Hadar Susskind on Haaretz Podcast (April 9, 2024)

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Hadar's section begins at 20:08.

From Haaretz:

Six months into Israel's conflict with Hamas, the solid support U.S. President Joe Biden's White House gave to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has taken a serious hit.

Following the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen humanitarian aid workers, a clash over a possible military operation in Rafah, and Israel's failure to provide a vision for the "day after" the war in Gaza, there has been a "precipitous drop" in the standing of the Israeli prime minister both in the White House and Congress, Haaretz Washington correspondent Ben Samuels tells Haaretz Podcast host Allison Kaplan Sommer.

"World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres is a close friend of Joe Biden. And when seven of his employees are killed, that made it personal for the president in a way that unfortunately 30,000 Palestinian casualties has not been," he said, sparking an unprecedented tough phone call from the president to Netanyahu in which Biden "really put his foot down."

Behind the scenes at the White House, Samuels said, officials are "incredibly frustrated, and I think they feel a little personally betrayed by Netanyahu as well.

"I think they really believe that they have been going out on a limb providing coverage and support when it is becoming extremely unpopular both within the United States and in the international community. So I think there is a very real sense of resentment," Samuels said.

Also on the podcast, Hadar Susskind, President and CEO of Americans for Peace Now discusses his organization's support for Congress conditioning aid to Israel, a stance that has traditionally been controversial within the world of American Jewish advocacy groups but is gaining traction on Capitol Hill.

As Susskind sees it, "aid to Israel is endangered" because Israel's behavior in Gaza and the West Bank "often does not align with American policy and American values. When that happens, you will see far greater pushback, as we are seeing right now [with] people saying aid should be cut."

As a result, "if you want there to be a path for U.S. aid to Israel to continue, that aid, like all the other aid we give every other country, "needs to be conditioned."

Susskind, a longtime progressive activist in Washington, also discussed the perception that there is an epidemic of antisemitism on the U.S. left.

"I still think it is overwhelmingly actually on the far right," he contends. "That's not to say it doesn't exist on the left. It does, and I've seen it, but... so much of what is reported breathlessly as horrible antisemitism on college campuses is college students chanting 'Free Palestine.' You may dislike that – it might make you or your kid on campus uncomfortable – but I personally don't believe that saying 'Free Palestine' is itself an antisemitic act."