Israel Hostage Rescue Mission Kills Scores of Palestinians | Crooked Media
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June 09, 2024
What A Day
Israel Hostage Rescue Mission Kills Scores of Palestinians

In This Episode

  • Benny Gantz, a key member of Israel’s war cabinet, resigned from his post on Sunday. His announcement came one day after Israeli forces rescued four hostages held by Hamas in an operation that killed scores of Palestinians. Gantz, who’s also Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief political rival, said Netanyahu is “preventing us from reaching real victory” and called for new elections.
  • President Joe Biden wrapped up a five-day visit to France on Sunday. While the trip was nominally about commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Biden also used it to defend the idea of democracy itself, drawing parallels between World War II and the war in Ukraine. Behind the scenes, European leaders are privately panicking over the prospect of a second Trump term. McKay Coppins, senior staff writer at The Atlantic, says he encountered “an undercurrent of dread” in almost every conversation he had with European officials while traveling across this continent this spring.
  • And in headlines: A New York probation official is set to interview former president Donald Trump today following his conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records, Conspiracy theorist and Info Wars founder Alex Jones asked a bankruptcy court for permission to liquidate his personal assets to pay the families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims, and the head of the United Nations’ World Food Programme says Sudan could become the “world’s largest humanitarian crisis.”
Show Notes:




Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, June 10th, I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi and this is What a Day where we are wondering which juror’s cousin posted on the New York court system’s Facebook page about Trump’s pending conviction. 


Tre’vell Anderson: The day before the verdict was a post that said, quote, “my cousin is a juror and says Trump is getting convicted. Thank you folks for all your hard work.” And sir and or madam, what are you doing? 


Priyanka Aribindi: What? 


Tre’vell Anderson: What are you doing? [music break]


Tre’vell Anderson: On today’s show, former President Donald Trump will meet with his probation officer today. Plus, Alex Jones agrees to liquidate his assets to pay damages to the families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims. 


Priyanka Aribindi: But first, a key member of Israel’s war cabinet resigned from his post on Sunday after Israeli forces rescued four hostages held by Hamas in an operation that killed scores of Palestinians. During a televised conference on Sunday evening, following the news of the deadly attack, Israel’s National Unity chairman Benny Gantz said, quote, “Netanyahu is preventing us from reaching real victory.” 


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, so before we get into the details about Gantz, what happened with this hostage mission? 


Priyanka Aribindi: The hostages were rescued from a refugee camp in Gaza called Nuseirat in an operation by air and ground. The four hostages had been kidnapped from the Nova Music Festival on October 7th. Upon their rescue on Saturday, they were all alive and in good medical condition, and news of their return was obviously a huge relief and cause for celebration among, of course, their families and Israelis who have been increasingly distressed over the fate of the remaining 120 hostages. But the mission came at a high human cost in Gaza. Residents in Nuseirat reported intense bombardments, and though it’s unclear just how many Palestinians were killed, the numbers are definitely high. Gaza’s Ministry of Health announced that the death toll was 274, while Israeli Defense Forces say that it was under 100. Neither of those figures were able to be independently verified, and in an interview with CNN, U.S. national Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that we may never know definitively, though he did confirm that civilians were killed in this attack. Sullivan also added that while the U.S. supported Israel in efforts to locate the hostages, he did not specify how they helped. He only shared that no U.S. boots were on the ground, and thus far, President Biden has not commented on the situation. According to Hamas, three hostages, including a U.S. citizen, were killed as part of the Israeli military operation, though that cannot be independently verified either, and an Israeli military spokesman dismissed that as a lie. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, so tell us more about Gantz and his resignation. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Sure. So first, a little bit of background. Israel’s military cabinet was made up of three men. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant and former Deputy Prime Minister Benny Gantz. Gantz is a centrist. He is considered to be Netanyahu’s primary political challenger, but they formed a unity government in the wake of the October 7th attack. But Gantz has not been happy with Netanyahu. He actually threatened to resign last month unless Netanyahu adequately addressed his concerns over how this war would end, the return of the hostages, and the future governance of Gaza. And on Sunday, Gantz followed through. During his announcement, he said that Netanyahu was mismanaging the war and prioritizing his own political survival over the return of the hostages, which is quite a jab, but also something that President Biden himself kind of echoed earlier last week. He also urged Netanyahu to hold a new election in the coming months. He said, quote, “This is why we are leaving the emergency government today with a heavy heart but with a whole heart.” His departure doesn’t threaten Netanyahu’s control of the majority, but it does mean that the War Cabinet will only contain members of Netanyahu’s own party now. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And all of this is happening as negotiators wait for Hamas to respond to the latest Israeli hostage deal and cease fire proposal. Where does that stand as of now? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I mean, that still remains to be seen. In his media appearances on Sunday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan urged Hamas to accept the deal, but it’s unclear how they’ll respond or if this operation and the way it happened will affect that response. So we will continue to watch it and certainly report back on anything we learn. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. And during all of this, President Biden was in France for a five day visit. While the trip was nominally about commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Biden also used it to defend the idea of democracy itself. He drew a lot of parallels between World War Two and the war in Ukraine, and he repeatedly emphasized the idea that democracy and the world order are once again at a major tipping point. Here he is in Normandy Thursday, just steps away from the graves of nearly 10,000 American troops who died in World War Two. 


