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Iran Shots U.S. Drone, Trump Says Iran Made a Big Mistake; U.N. Special Rapporteur Released Independent Investigation on Jamal Khashoggi Murder; Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, is Interviewed About the U.N. Special Rapporteur`s Investigation; Will U.S. Retaliate to Iran for Downing Down Drone?; A Road Map to De- Escalation between Iran and the United States; Gerard Araud, Former French Ambassador to the United States, is Interviewed About Iran and U.S. Itzhak Perlman, Greatest Living Violinist; Itzhak Perlman, Violinist and Conductor, is Interviewed About Teaching. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired June 20, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here`s what`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs: It`s a gruesome murder that happened outside authorities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The Saudi minister for foreign affairs joins me, responding to an independent investigation that categorically blames his state for the
murder of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
Then, as Saudi Arabia and the United States mount the pressure on Iran, is Europe getting squeezed in the middle? We speak to Gerard Araud, the
former French ambassador to the United States and the United Nations.
And, the greatest violinist alive, Itzhak Perlman, is on the program on playing, conducting and his master classes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AISHA NYANDORO, CEO, SPRINGBOARD TO OPPORTUNITIES: When you invest in the most vulnerable in society, society as a whole flourishes.
AMANPOUR: Giving vulnerable families a lifeline. Our Alicia Menendez speaks to Aisha Nyandoro, the chief executive of Springboard of
Welcome to the program, everyone. I`m Christiana Amanpour in London.
The situation is deterring fast in the Persian Gulf, where after attacks against shipping, Iran shot down a U.S. drone today. Tehran insists they
fired on the drone because it was in Iranian air space. While the U.S. military called it an unprovoked attack over international waters.
But later, meeting with the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, President Trump said that he has a feeling Iran`s action was a mistake and
that he finds it hard to believe it was intentional. He was also asked if the United States will strike Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Iran made a big mistake. This drone was in international waters, clearly. We have it all documented. It`s document
scientifically, not just words. And they made a very bad mistake. OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How will you respond, Mr. President?
TRUMP: You`ll find out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you willing to (INAUDIBLE)?
TRUMP: You`ll find out. You`ll find out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: More on this developing story in a moment. But first, we look to another power in the Arab world under the world`s microscope, Iran`s
arch-enemy Saudi Arabia. Eight months after the murder of the Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, an independent investigation was released this
week by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, which is exposing disturbing details, like the hit squad calling him their
sacrificial animal and describing how they would dismember the journalist.
The report says Khashoggi`s murder was methodically planned and carried out by officials working on behalf of the Saudi State. The U.N. is now asking
for further investigation into the kingdom`s accountability.
Now, the Saudi State is responding. And I spoke about these shocking findings with Adel al-Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs
here at the Saudi embassy in London.
Adel al-Jubeir, welcome to the program.
AL-JUBEIR: Thank you. Great to be here.
AMANPOUR: The Special Repertoire has called it a deliberate premedicated execution, the killing of Jamal Khashoggi by the state, a state killing.
Is the state ready to claim responsibility?
AL-JUBEIR: We disagree with her conclusions. We don`t believe she has a mandate. We believe that her report is flawed. We believe there are
internal contradictions in the report. We believe it was based on meager reporting and anonymous sources. We believe that her description of the
trials in Saudi Arabia, calling them secret is not correct. We have representatives of the permanent five countries as well as Turkey, as well
as NGOs from Saudi Arabia at those trials.
The investigation is ongoing and continuing and the trials are continuing. We believe that the Saudis are the ones who should lead the investigation
and the Saudi judicial system is the one who should adjudicate this.
AMANPOUR: Now, you say that she doesn`t have credibility and that it`s extrajudicial and you have complained about her complaints. This is what
she actually says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AGNES CALLAMARD, U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS: My inquiry focused, first and foremost, on the responsibilities of the state.
I think it is important to insist upon the fact that the killing of Mr. Khashoggi was a state killing. That the killing and the circumstances of
the killing meant that a number of other violations took place, including violations of international law for which the State of Saudi Arabia is
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Do you take that seriously?
AL-JUBEIR: We have made it very clear that this is a rogue operation that was not authorized. The king ordered an investigation. The investigation
led [13:05:00] to exposing the truth of the fact that Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate by officials who exceeded authority and had
no mandate to do so. Those individuals were arrested and they were charged and they are facing trial as we speak.
AMANPOUR: Do you accept what even your allies say that there is actually no way something like this could have happened without the sign-off, the
knowledge of the highest authorities? And while this report does not hold Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at all responsible or talks about his
responsibility, there are calls for more investigation into that fact?
AL-JUBEIR: We have never had an instant like this in the history Saudi Arabia. This is not how we operate. The Abu Ghraib happened that the
president of the United States knew about it. Iran--Contra happened, that President Reagan knew about it. People exceed their authorities
unfortunately and this was a great tragedy and a painful tragedy for Saudi Arabia and for Jamal Khashoggi`s family.
The investigations are ongoing, the trial is ongoing, and those who committed this crime will be punished. We have also reviewed the
procedures of our intelligence service to ensure that mechanisms are put in place to prevent something like this from happening again.
