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Israeli-Palestinian Crisis Escalating; Interview With Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). Aired 1-2p ET
Aired May 18, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): As Palestinians declare a nationwide strike, tensions within Israel intensify. We discuss the latest with people living
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Don't get me wrong. We have got a long way to go. And we're going to have to keep pushing.
GOLODRYGA: Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal on the fight for Asian representation in Washington.
JOHN GREEN, AUTHOR, "THE ANTHROPOCENE REVIEWED": Being human in 2021 is very weird.
GOLODRYGA: selling author John Green talks about making sense of the world through five-star reviews.
GOLODRYGA: Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
Palestinian groups have declared a general strike, as the crisis with Israel continues to escalate. Thousands have gathered in towns across the
West Bank and beyond to protest.
Since the fighting began nine days ago, at least 213 Palestinians have died, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. Twelve Israelis
have also been killed.
Today, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington is speaking with partners across the region, in hopes to end the bloodshed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We are engaged in quiet, but very intensive diplomacy, in an effort to de-escalate and end the violence, and
then hopefully move on to build something more positive in its wake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Meantime, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says operations will continue as necessary.
Joining me now with insight is Aida Touma-Suleiman. She is an Arab-Israeli member of the Knesset, the first Arab woman to head a parliamentary
committee there. And she's been out with protesters today and comes to us from Akko, Israel.
Aida, thank you so much for joining us. I have been told that your voice may be a bit sore from attending these protests today, so just want to give
our viewers a heads-up.
But can you give us a sense of what you saw on the ground and why you were there participating?
AIDA TOUMA-SULEIMAN, ARAB-ISRAELI LAWMAKER: Well, thank you, Christiane, for having me. And, yes, I have a very -- it looks like I'm losing my
We had a terrible nine days already. Nine days, we have been watching what is happening, the war on Gaza, and the killing that is going on. But, on
the other hand, when we started to protest against that war initiated or military attack, whatever you can call it, we were brutally oppressed by
the police, the Israeli police.
And, of course, later on, we have been attacked by groups of ultra-right- wing groups organized, including in some organizations like (INAUDIBLE) organization, which was declared by the Supreme Court that it is a
terrorist group and a racist group.
So, the escalation has been going on. That's why we initiated the general strike. And our brothers and sisters in the West Bank have joined. And,
today, we had a general strike of all the Palestinian citizens of Israel.
It was amazing. Our people wanted to deliver a very clear message. We want to stop this war, and we want to have the right to celebrate and to be with
our own people, especially after what happened in Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah, in Al-Aqsa Mosque and now in Gaza.
GOLODRYGA: We should note that Palestinian citizens of Israel make up 20 percent of the population there, so quite a significant figure.
Can you go into further detail about all of this pent-up tension and the frustration that you have seen among other Palestinians there? Is it
something that you say was just exacerbated by the last month, or is this something specific that needed to be dealt with and that was sort of pent
up for months and years before that?
TOUMA-SULEIMAN: That's true.
It was built up for months and years. Sometimes, when we speak about the situation, people tend to forget that the Israeli governments are still
occupying the Palestinian territories, and that Gaza has been under a siege for more than 14 years.
All the world was dealing with the pandemic, COVID-19, while Gaza now is suffering also from the COVID-19, because Israeli government did not allow
a different kind of help, medical help to enter Gaza and to help the people.
On the other hand, in Jerusalem, there is always an escalation. Jerusalem is -- East Jerusalem is an occupied territory. The world has declared that
it is an occupied territory. Israel -- Israeli government not just only annexiated Jerusalem, but also is practicing ethnic cleansing, although it
is it looks like a quiet ethnic cleansing without sometime bloodshedding.
But what do you call when you try to evacuate different neighborhoods from its own people, from its original people? It is, by the international law,
changing demography in occupied territory, is a war crime. And this is what's happening in Sheikh Jarrah and then the other things.
In the beginning of last month, there was an escalation. We have to be clear about it. The escalation is for political reasons. Netanyahu is
leading this escalation because he has a deep crisis, political crisis. He was not able to form a government. He is ending his political career.
He don't want to leave the control of the country. And that's why he initiated the escalation. He knew from the beginning that he is starting a
big fire and starting flames that will lead us to here.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, and there have been reports that perhaps he had been warned by Israeli intelligence that these escalations and provocations
would result in now the fighting that we're seeing.
GOLODRYGA: I want to get your response to Gaza -- to Hamas' role in Gaza in just a moment.
But, as somebody who's a lawmaker in Israel, I have read about your storied past there and your history of working side by side with Israeli Jews and
living side by side with Israeli Jews. And I'm wondering, as somebody who's a member of the Knesset there in the government, how alarming is it to you
to see the sort of infighting amongst Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews, because that does seem to be another level that we haven't previously seen
when there have been these escalations in fighting?
