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Interview With Activist Ramy Shaath; Interview With International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva; Interview With NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired January 25, 2022 - 13:00:00   ET




Here's what's coming up.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: There will be severe consequences for Russia if they once again use this -- use force against


AMANPOUR (voice-over): A message to Vladimir Putin from the NATO Alliance.

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg joins me about the rising tensions in Ukraine and how to avert war.


KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: The two big engines of growth, U.S. and China, are slowing down.

AMANPOUR: The global economy starts the year with a whimper. IMF Chief Kristalina Georgieva tells me why she's downgrading prospects for growth.

And finally free after more than 900 days in an Egyptian jail. Activist Ramy Shaath joins me on the conditions he faced and how the French

president lobbied for his release.


JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO AND NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Anti-Semitism is really a Jewish problem. It's an American problem.

AMANPOUR: The Anti-Defamation League's Jonathan Greenblatt talks to Hari Sreenivasan about the alarming spike in hateful acts against Jews and his

new book, "It Could Happen Here."


AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York.

As fears of war reverberate around Europe, the NATO secretary-general tells me that diplomacy is not dead yet. But Jens Stoltenberg says that it is up

to Putin to dial down the aggression. Tensions are still high on the Russia-Ukraine border. NATO forces are on high alert. And additional ships

and fighter jets are being deployed to Eastern Europe.

The Kremlin accuses Washington of escalating tensions by putting 8,500 U.S. troops on standby.

Jens Stoltenberg is working overtime to ensure Europe and the U.S. are unified and strong. After speaking with President Biden last night, he

joined me today from headquarters in Brussels.


AMANPOUR: Secretary-General Stoltenberg, welcome back to the program.

STOLTENBERG: Thank you so much for having me, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: So, the Kremlin has said that the U.S. troops on possible standby and deployment marks an escalation of tensions.

What is your reaction to that? And what are those thousands of troops that the United States is talking about, what are they for?

STOLTENBERG: They are part of the NATO Response Force.

And the NATO Response Force is the force we have to deploy quickly if needed. And if something happens that requires a quick response from NATO,

then we will deploy them. And I welcome the fact that also the U.S. is now allocating or designating more troops for a NATO Response Force.

AMANPOUR: So, the Kremlin is saying that it is escalating tensions in an already tense situation. What is your response?

STOLTENBERG: The problem now is not that NATO, in a modest and defensive way, is responding to the deterioration of the security situation we see in


The problem is that Russia, over weeks and months, have built up significantly, with tens of thousands of combat troops, with heavy

equipment, with artillery, with battle tanks in and around Ukraine. And this military buildup continues. So, we don't see any de-escalation from

the Russian side.

On the opposite, we see the opposite, even more forces, also now soon in Belarus, where there will be thousands of Russian troops and planes

participating in an exercise together with Belarusian forces.

This, combined with very threatening rhetoric from the Russian side and a track record they have used against Ukraine before, of course, is of great


But our aim is to find a political solution. So, therefore, we have invited Russia for more meetings, for more dialogue. And we will soon also convey a

written proposal for the topics and issues that we can discuss together and try to find a way forward.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, that's interesting, because the Kremlin, certainly Putin's spokesperson, Peskov, has said they await a written statement from


So what are you planning to tell them?

STOLTENBERG: So, first of all, we are now finalizing at NATO the proposals, the written document we will send to them later this week.

We will do that in parallel with United States, because United States received a draft treaty from Russia weeks ago, at the same time we received

a similar one.


And we will outline that we are ready to sit down, and we will go through that in the document, to sit down and discuss arms control, disarmament,

transparency on military activities, risk reduction mechanisms, and other issues which are relevant for European security.

And we also will sit down and listen to Russian concerns. But we are not ready to compromise on core principals, including the right for every

nation in Europe to choose its own path, including what kind of security arrangements it wants to be part of.

AMANPOUR: Well, and now it appears the Kremlin is upping the ante, saying that not only do they want the demands they have already made of you

regarding NATO membership, but they want NATO to pull out of places like Bulgaria and Romania, which are NATO members.

So I guess what I'm trying to ask you is, given all this rhetoric that's flying, and the deployment of troops and the very real tensions on the

ground -- you're a seasoned negotiator and a diplomat and a former prime minister.

This is now the third week of negotiations and talks between the Western alliance and Russia. Do you believe, at this point, that there is a

diplomatic way out still? You surely must know by now.

STOLTENBERG: It still is a diplomatic way out, but that requires that Russia de-escalates and is ready to engage in good faith, in political

talks with NATO and NATO allies.

And whether Russia is willing to do that, that remains to be seen. But I think we will know more when we have submitted the documents from the

United States and from NATO to Russia later this week. And then we have to wait for the Russian reactions.

