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Interview with The Independent Chief International Correspondent Bel Trew; Interview with Former Knesset Member, Israeli Journalist and Atlantic Council Nonresident Senior Fellow Ksenia Svetlova; Interview with "The Insurrectionist Next Door" Director Alexandra Pelosi; Interview with National Security Expert and Harvard Kennedy School Professor Juliette Kayyem; Interview with "The Race to Be Myself" Author and Olympic Gold Medalist Caster Semenya. Aired 1:00-2p ET
Aired November 03, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
America's top diplomat is in Israel as the Hezbollah chief says a wider war is realistic. I'm joined by Middle East expert and former Knesset member to
discuss these looming fears.
And the debate about natural abilities and gender in sport. Olympic medalist Castor Semenya shares her story.
Then, how Nancy Pelosi's family became a target after January 6th. Christiane speaks to the former House Speaker's daughter, filmmaker
Alexandra Pelosi, about her new documentary, "The Insurrectionist Next Door."
Also, ahead, the surge in antisemitism in America. Hari Sreenivasan talks to national security expert Juliette Kayyem.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
As the siege in Gaza continues and the civilian death toll mounts, in the latest developments there are dozens of casualties after an incident near
Gaza's Al Shifa Hospital. That's according to multiple videos from the scene and the Hamas run Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. The cause
is not immediately clear.
The U.S. secretary of state, meantime, is in Israel. Since the country launched its war against Hamas after the tragedy of October 7th, the
rhetoric from Washington has been that Israel has a "right to defend itself." But the administration is now calling for humanitarian pauses and
the protection of civilians.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: How we build us these matters and it is very important that when it comes to the protection of civilians who
are caught in the crossfire Hamas is making, let everything be done to protect them and to bring assistance to those who so desperately need it.
And we're not in any way responsible for what happened on October 7th.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Blinken is then traveling to Jordan as the U.S. seeks to avoid a larger regional conflict.
And at the Lebanese border, the IDF says it's on "very high alert" after unusually fierce exchanges of fire there. Now, the head of Hezbollah is
speaking out publicly for the first time since Hamas' attack nearly a month ago. An operation he says was "100 percent Palestinian." Hassan Nasrallah
also said there is a realistic possibility of war escalating.
Bel Trew is the chief correspondent -- international correspondent at "The Independent," has spent years reporting from inside Lebanon, covering
multiple wars between Hamas and Israel. And Ksenia Svetlova is back with us. She's a former member of the Israeli Knesset. They join me from Tel
Aviv. Welcome both of you.
Bel, let me first get you to respond. I know that you've been on the phone with sources about the news that we just reported about dozens of
casualties at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza. More details are coming out. What are you hearing?
BEL TREW, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE INDEPENDENT: Well, I've just been speaking to doctors on the ground who were in Al Shifa and to say
Shifa Hospital is, of course, one of the largest hospitals in Gaza. There's not just an awful lot of people being treated there who are wounded, but
there are thousands of displaced people who are sheltering within the grounds.
The doctor said to me, it was an Israeli strike, it hit this afternoon, as a convoy of ambulances were preparing to take wounded people from the north
to the south of the Strip, hopefully to exit out through Egypt. I've reached out to the Israeli military. They said they will get back to me.
They haven't claimed responsibility for this strike or they haven't also confirmed that it is their munitions.
But the moment, the scenes from the ground show an awful lot of wounded people, blood everywhere, at least one damaged ambulance. And the
Palestinians are saying as many as 60 could be dead. But again, we cannot verify that number right now.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. I will continue to follow any developments and headlines that we, are hearing as well.
In the meantime, Ksenia, this comes as, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Tel Aviv. He met with the president of Israel and the prime
minister. And it's a tightrope that he is walking here because he's reiterated the U.S. support for Israel's right and duty to defend itself.
But he also said how Israel defends itself really matters. And the focus should be on limiting civilians. How was that received within Israel?
KSENIA SVETLOVA, FORMER KNESSET MEMBER, ISRAELI JOURNALIST AND NONRESIDENT SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: So, I believe that Secretary Blinken just
repeated what was already said by President Biden during his visit and during his visit and during his phone conversations with Prime Minister
Netanyahu, that Israel is -- has absolutely full right to defend itself, but it has to follow the international legislation. It has to follow the
red lines, inside Gaza.