TOUMA-SULEIMAN: Listen, I have to say it very clearly.
No one of us will agree that this is a war between Jews and Arabs. This is what Netanyahu wants to show that exists escalate a situation into a civil
war between Jews and the Arabs. This is not the situation.
We are struggling together against this war, Jews and Arabs. There have been protests going on in the last five, six days of Jews and Arabs
together trying to calm down the situation. But you have to also remember that Netanyahu and his internal security minister has been escalating and
inciting against the Palestinian community.
They give a green line to -- light to the fascist groups and told them very clearly that you -- he -- the Internal Security Ministry said that any Jew
who has a weapon is an extra force to help the police to neutralize the protesters.
TOUMA-SULEIMAN: You know, neutralize is meaning killing.
GOLODRYGA: Let me push back a bit there.
There obviously have been a lot of conversations about the impact and the dominance that the right-wing members of not only the Israeli Parliament,
but of settlers there, have had over the past few years.
But I do want to ask you of Hamas' role in all of this, because, as we have mentioned, the bloodshed continues. Hamas is also not near a cease-fire as
well. And there's a lot of collateral damage that we're hearing internally within Gaza, that many of these rockets that are being fired towards Israel
may fail and fall and actually harm Palestinians within that territory.
So, what responsibility does Hamas have now in toning down this tension and bringing it down and also being concerned and focusing on the humanitarian
TOUMA-SULEIMAN: Well, you know, as someone who is actively politically involved inside Israel and inside my own people, the Palestinian people,
I'm very far ideologically from Hamas. And I don't agree maybe many times with whatever Hamas says or do.
But we will have to understand that any occupied territory or any occupied people, as long as there will be occupation, there will be resistance.
Nobody can decide what kind of resistance will be against occupation.
I think that, for 14 years, Gaza has been under siege. Israel claims not to occupy Gaza, but you do not occupy only when your army and Israel control
everything that comes in and out from Gaza. So, I want to see a situation where all civilians, Israelis and Palestinians, Gazans and -- or in the
West Bank are out of the cycle of violence or out of the bloodshedding.
For my regret now, the citizens either inside Israel or in Gaza, are paying again the price of the -- those violations. I think that you cannot...
GOLODRYGA: Does Hamas hold that responsibility as well?
TOUMA-SULEIMAN: ... between Hamas -- Hamas is an organization. Israel is a state that is obliged to the international law.
And that's why we want to hold Israel accountable. When you have a state that is part of the international community, it should obey the
international law and the international conventions.
This is especially if it is the occupier's side. Israel is the occupation, after all. Hamas...
GOLODRYGA: I guess my last question...
TOUMA-SULEIMAN: ... Palestinians people under occupation.
This is a whole different situation.
I guess my question, though, is, you describe Hamas as an organization, but that's an organization that had been elected by the Palestinian people
within Gaza. And I'm asking if they are doing everything they can on a humanitarian basis to make sure that there is as little human carnage?
GOLODRYGA: And this will be the last question. I feel so bad for your voice, so apologies.
TOUMA-SULEIMAN: It's OK. It's OK.
I'm not the speaker of Hamas. I cannot say they are doing well. They are not doing well. But you -- I also would like to see people investigating
all over the world how much humanitarian aid or possibilities to deliver what is needed to rebuild Gaza and to give prosperity and welfare and
health to Gazan people.
It's controlled mainly by Israel.
TOUMA-SULEIMAN: You will never believe, tomato -- number or weight of tomato that is entering Gaza is decided by the Israeli army. We are not
GOLODRYGA: We see the images. We see the images. And I believe there were reports that Egypt has agreed to pay to deliver and to send a few hundred
million dollars in aid as well.
It's clear the desperation on the ground there. It's a fascinating conversation, Aida.
TOUMA-SULEIMAN: But I think the international community -- sorry, Christiane, I have to say this.
The international community cannot stand aside and just look what's happening or have talks. The United States, with Israel, is giving
financial and military aid to Israel that is used to violate human rights and to commit war -- war crimes.
I think it's about time for the international community to intervene and to make -- to cease fire immediately...
TOUMA-SULEIMAN: ... and not to stay in order to convince Netanyahu to finish his political game until -- in order to get...
GOLODRYGA: Yes. No, no, I hear you. I hear you, Aida.
I think that the ultimate goal right now, in the short term, at least, is to reach some sort of cease-fire. And that requires not only Netanyahu, but
Hamas to come to an agreement there.
And, obviously, we will be following this very closely.
We appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
TOUMA-SULEIMAN: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: I want to have you back on, because I know that women's issues and women's rights issues are very important for you as well. And that's
something that we should talk about in a future conversation.
Let's dig deeper now with Israeli journalist Noa Landau. In her latest op- ed for "Haaretz" entitled "Israeli Jews, It's Time to Listen," she says: "The violent upheaval we're now experiencing is a critical historical
junction in Jewish-Arab relations in Israel."
Noa Landau joins us from Tel Aviv.
Noa, it's great to see you on. Obviously, I don't have to tell you that tensions are high on all sides. That conversation with Aida is just one
And before we get to your recent column, I do want to get your take on what you just heard from Aida.
NOA LANDAU, SENIOR EDITOR, "HAARETZ": Hi, Bianna.
Listen, I have been a journalist in Israel for more than 15 years now. And I have never seen anything like what is happening right now on the ground.
This is not only about the conflict or the war between Israel and Hamas and Gaza. This is also about what is happening within Israel between Jews and
Arabs or Jews and Palestinians in Israel.
This is something that I really think -- I mean, I heard Aida's voice. I think that also tells us a little bit about the situation also emotionally
for many Jews and Arabs in the country right now. I have never seen so much violence and clashes between citizens.
This is -- and I know this sounds harsh, but this is a civil war between citizens.
GOLODRYGA: And Aida, I think she was trying to avoid that terminology and focus on the larger conflict between Israel and the Palestinian territories
and Gaza this past week.
But, obviously, there is a lot of pent-up resentment and tension and unspoken anger amongst neighbors who just a few weeks ago were living and
working side by side and sort of the pride of the world, in the sense of, look at the vaccination rate, the economy was doing better, and now we're
Can you help us explain where this all came from?
LANDAU: Well, of course, you can't really separate between the Israeli- Palestinian conflict or the occupation and the situation that we're now seeing within Israel. It's, of course, connected.
And part of the problem is that many politicians in Israel -- and I think Israel as a state, they tried for many years to separate the two issues,
calling Palestinians within Israel Israeli Arabs. Some would agree with that terminology. Some would not.
So there's an attempt to Israelize Palestinian within Israel and claim that, as long as they only focus on their civil rights, that's OK. But once
they start talking about their national identity and identify with the Palestinians, that's where things go wrong.
And I think, for many years -- you have mentioned my op-ed today -- I think, for many years, Israelis just didn't really want to listen to the
fact that that coexistence that you have just described between neighbors is actually based on some kind of a lie, because the neighbors -- being
neighbors is fine, as long as the Palestinian neighbor doesn't really talk about his or hers national identity or identifies with the Palestinians.
If they're only just citizens, and they only discuss their civil rights, then that's fine. But once we talk about the national issue, that's a
GOLODRYGA: And it's something, as you explain in your op-ed, that many Israelis on the left as well just didn't face, right, and didn't
acknowledge, because they weren't seeing these kinds of protests on the street.
But you look at the 2018 national state law, the right to exercise national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people. It establishes
Hebrew as the official language, downgrades Arabic. I mean, there was a lot there which many Arab Israelis and Palestinian Israelis obviously now, as
we're talking about this, were really upset from and felt that they are second-class citizens.
Let's read from your piece today. What stood out to me is you saying: "For too long, the Jews in Israel on both the right and the left have been
living in an illusion of coexistence."
And this is something that I think, for our viewers in America in particular and around the world, many can relate to.
You go on and say: "Now, like the feminist movements and the black protests in the United States, the time has come for Arab women and men in Israel,
to force us to hear and see them shattering the glass ceiling, crushing their aspirations."
Talk about how that can be done.
LANDAU: Well, the part you read about the illusion of coexistence, this is by a young Palestinian Israeli writer named Janan Bsoul. She wrote
(INAUDIBLE). It's about how -- her feelings about how this is actually an illusion, and that they had -- for many years, they had to keep silent
about things that were bothering them, such as being second-class citizens in a Jewish state, no matter how you turn that around.
I think Jews in Israel should really listen to them. And, as you mentioned, this is a problem from the right wing to the left wing. Also, the left
Zionist wing also needs to hear some of the voices of young Palestinians in Israel that have very harsh criticism against Zionism.
We need to hear them. We need to hear those voices. This is something that is -- it's very easy to ignore, while talking about beautiful coexistence.
But we need to face the reality. And I do think that, like feminism and the Black Lives Matter movement, in the end, the problem is that there are
certain parts of society all over the world that they don't really acknowledge the glass ceiling that others in the same place face.
And the first step to solve it is to listen and to hear them.
GOLODRYGA: It's unfortunate that it takes a crisis like this, as in many crises that we have here in the States, to sort of talk about these
underlying issues that obviously go in further depth and require much more time to talk about and deal with than the few days that we have been
covering this crisis.