We are ready. And I know it is possible to talk to Russia. I have done that in my previous capacities, and agreed different agreements with Russia, and

United States and NATO allies have agreed arms control agreements with Russia. So, we know it is possible.

But, then, of course, we need a real political will. And, actually, I have invited Russia to participate in a series of meetings. And so we work hard

for the best solution, a political, peaceful solution, but we're also prepared for the worst. And that's also the reason why we are increasing

the readiness of the NATO forces. And we did so some weeks ago.

The NATO Response Force is now on high readiness.

AMANPOUR: So, overnight or last evening, you had a joint conference with President Biden, other European leaders, European Council leaders, et


What exactly did you guys say?

STOLTENBERG: Ukraine is a close partner, a highly valued partner of NATO. And we provide support. We helped them to modernize their defensive

security institutions. We helped them with cyber. We helped them with different capacity-building measures.

And, of course, also some NATO allies, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and others, they also provide trainers and defensive military

equipment. This is important to help Ukraine uphold its right for self- defense, a right which is enshrined in the U.N. charter.

But NATO will not deploy NATO combat troops to Ukraine. But we need to be sure that there is no misunderstanding about our readiness, our commitment

to protect and defend all allies, especially in the eastern part of the alliance.

And that is the reason why we now have increased our presence in the eastern part of the alliance, in the Black Sea region, the Baltic region,

with more ships, with more planes, and also why we are considering to further increase the presence with what we call enhanced forward presence

or battle groups also in the southeast of the alliance, similar to the battle groups we have already deployed in the Baltic region and Poland.

And this is to prevent any room for miscalculation or misunderstanding. Strong deterrence is the best way to prevent any attack on any NATO ally

and the best way to prevent the conflict.

AMANPOUR: President Biden seemed to have spoken a truth in his press conference last week, in which -- when he said, in case there is a minor

Russian incursion, that would cause disagreements, he basically said, within the Europeans and the NATO alliance about how to respond.

Some people read it as giving a green light for a minor incursion. I wonder whether you agree that it was actually talking about whether you could keep

your alliance together on a response, depending on whether it was a so- called minor incursion or a much bigger incursion.

How did you read that statement? And are you fully shoulder to shoulder, no matter what Russia does?

STOLTENBERG: The main message from the conference with President Biden and the other European leaders yesterday was a message of unity and a message

that there be severe consequences for Russia if they once again uses -- use force against Ukraine.


And we are very much aware of that. Of course, this may be a full-fledged military invasion of Ukraine, with all the troops they have now in and

around Ukraine. But it can also be sabotage. It can be efforts to topple the Ukrainian government. It can be severe cyberattacks.

So, we are prepared also to react to other forms of aggression than a full- fledged invasion. So, this is something we have stated again and again from NATO. We have agreed, strong statements together, 30 allies, and it was

also the message from the conference call with President Biden and the other leaders yesterday.

AMANPOUR: On false flag operations, the Kremlin is beginning to say that it perceives Ukrainian forces at the border to be planning offensive

operations. That could be code for, well, we have to go in and protect and defend against that, defend our area there.

It has also been revealed by U.K. intelligence that Russia was planning to -- would want to put in a pro-Moscow leader into Ukraine. The Foreign

Ministry has totally denied that.

Are you concerned and do you perceive significant false flag operations that could start a military incursion or invasion?

STOLTENBERG: Yes, we are concerned about that possibility, because we see that Russia is present with intelligence operatives inside Ukraine.

We see that they have tried to do that before. So, we are concerned ability the possibility of Russia trying to create a pretext, in one way or

another, for a military invasion or a military action against Ukraine.

And this whole idea that Ukraine is a threat to Russia is totally wrong. Russia is the aggressor. Russia occupies parts of the Ukraine, Crimea. And

Russia controls parts of the Eastern Ukraine. And they have done so since 2014.

Russia is -- has the biggest land power -- the biggest land power in Europe. They have nuclear weapons. They have modernized and invested

heavily in new, modern military capabilities. So, to say that Ukraine is a threat against Russia is to put the whole thing upside down.


So, very finally, do you think Putin is testing the United States? You know, there is a battle, obviously, for the European security sphere. He

saw President Obama not cross his own red line that he imposed around Syria in 2013. Then Russia invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea.

You have -- they're watching, obviously, the chaotic NATO and U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East. Do

you think Putin is still testing America's resolve to remain, and NATO, a significant player, at least in the European sphere?

STOLTENBERG: First of all, I'm absolutely confident that United States and President Biden stand by their commitments to NATO. It is rock-solid, not

only words, but also in deeds, because what we see now is more U.S. presence in Europe, with more exercises, with more prepositioned equipment,

with more troops.

And, also, for the first time in decades, we have a U.S. aircraft carrier group under NATO command. So, the U.S. commitment to European security is

something we actually see on the ground.