AMANPOUR: So, as you know, the Reagan administration was held accountable under congressional testimony for Iran-Contra. People were punished and in
fact convicted. You also know that Abu Ghraib, people were held responsible before the courts, particularly the military courts. It hasn`t
yet happened in Saudi Arabia.
But I want to ask you this. We first met back in the first Gulf War when you yourself was in charge of us, the press.
AL-JUBEIR: Nobody is ever in charge of the press.
AMANPOUR: Well, you were, and there was a pretty decent relationship. Jamal Khashoggi was a member of the press. He was a Saudi patriot. I want
to ask you what you think when you hear the following words, this is from Turkish intelligence and from other intelligence. And we also know that
the head CIA, Gina Haspel, has heard this intelligence and these takes.
So, people go into, Saudis go into the consulate. "We will take you back, they say to Khashoggi. This is an order from Interpol. Khashoggi says,
there isn`t a case against me, and warns him that people are waiting outside. They then instruct him to write a text message to his son. Then
they argue about what to say, and they say to him, cut it short. There is a struggle." What do you think when you hear that?
AL-JUBEIR: Well, let me first respond to your first question about the holding to account people who committed Abu Ghraib and who committed Iran -
AMANPOUR: No, no. First, I want to ask you this. Sorry, that`s red herring.
AL-JUBEIR: Because in our case, the reason the trials are ongoing and people will be punished. We have --
AMANPOUR: I want to you what your reaction is to this.
AL-JUBEIR: With regards to the reaction to the tape, we know this was a rogue operation that was not authorized, we know a crime was committed, we
have people in jail and they`re on trial as we speak.
AMANPOUR: What do you say to the following? Khashoggi says, "There is a towel here. Are you going to give me drugs?" And they said, "We will
anesthetize you." And then there`s a struggle and then a man asked whether Khashoggi is passed out. And then another one -- or the same one says, "He
raises his head." Another one says, "Keep pushing. Push here. Don`t remove your hand. Push it."
AL-JUBEIR: It`s a gruesome murder that happened outside authorities and for which the people who committed it will be punished. That`s why there
is a trial, that`s why there is an ongoing investigation. This never should have happened.
AMANPOUR: Then there is an even more gruesome one, even. "A Saudi official asked if it would be possible to put the trunk of the body in a
bag. Another one replied, no, it`s too heavy. It`s not a problem, the body is heavy. First, I might cut on the ground, if we take plastic bags
and cut it into pieces, it will be finished. We will wrap each of them."
AL-JUBEIR: Terrible. This is terrible. I told you, this is a gruesome murder that took place without authorization for which the people who
perpetrated are being punished now. They`re in court, they`re on trial and they will be punished. We have made that very clear.
AMANPOUR: They believe that his head was put if a plastic bag and he was suffocated. His fiancee, Hatice, who I have spoken to, and many others
have, has said the following.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HATICE CENGIZ, JAMAL KHASHOGGI`S FIANCEE (through translator): There has been a murder. The murderers have not been captured. The whole humanity
are curious. I am wondering why no significant real steps are being taken so far. What happened to his body, for example? No one has given any
answers. No one has given any clear-cut, straightforward answers to that question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Are you able, on behalf of the state, to give an answer to where Jamal`s cut-up, dismembered body is, where those bags were and apologize to
AL-JUBEIR: Our understanding from the investigations is that the body was given to a local collaborator in order to dispose of it. And we have tried
to reach out to the Turkish authorities to have -- to work on this issue, to identify the collaborator in order to question him and we have not
gotten a response.
AMANPOUR: What would you say to her as a human being?
AL-JUBEIR: I think it is family. This is very upsetting. Anytime you lose a loved one [13:10:00] in a gruesome murder like this, it`s very
upsetting. Nobody wanted this to happen. This should not have happened. And those who committed it must be punished to the first extent of the law.
Five of them are facing the death penalty.
AMANPOUR: See, one of the main ringleaders is said to have been furloughed and he is somewhere not in jail.
AL-JUBEIR: There are --
AMANPOUR: So, people are very, very concerned about that.
AL-JUBEIR: There are a number of people who are in jail, there are a number of people who were dismissed from their positions, there are a
number of people who remain under investigation. The decision of detaining somebody or not is something that`s left to the public prosecutor.
AMANPOUR: As I said, even the CIA director has heard these tapes and believes in what the U.S. assessment was, and that is that it happened and
it`s probably unlikely that it could happen without the highest sign-off.
Now, it`s having an effect. And I guess I want to know how Saudi Arabia is going to conduct its foreign relations going forward, because this is
having an effect. It`s having an effect in your arms sales or arms sales to Saudi Arabia. As you know, the United States is in a big kerfuffle in
Congress with people not wanting to send arms to Saudi Arabia because of Yemen and the Khashoggi murder is a huge reason.
So, this is Senator Rand Paul, "A few nations should be trusted less than Saudi Arabia. In recent years, they have fomented human atrocities,
repeatedly lied to the United States, proved to be reckless, regional pariah. It is concerning and irresponsible for the United States to
continue providing them arms." That`s from your closest ally.
Today, the U.K. in a landmark court ruling has seen arm sales suspended because of Yemen and violations of the laws of war.