But when I do have you here, I want to ask you about the latest developments. We know that the U.S. and now Germany is calling for a cease-
fire. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that he needs more time.
Do you see a cease-fire on the horizon in the next coming days?
LANDAU: This is really frustrating, because so many journalists in Israel and Palestine have been covering these cease-fires over and over again.
It's the same old story. We know the Egyptians and the U.N. and the world is going to intervene, and they're going to force the cease-fire. And it's
not going to solve anything, because, as long as we're in this vicious cycle of war and cease-fire, we will never have a real solution.
This, in the end, needs to be a diplomatic solution. Everyone understands that. But we're trapped in this loop.
GOLODRYGA: Does Benjamin Netanyahu want a diplomatic solution? You hear time and time again this past week that this helps him, right, that he had
been on the verge of political death, and here he is again revived as the country's facing yet another election.
Does this help him? And do you think it's too sinister to be talking about this, this way?
LANDAU: I'm cautious about talking about his intentions, right, because we don't really know his deep intentions. No one knows.
But if we look at it objectively, yes, the situation helped him, because his rivals, the people who tried to establish a different government, they
failed just because of the situation, because they couldn't establish a government that includes Jews and Arabs, which was the only solution to
replace him, while this is going on.
So the situation, objectively, definitely helped Netanyahu. Did he intend for this to happen? I can't be that cynical. And, honestly, I do not know.
GOLODRYGA: And the country was on the cusp of having a potential coalition between Jews and Arabs, until this fighting started just a few weeks ago.
It's interesting, because Benjamin Netanyahu says that he's received many reviews from -- or many attacks against Hamas and Islamic Jihad, "and they
have received blows that they did not expect. I have no doubt that we took them back many years."
That is quoting Prime Minister Netanyahu. And it's interesting, because one of your colleagues, Aluf Benn, writes that: "This is Israel's most failed
and pointless Gaza operation ever. It must end now."
Seems to be two very different takes on the situation. Who's right here?
LANDAU: Well, of course, I can only tell you my opinion.
I think Aluf is right. I think that this is -- many Israelis understand that this is pointless, that, again, we're in a vicious loop that never
ends between the war and cease-fire. So, the way that I see it -- and, of course, many Israelis will disagree -- this is a pointless war.
GOLODRYGA: Noa Landau, it's been wonderful having you on. We appreciate your insights. Please come back. Thank you.
Well, now to the U.S., where the month of may celebrates the work and contribution of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. But, sadly, a recent
report shows anti-Asian hate crimes increased by nearly 150 percent in 2020.
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is the first South Asian American woman in the House of Representatives.
Here she is speaking with our Aarti Shahani about political representation and how the pandemic has impacted Asian American identity.
AARTI SHAHANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Bianna.
And, welcome, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. It's great to have you here.
JAYAPAL: Thank you, Aarti. It's so great to be with you.
SHAHANI: When you see alongside this pandemic that is killing us a surge in anti-Asian violence, from attacks against elderly members of our
community, to a mass shooting in Georgia targeting women, Asian women, Asian American women, what's your reaction to that? How do you make sense
JAYAPAL: Well, it's horrific.
And it's been so painful for the Asian American community. And I think it goes to this history of discrimination in this country, history of
xenophobia, history of exclusion.
I mean, none of this is new to the country. You go back to all of the anti- Asian immigration laws, from the Chinese Exclusion Act, to the Japanese internment. So I think that a lot of the anti-Asian sentiment is based in
xenophobia, white supremacy, and very much tied into all the other threads of that.
And at the same time, I think that there is there is a visibility, just as there is for black Americans, for Asian Americans. There are features that
have consistently been mocked and disparaged of Asian Americans.
There are historical, political pieces to this around communism.And you see it emerging again with the anti-China sentiment.
SHAHANI: The kung-flu virus, right.
JAYAPAL: Yes, exactly.
And you see it again with the surge in COVID infections in India and, all of a sudden, Indian Americans again getting targeted for supposedly
spreading the virus here in the United States.
So, I think that it is a very painful time. It is not new. What is new is that the Asian American community is standing up this time and really
fighting back. And we're gaining traction, both as political actors and sort of writing, in a way, a new place for us in this political history of
SHAHANI: How are we gaining traction of political actors?
JAYAPAL: Well, what you see is, first of all, more of us that are in Congress. That makes a big difference, but not only in Congress, in elected
offices across the country, councils, county councils,state legislatures, many more of us, who are then leading the fights in our own places.
In Georgia, you saw a tremendous movement of Asian Americans in Georgia to vote, I mean, a lot of voting activity from young Asian Americans, who also
get their parents engaged in a whole different way. And that is noticed.