We have the NATO-backed groups in the eastern part of the alliance. And, of course, the importance of these battle groups is that they are

multinational. We have U.S., U.K., France, Germany, all the -- Canada there already.

So there's no way we can have any kind of military attack against any of these countries without immediately triggering -- triggering a full NATO


And that's the way to prevent an attack. As long as we are one for all and all for one, NATO allies standing together, we are safe.

AMANPOUR: Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, thank you for joining us from NATO headquarters.

STOLTENBERG: Thank you so much.


AMANPOUR: Now, fears of conflict are rattling investors this week.

Geopolitics, COVID, inflation, backed-up supply chains, and rising energy prices are all giving global economy forecasters a big headache.

In an exclusive interview, the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, joined me from Washington. And she tells me why the

IMF is downgrading prospects for growth this year.


AMANPOUR: Kristalina Georgieva, welcome to the program.

GEORGIEVA: Thank you for having me.

AMANPOUR: So, I'm sure a lot of people will not be very happy with your report, because it downgrades the forecast for growth into this year.


What has led to that? It is lower than you expected by about half-a- percentage point.

GEORGIEVA: It is lower than we expected, but let's start from the positive.

The recovery from a crisis like no other continues. And it is because of the strong actions of finance authorities, of scientists, to be at the

point that we enjoy positive growth. It could have been a Great Depression. That was avoided.

Why this slowdown of the recovery? For two reasons. One, because the two big engines of growth, U.S. and China, are slowing down, and, two, because

of Omicron leading to more mobility restrictions, and, as a result, affecting the growth, especially in the first months of this year.

AMANPOUR: So let me ask you specifically, quickly, before I go to the U.S. and China.

You have talked about COVID as an issue and Omicron. We have just had a conversation about the perilous state of war and peace in Europe, the

Ukraine, Russia and NATO crisis. Is that at all playing a part in your calculations? Does that affect global growth?

GEORGIEVA: What we see is, of course, increased tensions, at a time when there is higher uncertainty because of supply chain disruptions, because of

inflation, because of the high level of debt, because of what central banks have to do to bring inflation down.

Anything that adds to this uncertainty and geopolitical tensions, the tensions that we see in Europe, that is not helpful.

What are we concerned about? Well, of course, we hope very much that there would be a diplomatic solution. We pray for that. But if there is even more

tensions, that could affect energy prices, and that can then translate into even higher inflation and more action necessary from central banks to

contain it.

Why this is a problem, because, when we fight inflation, we reduce the capacity of the economy to grow faster. And that is a delicate balance that

central banks have to achieve.

Anything that adds more difficulty to achieving this balance in a moment we find ourselves today is a concern for the world economy.

AMANPOUR: For laypeople, Madam Managing Director, people look at stock markets. They have seen the U.S. stock market tumble, off by about 10

percent. Everybody's freaked out about it, their investments, all that.

Is that an accurate barometer of economic growth and economic projections? Do you think there might be some super bubble burst, like what happened

with the housing market in 2008?

GEORGIEVA: What we see is more volatility that usually happens when central banks are on a course to tighten monetary policy.

In other words, interest rates may go up. All the support through monetary policy may be reduced. So, why is this a factor? Because there is less

injection in financial energy to boost growth, to accelerate the development of the economy.

And, of course, people look at it and say, wait a minute. Then the stock market will have to be perhaps corrected. And that is the driver of this

volatility. We also have to recognize that, for quite some time, the stock market was going up, up, up, up, and that exuberance inevitably calls for

some correction.

People should not worry. Growth continues. The recovery continues, but with more uncertainty. And it is like navigating an obstacle course. There is

inflation. There are supply chain interruptions. There is that -- how we go through this year is going to be a test for the policy-makers everywhere.

AMANPOUR: But interesting you are saying that you view this stuff a little bit as a bump in the road, an obstacle courses, as you have said, rather

than some long-term pessimistic view of downward growth.


And I want to ask you about China, because you mentioned the two big economic engines. You were quite proactive in what you said about China.

And I was -- for a layperson, I was kind of surprised that the head of a major global economic institution like you actually recommended that China

seek to get out of this slowdown by investing in -- I think your words were, in more effective vaccines against Omicron and COVID.

Is that what it'll take in China?

GEORGIEVA: What we see in China is very effective policy in 2020, 2021 to restrict COVID, accelerate the recovery, good for China, good for the


But we are now faced with changes in how COVID attacks our people and our economies. A more transmissible variant like Omicron means that containing

it is more difficult. And, therefore, targeting these containments has to be done with greater precision. And we need to continue to work, not just

in China, everywhere, on improving the use of the most important weapon against COVID we have got, vaccines.

So, should that mean using boosters? Should that mean reviewing the way containment is carried out? It is, of course, for China to decide. But the

main message from us is very simple. Pandemic policy is economic policy. Unless we break the grip of the pandemic, it will continue to be a major

factor in how our economies perform.