[clip of President Joe Biden] Isolationism was not the answer eighty years ago. And it is not the answer today. [applause]


Tre’vell Anderson: And here he is again in a speech at an official state dinner in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday. 


[clip of President Joe Biden] We stand at an inflection point in history. The decisions we make now will determine the course of our future for decades to come. We have a lot of opportunity, but a lot of responsibility. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And while Biden never mentioned former President Donald Trump by name, it was also pretty obvious that he was trying to draw a contrast between himself and his main rival in this next election. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely. I mean, nothing could be more different than what he just said from Trump’s America First approach to all of this. So very telling. But tell us more about how he did this. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, well, Biden’s speeches throughout the trip were a major rebuke of Trump’s brand of American isolationism and transactional politics. Like you just mentioned, the kind of politics that underpin Trump’s comments about, for example, leaving NATO and his decisions to withdraw America from major international pacts like the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And, you know, to be fair, Europe is also dealing with that same strand of politics. Just look at Sunday’s European Union elections. Far right parties are projected to make major gains in the European Parliament, especially in France. The losses were so bad in France that President Macron dissolved the country’s government on Sunday and called for snap elections starting later this month. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it seems like this trend has not stopped, has only gotten stronger at home and around the world, which is frightening. But world leaders and especially European leaders are probably preparing for the possibility that they could end up working with Trump again if he wins in November. Right? How do we think that they’re feeling about that at this point?


Tre’vell Anderson: Well reportedly they’re terrified. That’s according to McKay Coppins. He’s a senior staff writer for The Atlantic. And he traveled all over Europe this past spring, wrote this big piece about Europe’s anxieties about Trump getting reelected. And I spoke to him about his story and started by asking him what scares European leaders the most about a second Trump term?


McKay Coppins: I think the thing that a lot of the officials I interviewed would point to was that moment earlier this year, when Donald Trump told a story at a rally about speaking to uh European leaders and saying that any country that doesn’t pay enough for defense, he would encourage Russia to do whatever the hell they wanted. 


[clip of Donald Trump] You didn’t pay. You’re delinquent. No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills. 


McKay Coppins: That’s an example of something that got a good amount of news coverage here in the US. But it was like a five alarm fire in Europe when he said that, because European’s entire defense structure is built on the idea that America is a steadfast ally. And that’s been true for 75 years, right? And if Americans elect a president in this context, with Russia waging war in Ukraine, and Trump decides to make good on his threats to withdraw the U.S. from NATO, that could not only cause the collapse of the alliance, but could really enter Europe into an entirely new stage of dealing with Russian aggression and basic instability that we have not seen on that continent in 75 years. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Now, you write that you encountered a quote, “undercurrent of dread” in almost every conversation you had while traveling through Europe this spring, and that nearly every official you spoke with thought a second Trump term was basically inevitable. How did this become the prevailing sentiment in Europe? 


McKay Coppins: Yeah, it’s one of the kind of weird things that I started to notice in my conversations with Europeans. Like, first of all, they’re all intensely, almost pathologically fixated on our election. To the point where they can cite granular polling data from Michigan and Pennsylvania, and they know how the Electoral College works. They know how the Republican primary system works. They are more keyed in to our election than, frankly, a lot of Americans are at this point. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I was about to say not a lot of people [laughter] here know about the Electoral College. You know what I mean? 