AL-JUBEIR: I think that Rand Paul`s statement is not accurate. I think he is misinformed. We entered Yemen in order to support the legitimate
government. The war in Yemen started nine months before the coalition intervened, and the coalition intervened at the request of the legislative
government in order to prevent Iran and its allies from taking over --
AMANPOUR: We`re going to talk about Iran in a second. But there is a big argument in the United States.
AL-JUBEIR: That`s one. The other argument with regards to the 22 resolutions of disapproval for weapon sales is a political issue domestic
to the U.S. There are other countries on that --
AMANPOUR: And to the U.K.
AL-JUBEIR: There are other on that list that they want to stop, including, if you read the resolutions, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, India, South
Korea, Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain. It doesn`t make sense to have these resolutions. We are fighting a legitimate war. The U.S. is projecting
power into the region in order to deter Iranian aggression. Does Senator Rand Paul want to send more American troops --
AMANPOUR: It`s not just Senator Rand Paul, there`s a lot of people that are saying that.
AL-JUBEIR: Those who call for a suspension of weapons sales to the coalition are pleasing the death to America crowed.
AMANPOUR: Do you think the president or Congress will win this battle on arms?
AL-JUBEIR: I believe that the logic is very compelling for supporting Saudi Arabia and the coalition. I believe the alliance between Saudi
Arabia and the United States has existed for 80 years, has been critically important to the two countries and to stability in the region and in the
world, and I believe that wisdom will prevail and these issues will proceed.
AMANPOUR: Interestingly, the former defense secretary, Ash Carter, told me that actually Saudi Arabia had not been a massively reliable military ally
and there needed to be a reset. "We need," he said to me, "to demand more of Saudi Arabia." We`ll leave that for the moment.
Iran, which you are incredibly concerned with, and I know you have a particularly personal consideration, given there was a plot exposed --
AL-JUBEIR: Nothing personal.
AMANPOUR: -- to assassinate you. The president of the United States has now said that these attacks on shipping have had a "very minor impact."
Where is this headed, do you think? Saudi Arabia says it doesn`t want war. The president of the United States says he doesn`t want war. We`re not
sure what his national security staff, particularly want or what the plan is. Where is this headed?
AL-JUBEIR: It`s really up to the Iranians. We have made it very clear that nobody wants war and we don`t want war, the U.S. doesn`t want war. We
have also made it very clear that Iran`s aggressive behavior must stop. Its undermining of freedom of navigation in the Gulf is not acceptable,
it`s providing of ballistic missiles to terrorist groups like Hezbollah and the Houthis is not acceptable. Its support for terrorism is not acceptable
and its interference in the affairs of other countries at the region is not acceptable.
So, if Iran wants to be treated as a normal country, it has to comport itself as such.
AMANPOUR: Adel al-Jubeir, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
AL-JUBEIR: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, just after that interview, the U.S. Senate backed a resolution to block weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. President Trump has
threatened to veto that.
Now, back to the topic of our conversation which is Iran. Tensions are rising as President Trump vows that Iran will soon find out whether the
U.S. will retaliate for a downed American drone. The confrontation puts America`s European allies in a bind. They, along with China and Russia,
are still committed to the nuclear deal that aims to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.
So, joining us now with his take is Gerard Araud [13:15:00]. He is the former French ambassador to the United States and to the United nations.
And he`s joining us from New York.
Ambassador, welcome back to the program.
GERARD ARAUD, FORMER FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Hello. Hi.
AMANPOUR: Let me get your sort of measure of what`s happening. You can see this escalation in the Persian Gulf with now the drone. Well, how do
you read the words coming out of the U.S. today on this?
ARAUD: Now, I think President Trump has always been very consistent. He doesn`t want war, but he considers that the policy of maximum pressure will
bring the Iranians to a negotiation.
I think it is -- it`s not -- he is not wrong. You know, a negotiation is based on a balance of power, the Americans have always -- have the upper
hand. They are accepting a very strong pressure. So, we could hope that U.S. and the Iranians could come to a negotiation. But it would work only
if we have a diplomacy, if we have a diplomatic path, and that`s what is strategically missing right now.
AMANPOUR: Well, as you say, let me just repeat for you the Middle East expert, Vali Nasr, has written in the "New York Times," "President Trump
may not want war, but he will get one unless he balances coercion with diplomacy. Tehran has met maximum pressure with maximum resistance. The
only option left is to talk."
I mean, it`s kind of what you just said, but how? How does one get a path to talk through this war of words and, indeed, this attack on shipping, the
downing of the drone which, as you know, Iran says was in its own air space, over its waters?
ARAUD: No. I think you`re perfectly right. We are in a very dangerous moment. We are really at the mercy of any incident. And we know that on
both sides you have radicals actually are looking for a war.
So, again, how can we create a diplomatic dialogue between the Americans and the Iranians? Which would mean on the American side that, in a sense,
they tell precisely what they want. Because on the American side, we have 12 maximum demands. It`s obvious that Iranians are not going to accept the
12 -- these 12 overnight.
So, what is the sequence of these demands and what the Americans are ready to give to the Iranians, because in any negotiation, you have to give
something. And again, for the moment, nobody on the American side has been able to express it.
AMANPOUR: Yes. I mean, it does seem -- not only have they not expressed it, but we seem to be very far away from that, given, as I was saying, this
sort of military going back and forth that`s going in the government.