AMANPOUR: Well, I'm going to sort of read into you, because, basically, their homemade vaccines have proven not to be so effective against this


But I also want to bring it back to the U.S. now, because you say the failure of the Congress, of the administration to pass the Build Back

Better plan is also contributing to slower growth around the world.

How so?

GEORGIEVA: When we calculated growth for the United States in October last year, our expectation was that Build Back Better will be in place, and it

would inject more momentum in the recovery in the United States, and, given the role of the United States for the world, in the world economy.

So when you pull this piece out, that inevitably leads to some downgrade for growth in the United States. As we all know, discussions continue.

There are ways in which this legislation in a different format may still be put in place. And if that happens, it will be good news for the U.S. and it

will be good news for the world economy.

For a long time, we have been supporting the measures that are in this legislation as positive for economic growth in the United States. So,

hopefully, there will be a pathway to do some of these measures in a different legislative format.

AMANPOUR: So, let me also point out that this COVID pandemic has created such a bigger gap amongst the -- in inequality. A tiny group has become

mega-rich out of the pandemic, and the 99 percent have lost a huge amount and have fallen into poverty.

In the United States ,President Biden's opponents say his stimulus and all of that stuff contributed to inflation. He was trying to lift a certain

number of Americans out of poverty and insecurity.

Is that what happened here? Is that what happened -- is that policy responsible for inflation?

GEORGIEVA: Inflation in the world and in the United States is a complex phenomenon.

Some of it is due to the pandemic. Why? Because, when different waves lead to different lockdowns around the world, this interrupts supply chains and

it creates pressure on prices. Another part of the pandemic factor in inflation is that demand has changed quite significantly, from services to

goods. But then supply to produce these goods has been not as regular as expected.

So I'm going back to my basic point. Fight the pandemic if you want to get through all this uncertainty with higher chance for success.


And then comes the demand side in the United States. Yes, support for households and for businesses in the United States has been phenomenal in

bringing U.S. economy out of recession very rapidly. And we need to remember unemployment in the U.S. is now where it was pre-pandemic.

The labor market is tight, because there is so much demand. But, of course, there is also pressure from people seeking goods, mostly goods, less

services, and the availability of these goods. And then we also have the factor of energy prices going up.

Let me explain to the public, what we face is demand being contained and even increased because of the fantastic actions taken by finance

authorities, by central banks to help people and to help businesses. So, demand stays high and even, in some places, it's even, if we look at data,

a bit higher than it was before the pandemic.

But supply cannot catch up because of all these interruptions, and also because nobody expected that the recovery would be so fast. So, suppliers

haven't geared up for it. This is going to pass. And this is why we say, inflation in '22, yes, we need to contain it, but we expect it will be over

in 2023.

AMANPOUR: OK, well, that's a bit of a headline.

Kristalina Georgieva, thank you so much indeed for joining us.

GEORGIEVA: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: A headline and also probably relief for ordinary people who see their cost of living rising, relief at the end of the tunnel.

And now, after more than 900 days in detention amid inhumane conditions, routinely blindfolded and handcuffed, the Egyptian-Palestinian activist

Ramy Shaath, son of the legendary Palestinian peace negotiator Nabil Shaath, is finally free. He was jailed by Egyptian authorities, who claimed

that he was part of a terrorist organization.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, pushed for his release, and the U.S. State Department has welcomed the news. Forced to renounce his citizenship

upon being freed, Shaath is due to address the European Parliament in Brussels tomorrow.

And he's joining us now from there for his first television interview since he was freed.

So, Ramy Shaath, welcome to the program.

And tell us how you feel after being freed and some of what you went through during those 900 days in prison.

RAMY SHAATH, PALESTINIAN-EGYPTIAN ACTIVIST: Thanks, Christiane, for having me.

I'm happy. I'm feeling free. And -- but I'm overwhelmed and I think will need the time to comprehend 900 days of prosecution and incarceration. And,

well, I'm learning new things in life, like how to use a mobile, how to drive a car, how to appreciate smaller things in life. I have been missing

life for the last 900 days.

But, yes, I am full of determination to continue. That's how I feel.

AMANPOUR: They said -- you said...

SHAATH: Well...

AMANPOUR: ... that they didn't break you.

And I just wondered whether you were subjected to any physical torture. And what was the worst of being in jail?

SHAATH: I started my jail time with the three days of forced disappearance, handcuffed, blindfolded, attached to the wall for three


And I ended that with the last three days of my period. During the two-and- a-half years, I stayed in 23 square meters, like 240-foot-square room, like a small living room, with 18 to 32 people.

