Pro-Palestinian commentator causes rows at Fox News

Geraldo Rivera has clashed on-air with the pro-Israel channel’s hosts over US support for airstrikes Geraldo Rivera: ‘American bombs should not be used to kill defenseless civilians in Gaza.’ Photograph: Richard Drew/AP The Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera has become a rare and outspoken voice on his conservative television channel in lambasting Israel over its attacks on Gaza and other Palestinian targets in the current conflict. Geraldo has conducted numerous heated and emotional spats with other Fox News personalities, including powerful figures like Sean Hannity, by criticizing Israel’s activities and lauding those defending Palestinians – both rare positions on the reliably pro-Israel channel. In two segments on Wednesday, the 77-year-old correspondent and commentator, who has reported from Israeli-occupied territories, declared that Rashida Tlaib – the only Palestinian American member of Congress and a frequent Fox target – “is right” to say that a $735m sale of US weapons, including guided bombs, to Israel should be halted. Rivera echoed his on-air comments later on Twitter: “American bombs should not be used to kill defenseless civilians in #Gaza. @JoeBiden must stop ignoring carnage & injustice. A dead Palestinian child is as much a crime against humanity as a dead Israeli child. #NotWithOurBombs.” Pressure mounting on #Israel to institute #Ceasefire. American bombs should not be used to kill defenseless civilians in #Gaza. @JoeBiden must stop ignoring carnage & injustice. A dead Palestinian child is as much a crime against humanity as a dead Israeli child. #NotWithOurBombs— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) May 20, 2021 Rivera’s stance is deeply at odds with the overall tenor of Fox’s coverage of the conflict, especially from its high-profile opinion hosts who are widely seen as keen backers of Israel and supporters of its military strikes. Rivera was asked by the Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum if he was “sympathetic” to Tlaib’s position. “I am indeed, Martha,” he replied. “People have to recognize what the Gaza Strip is. It’s one of the most menacing places on Earth that I’ve ever reported from.” He added: “It’s effectively one of the world’s largest prison camps and it is being bombed with bombs supplied by the United States. It’s outrageous that we gave Israel these hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of weapons without insisting on a ceasefire now.” Rivera told viewers that sales of US arms to Israel “makes us complicit in an ongoing crime against humanity”. “I want our audience – the fact that the United States of America is providing Israel many of the weapons Israel is using today to kill Palestinian civilians without demanding a ceasefire, Tlaib is right.” The on-air Fox News confrontations continued with Hannity cutting Rivera off after he said it was “abhorrent” that Palestinian children died in bombings. The exchanges come as a number of prominent entertainment industry voices in the US have come under intense online and professional pressure to curb public expressions of support for Palestinians. “It’s free Palestine til Palestine is free!!!,” the Palestinian American model Bella Hadid posted on Instagram several days ago, and received 4.5m likes – or about 1/10th of her following. Some who voiced support, including the reality star Paris Hilton, who wrote “This is so heartbreaking. This needs to stop. #SavePalestine”, have taken down their posts. Meanwhile others, including the musicians John Legend and Cat Power, have left theirs intact.

Biden got to test-drive Ford's electric F-150 Lightning, and the Israel-Gaza flight wasn't going to spoil his ride

His predecessor may have liked big rigs, but President Biden is a car guy. "My name is Joe Biden, and I'm a car guy," he said at Ford's electric vehicle production facility in Dearborn, Michigan, on Tuesday. Biden was in Michigan to mark Wednesday's unveiling of the Ford F-150 Lightning, the all-electric version of America's best-selling vehicle, and to promote electric vehicles as a way of tackling the climate crisis. "We're at a great inflection point in American history," Biden said. "How we handle the next four to 10 years is going to determine where we are going to be 30, 40, 50 years from now." He said "the future of the auto industry is electric" and China's currently winning. The evident highlight of the day for Biden was test-driving the Ford Lightning. "This sucker's quick," he told reporters. "I think we're going zero to 60 in four-point-three. Four-point-four?" Biden is facing multiple crises, but on Tuesday he "wanted, if only for a moment, to leave that all behind for what he could pretend was an open road but really was an open lot of concrete," Matt Viser reports at The Washington Post. When a reporter asked if he'd answer a question about Israel's bloody fight with Gaza, he said no, "not unless you get in front of the car as I step on it. I'm only teasing," he added, smiling. The Israel-Gaza conflict intruded, anyway. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who has family in Palestine, met Biden and the airport to urge stronger pressure on Israel to agreed to a ceasefire. He name-checked her during his Dearborn speech, calling her "a fighter, and God thank you for being a fighter." Embed from Getty Images But overall, "the day revealed Biden not so much in rare form but in his truest form," Viser writes. "The affection for automobiles is as much a part of Biden as his Irishness and his love of ice cream," dating back at least to his father's work at a car dealership. When asked in 2011 about a 2009 Onion article showing a shirtless Biden, then vice president, washing a Trans Am in the White House driveway, Biden laughed and told Car and Driver: "You think I'd drive a Trans Am? I have been in my bathing suit in my driveway and not only washed my Goodwood-green 1967 Corvette but also Simonized it." More stories from theweek.comThe threat of civil war didn't end with the Trump presidency7 scathingly funny cartoons about Liz Cheney's ousterNew study finds more consumers than ever are looking for sustainable products