Let me read what the Iranian foreign minister has said today, Javad Zarif, has tweeted that, "The U.S. wages economic terrorism on Iran, has conducted
covert action against us and now, encroaches on our territory. We don`t seek war, but will zealously defend our skies, land and waters. We`ll take
this new aggression to the U.N. and show that the U.S. is lying about international waters."
So, again, the verbal stakes are being raised. And I guess I want to ask you from a European perspective, where do you see the beginning of this
escalation? And I ask because the chief adviser to the European Union, foreign policy leader, Federica Mogherini, her adviser said that this
round, this vicious cycle, she says, was started by the United States and Europe will not follow the United States into any kind of military
aggression. And she said it was started by the U.S. violating the terms of the nuclear agreement by not just pulling out but sanctioning Iran.
ARAUD: Well, I don`t think it`s very useful, you know, to look for responsibility. Because, you know, you can say that everything started
with invasion of Iraq by the U.S. which really gave to Iran such big opportunities to move forward in the Middle East. But you have also the
behavior, general behavior of Iran which has been quite destructive in terms of its action in Syria.
So, again, what we have today is maximum tension. We need some de- escalation so that there is not one incident leading to a confrontation that even the president doesn`t want but it can happen by a sort of
The French national security adviser was in Tehran yesterday and Europeans, we have always said to the Americans and to the Iranians that we are ready
to be the [13:20:00] go-between both -- between both sides. I don`t know if the Americans are ready to go down this way because it would mean not
only saying, "OK, we accept you as a go-between," but it would also mean on the American side and on the Iranian side real de-escalation measures.
AMANPOUR: Yes, interesting you say that. President Macron did, in fact, send his adviser to Iran, and before that the Japanese sent -- I think the
Japanese prime minister went and we also had the German foreign minister went as well in the last few weeks since all of this escalation.
Could you see a road map to de-escalation? I know you say it depends on the U.S. agreeing to have sort of a third-party or a go-between. Can you
see a road map to a de-escalation?
ARAUD: Well, you know, in what -- you know, in the quotation you gave about this European personality, there is a point which is right, is that
the Americans are waging an economic war against Iran. Really because of sanctions imposed by the United States are extremely punishing, and
punishing also at the expense of the civilian population.
So, maybe if the Americans were giving some waivers to some countries which really allow them to trade with Iran, it could be seen as a de-escalation
measure. It`s provisional, it`s partial, but it could be a positive signal coming from the American side.
But again, the basic point is, first, on the American side, a clear vision of what is a diplomatic path because it entails, you know, a sort of mutual
moves towards de-escalation. You know, the Americans can send a signal and we have to wait for the Iranians, of course, to reciprocate, but we have to
AMANPOUR: You know, it`s interesting you say that because, you know, you have said what the foreign minister says, waging economic -- well, they say
economic terrorism. And the U.S. is believed to want, as part of its strategy, to squeeze Iran dry when it comes to exporting oil.
And this is what the Iranian ambassador to the U.K. told me about -- he said the U.S. and its allies in the region are trying to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAMID BAEIDINEJAD, IRANIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED KINGDOM: You know that there are countries in the region and beyond the region who have invested
heavily billions of billions of dollars to trap the United States into a conflict with Iran, a military conflict with Iran. They are, in fact, very
determined not to allow this project and would be a futile project. Because they feel maybe President Trump is not determined to go as much as
necessary. Maybe he doesn`t want to go into a war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, you see what they`re trying to do. They believe that President Trump is being pulled into this by his, as you said, hardliners
on both sides. So, hardliners in the U.S. And you just heard from the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs. How do you read that? Do you
think there are -- there is that coalition trying to provoke a war for whatever reason?
ARAUD: You know, yesterday, I was talking with the Iranian government representative to the United Nations and he told me, you know, the 12
demands, American demands I was referring to is considered in Tehran as regime change. So, you have also on the Iranian side this concern. And we
-- in a sense, the American have also to dispel it.
And I am back to what I have said, the Americans have to offer a diplomatic offer. You know, we are going to negotiate. Because without a
negotiation, and we have only these 12 demands as a sort of ultimatum. On the Iranian side, you are obliged to consider that actually the ultimately
goal of the American is not a negotiation but is regime change in Iran.
AMANPOUR: Ambassador, thank you so much indeed for joining us. And indeed, there are mixed messages because the president says he wants to
negotiate and others are saying things that are much more hardline. Thank you so much.
And now, it must be time for a musical interlude in this program. My next guest is Itzhak Perlman. Revered by many as the greatest living violinist
today. His incredible career has seen him play for heads of state across the world and conduct some of the world`s best orchestras. He joins me to
discuss his latest venture, teaching [13:25:00] the next generation of violinists both in person and online with his new master class series.
Itzhak Perlman, welcome to the program.
ITZHAK PERLMAN, VIOLINIST AND CONDUCTOR: It`s great to be here. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you from the very beginning. I mean, you were three, I think, when you were first drawn to the violin and picked up a
violin. How on earth did you know at such a young age? What was it about the violin that attracted you?
PERLMAN: Well, it`s very simple, it`s just the sound. I heard it on the radio and I said to my parents, "I want to do this." Very, very simple.