We basically at points had this amount of space, two hand fists and a half, for sleeping, for eating, for living. We at points had to sleep in order,

because there was not enough space. We are sleeping on the floor with a small blanket that we can use on, with rundown walls, brick walls around

us, with a small one-meter-by-75-square-meter bathroom with a hole in it and a cold shower on top of it, in which you have to -- all the people go

to the same bathroom shower, eat, clean their clothes, clean their food at the same time.

Treatment, inhumane, the amount of food we have been able to get through our families, with very minimum, absolutely no medical care. I can -- could

not even start with the atrocities I have seen people passing through.

Yes, with my name and status, I have been subjected to much less than what people have been subjected to. But what I had been through for 900 days was


AMANPOUR: So, you talk about your name and status, and we referred to your father, who is well-known around the world. And you are an activist. And

they said that --


AMANPOUR: -- you were, you know, brought in on terrorism charges. Address that to us. And did they ever formally charge you with anything?

SHAATH: I was never formally charged. I was accused of. And during 2 1/2 years of my arrest, my prison period, I was interrogated once through the

State High Security Prosecutor office for 45 minutes. And supposedly, I was detained for interrogation. My only interrogation was for 45 minutes, in

which he mainly asked me about my opinions and he asked me, what do you think of the revolution on 2011? What do you think of what happened in 30th

of June? Who did you vote for for presidency? And I asked, how does that have to do with anything related to the case I am facing?

And then, he said, OK, we're accusing you of being part of a terrorist organization. And I said, what's the name of that terrorist organization?

He said, we cannot tell you. And then, he asked me, he said, we're accusing you also for spreading false lies and rumors about the state using social

media networks. And I said, I don't even have an account on social media networks. He said, well, that's what is written in front of me. And that

was the only 45 minutes of my interrogation.

AMANPOUR: Yes. And I just want to lead on with that, because, you know, this government says that there are no political prisoners. And we are

talking on the anniversary, the 11th anniversary of the fall of the previous regime in the Arab Spring, the fall of the Mubarak regime.

And people are saying, people like yourselves, that it's even worse in the years since then, particularly under this government. What do you want to

do? I mean, you want to continue your activism, but describe the conditions for people like you all over Egypt under this current regime there.

SHAATH: Christiane, we're living under fear. Egypt is becoming a republic of fear. The only tactics people are scared in the street to talk. I've had

thousands of people around me in jail who were arrested just because a police officer stopped them in the street, confiscated their phone, and

checked their Facebook account and found a post or a joke, and sometimes even just a sign of a like for a post they didn't even write, and that was

enough for them to be taken and charged for terrorist reasons.

Yes, the fear tactic is continuing. Continues inside our jail and continues even after I left. They had been giving warnings and threats to my family

back in Cairo if I break the silence, if I speak. And I'm insisting on breaking the silence and speaking.

Yes, the fear tactics should stop. The terrorizing of people and using terrorist accusations and bitter detentions and long periods of jail

without a reason, and false charges, this has to end. And the people have to end this. Yes, I am planning to continue my activism. I cannot sleep

today knowing that thousands of people that I saw and lived with, who only been there for their opinion, none of them have committed one violent

crime. All of them had been there for their opinions, regardless of their political alliances or differences.

Some are lawyers, doctors and activists and politicians and members of parties. I have a lot of friends of those. And, yes, I cannot stop without

their being released and I cannot stop without being -- seeing Egypt a safer place for its people and for me, and allowing me to return to my


AMANPOUR: Well, if I get a chance, I'll ask you more about that. You were forced to renounce your Egyptian citizenship as a condition for freedom.

But I do want to ask you the political thing. You started the Egyptian Chapter of the Palestinian BDS movement, the Boycott, Divestment and

Sanctions Movement.

And you believe part of the reason you were arrested is -- and I'll quote you in another interview, "Related to my political activism, especially my

opposition to Donald Trump's deal of the century." Now, that was the famous words that he gave to his view of peace in Israel. Now, President Biden has

said of your -- of the president of Egypt, there will be no more blank checks for Trump's favorite dictator, talking about Abdel Al Fattah el-

Sisi, the president of Egypt.

What do you think -- are you satisfied with the U.S., France, obviously, which lobbied for your release, their, I guess, interaction with Egypt

right now?


SHAATH: I had wonderful support from everybody. My wife have been giving - - sending me love and campaigning for my release. I had my family and my friends and a lot of people who knew me that supported and asked for my

release. I had support from 56 congressmen that wrote an open letter for President Sisi for my release. Hundreds of European parliamentarians. But,

finally, also, the support of the French government for my release.

And, yes, this campaign led to my release, but there is thousands more. And we cannot stop at that and we cannot allow them to pick on by one, and to

pick only the famous ones where there is pressure for. Everybody there is a name, is a human with a face, with a family, with his own sorrow, his own

devastated life. And the amount of atrocities against them, the amount of systematic torture that I've heard stories of is horrific, Christiane.