So, when we win states like Arizona and Georgia and even Virginia by small amounts, and these are places where the Asian American vote was enormous --
now, we also are fighting against pollsters who regularly leave Asian Americans out of their polling data, regularly forget to mention Asian
But that doesn't obscure the fact that we delivered victories in numerous states and races across the country. And that is being noticed. And you see
it even with the response to India. I mean, we haven't gone as far as we would like on global vaccine equity, but it was many of us inside Congress
and many outside Congress who really pushed the Biden administration to do the TRIPS waiver, to release more vaccines to India.
And we're still working on additional steps. But we have a newfound place to speak from and to organize from that gives us a wider acknowledgement.
It's interesting. You point to the increased voter turnout of Asian American, the decisive Asian American vote, for example, in Georgia for
President Biden. And then I can't help but think, being a touch cynical here, that that turnout was there, that enunciation, that flexing was
And then President Biden has not a single Asian American Cabinet member.
JAYAPAL: Yes. It was very, very disappointing to us. I mean, we pushed extremely hard at the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and talk
about being a thorn in the side, I think we really were. Because it --
SHAHANI: You were pushed hard.
JAYAPAL: Yes, we really did. And it was a big step backwards that we didn't get a single person in the cabinet. And, you know, there are
obviously highly placed administration officials from (INAUDIBLE). My good friend who is the surgeon general, some very dear friend, Vanita Gupta, who
is the number three at the Department of Justice, an incredibly important position. And all the way down.
SHAHANI: And we have, of course, Vice President Kamala Harris.
JAYAPAL: Absolutely. And, you know, I think one of the things that was very difficult for the Asian-American community is we were so proud of Vice
President Harris, and at the same time when we kept being told by the administration that, well, you have Vice President Harris, that is not
something you would say to the black community, you know. Well, you've got a vice president who's black. So, don't ask for any cabinet secretaries. In
fact, it was the opposite of that.
And so, I think there was a tone deafness that may have been partially rectified, you know, because of the pushback. So, don't get me wrong, we've
got a long way to go and we're going to have to keep pushing, but I do think that there are some very positive signs in terms of how we're using
our platforms, because we do have platforms now. You know, we didn't have Asian-Americans in Congress for a long time. And then we still have
relatively few compared to other caucuses.
But we've done a very good job, I think, not only in Congress but at state and local levels. You've got people like Bee Nguyen in Georgia, you've got,
you know, so many people in my home state of Washington. I was the first South Asian-American to be elected to the state legislature. But now we
have -- I think it's either four or five South Asian women who are in the state legislature along with Vietnamese, you know, other Asian-Americans
that are really making a difference.
SHAHANI: So, you were pushing the Biden administration to have Asian- American representation in the cabinet and you were told you all have Harris, that should be enough?
JAYAPAL: That was said to us many times, and it was extremely infuriating. And actually, I think, it's what got Senator Duckworth the most angry. I
think it's been publicly reported, perhaps not directly from her, but I think that was a level of tone deafness that was hard to stomach. We should
be happy with Katherine Tai who is in the cabinet but is not a cabinet secretary. And we love Katherine, don't get me wrong. Again, we push very
hard for her to be there but to say that that's equivalent to a cabinet secretary is just simply wrong.
SHAHANI: And I'm sorry. What do you make of that? You've used the term tone deafness. Why do you think they were tone deaf?
JAYAPAL: When you don't have people who really are rooted in the Asian- American community in the highest levels, you don't hear these things. You know, I think they have been focused on the Latino community, the black
community, all of which we support. And we had a lot of support from those caucuses, by the way, for an AAPI cabinet secretary. There was a joint
letter that was sent from the Tri-Caucus, what we call the Tri-Caucus, that's the black, Hispanic and AAPI caucus, for a cabinet secretary.
So, we had a lot of support from them. But at the end of the day, you have to have someone in the White House, in the administration, who believes
that that is essential. And we did not have that. And that is why part of what was, you know, agreed to was that there would be an extremely senior
level liaison, AAPI liaison, that would be added. That person has been added. I think the jury is still out on whether that's going to be
sufficient, but hopefully that will take us further.
SHAHANI: You and President Biden, you have expressed no shortage of concern that he wants to follow the rules of the Senate. He does not want
to get rid of the filibuster. You're concerned that to push your agenda, the progressive agenda, changes have to be made procedurally. What is your
intent with President Biden over the coming weeks and months? How are you positioning yourself with respect to pushing him?
JAYAPAL: Well, we've just been very clear that if the president wants to deliver on his very bold, progressive agenda, which I believe he does, that
he will have to reform the filibuster. And he has moved on that. He went from saying, absolutely no, it was an important part of the Senate, to
saying that it was a Jim Crow relic, to saying that, you know, perhaps we could reform the talking filibuster, right?