And not everybody has the same reaction to sound. And some people react to the piano, they say, "I want to be a pianist," or some people react to a
flute or to a -- I know somebody who actually reacted to the sound of a bass, contrabass. I heard the -- some very sweet wonderful renditions of
some violin music, and I said, "I want to do that."
AMANPOUR: Even at three years old? I mean, it is incredible.
PERLMAN: I didn`t start actually until I was almost five.
PERLMAN: But at three, I -- it was a very old --
AMANPOUR: Yes. The grand old age of five. But how difficult it must have been? I mean, the violin, you know, you can love it or hate it, but it`s
still a very difficult instrument to play.
PERLMAN: Well, the violin -- you are absolutely correct. The violin is -- when you compare -- let`s say, I always like to compare violin to piano.
Not that I`m belittling the difficulty of pianists, but in the beginning when you want to make a sound or you want to play a little tune, a simple
tune like "Twinkle, Twinkle," you can actually do it on the piano and actually produce a sound.
If you want to do the same thing on a violin, not so easy. Now, because you have to know where the bow is, you know to make sure where your fingers
are, it has to be in tune. It`s very complicated
AMANPOUR: Did you ever feel that you were playing the violin too much and playing with your friends too little?
PERLMAN: No, I did that. I did both. You know, a typical day for me was to actually go to school until around 12:00, 12:30, and then I would have
lunch and then I would practice, you know, two, three hours, three hours sometimes, and then I would play with my friends. I would have like maybe
an hour of playing with friends and then it was dinnertime and then it was homework. So, it was a full day.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it really was a full day.
AMANPOUR: Itzhak, we haven`t even said that at four -- at the age of four, you were attacked by polio.
AMANPOUR: Did it force you to be more passionate about the violin? What effect did it have on you?
PERLMAN: Well, I`ll tell you, I wanted to play the violin, and it`s just a few months later is that when the polio happened. And the thing is that
when you`re young and you are -- your way of life is not yet set so much. You know, I was running around with my friends and -- you know, at the age
of three-and-a-half or four, so on and so forth, and then polio struck and then I was not able to do anything with my legs.
But you get used to it. But very simply it becomes a way of life. You know, I mean, I had to go and I had to get myself, you know, they took me
to the brace maker to make braces and to walk with crutches and it was just one of those things. But then after that, it was like, you know what, I
still want to play the violin. So, you know, my legs were affected but not my arms. I was very lucky. So, here we go. My parents looked for a
teacher, and they found one and then we started.
AMANPOUR: I mean, they gave you tough love, they made you do what you wanted to do. Sometimes parents do the opposite. They`re afraid of making
it even more tough for their kids and don`t want to push their kids who have a disability or any sort of issue like that.
PERLMAN: I had no free ticket when it came to practicing. It wasn`t like, oh, well, you can`t practice, you know, because you can`t walk. No,
absolutely not. You know, you`ve got to practice and that`s it, you know. And then -- and, of course, this is not unusual. If you tell me that there
is a Yankee who just adores practicing, I would tell you there`s something wrong with that kid.
You know, because it`s -- and especially, when you play the violin, it`s very -- you are alone. You know, it`s like you`re -- you know, there`s
nobody around you. You`ve got to do it.
AMANPOUR: But, you know, at a very young age, at 13, barely a teenager going into adolescence, you came to New York and went to the famous
Juilliard School. What was --
AMANPOUR: What was that like? You didn`t even speak English when you hopped off that plane and went to practice and become the maestro that you
And then at 18, you made your debut at Carnegie Hall. All of this was very rapid for such a massive progression of your career to the heights.
PERLMAN: Well, the thing is that when I came to the states, what you forgot to mention is that I came to appear on "The Ed Sullivan Show." That
was the reason I came to the states and then it was Juilliard because that was something that I wanted to do.
But between the age of 13 and 18, there was like five years where I was really going to school, I was practicing, and so on. And then at 18, I won
this competition and that`s where everything started to work for me.
AMANPOUR: We`re going to play a little bit of that Ed Sullivan Show debut.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED SULLIVAN: (INAUDIBLE) said that he`s going to be one of the great violin virtuosos of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So when you look back at the Ed Sullivan appearance or even the Carnegie debut when you were 18, how do you critique yourself today? I
mean do you recognize how good you were?
PERLMAN: It`s very funny. Well, I don`t know.
I mean, I had a lot of support as far as my playing was concerned, and I did not really say to myself, gee, I`m really good. I just said I`m going
to do the best that I can and the best of my ability.
If that`s good enough, then things are going to proceed for me. And that`s what happened, you know.
It`s not a question of judging yourself all the time. You know, you have to really know when to just, like, put, you know, things around your eyes
and just look forward.
AMANPOUR: Yes. So, the blinkers put them on like a racehorse.
PERLMAN: Put the blinkers on, absolutely.
AMANPOUR: I just want to ask you this, because one of your Juilliard teachers, her name was Dorothy Delay, said that she first really loved you
as a boy and as a player when you first played for her. She described you as an angry young boy playing. Do you recall that?
PERLMAN: Well, I was not very happy, let`s put it that way. I mean just think about it.
I just left Israel. I left all my friends. I left as a seventh grade, all my friends there.