And, yes, I am happy that I am finally released. But, yes, I think this is a sign that the pressure is getting results and we should continue this

pressure and we should grow with it and we should create bigger alliances that prevents those atrocities from happening in Egypt.

AMANPOUR: And, Ramy --

SHAATH: And yes, today is the anniversary of the --

AMANPOUR: Yes, that's what I said. Today is the anniversary of Mubarak stepping -- or the revolution in Egypt. But I wanted to ask you, because

we've reached out to the Egyptian government about all of this, and they have failed to get back to us. But you're going to address the European

Parliament. What are you going to say? What is your message now? And what are you going to do about having to renounce -- well, having no more

Egyptian citizenship?

SHAATH: OK. I'll start with the second first. I don't think their ability to blackmail me after 2 1/2 years in incarceration, illegally and unjustly,

and taking my nationality is really what identifies my identity and my self-worth. I am an Egyptian as well as a Palestinian and nothing and no

document will change that situation. And I will be back to Egypt someday soon, I hope.


SHAATH: On the other hand, yes, I want to address the Europeans and definitely, eventually, coming to visit the States. And I want to ask

people --

AMANPOUR: All right.

SHAATH: -- to continue their effort, to continue their pressure, and to grow with it until we get everybody out of those jails.

AMANPOUR: It is a big task. And we will watch you as you continue along that route. Ramy Shaath, thank you so much indeed.

Now, anti-Semitism is on the rise even in western democracies, including the United States. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League,

is addressing that in his new book, "It Could Happen Here." And he joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss how we can strike back against hate.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Jonathan Greenblatt, thanks so much for joining us.

When you look at the number of and the profile of the attacks, say, on the Tree of Life Synagogue or what happened in Colleyville, Texas or in Poway,

California, what does what is happening to the Jewish community in the United States or, say, the Asian-American community in the United States,

what do those indicate to you?

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: That's a great question. You know, many people describe anti-Semitism as "the oldest hatred." But,

in reality, it is a bit of a barometric indicator about the health of a society. And so, often times, indeed, it is the canary in the coal mine for

far worse forms of intolerance and hate.

And so, when we see men marching through the streets of Charlottesville chanting, Jews will not replace us, when we see a white supremacist burst

into the Tree of Life Synagogue and kill 11 people, when we see, you know, a deranged person from the black Hebrew Israelite sect and go to a kosher

supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey and gun down three people, or when we see this radicalized person, this Islamism, go into a synagogue in Texas

and, again, threaten to blow up the institution in the surrounding area, these are all signs, in my opinion, of a kind of social decay.

Now, it isn't to say that anti-Semitism is new. Like I said, it's the oldest hatred. But keep in mind, that these incidents are kind of

punctuation marks in a climate where anti-Semitism has really increased in recent years. The number of incidents in 2021, Hari, were nearly double

what they were just a few short years ago, right?

2019 was the highest year that the ADL has ever seen. 2020 was the third highest total. And we've been tracking these incidents longer than the FBI

in America. We've been at it for more than 40 years. And so, when we consider the context, indeed, the attacks and the repeated persecution and

stereotyping of the Jewish community in this country is a very concerning sign, which is why I would suggest that anti-Semitism isn't a Jewish

problem, it is an American problem.


Our democracy can be measured, in many ways, by how we treat our minorities. But when the Jewish people, who found refuge in this country

for hundreds of years, suddenly find themselves marginalized and stereotyped, and, again, attacked, in some instances, in broad daylight,

that should be an alarm bell that's going off for the rest of the country. Something is wrong.

SREENIVASAN: Why do you think it is that these tropes that go around about Jews controlling the banks or the media, or George Soros funding entire

operations like a migrant caravan, I mean, these mistaken and just factually incorrect and blasphemous lies, get to a point where they're kind

of successfully spread, and what is the danger to, I guess, the rest of America, non-Jewish America, when the tropes continue?

GREENBLATT: Well, in many ways, one could say that anti-Semitism is a conspiracy theory, right? It is this twisted world view about how the world

works. It's seeing threats where they don't exist. It's seeing a particular group of people responsible for that.

And you know, the Jews -- before the founding of the state of Israel, the Jews lived in diaspora, if you will, in exile in different countries around

the world for almost 2,000 years, holding onto their religion, holding onto their culture, holding onto their language, assimilating to a degree, but

always retaining their sense of Jewish identity.