So, as for the current incident, in Shifa, we still do not know what happened there exactly. I mean, from the Israeli side, there is no
response. There is -- just like Bel said, there is no official version of this event. I just have to remind that, just last week, the IDF released
the footage of -- aerial footage from the area from where the Shifa Hospital is located and it claimed that there is -- for years, there is a
central command of Hamas hides there, underground, underneath the hospital. And there are many militants in this hospital, but on the underground
floors that you don't really see.
So, is these two things connected? We still don't know as for now. But in any case, I have to tell you, Bianna, you know, in my personal view, and
this is what many experts and analysts and politicians and former politician Israel say, Israel has to defend the civilians in Gaza not
because Antony Blinken asks for it and not because President Biden asked for it, because this is a vital interest of the State of Israel.
The next day after Hamas -- and this was the -- you know, this is like a clear goal of the IDF and also of the political leadership in Israel to
eliminate Hamas. Let's suppose there is no Hamas. You still have to talk to someone in Gaza. You still have to talk to the same civilians that are
being so severely hit right now, and in many different, occasions before as well. You still need to develop a dialogue.
And, if you want to build some moderate rule in Gaza, then obviously you have to promise today, you have to vouch today, for the civilians that you
are doing everything possible in order to safeguard their lives.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. And this is something that we also heard from Secretary of State Blinken saying that after this operation conducted by Israel, the
world and the region cannot go back to status quo of October 6th. And there has to be a room for negotiation for a two-state solution and for another
party for Israel to be working with in the Palestinian community.
Bel, let's get you to weigh in on the other major headline because everyone was waiting to hear from Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah today, in
his speech. And again, putting everything into perspective, everything is relative, this would have been a speech that would have alarmed the world
had it occurred October 6th. But given the anticipation and the concern that perhaps we could see wider escalation within the region, there was
some sigh of relief that this wasn't as heated of rhetoric from Nasrallah as many had expected. Let's play some sound from him and then have you
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN NASRALLAH, HEZBOLLAH SECRETARY GENERAL (through translator): The worry is that the possibility of this front actually escalating or going
into a fully-fledged war or becoming a wider war is a realistic one. It can happen, and the enemy has to make every provision for this. And I'm sure
they do make every provision for this. And I'm sure they do think about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: So, he said a war can happen. Just in reading and parsing every word he said, he didn't say a war will happen, meaning their involvement.
How did you read what he said and what stood out to you?
TREW: I think that's the key point --
SVETLOVA: Well, first of all --
GOLODRYGA: I'm sorry. Let me -- Ksenia, let me get Bel to weigh in and then we'll come to you.
TREW: Yes. I mean, I think that's the key point here is that there was no declaration of war and that was what people were concerned about. I was --
had a late-night briefing, very deep on background briefing with Israeli top officials, military officials. They were saying they were alarmed by
the attacks that had escalated yesterday along the border -- all along the border. you know, there was a very, very, very heavy fire and there were
some indications that this speech could be the moment that Nasrallah announces that Lebanon is fully-fledged in a war with Israel, and that this
could spread across the region.
The key thing is that he said it could happen. It wasn't a declaration of war. I think the other key thing is he said this was very much a
Palestinian operation, a Palestinian cause, a Palestinian triumph. He kept talking about the fact that this was Palestinian, not regional.
And I think the other thing is the messaging that he's telling his supporters. So, obviously, he's facing a lot of pressure and Hezbollah is
facing a lot of pressure from within its own ranks, from within also its affiliated ranks, Palestinian armed groups within Lebanon who are seeing
what's happening in Gaza, who are putting pressure on Hezbollah to hit Israel harder.
So, I think what was quite interesting is that in this speech, he talked about the gains they've already made. He said that the strikes on Israel
had caused Israel to move, I think he said, a third of Israeli forces up north, you know, half the naval forces. Again, I can't confirm those
figures. But the point was he's saying that it's caused Israel to have to fight effectively on two fronts, which was helping what was happening in
Gaza. I think that's a really important point.