Joe Biden’s silence in the face of Israeli violence is a disgrace

Cracks are emerging in the wall that has historically separated any criticism of Israel from American politics – but Joe Biden is still not listening Activists and protesters march in support of Palestine near the Washington monument in Washington DC on 15 May 2021. Photograph: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images On Saturday, an Israeli air strike killed 10 people from the same extended family after missiles hit the family’s house in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza. A five-month-old baby, the sole survivor, was pulled out alive from the rubble, having been trapped next to his deceased mother. As I write this, at least 180 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including 52 children. Ten Israelis have also been killed, including two children. All the innocents slain, whether Palestinian or Israeli, must be mourned, and it’s beyond distressing to know that the number of deaths will only rise as the days go on. What will remain steady, however, is this morbidly lopsided ratio of death. Many more innocent Palestinians will be killed than Israelis. That fact, along with over 70 years of continued Palestinian dispossession (of which the Sheikh Jarrah evictions are a part), has galvanized global opposition to Israel’s latest actions. Popular demonstrations have broken out around the world in support of Palestinian rights. Since the United States provides the key financial, military and diplomatic backing to Israel, one wonders where Joe Biden and his administration are during this crucial moment. Not out front and leading, would be a kind way of putting it. Calling Biden’s attitude to Middle East diplomacy a “stand-back approach”, the New York Times noted how his administration has so far done little and accomplished less. “Muted” is how National Public Radio described it. In fact, it’s much worse. This administration’s reaction has not only been relatively quiet; it has also been callous, predictable and nothing short of a disgrace. This administration’s reaction has not only been relatively quiet; it has also been callous, predictable, and nothing short of a disgrace Consider Biden’s own response when reporters asked him on Thursday if the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was doing enough “to stop this violence there from escalating”. Biden answered that “thus far there has not been a significant overreaction” from the Israelis. Considering the massive asymmetry of death and destruction, one can only wonder, in absolute horror, what our president would consider “a significant overreaction”. The Biden administration also twice blocked security council statements on the crisis this past week, and was alone in opposing the security council from holding an open meeting on the issue on Friday. Last week, a state department spokesman, when pressed, couldn’t even get himself to say that the right of self-defense extends to the Palestinian people. A US envoy also didn’t arrive in the region until Saturday, and the Biden administration hasn’t even named a nominee for US ambassador to Israel. So while the administration claims to be working “behind the scenes” to solve this latest crisis, that argument is looking more and more like an alibi for being both unprepared for the tough demands of foreign policy while simultaneously adopting a nihilistic business-as-usual approach to cover for Israel’s aggressive policies. If that’s the case, both the Palestinians and the American people stand to lose, the former obviously losing dozens if not hundreds more lives, the latter losing important prestige and influence. And who gains? None other than Benjamin Netanyahu, who just over a week ago, was about to be ousted as prime minister after his repeated failures to form a coalition government – Israel has had four elections in two years – while simultaneously facing corruption charges. But here’s the deal, as Joe Biden would say. The president’s deference to Israel’s wishes – long the American reflex – may no longer represent the political consensus in his party. The United States is changing, and so is the Democratic party, with cracks emerging in the wall that has historically separated any criticism of Israel from American politics. That change was bravely – and movingly – evident on the floor of the House of Representatives last week. “The United States must acknowledge its role in the injustice and human rights violations of Palestinians,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated during a Special Order hour organized by Representatives Marc Pocan and Marie Newman. “This is not about both sides,” she continued. “This is about an imbalance of power.” She was hardly alone. Calling Netanyahu a “far-right ethnonationalist” on the floor of the House, Representative Ilhan Omar asked how the American government can “pay lip service to a Palestinian state, yet do absolutely nothing to make that state a reality, while the Israeli government we fund tries to make it impossible?” Representative Rashida Tlaib rose and affirmed that “I am the only Palestinian American member of Congress now, and my mere existence has disrupted the status quo. I am a reminder to colleagues that Palestinians do indeed exist, that we are human, that we are allowed to dream.” Her voice breaking after quoting a Gazan mother’s fears of losing her children to Israeli bombs, Tlaib said: “We must condition aid to Israel on compliance with international human rights and end the apartheid.” Representative Ayanna Presley proclaimed: “Palestinians are being told the same thing as black folks in America. There is no acceptable form of resistance. We are bearing witness to egregious human rights violations. The pain, trauma and terror that Palestinians are facing is not just the result of this week’s escalation, but the consequences of years of military occupation.” And Representative Cori Bush, who is also African American, explained on the House floor how “the same equipment that they use to brutalize us is the same equipment that we send to the Israeli military to police and brutalize Palestinians”. Congress has probably never have seen such a powerful display of support for Palestinian lives. But what’s important is not just the support but the way it was articulated. When Ocasio-Cortez spoke, she drew a personal connection from Puerto Rico to Palestine. Presley stated that, as a Black woman, she too was no stranger to the sorts of police brutality and state-sanctioned violence that Palestinians suffer. Bush tweeted: “The Black and Palestinian struggles for liberation are interconnected, and we will not let up until all of us are free.” Omar connected her refugee experiences to surviving warfare. And Tlaib talked about being raised Palestinian “in Detroit, the most beautiful, blackest cities in America, a city where movements for civil rights and social justice are birthed”. Each woman made the struggle for Palestinian liberation into something deeply personal, like they were all meeting at the intersection of their collective lives. For too long, Palestinians have been seen as problems to be solved or bombed. Once they’re seen as people and as a people, however, and once their struggle is both understood and identified with, everything changes. That was the change we heard on the House floor this week. It was an embrace of empathy for Palestine. In its own way, the change is earth shaking. These are the voices in American politics demanding something different, a new way of looking at Palestine and Palestinians. Unlike what this administration is offering, that demand can be called leadership. And it’s a demand that must, and will, be heard. Moustafa Bayoumi is the author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America