And indeed, I think they made for easy scapegoats, whether in Christian Europe or the Muslim Middle East, because they were sort of a small

community that you could find in different places that could be blamed for whatever the issue at hand. And I think, in some ways, it is human nature,

Hari, to look for someone to blame. You know, to look for that scapegoat on whom you can attribute your own failings or the unexplained issues in a


So, this was very potent, very powerful, and it persisted across cultures, across continents. The Jews having all the power, controlling the media,

controlling the banks. The Jews being the capitalists. Or the Jews being the communists and the Jews being responsible for the world's wars. And the

Jews, you know, trying to undermine societies and so on and so forth. Because, again, the conspiracy theory is a shortcut for how the world

works. It provides easy answers, an easy answer to a complex problem. And I think all of us in society, whether you're on the left or the right,

whether you're rich or poor, whether you're Jewish or non-Jewish, we have to confront it, because unless we get our arms around conspiracy theories,

Hari, and kind of get to a more honest fact-based future, I think everything is up in the air.

SREENIVASAN: So, connect the dots for me here. There's a threat here of anti-Semitism and racism, but how does it intersect with where we are

politically and where we are as a democracy or maybe a space between democracy and autocracy?

GREENBLATT: What we've seen in the United States in the last five plus years has been what I will characterize as the weaponization of anti-

Semitism. It has become sort of a cudgel that different political parties and public persons have used to try to hammer opponents. The right accuses

the left of being against the Jewish State, and therefore, somehow anti- Semitic. The left accuses the right of being, you know, prejudice to the core and therefore anti-Semitic.

And the term almost loses meaning when both sides are using it against each other in a way where flaunting conspiracies and wild accusations, the

weaponization of anti-Semitism. So, it loses its meaning and becomes a partisan tool as one indicator.

I think a second indicator that's related to it, Hari, has been the normalization of extremism. So, we've seen this, and this really started in

2016 with presidential campaign where Trump, as a candidate, was welcoming white supremacists into the public conversation in ways we'd just never

seen before. When I say that, I mean the ADL, we're the oldest anti-hate group in America, we've been tracking these issues and monitoring these

developments for more than 100 years. And I can tell you, we had never quite had a situation like this. I mean, not since probably Henry Ford

republished the protocols of Zion in the Dearborn Independent.

Where we have the Trump campaign literally credentialing white supremacist media for their campaign events. How do we know that? Because we

supremacist media and we were calling that out. But you saw the extremists exploit those opportunities and really move into the mainstream.


And so now, today, you can't pick up a newspaper, open your phone, and not hear crazed people who are making claims about Jewish space lasers,

comparing, you know, COVID-19 precautions to the Nazi Nuremberg laws, to other kinds of wild claims, where these extremists now seem to occupy,

literally, a part of the overall conversation in ways we never had before.

I mean, Hari, there has always been a lunatic fringe, always, but they used to be kept on the fridge. And now, they seem to be part of the daily

debate. So, the weaponization of anti-Semitism combined with the normalization of extremism has created a space in which people now think

the men and women marauding through our capitol, wearing Camp Auschwitz sweatshirts or bearing decals that said 6MWE, 6 Million Wasn't Enough. Some

people in the GOP say, they were tourists. They were just out for an excursion.

And you have, you know, regular claims of Jews -- again, this man in Collierville claiming that Jews run the world. And he, again, was coming

from a frame that we would associate with sort of Jihadist Islamism. But you have similar claims made by right-wing extremists. And this

normalization of extremism is really quite frightening.

SREENIVASAN: You know, one of the things that was possible in trying to tamp all this down is that there was a shared reality that we could agree

on what took place and where. And as you write to great extent in the book, the influence of social media cannot be sort of underlined or boldfaced

enough in how this sort of hatred is spreading right now.

GREENBLATT: Social media has been a super spreader of hate, and it has amplified the kind of societal instability that we're now all reckoning

with dealing. I mean, again, in an earlier time, when media provided information to the public, whether it was, you know, public news sources or

private news sources, you know, commercially oriented, whether it was broadcaster, radio or print, the reality is there were things like

standards and practices, editorial boards, ombudsman, there were all these means by which we would prevent the flow of, you know, wrong information.

Now, today, it almost feels like people are getting their news intravenously fed to them through their phones and specifically, through

the social media services that are constantly buzzing and giving people these dopamine hits. And we can't deny the reality. When you have 3 billion

people on Facebook, right, and the platform is trading hundreds of billions of messages a day, it is far more powerful, far more kind of intoxicating

and far more combustible than anything we had previously.

And I think for all of those reasons, and the fact that these companies, something you might know, Hari, and that I talk about it at length in the

book, are exempt from the same liability that you have as a traditional media outlet. There's a loophole in the law that was passed 20 some odd

years ago that allows them to evade the kind of journalistic responsibility that governs the rest of our information flows.

So, the lack of liability, combined with the algorithmic amplification of what sells has created the conditions in which social media literally has

become a super spreader of hate. And if we are going to prevent it from happening here, you know, social media and services like Facebook need to

be the front line in our fight.

SREENIVASAN: In the book, you have a story about Damien Patton, and I want you to tell our audience a little bit about it. It is interesting, also,

for the fact that you're now friends, but tell me his back story and it does connect to social media.