And so, he has moved, not as far as I would like to see him, but I do think that he and his team understand that in two years or in four years if we go
back to the American people and we say, you delivered us a trifecta, a Democratic House, Democratic Senate and a Democratic White House and you
were unable to give us any of the things that you promised, from taking on climate change to passing a $15 minimum wage to passing the PRO Act and
strengthening collective bargaining, to getting money out of politics, to reforming our broken voter system that Republicans are continuing to try to
use to suppress votes, that we will lose our majorities. There's just no question.
You can't go back to people and say, hey, you delivered us everything but, you know, there's this arcane rule in the Senate. And yes, it's a rule
relic. And yes, Republicans have changed it. And, oh, by the way, the founders never intended for us to have tyranny of the minority in the
Senate, but we didn't do anything about it. That is not going to cut it.
And so, I really believe that the Biden administration will come around on this, the Senate will come around on it. And in the meantime, we're going
to keep pushing. And if we don't want to turn off a whole generation of voters that came out last time because they were willing to give us one
more shot at trying to deliver for them, then we will lose again. And really, maybe we should at that point.
SHAHANI: And is any part of you worried about pushing a progressive agenda so vigorously that it becomes more divisive, that this country that's
really struggling with talking to each other breaks even more at the seams? Do you ever worry about that?
JAYAPAL: No, because the country is actually with us. They may not call it a progressive agenda, and I actually don't care what they want to call it.
If they want to call it a populist agenda, a mainstream agenda, it doesn't bother me. I don't feel like we need to have progressive attached to every
way that we describe these policies.
But I'll give you multiple examples. Money out of politics, that's S1 or HR1 that we passed in the House, you know, about making government
accountable to the people and not allowing these voter suppression things that are happening across the country, that is supported by a majority of
voters, Democratic, Republican, and independent. A $15 minimum wage, that, even though Republicans and a couple of Democrats aren't ready to vote for
it, that is something that is supported by Democrat, Republican and independent because it is a populist policy. Money and checks was that way.
The American Rescue Plan was that way. The American jobs and families plan is that way. Raising taxes on the wealthiest and the corporations is that
These are bold, populist, necessary policies that don't go to ideological boundaries. They really are something that the American public wants us to
do. Voting rights is that way. I mean, I'm not worried about that at all because I really think the American people are with us on these things.
SHAHANI: Is it important for you to also work with members of the GOP? I mean, you've had some very strong words, for example, about your experience
on January 6th, being in chambers, locked in a room and getting COVID, following the fact that people weren't wearing masks in that room. I mean,
you've expressed so much outrage at what you've seen around things like mask wearing. So, I wonder, do you feel committed to working with the GOP?
Do you see opportunities there?
JAYAPAL: Very few. And that hasn't always been the case in my time in Congress. I mean, I have plenty of bipartisan bills and things I've moved
in a bipartisan way. But you have to understand this GOP is extremely different from the GOP of four years ago, much less 10 years ago.
The only qualification it appears to be an included member of the Republican Party today is that you pledge fealty to a one-man cult, to
Donald Trump, and to the idea that the election was stolen from him. You look at somebody like Liz Cheney who is one of the most conservative
members of the Republican Party and she was pushed out of leadership because she did not pledge fealty to the big lie and to Donald Trump.
And so, when you're talking about that kind of a party that has no principles and no -- and I mean, policy principles, though perhaps other
principles is relevant there as well, but also has no allegiance to the truth or the constitution or saving our democracy, then, no, I don't really
have an interest in working with them because I don't think that they are the kind of people that are actually fighting for the people.
And you see it with the rescue plan. This vote no and take the dough phrase is all about how every single Republican oppose the American Rescue Plan in
spite of the fact that it was so popular with their Republican constituents, and they went home and found that it was so popular that they
started to tout the benefits of the rescue plan without happening to mention that they didn't vote for it. And a Senate majority leader who has
said that 100 percent of his focus in the Senate is to fight the Biden agenda.
So no, I don't see much opportunity to work with the vast majority of Republicans. If there are some, great. Let's have them come along but let's
do it quickly because we cannot sacrifice the well-being and the future of the country and our democracy for these Republicans who have zero
principles anymore and are unwilling to tell the truth.
SHAHANI: And so, how do you think about the work of building unity? If you -- you know, you say unconditionally you see very few opportunities to
build with the GOP. They are the other major political party.