And I think the other thing that he said is that he very much was talking to the U.S. He said many, many times in this speech, the U.S. could stop
this by calling for a cease fire in Gaza and ensuring that Israel follows suits. And that, I think, is quite key messaging, giving Blinken was here
in Israel doing just that.
So, I think together all of those things, even though, as you said, this would be an incredibly alarming speech on the 6th of October actually comes
across as fairly cautious, giving what everyone was expecting was going to happen.
GOLODRYGA: Ksenia, is that the take in Israel among government officials?
SVETLOVA: Well, I think that along with the sigh of relief, because I did see some doomsday scenario today, I have to admit, that were very worrying
and frightening, especially after the trauma of the 7th of October. But along with that, there is this understanding that, first of all, Israelis
never trust Nasrallah. He can say one thing, then he can do the next thing the next day something very different.
And while we understand that he's not interested to waste all of his firepower, manpower right now for Hamas, he will be waiting for an order
from Tehran, essentially, to activate everything that he has under his command in order to harm Israel when it least expecting this in this
So, giving the buildup, yes, you would expect that he would declare a war or at least, formally, you know, that Nasrallah is joining and Hezbollah is
joining the combat against Israel along with the Yemenis, whom he mentioned, and the Syrians, and of course, the Gazans themselves.
GOLODRYGA: It was --
SVETLOVA: But he also said, you know, something that is very important. He said, we cannot harm Israel in just one strike. We cannot do it yet. When
will we be able to do it? You know, that's the big question, and that's why Israel will not sleep, you know, sound tonight and also tomorrow because
this front, if it's not open formally, it might be open someday soon.
GOLODRYGA: It's clear though that the price that Hezbollah paid after 2006 still haunts him as well as does the impact it had on Lebanon as a whole
after the war with Israel then. Bel, let me ask you a final question because another big priority in the region and for Secretary of State
Blinken is watching closely what is happening in the West Bank.
In the past three weeks, over a hundred Palestinians have been killed. There is a lot of concern about settler violence there and what Israel is
or isn't doing to contain that. I want to read an editorial from Haaretz, Israeli newspaper, that reads, if the government does not come to its
senses immediately and respond decisively to the actions of the settlers in the territories, it will be adding another catastrophe to its record of
Bel, how do you view the Israeli government's response thus far from pressure both internally to do something about this, but obviously from its
closest ally, the United States as well?
TREW: Well, certainly we've seen an uptick across the board in the occupied West Bank in terms of attacks by settlers but also in terms of
people being forcibly moved from displaced, you know, forced from their lands, and also in terms of numbers of arrests and also deaths to
Palestinians in the West Bank. And these are numbers, by the way, coming from the U.N. They've said that in 2000 -- in 2021 there was about one
settler attack a day. Now, since 7th of October, that's seven -- on average seven attacks a day and at least 864, I think, was the last number people
have been forced from their homes.
So, the U.N. is saying this is a dramatic increase of attacks in the West Bank, and it's causing, you know, a big problem.
I think -- you know, I put this to the Israeli military and I asked them because there's been some disturbing videos being shared, showing people in
military uniforms abusing Palestinians, they said that they are investigating this, particularly the accounts of abuse by soldiers and that
they are monitoring the situation.
But again, Israel is coming under pressure because it looks like as the war is happening in Gaza, settlers within the West Bank are using that moment
to increase forceful displacements and attacks. And if that isn't reined in, then they're going to come under pressure internationally as well.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. Some of these settlers, we've seen videos that they seem emboldened too, actually taking on the military, the IDF soldiers and some
skirmishes that we've seen as well.
Be Trew, Ksenia Svetlova, we'll have to leave it there. Thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate your perspective and analysis.
?We're turning now to domestic challenges facing the United States, voting rights campaigners are calling the new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson,
the most powerful election denier in Washington. His efforts to overturn the 2020 election are raising alarms about his role in the next election in
2024 as well, which makes a new HBO documentary called "The Insurrectionist Next Door" even more timely.