GREENBLATT: It is a remarkable story. So, Damien Patton is originally from Southern California. Jewish. But born into a broken home. Got involved with

gangs as a kid and drifted toward, if you will, white supremacist gangs, skin heads and whatnot. He denied his Jewish identity. He sort of

suppressed it, wouldn't talk about it. But got so involved that he traveled to Tennessee to be part of a bigger white supremacist group.


It was actually in the car with two other individuals when they shot up a synagogue one night in Nashville, Tennessee. They were arrested. Damien was

a minor and, therefore, not charged and he confessed to what happened. The others went to jail for, again, you know, not just vandalizing but shooting

at the synagogue, nearly killing people.

Damien went on to join the military. He served in the U.S. Navy. He got involved as a mechanic in NASCAR. So, he got involved in these different

things. He ended up becoming very successful as a tech founder. Created a company called Banjo that got very big, hundreds of millions of venture

capital dollars behind it. They were preparing to go public. And then an investigative reporter somehow discovered Damien's past. He had never

admitted it. He hadn't come clean to it. He had kept it sort of compartmentalized.

But when it was discovered, he immediately lost his job, you know, lost his position at the company, lost much of his equity, and he was reeling. I

learned about Damien when one of my supporters from Silicon Valley, it was one of his initial investors, called me and said, hey, would you talk to

this man?

I reached out to Damien. This was in the early days of the pandemic. And we connected via Zoom. Me in New York, he in Salt Lake City, Utah. And what I

found was this person who really had this terrible experience as a young man. And, you know, in the Jewish faith, we believe in this concept called

Teshuvah (ph), which roughly translates to redemption.

See, I think we need to cancel cancel culture. I think Damien did commit a series of sins. I think Damien did actually pay his dead to society and we

need space to embrace someone like Damien who acknowledges his errors and tries to do better. You know, over the course of the last 15 years, he's

been a philanthropist and donated a considerable amount of money to charity and Jewish causes in particular. He's, you know, created lots of jobs. He's

done really well for himself and for society.

But it took this moment, this exposure, for him to really come clean about what he did wrong. And the book is the first place where he talks openly

about his past. I'm proud that ADL -- like I do, I consider myself a friend of Damien's today, because I've watched him grow. I've watched him come to

terms with what he's done, and I just think I have such respect for someone who is able to do just that.

SREENIVASAN: I remember in the case of Rwanda, there were stories about how there were radiobroadcasts comparing people to cockroaches. And when

you mentioned dehumanizing, that's what came up for me. And I wonder, you spoke with experts on genocides and civil wars and they talk to you about

the kind of preconditions that were on the ground before the worst tragedies imaginable happened.

What did that teach you about where America is right now when you talk about how close we are to the brink of tipping over?

GREENBLATT: Well, it's interesting. I did speak to experts about what happened in Rwanda, what happened in Bosnia, what happened in Northern

Ireland, all these situations that once might have seemed impossible to imagine came to pass.

But, for me, Hari, the issue isn't just a piece of history, it's part of my present. You know, I'm the grandson of a holocaust survivor from Germany.

My paternal grandfather and his Jewish family, you know, Germany was the only place they ever knew. And when he was a young man, he never could have

imagined that his country one day would turn on him and regard him as an enemy of the state. Destroy everything that he loved. Slaughter almost his

entire family and friends. And force him to flee. And he came to this country as a refugee.

And I am the husband of a woman from Iran. My wife and her Jewish family, Iran was the only place they had ever known. And they never would have

imagined, before the advent of the Islamic Revolution, that the country would turn on them, regard them as enemies of the state, destroy everything

that they ever loved, and force them to flee for their lives, which they did, coming to this country in the late 1980s.

And so, when we think about the unthinkable, when we imagined a world in which all that we know could unravel, for me, that's not some history

lesson, that's my own life. I mean, again, just like my grandfather when he was a young person never would have guessed that his grandchildren, me, my

sibling, my cousins, would be born in this country. And just like my father-in-law, when he was a young man, never could have imagined that his

grandchildren, my kids, my nieces and nephews, would be born in this country.

I don't think, Hari, that I could take for granted that my grandchildren will be born in this country, unless, again, we fight for what we have.

SREENIVASAN: The book is called "It Could Happen Here: Why America is Tipping from Hate to the Unthinkable and How We Can Stop It." Jonathan

Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, thanks so much for joining us.


GREENBLATT: Thank you for having me.


AMANPOUR: The case for staying constantly vigilant.

And finally, tonight, join me later this week for a special conversation with Hollywood legend Meryl Streep, alongside Adam McKay, the director and

writer of her latest hit film, "Don't Look Up."

And that's it for now. Remember, you can always catch us online. Thanks for watching and good-bye from New York.