Podcast / The Time of Monsters / Dec 10, 2023

Biden’s Bear Hug Disaster

On this episode of The Time of Monsters, Yousef Munayyer on the folly of America’s Israel policy.

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Biden’s Bear Hug Disaster | The Time of Monsters with Jeet Heer
byThe Nation Magazine

On this episode of The Time of Monsters, I talked to Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American analyst who heads the Palestine/Israel Program at the Arab Center in Washington, DC. He offered an informed perspective on the ideological origins of the bear hug strategy and how it has manifestly failed in its stated goal of trying to restrain Israel from excessive violence. We also discuss the way Biden’s strategy is bad for American national interest and hurts Biden’s re-election chances. We also take up the repression of free speech as a result of the conflict.

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Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hugs US President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on October 18, 2023.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hugs US President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport on October 18, 2023.

(Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images)

The current war in Gaza has few parallels in recent decades in terms of the pace of killing. New York Times columnist Nick Kristof argues that one needs to go back to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda to find a parallel. Amid the carnage, Joe Biden’s full-throttle support for Israel has been constant. He has on occasion offered a few cautionary words about the excessive death of civilians, but in practice he has followed a ‘bear hug’ strategy of giving Israel a blank check. 

On this episode of The Time of Monsters, I talked to Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American analyst who heads the Palestine/Israel Program at the Arab Center in Washington, DC. He offered an informed perspective on the ideological origins of the bear hug strategy and how it has manifestly failed in its stated goal of trying to restrain Israel from excessive violence. We also discuss the way Biden’s strategy is bad for American national interest and hurts Biden’s re-election chances. We also take up the repression of free speech as a result of the conflict.

The Nation Podcasts
The Nation Podcasts

Here's where to find podcasts from The Nation. Political talk without the boring parts, featuring the writers, activists and artists who shape the news, from a progressive perspective.

From McCarthyism to Citizens United | The Time of Monsters
byThe Nation Magazine

The mathematician Chandler Davis, who died in 2002 at age 96, was one of the notable victims of the second Red Scare. In 1960, Davis was sentenced to six months in prison for refusing to answer questions about his membership in the Communist Party. Davis’s lawyers defended him with the innovative legal argument that the First Amendment barred such questioning. While Davis lost in the courts, his legal battles were still an important effort in a larger battle to extend the parameters on political speech. Davis’s story is told in a new book, The Prosecution of Professor Chandler Davis by Steve Batterson. Siobhan Robert’s obituary for Davis ran in The Nation.

On this episode of The Time of Monsters, I talked to journalist Doug Bell, who knew Chandler Davis, about this book and Davis’s larger place in history. We take up the history of anti-communism and how it has limited free speech, the legal philosophy of Alexander Meiklejohn, and the reactionary Supreme Court's use of the First Amendment to expand corporate power.  

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Jeet Heer

Jeet Heer is a national affairs correspondent for The Nation and host of the weekly Nation podcast, The Time of Monsters. He also pens the monthly column “Morbid Symptoms.” The author of In Love with Art: Francoise Mouly’s Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman (2013) and Sweet Lechery: Reviews, Essays and Profiles (2014), Heer has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The American Prospect, The GuardianThe New Republic, and The Boston Globe.

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