I came to the states with my mother, so I left my father there to finish up so that he would join us a year later. So I was not very happy.
And she came in like the first couple of weeks that I was in the states. And then she said -- before, I didn`t speak any English.
I learned my English from watching T.V. which I loved because there was nothing in Israel. There was no T.V. in Israel at that time.
So I was kind of -- I don`t know whether I was angry, but I was not too happy. And I thought it was a pain in the neck just to play for anybody.
The only nice thing -- the exciting thing was to be on the Sullivan Show for me. But then afterwards, it was a little bit of a drudgery.
AMANPOUR: And how long did that last? I mean it`s not a drudgery now, is it?
PERLMAN: No, it`s wonderful. Well, listen, it`s been a few years.
AMANPOUR: How important do you think arts are for young people growing up?
PERLMAN: They are the most important things. Arts, you know, arts, music, culture is a part of our society.
And if you don`t have the exposure to that, you`re just less of a person, as far as I`m concerned. You know, for me, the ability for somebody to go
to a museum or to go to a concert hall or to go to an opera house and actually enjoy what`s going on there is just indescribable.
You`ve got to do this. And unfortunately, some people don`t feel that it`s as important as it really is. It`s the soul of our society.
And to start from an early age to get the kids comfortable with music and with arts and music specifically, because that`s my field, is so important.
And it makes a difference for the rest of your life so you don`t have to say, oh, who is that orchestra? I don`t know anything about that.
You don`t want to do that. You want to say, I love to listen to Brahms. I love to listen to Vivaldi. I love to listen to Mozart.
It`s like as important as taking history on math and science in school. [13:35:00] So important that it`s in the school that the appreciation of
arts starts and in the house, at the home as well.
AMANPOUR: What is your very favorite thing? I mean do you like playing? Do you like conducting better? And if you have a favorite child, like a
favorite piece of music?
PERLMAN: Well, I have a lot of -- I`m able -- and I think that I`m kind of lucky -- I`m able to actually cry when I listen to certain kinds of music.
We call it the goose bump moments where you hear something and you just -- it just grabs you. So I can do that.
And, of course, my musical activities are three of them, basically. It`s playing the violin, conducting, and teaching.
And the thing about teaching, which is so important, is that -- and I always tell my students that they should never miss an opportunity to
teach. I always repeat this.
Everybody has heard me say that hundreds of times. Don`t miss an opportunity to teach, because when you teach others, you teach yourself.
And, you know, when I do this master class that I just -- that is just going to be out, that`s what I try to talk about. How do you feel about
what you`re doing musically and your reaction to the music?
AMANPOUR: And we`re going to play a little clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERLMAN: When I`m playing, if I don`t feel something in the music, nothing is going to happen. When you connect with the music, that connection will
radiate the audience. I`m going to bring some of my students to sit in and to have a discussion.
Is there a difference between being intense and being passionate? If you can feel my enthusiasm, the class has accomplished a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I want to talk politics at the end of this. You have stopped doing some concerts because of the politics involved.
You dropped out of the North Carolina concert because of the Hb2 law and that`s the one that limits civil rights protections for the LGBTQ
I want to play a little clip of the great cellist Rostropovich who played by the Berlin Wall as it was coming down all those years ago, in 1989 and
then I want to ask you a question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean that was a great moment. It was a political moment but it was a moment of hope. Do you remember seeing that?
PERLMAN: I did not see it, but I was actually in Germany at the time that the wall was coming down, and I played actually in the east part of Berlin.
We did a little something. So I remember those times very well.
AMANPOUR: And I wonder, walls are making a comeback. I mean, there`s the obvious problem with the border between the United States and Mexico, and
then there`s your own home country, the wall between Israel and Palestine.
Would you ever do that today? I mean is that the kind of political activism that you think might have an effect? Would you go to that wall
PERLMAN: I have not thought about any political activity. I just want to do what I do in music and so on.
So this never occurred to me and so I can`t answer your question because it just did not occur. It has -- the situation has to be right. And so far -
- you know, would you do it? I was never asked.
So, anyway, I try to really stay away from politics unless I strongly believe -- the situation in Israel is very, very complicated, extremely
complicated. I`m just watching it.
And I`m just hoping like everybody else that things will get better. All I can do is hope.
AMANPOUR: On a different note but in your personal life, you have had a huge amount of hope and you have had a huge amount of triumph over the
knocks that life has given you. Amongst them, you have a 50-year-plus marriage to Toby, your wife. So what is the secret of a life and a love
that long that lasts so long?
PERLMAN: Well, loving each other, obviously. Being on the same page with each other. So that -- for example, when we listen to a piece of music,
and I`m giving music as an example, because let`s face it, you know, we met in a music camp and so.
She played the violin, she`s a violinist, and so did I. So the ability to start something, a phrase, for you to start a phrase and for your spouse to
finish it, to be on the same page.
[13:40:00] It`s like, you know, we`re thinking the same way. So that`s one of the things that is helpful.
And, of course, thinking about the importance -- the moral -- what`s moral in life, like in family. We`re blessed to have 5 children and so far 12
grandchildren and so on. So that`s it.
You know, I just feel that we`re very, very lucky to have such a wonderful, wonderful relationship in such a long time.