JAYAPAL: But that is different than building unity with the American people. And that's where, I think, we have so much wind behind our sails,
because what you see is the American people actually being unified on a whole set of issues. And let me be clear, if we were to address many of the
economic inequality and wealth inequality and the racial wealth gap, which even swing voters -- I mean, we just finished doing a set of focus groups
that was fascinating, that found that swing voters in both red -- you know, states that ultimately went red or states that ultimately went blue care
about racial equity.
This isn't a class versus race conversation or gender. This is a really intersectional question. And I believe we have and have built unity with
the American people. And if we deliver for them on all of these counts, then I think we will actually take away the fuel for the fires that Donald
Trump and whatever his party now is, is using across the country to divide us.
SHAHANI: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, I want to thank you for your time talking with us.
JAYAPAL: Aarti, thank you so much for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Really important conversation, thanks to Aarti.
Well, now to COVID and emerging from lockdowns. While a lot of people welcomed the return to normalcy, not everyone is excited about it. Some are
very anxious about going back to how things were. Psychiatrists call it re- entry anxiety. As Correspondent Phil Black found out, it's something very similar to what astronauts and sailors feel when they're coming home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Confined largely to our homes, deprived of freedoms, experiences, and human connections. Somehow, we have mostly
learned to get by. Now, in countries with advanced vaccine programs, we must adapt again. To crowds, to conversations, to a pace of life that seems
distant and personally a little intimidating.
And that makes me feel nervous, anxious, even fearful. But I don't know why I'm feeling this way.
ANA NIKCEVIC, PSYCHOLOGIST: I think we have all become a little inclined to be closed in and hesitant to go back to that normal life. And we need to
reinvigorate that social muscle.
BLACK: Psychologist, Ana Nikcevic, says nervousness about returning to something like our old reality now has a name, re-entry anxiety. But it's
NIKCEVIC: This phenomenon has been observed by psychologists before in people who have spent protracted periods of time in isolation. For example,
people who have gone into space.
BLACK: Chris Hadfield understands why some people are feeling anxious.
CHRIS HADFIELD, RETIRED ASTRONAUT: My longest time in space, when I was living onboard and commanding the International Space Station, was a little
under six months. So, half a year. Halfway around the sun.
BLACK: Hadfield says he returned to earth a different person. And many of those emerging from lockdown will also have experienced profound personal
Perhaps some of the anxiety is fueled by the fear that things could go back, that we could lose some of what we found through this experience.
HADFIELD: Well, I think that's up to each of us, Phil. How am I going to take this new version of me and introduce it to this new version of the
world in as productive way as I can?
BLACK: A practical optimism I think is what you're advocating, is that fair?
HADFIELD: That's how we fly spaceships, Phil, with a very deeply based practical optimism.
BLACK: Pip Hare believes she is her best self when battling oceans alone. She recently finished a 96-day nonstop single-handed race around the world.
But even with all her extraordinary courage, returning to life on land can be overwhelming.
PIP HARE, LONG-DISTANCE SOLO SAILOR: We just need to remember that we are adaptable and we will go to a different kind of normal again. But you don't
want to throw yourself at it too hard. Allow the change to happen gradually and make sure you're doing things that work for you.
JASON REZAIAN, JOURNALIST WHO SPEND 544 DAYS IMPRISONED IN IRAN: My wife and I were arrested.
BLACK: Jason Rezaian was imprisoned in Iran while working as "The Washington Post's" bureau chief.
REZAIAN: I spent 49 days in solitary confinement and I went on to spend a total of 544 days in that prison.
BLACK: He knows the complex emotions that follow a sudden return to a once familiar life.
REZAIAN: In my case, I was, you know, one person and my wife, we were two people that were dealing with this. What we're talking about now is
billions of people around the world coming to this at almost the same time. Just recognizing that everybody is going to have a different reaction and
many of those reactions are going to be unexpected. Unexpected to the world and unexpected to those people themselves.
BLACK: And so, we should all be a little gentle with each other perhaps?
REZAIAN: I think we should always be a little gentle with each other but certainly in the weeks and the months ahead, you know, I think we should
err towards forgiveness. There's going to be a lot of awkward encounters for everybody.
BLACK: Everyone wants the pandemic to end. But in a world where all certainties have been swept aside, we can't all be sure we'll want
everything that comes next.
Phil black, CNN, London.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Phil Black helping to explain how so many of us are going to feel once we re-enter what is a normal society pre-COVID.
We want to get back to our top story this hour and that is the continuing violence between Israel and the Palestinians. Joining me now from Sheikh
Jarrah in Jerusalem is senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman.