McKay Coppins: Yeah. Well, and that’s what surprised me. And so I often found myself in the position of kind of telling them, like, I don’t think a Trump election is a foregone conclusion at all. You know, it’s a close race, like the polls show a close race. And Trump is ahead in battleground states right now. But that could change. I think that a couple things are going on there, I think psychologically European officials are still scarred from the shock of Trump’s win in 2016. Right? And then what happened over the next four years was a period of instability in the transatlantic relationship that we had not seen in three quarters of a century. And so, I think for a lot of Europeans, they’re almost kind of preparing for the worst case scenario out of both their own kind of psychological trauma and also out of prudence. Right? It makes sense for them to make plans based on the worst thing that could happen, instead of kind of hoping for the best and then being caught by surprise. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Right. And so I wonder, what do these same leaders and officials think of President Biden and how he’s been leading in this moment? Since  we at least know that they’re not excited about the potential of another Trump presidency. 


McKay Coppins: I think it’s fair to say that almost everyone I interviewed preferred the Biden administration, preferred Joe Biden’s approach to geopolitics, to diplomacy, in part because it’s just much more like a normal American president, at least, you know, in modern times. I will say, though, I encountered a lot of Europeans who wondered why Joe Biden was running again. You know, it’s not that they had anything against him, but they would kind of ask me, you know, like, is this really the best the Democrats could do? Like, is there not another candidate? Like, it seems really risky to have somebody so old and so out of touch with his base in some ways. But I think that the reality is, in a contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, there’s no question who they would prefer. But they also kind of wonder about the domestic politics of it here. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I also wonder, you know, about Biden’s standing with these EU leaders, particularly in the last six months, right, with the war in Gaza and his staunch backing of Israel. There also was the, you know, months long delay to get military aid to Ukraine. How has his standing been particularly right in this, you know, volatile time? 


McKay Coppins: So those are two separate things. I did hear about Gaza repeatedly in my interviews. And it’s an interesting thing in Europe that a lot of people are not fans of the way the Biden administration has backed Israel in this conflict, that they feel like Israel is going much further than they should, and that America should try to rein Israel in. At the same time, a term that I heard all over and over in my conversations was, you know, given our history, it referring to, you know, the Holocaust and World War Two, they would say, given our history, we do feel like we have to support Israel, and we understand that it’s a complicated situation. That was especially true in Germany. But on the Ukraine funding, I think more than anything in the last few months, the long delay in passing that Ukraine funding bill underscored to a lot of Europeans that Joe Biden just doesn’t have as much power as they frankly wish he had given the geopolitical stakes. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So Biden struck a very reassuring tone I feel like in his speech on D-Day in Normandy, he said. 


[clip of President Joe Biden] We will not walk away. [applause] Because if we do. Ukraine will be subjugated and it will not end there. Ukraine’s neighbors will be threatened. All of Europe will be threatened. And make no mistake, the autocrats of the world are watching closely to see what happens in Ukraine, to see if we let this illegal aggression go unchecked. We cannot let that happen. 


Tre’vell Anderson: How else are Biden officials trying to counter these European fears? 


McKay Coppins: A lot of the emphasis right now is on Trump proofing the alliance, actually they call it future proofing. But then when they’re off the record, they call it Trump proofing, which is basically, let’s make sure that the alliance that NATO is as strong as possible, so that in the event that Donald Trump comes into power and decides to, you know, weaken America’s commitment that the alliance is as strong as possible. So a lot of European countries are ratcheting up their own defense spending. In 2017, only three or four NATO countries were spending at least 2% of their GDP on defense, which was the standard that NATO had collectively agreed to in 2014. By the end of this year, it’s going to be at least 18 countries and maybe more. The alliance has expanded with the Biden administration’s support. Finland and Sweden have both been added to the alliance. Both of them have relatively modern and capable militaries, so they’re bringing a lot to the table. There are also kind of behind the scenes talks of moving the logistical responsibility for getting weapons to Ukraine out of U.S. hands and into NATO’s hands in case Trump comes into office and decides to abandon the war. And I think that almost everyone in Europe says that regardless of what they do now, regardless of this increased defense spending and everything else, they need America. America is the linchpin to the Alliance. It is the most powerful military in the Alliance, by far. And if America withdraws, the fate of that alliance and European security are really in question. 