The filmmaker is Alexandra Pelosi. If you recognize her last name, her mother is Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and was personally
targeted on January 6th. It's about building bridges as Pelosi travels across America to speak to some of those who stormed the Capitol. Here's a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDRA PELOSI, DIRECTOR, "THE INSURRECTIONIST NEXT DOOR": So, how did you get into the Capitol?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just walked right in.
PELOSI: January 6th really activated you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
PELOSI: What was it inside of you that made you think, I'm going to go inside the Capitol?
I've been on the road meeting some of the Jan. Sixers who were sent to jail for what they did that day.
Did you go to the Capitol to assassinate my mother?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Wow. Christiane spoke with Alexander Pelosi about searching for closure in a deeply divided America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Alexandra Pelosi, welcome to the program.
PELOSI: Thank you so much for having me.
AMANPOUR: Your docs, a lot of them have been personal, and this one most especially. You were in there, but so too was your mother, obviously, on
January 6th. And frankly, the people who went and desecrated and stormed her office and were looking for her, it was a scary moment. And at one
point you asked one of your interviewees, did you go to assassinate my mom? Were you trying to find that out? What was their actual aim towards your
PELOSI: For me, you know, I was in the Capitol on January 6th, as you mentioned, and the -- I saw the people outside the window. And my 16-year-
old son was the one who called and said, what if they stormed the Capitol? And all the police said, no, that will never happen. But I did see them. I
could see their faces from the window.
And I always had this burning, you know, inside of me. I really wanted to know who were these people because they evacuated the building. We were two
minutes away from the speaker's lobby. And I just really never got the answer. So, that's what this film is.
I spent two years on the road trying to meet people, trying to understand what it was inside of them that inspired them to come to the Capitol that
day. Intensions of --
AMANPOUR: But again -- again, specifically to your personal -- I mean, this is your mother, speaker of the house, who is a target and a Rorschach
test across the United States. And your father has been attacked, you know, grievously, in the intervening time. Did you find out why they wanted to
and whether they wanted to do your own mother harm?
PELOSI: No, I didn't get any real answers. I didn't get the closure that I was looking for, if that's what you're, if you're asking. What I did, I did
not meet with any of the people, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, the militant, you know, the hate groups, the organizations that are in jail
right now that were plotting to overthrow the government.
I met with more of the people that -- everyone who pled to mostly misdemeanors for participating in -- we call them the normies, because in
the trial, the Proud Boys trial, one of the Proud Boys had sent a message on Telegram to his followers that day that said, we're going to get the
normies to burn this city to ash today.
And so, the idea of the normies was what I was interested in. Who are the normies that the Proud Boys were using as their chorus?
AMANPOUR: Let me play a clip then, because the normies, you talk about this with Insurrectionist Johnny Harris. Here's a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: Do you realize that the militant organizations that were there to overthrow the government needed a chorus of little people? They called them
normies. People like you. They were just the fools. They were using you.
JOHNNY HARRIS, INSURRECTIONIST: Nobody used me. I went there on my own free will. Nobody come up and said, Hey, norm, normie, we're going to do
this today. Nobody approached me trying to get me to do anything. I did stupid -- on my own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, we know that he got, I think, a seven-month, sentence. I mean, what do you call a normie?
PELOSI: Well, I think they're just true believers in the cult of Trump. You know, people that were willing to get off their couch and drive across
the country and break into the United States Capitol with the intentions of trying to delay, you know, the vote count. I just think that -- I think
they're not all terrible people, they just did some terrible things that day. I don't think of them as being violent and dangerous and they're not
the Proud Boys, they're not the Oath Keepers.
The Department of Justice has made distinctions between the different defendants. They have separated. The people that really were there to do
harm, maybe hang Mike Pence --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: -- maybe put a bullet in Nancy Pelosi's noggin, as some of them declared they were there to do. I think that these are some of the people
who are your neighbors, that's why it's called "The Insurrections Next Door." And then, the reason why I thought I should talk to them is because
I thought, you know, we have to engage with these people because they are our neighbors and they are going to be participating in the next election.
AMANPOUR: Well --
PELOSI: And I think that we have to try to engage.
