ukraine is still waiting on the U.S. to approve another military aid package to sustain the troops they currently have. 


Priyanka Aribindi: More than 53,000 people have fled Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince in less than three weeks because of a surge in gang violence in the area. That is according to a new report that the UN released on Tuesday. More than half of those fleeing are headed to the southern region of the country, where more than 100,000 Haitians have already fled. A spokesman for the U.N. told The Associated Press that the region does not have the resources to support more refugees from Port-au-Prince. We’ve talked on the show before about how the violence began in late February, when gangs attacked multiple government institutions and refused to let Prime Minister Ariel Henry reenter the country. More than 1500 people have been killed, and the violence in the capital has gotten so bad that the World Food Program says that nearly one million Haitians are at risk of famine, and thousands have been left homeless. 


Juanita Tolliver: The special counsel and former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case appears to have reached a breaking point. In a court filing Tuesday night, special counsel Jack Smith said that the judge overseeing the case, Judge Aileen Cannon. Yeah, I said her name funny for a reason, is pursuing a legal premise that is, quote, “wrong” and also “fundamentally flawed.” It started last month when Judge Cannon told both sides to come up with two sets of instructions for the jury. But the big problem, according to Smith and many other legal experts, is that she asked them to consider a reading of the Presidential Records Act that could protect Trump. Smith argues that some of the documents in question are classified documents, and so the act shouldn’t even apply in this case and would only benefit Trump. In Tuesday’s filing, Smith urged Judge Cannon to make a quick decision on the relevance of that premise so that he could appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Essentially, he’s saying, hurry up and rule so I can get you overturned and undermined in a higher court. Okay. Thanks. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely. 


Juanita Tolliver: The former president is accused of refusing to return thousands of official documents to the National Archives. Meanwhile, the New York judge overseeing Trump’s criminal hush money trial denied a last ditch effort from Trump’s legal team on Wednesday to delay that case further. It’s scheduled to start April 15th. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Truly amazing that this man juggles all of this and a presidential campaign. He’s a horrible human being, but he is inspiring me a little bit to be a little more on top of my schedule. 


Juanita Tolliver: No! 


Priyanka Aribindi: No, just to be, like, a little more like he’s just got a lot of shit going on. And I’m like, listen, if he can get all this done, I’m a better human being than he is. I could get more done in my day to day. That is my takeaway. Other than he is an awful person and you can cut it if you don’t feel like it’s the vibe, but like it is just my takeaway. Staying in Trump world for a little longer, lucky us. The former president’s media company, Trump Media and Technology Group is mired in a wave of legal drama. On Wednesday, two Floridian brothers pleaded guilty to an insider trading scheme tied to the deal that helped Trump media go public. Michael and Gerald Shvartsman were arrested back in June. They were charged with illegally trading on the knowledge that a wealthy shell company secretly planned to merge with Trump Media back in 2021. The indictment said that they made more than $22 million trading on that insider knowledge. The two men face up to 20 years in prison. Trump himself was not implicated in the scheme. That’s the surprising part. Meanwhile, Trump Media is also suing two of its co-founders over allegations that the men badly mismanaged the business. The lawsuit was actually filed in Florida state court last month, one day before Trump Media made its stock market debut. It alleges that the two co-founders, Andy Litinsky and Wes Moss, bungled the business at every turn and should be stripped of their shares. Both men were contestants on Trump’s reality TV show The Apprentice. In case you’re wondering how one hires for this mess of a role. They sued Trump back in February in Delaware, alleging that the former president was trying to dilute their stake in the new company, now valued at nearly $7 billion. Obviously, that’s what he’s trying to do. It’s Donald Trump, like, did you not expect this? 


Juanita Tolliver: We need to just call him Joann the scammer. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Trump is the ultimate scammer. 


Juanita Tolliver: [laughing] Louisiana State University’s Angel Reese says she’s heading to the WNBA. The star forward made her announcement to declare for the draft Wednesday in a fashion shoot for Vogue. Vogue like–


Priyanka Aribindi: Love it. 


Juanita Tolliver: –Anna Wintour approved this spread miss honey, I love every bit of this. Reese said she wanted to announce her decision in the iconic fashion magazine because, quote, “I didn’t want anything to be basic,” honey, you could never. [laugh]


Priyanka Aribindi: Could never. It was amazing. 


Juanita Tolliver: Reese made the decision to turn pro two days after LSU lost to Iowa State in the Elite Eight of the women’s NCAA tournament. She helped lead LSU to the school’s first basketball championship last year. Reese had the option of staying at LSU for another year after the NCAA expanded player eligibility because of Covid. But she told Vogue, quote, “I want to be a rookie again and build myself back up.” And while she’s building herself back up, I really, really, really hope that she’s not subjected to the level of abuse that she experienced throughout her time at LSU. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely. 


Juanita Tolliver: Meanwhile, Monday’s game between LSU and Iowa shattered viewing records for women’s college basketball. An average of 12.3 million viewers turned into the rematch of last year’s women’s championship game, with a peak of 16 million viewers. It was the most watched college basketball game, men’s or women’s, to ever air on ESPN platforms, according to Nielsen data. And you love to see it, breaking records. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That is so cool. This is really exciting. I love this announcement. We’re just going to bring the excitement here to the WNBA, which has already been an exciting place. Like–


Juanita Tolliver: Yes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I love to see it. Women’s sports at the professional level, just keeps getting better. 


Juanita Tolliver: And since ESPN is the platform where this happens, go ahead and pay up those rights to air and broadcast these games. I want a better deal for the WNBA because absolutely this energy is going to translate over. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, please. 


Juanita Tolliver: And those are the headlines. 




Juanita Tolliver: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. We’re here for the LSU to WNBA pipeline and tell your friends to listen. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And if you are into reading and not just that gorgeous Vogue photospread of Angel Reese like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m Juanita Tolliver. 


[spoken together] And just retire already Doctor Grey. 


Juanita Tolliver: She’s like, I’ll pop in when I’m up for it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: If you’re watching Grey’s Anatomy and Meredith Grey isn’t even showing up every episode, what are you doing with your life? Please there’s other TV, branch out. It’s been too long. 


Juanita Tolliver: I haven’t watched since, like, the 2010s, honestly. [laughing] [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our associate producers are Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf. We had production help today from Michell Eloy, Greg Walters and Julia Claire. Our showrunner is Leo Duran and our executive producer is Adriene Hill. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.