AMANPOUR: I think a lot of people would agree with you. So congratulations on everything. Itzhak Perlman, thank you for joining me.
PERLMAN: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: Now, breaking the cycle of generational poverty is the mission of our next guest. Aisha Nyandoro is the CEO of Springboard to
Opportunities. It`s a non-profit organization that wants to rethink how social welfare programs operate.
And she has a radical plan providing a thousand dollars a month to 20 low- income families, no strings attached. She says this works. And she tells our Alicia Menendez how restoring dignity is what it`s all about.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
ALICIA MENENDEZ, CONTRIBUTOR: So tell me, what is the Magnolia Mothers Trust?
AISHA NYANDORO, CEO SPRINGBOARD OF OPPORTUNITIES: Yes. The Magnolia Mothers Trust is this magical program that really is about restoring
dignity into the lives of low-income African-American mothers.
And it`s in a premise that you give individuals cash and trust that they have agency and know what to do with those resources. So the mechanics of
this program is that we`re providing a thousand dollars a month for 12 months to low-income African-American mothers who live in federally
subsidized affordable housing with no strings attached.
Understanding that we trust them, we see them. They understand better than anyone what it is that they need to be successful in their lives, and it`s
allowing them that agency to go out and make those dreams actualized.
MENENDEZ: Why target that specific demographic?
NYANDORO: You know for us, we truly believe that when you invest in the most vulnerable in society, society as a whole, flourishes. Because of
some of that income and gender inequality as it relates to wages and the punitive aspects of the social safety net system, African-American women
have become the most vulnerable in this community.
And so we are saying that if we invest in those who have been most targeted, that`s some of the negative aspects of the social safety network
as well as really the wages within this country, we can see what happens as a whole and it benefits all of us, just not these families.
Because the data is really clear when individuals have resources, communities flourish, long-term economic outcome flourishes, education
flourishes. So we are trying it and we`re going to see what happens.
MENENDEZ: Unpack something for me that you`re saying which is the negative elements of the social safety net. What are those? How do they manifest?
NYANDORO: Yes. No, thank you. That`s a very good question.
So a lot of individuals do not realize the various steps within our social safety net system and the punitive aspect of it. So what I mean with the
punitive aspect is that whenever your income increases, your benefits immediately decrease, not allowing you an opportunity to get settled or
really figure out how to navigate what it now means to have additional income.
And not only is it punitive in that regard, but it also takes away your dignity as an individual, because none of these systems are connected. So
there is a lot of bureaucracy that`s involved in going to multiple offices to get certification or recertified and really having to prove that you are
poor enough to receive these benefits.
So it`s a dehumanizing process that really doesn`t allow individuals to show up in their full selves.
MENENDEZ: How long have you been running this program?
NYANDORO: So I have been running the organization that actually leads this program, Springboard to Opportunities, for about seven years now. The
Magnolia Mothers Trust launched this past December and we have been in this pilot phase for the last seven months, working alongside our families and
just really being on this magic transformation with them.
MENENDEZ: And the results?
NYANDORO: The results have been above and beyond anything that we expected. These women understand the urgency of this moment, and it has
been an immediate return on investment for us as an organization and for them within their lives.
We have seen as a whole collectively the 20 women in this pilot have paid off about $10,000 in debt. And not only that, individuals on average have
saved about $500 which makes them better off than a lot of individuals that we`re seeing when they know that very few Americans have $400 saved to deal
with an emergency.
[13:45:00] So they`re saving, they`re planning. We have seen women go back to School. We`ve seen now women actually complete their community college
degrees because they now have opportunity to take time off for work or work less hours than when they had this income.
But not only are we seeing these differences manifested in these large ways that will impact their life in much better ways down the road, we`re just
seeing them show up differently every day.
MENENDEZ: What does that mean, show up differently?
NYANDORO: That means that they`re able to -- feel like they can parent differently, that they`re not stressed, that they can be involved with
their kids` lives more now that they have joy. They can plan weekend excursions because they have those financial resources.
So it`s been beautiful to watch it unfold because it really is seeing them blossom and recognize that they actually can not only just dream, that they
now can have their resources and the bandwidth to put those dreams into actualization.
MENENDEZ: Tell me about some of the stories that stand out to you most in the course of the last seven months.
NYANDORO: One of the stories that come to mind to me most really is one of our moms and her name is Zakia. Zakia has paid off $1800 in debt and $1800
in quite frankly predatory college that she received when she was trying to better her life.
And so she got into this debt and was unable to continue her education, was trapped into an hourly wage job, just really trying to make sure that she
was doing what she needed to do to take care of herself and her three girls.
She`s paid off that debt. Not only did she pay off that debt, she was able to use some other resources to get her certification in phlebotomy.
And now she is looking for a full-time job and interviewing for full-time jobs in doctors` offices where she will have benefits, where she`ll be able
to have time off and know that her schedule will not be in flux every week because she will have just the stability of a 9 to 5 job that a lot of
individuals take for granted.
MENENDEZ: Take me back to when you were calling these women and telling them that they are going to be a part of this.
NYANDORO: That was one of the most interesting days of my life. I mean it was a beautiful moment when we had an opportunity to call the women and let
them know that they would be working with us on this journey for this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NYANDORO: Why am I calling you? You were picked, Beth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yay. Yay. Thank you so much.