Tre’vell Anderson: That was my conversation with McKay Coppins, senior staff writer at The Atlantic. Biden will be back in Europe later this week for a meeting with G7 leaders in Italy, so we will be sure to keep an eye on that. But that’s the latest for now. We’ll get to some headlines in a moment, but if you like our show, make sure to subscribe, share it with your friends and we’ll be back after some ads. [music break]




Priyanka Aribindi: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: A New York probation official is set to interview disgraced former President Donald Trump today, following his conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records. New York law mandates that the state’s probation department must interview convicted felons to create a pre-sentencing report for the judge in their case. The meeting will reportedly take place virtually. Trump’s defense team is expected to submit its sentencing recommendations on Thursday to Justice Juan Merchan who will ultimately decide the former president’s punishment in July. Trump faces anywhere between probation and four years in prison. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Conspiracy theorist and Infowars founder Alex Jones asked a bankruptcy court on Friday for permission to liquidate his personal assets to pay the families of the Sandy hook shooting victims. For months, Jones has tried to get out of paying the $1.5 billion in damages for spreading the lie that the 2012 elementary school shooting that killed 26 first graders and staffers was a hoax. If they grant Jones’s request, Free Speech Systems will shut down immediately and his assets will be handed over to the families. But here’s the thing, Jones isn’t a billionaire. And the total worth of his assets reportedly only stands between ten to $12 million, so the families still won’t get all of the money that they’re due. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, there isn’t enough money in the world to make what Alex Jones did to these people better, or make it go away. That just isn’t possible. But Alex Jones’ ten to 12 million, that’s a start. Get rid of it. That’s theirs. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. 


Priyanka Aribindi: The head of the United Nations World Food Program says that Sudan could become the, quote, “world’s largest humanitarian crisis” amid a year long civil war there. Speaking on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, director Cindy McCain said that the conflict has also become a forgotten crisis as the agency struggles to get aid in. 


[clip of Cindy McCain] We need more crossings. We need safe and unfettered access, um and making sure that we keep that we can get in and make sure we can feed at scale. Bottom line is people are going to starve to death unless we can get in there. 


Priyanka Aribindi: The war in Sudan started in April of last year, amid a power struggle between two generals who were vying for control of the country. American officials estimate as many as 150,000 people have been killed since the war broke out, and a looming famine could kill hundreds of thousands more. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Stanford University says it’s bringing back its standardized testing requirement. The school recently made the announcement, making it the latest elite university to reinstate test scores after ditching the requirement during the pandemic. While the tests will remain optional for students applying this fall. Students applying in fall 2025 will need to show scores for either the SAT or ACT to be considered for admission. Other schools that have brought back testing requirements include Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Georgetown. To hear more about why all these schools are bringing back standardized testing requirements, you can listen to the most recent episode of How We Got Here. Our very own Priyanka Aribindi co-hosts the episode. Check it out right here in the What a Day feed wherever you get your podcasts. I will say, Priyanka, I do not miss standardized testing. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Oh no, I do not either. But the one thing I do miss was my uh pre standardized test ritual of watching Jersey Shore the night before. [laughter] That might uh really put me in a specific age range for people. But that is what I did to relax the night before the SAT. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I love that. I love that for you. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It worked. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It worked. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Exactly. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Very relaxed. [laughter] And those are the headlines. 




Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, watch what your cousins post about you on Facebook, and tell your friends to listen. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And if you are into reading and not just SAT requirements like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Priyanka Aribindi.


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


[spoken together] And sharpen your number two pencils. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Actually, you can leave those number twos at home because apparently the SAT is all on the computer now. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, no. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Crazy. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Is this what we’ve become as a country, Priyanka? 


Priyanka Aribindi: They don’t know how to write in cursive. They’re not going to know that they had to have two number two pencils and a big fat pink eraser. 


Tre’vell Anderson: They won’t know what a–


Priyanka Aribindi: They’re never gonna know. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –Scantron is. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I know. I feel for them really. [laugh] [music break]


Tre’vell Anderson: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our associate producers are Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf. We had production help today from Michell Eloy, Greg Walters, and Julia Claire. Our showrunner is Erica Morrison and our executive producer is Adriene Hill. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.