And, Ben, it's interesting to have you there and telling to have you there in Sheikh Jarrah because that was one of the trigger points that launched
this latest round of violence. Can you give us a sense of what is happening on the ground now there at this settlement that has so many tensions
heightened in the area?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At the moment, Bianna, it's quiet. But earlier today, we saw these confrontations between
protesters, who of course are marking the general strike that's occurring across the West Bank, and here in Jerusalem in solidarity with the people
What we saw is that these people were coming out to protest this situation here where you have four Palestinian families who are facing forced
eviction from their homes here. And basically, a lot of the tension and the friction, the Israeli border police were firing stun grenades. These trucks
that go by and spew what is known as (INAUDIBLE) in Arabic, in other words sewer water, shooting it at journalists like us and ordinary people are
just walking through, cars driving through the neighborhood.
And I think this is sort of the microcosm of this conflict in that, of course, at the moment, Bianna, we are focusing on the situation between
Gaza and Israel. But as you mentioned, it began, this current round of hostilities, it began here with a question of who has the right to these
homes. These homes that are just behind me. And typically, of this situation, there's so much dry kindling. All it takes is a spark, and the
spark started here. The fire spread. And now, of course, you have massive protests with well over a hundred people wounded just today in the West
You've got this high death toll in Gaza. At least 12 people killed in Israel. And a situation that's highly volatile. Now, with also some
tensions on the border between Israel and Lebanon. There have been tensions on the border between the Israeli occupied West Bank and Jordan as well.
So, it's very indicative when you have just a small what appears to be local tensions can spread so fast and so deadly. Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: And on that point, Ben, given the tinder box that that is and this particular settlement is, we know that the Supreme Court decision has
been put on hold for now. Is there any sense as to how long it will be on hold, and when a decision could be expected or will it continue to be on
hold as long as this violence continues?
WEDEMAN: Well, the hearings should resume, now it's not a month, but probably in three weeks. The question is, is somebody going to take an
executive decision and decide this really is not worth it to set this whole area on fire for this. But that would take an executive decision.
At the moment, it seems to be going through the courts. And as Palestinians will tell you, when it comes to Israeli courts, they really feel that they
get a short shrift. So, there's not a lot of confidence that this will be resolved legally. Lawyers being lawyers, the law being the law, this could
end up being a very long and prolonged process. But it is a process that as long as it continues, the tensions continue and as we've seen can spike and
turn deadly. Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: And there had been criticism that the Israeli -- that the Netanyahu government had been supporting and encouraging this lawsuit and
obviously a confluence of so many events over the past few weeks led us where we are now.
Ben, I do have to say we're crossing our fingers at least it's some good news that things are quiet for now, as you said, but obviously no cease-
fire in sight right now. You have been doing great work covering this on the ground there. Stay safe for us. Thank you.
And now, we've been discussing amid the ongoing violence the political stalemate in Israel showing no sign of ending. This after Prime Minister
Netanyahu failed to form a new government following an election in March. So, how is this conflict shaping public opinion of the country's
leadership? Our Hadas Gold has the story from Ramat Gan in Israel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Israeli flags drape the ruined facades of buildings in Ramat Gan just outside Tel Aviv. Clearing rubble after a
rocket turned this residential street into chaos.
SIGAL LEVIN, ISRAELI RESIDENT: We heard it really loud landings. We saw the mess, like this whole place was just in ruins and people were
screaming. You just can never really tell when something is going to happen.
GOLD: Split-second decisions become a matter of life or death. A man killed standing behind the store. As the conflict between Israel and Hamas
enters its second week, the political stalemate in Israel of four elections and still no permanent government pushed aside.
ERAN HOLZ, ISRAELI RESIDENT: In every time of trouble, people don't think about the political issue and the thing that divide us. We are all united
and help each other to overcome.
GOLD: There have been no opinion polls yet on how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has handled the situation. And although, many may feel united
now, the conflict has completely changed the political calculations here.
Naftali Benett, head of the small right-wing party, Yamina, was poised to leave his former boss and join the anti-Netanyahu bloc. But as the conflict
escalated and Israel began an intense military campaign, Bennett year veered back, announcing he would negotiate with Netanyahu over a potential
right-wing government, dashing the hopes of bringing an end to the prime minister's 12-year reign.
On the streets of Ramat Gan, despite the feelings of unity as rockets rain down, political divisions and instability have not been forgotten.
This pensioner whose electric shop was destroyed by the rocket says Netanyahu caused the situation, blaming him for the last two years of
political chaos. Fear and frustration with no end in sight.
LEVIN: Both sides are suffering, that some people forget. I just want it to stop. I feel like no one is doing anything to make it stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: And what she said was so poignant, both sides are suffering and it needs to stop.
Well, that is it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast and across social media. Join me tomorrow when I will speak to Robert
Ballard, oceanographer, and the man who found the Titanic. I speak to him about his new book "Into the Depth, A Memoir."
Thank you so much for watching and good-bye from New York.