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Monday, June 4, 2012

  • Mubarak Sentenced to Life Term in Egypt, But Protests Erupt as Sons, Aides Avoid Convictions

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    Protests have erupted across Egypt following the sentencing of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and other former regime officials. On Saturday, an Egyptian court gave Mubarak and his former interior minister, Habib el-Adly, life in prison for failing to stop the killing of unarmed demonstrators during the protests that ended Mubarak’s nearly 30-year rule. However, the court dismissed corruption charges against Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, on technical grounds. The court also acquitted six former police chiefs for their roles during the uprising when 840 protesters were killed and more than 6,000 injured. No one was found guilty of actually ordering the killing of protesters. The verdicts sparked demonstrations across the country, with tens of thousands rallying in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and in other cities. We go to Cairo to speak with Heba Morayef, a Middle East and North Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch who closely monitored the Mubarak trial. [includes rush transcript]

  • Norman Finkelstein: Waning Jewish American Support for Israel Boosts Chances for Middle East Peace

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    Well over a year into the Arab Spring, the author and scholar Norman Finkelstein argues that there is a new, albeit quieter, awakening happening here in the United States that could provide a major boost to the winds of change in the Middle East. In his new book, "Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End," Finkelstein contends that American Jewish support for the Israeli government is undergoing a major shift. After decades of staunch backing for Israel that began with the 1967 war through the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, to the repression of two Palestinian intifadas, Finkelstein says that a new generation of American Jews are no longer adopting reflexive support for the state that speaks in their name. With this shift in American Jewish opinion, Finkelstein sees a new opportunity for achieving a just Middle East peace. [includes rush transcript]

  • Norman Finkelstein on the Role of BDS & Why Obama Doesn’t Believe His Own Words on Israel-Palestine

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    Norman Finkelstein, author of the new book, "Knowing Too much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End," argues that President Obama’s hawkish support for Israel is belied by his liberal background as a law professor and community organizer. Responding to Obama’s speech this year before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Finkelstein says, "President Obama clearly doesn’t believe a word he’s saying [on Israel-Palestine]. And that’s probably the most troubling or the most disconcerting thing about listening to him. ... He says we have Israel’s back. Well, what he actually means is, rich American Jews have me, meaning Obama, in their pocket, and I have my hands in their pocket." Known as one of Israel’s most prominent critics, Finkelstein says the goal of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions campaign and the broader movement for Middle East peace should be to mobilize public opinion on what most already support: a two-state solution rooted in international law. "Politics is not about personal opinions," Finkelsten says. "It’s about trying to reach a public and getting them to act on their own sense of right and wrong." [includes rush transcript]