NYANDORO: How do you feel? Are you excited?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m so excited. You just don`t know. I`m so excited.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NYANDORO: Just hearing the joy in their voices and excitement and also the tears because there were a lot of tears because when you`re talking about
$12,000, it`s a life-changing amount of money for this population.
And like I said earlier, these individuals, a lot of them make less than $11,000. So $12,000, that is doubling their income.
So they understood the magnitude of that moment better than anyone. So for me as a leader, to have the opportunity to know that we were able to do
what we needed to do to partner alongside them, it was beautiful, but it also was heartbreaking because I had to make the phone call to the other
mothers as well.
And when you are in relationships with individuals, you know their stories and you know what they need. And so for a lot of the individuals whom I
had to call, I knew the plans that they had. And I really, in some instances, felt like I was breaking those dreams and that`s a hard place to
And it`s still hard with me to sit with, because you want to always do what you feel like you can be doing to help support individuals achieve all that
they`re seeking to achieve with their lives.
MENENDEZ: Stepping back and looking at the context in which these individuals are living more broadly, what systems and policies are in place
that most affect vulnerable communities?
NYANDORO: Yes. So for our population, it is extremely low-income individuals.
So put that in context even further. We`re talking about individuals who make about -- who live 200 percent below the poverty index.
To put that in context even further, we`re talking about individuals who make on average $11,000 annually. So when you are making that little
amount of income and raising a family, there are various systems that converge on your life simultaneously.
So there is the system of affordable housing, why you`re subsidized and you receive a voucher. There is a net which provides the opportunity for you
to feed your family. There`s even Medicare or Medicaid or some combination of both.
You may receive a child care assistance or that voucher. There is temporary assistance for families.
So there are all of these various pieces that are not interconnected but all have a say in [13:50:00] how you live your life and what`s possible for
you and your family.
MENENDEZ: This is a program that`s done by lottery, but it is still opt- in. Meaning that the people who are coming to you, they know about the program, they actively want to participate. Does having that type of
participant skew the results?
NYANDORO: I don`t think so, because individuals -- because not all individuals who are participating in the lottery are the same. You know,
we have some individuals who have been in the lottery, who participated in the lottery who have not worked for years.
Where some of our other moms who participated in the lottery had worked full-time for the last 20 years at minimum wage jobs and hadn`t had the
opportunity to get their footing.
So I don`t know if the results will be skewed based on that because of the fact that it was a lottery that was open to the individuals who live in the
communities that we work in, and those individuals are very different. It`s not just one demography of women.
MENENDEZ: What is your personal access point for understanding these challenges?
NYANDORO: I truly understand that except for the grace of God there go I. My grandmother had my mom when she was 17 in the Mississippi Delta. And
she had to drop out of high school and she had my aunts and uncles and all these other individuals in her mid-20s.
And so my mom grew up in deep poverty. And my grandmother grew up in deep poverty.
And thanks to various supports that they had, that was not the narrative that my life took, but they never shielded me from that reality. And so my
grandmother was a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement.
She was very active in that, so I grew up firsthand seeing that and working in community and understanding what it looks like to be an advocate with
individuals and not trying to hold power over.
And so my access point as a woman of color, African-American woman living in this country, understanding what those challenges are but not ever
saying that my challenge is their challenge because our lives have been tremendously different.
But I see them and I understand them. And so that`s my access point.
And so it really is just an opportunity to be a vessel and to really, quite frankly, have the honor of being their voice at the table. Because in so
many instances, they don`t have access to those tables.
MENENDEZ: There is a lot of buzz right now around the concept of Universal Basic Income, and that is a program that can take many forms, but at its
core is a thousand dollars a month for individuals over the age of 18 in perpetuity, that you get to opt into. What makes this different than UBI?
NYANDORO: At the end of the day, the premises are the same, about the dignity, economy, and trusting individuals, and making sure that folks have
the resources that they need to live their best lives. So our ideals are similar regarding net framing of the dignity that cash provides.
But this is different in regard to our population really are saying, OK, this is about economic and racial justice and understanding that for this
population, specifically, the narrative has been so negative. How do we go about reframing that narrative, restoring dignity, and providing the cash
without any strings attached?
MENENDEZ: Have you seen any instances where this pilot has failed?
NYANDORO: I will say that there are individuals who are struggling. And I think the rationale for that is that when we are looking at even with the
pilot of 20 individuals, this pilot of 20 individuals represents the larger dynamics that occur within community and society.
So individuals were already struggling. These are folks who live in high poverty from past communities. So to believe that $1,000 is a magic bullet
that exhausts all of those ills is not rationale.
So yes, there are struggles. I will not sit here and say that everyone is going to tiptoe off into the two-offs when we get to December.
But what I will say is that the return on investment outweighs those struggles. And for those individuals who still are trying to find their
footing that they would even argue that they are better off because they have hope and they have been able to sit in dignity.
MENENDEZ: Thank you so much.
NYANDORO: Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
AMANPOUR: Aisha Nyandoro there offering hope and dignity to those who need it the most.
But that`s it for now. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at amanpour.com. And you can follow me on Instagram and
Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.