AMANPOUR: What should the rest of the world make of what has unfolded and what they're hearing in your documentary, "The Insurrectionist Next Door"?
Given the -- you know, the tribalization that we see, the polarization all over the world, and the attack on democracy.
PELOSI: In the end, I really felt that talking to these people, it was like a collection, a mosaic of broken America. It just gives you a portrait
of how broken this country is right now. It's about -- I mean, it's just -- it's about the fact that people grow up in poverty, there's this thing
called the American dream that didn't really come through for them, that we're really not doing, as a country, the best we can, and this is -- it's
manifesting itself in politics in a weird way. And I think that's what you see, more than anything in this film, is how broken this country is right
AMANPOUR: And the current speaker of the house, who is an election denier, and you know, aided and abetted a lot of the attempts to overturn the
election, is sitting in your mother's former office.
PELOSI: Yes, that's a really dark thought. Wow. OK. So, I was trying to -- this was -- this whole mission was about trying to make peace. I had this
whole Abe Lincoln, you know, charity towards all, malice towards none. I was really trying to bring some closure to this January 6th, but I think
that the Republicans in the House have decided that they have other plans for this country, and they're taking it in a much darker direction.
AMANPOUR: It's interesting because you haven't brought closure, you haven't managed to bridge the gulf, but you have managed to talk to all
these people and figure out who are our next-door neighbors. And one final question, a recent poll shows the support for political violence in the
United States is rising. Obviously, as I said, your own family has been victim of that. Your father was brutally attacked last year. It's a really
PELOSI: You know, a storm is coming, I would say. I would say I feel it every day, and it's a very frightening thought. We have to try to make
peace. We have to try to make peace before, you know, it gets -- I mean, I don't even want to think about it, considering after what happened to my --
what my family's been through.
I just -- yes. Well, yes. So, you're ending this on a really dark note. Wow. OK.
AMANPOUR: Well, Alexandra Pelosi, I'm sorry. Let's hope things do get better. But thank you so much, Alexandra Pelosi, "The Insurrectionist Next
PELOSI: Thank you for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Well, coming up, I will be speaking with Olympic champion Caster Semenya as she opens up about her story and gender discrimination in
But first, we return to the Israel Hamas war and the global repercussions. Here in the United States, antisemitism threats have reached historic
levels and anti-Arab sentiments are on the rise. College campuses are struggling to manage the outbreak of protests and uptick in hate.
Hari Sreenivasan talks to national security expert Juliette Kayyem about how this conflict is dividing America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, thanks. Julia Kayyem, thanks so much for joining us.
First, let's start with some of the images that we have seen of very few numbers of people actually being able to leave Gaza and to get into Egypt.
And we should say that for a lot of these, these are Americans who are finally getting a way out. Let's talk about some of the complexity in
organizing this and how long this could take.
JULIA KAYYEM, NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERT AND PROFESSOR, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Right. This will take a very long time. The numbers we're seeing
are mere trickles from the couple 100 that we know of U.S. citizens that are stuck in in Gaza right now. The complexity is this, is that basically
the United States needs to find an honest broker to make sure that the movement of the citizens is safe. And that will probably be a third-party,
either Egypt or gutters in terms of getting that passage. So, you have to make sure that they can get safely to the border and then through the
border. Once they're in Egypt, they're taking care of.
What the United States doesn't want to do, at least right now, is to have any military presence that would suggest that we're getting involved on the
ground to assist and even the extraction of our citizens. So, you hear people talk about, well, the navy is there. Why can't we get a ship there?
It's not that easy. Our ships would then be vulnerable if they're attacked or anything happens, then you're increasing the threat to the United States
and to those citizens.
Hari, there's a third factor, which is what do the U.S. citizens want to do there? It's terrifying there, as we know, they're stuck in Gaza City, to
get them to feel confident to leave in -- onto open roads, down Gaza to Egypt is also -- you know, I mean, basically they're going to be making
their own risk calculation at this stage.
SREENIVASAN: Well, let's talk a little bit about, Christopher Wray.
SREENIVASAN: The head of the FBI who --
SREENIVASAN: -- testified in front of Congress earlier this week, and he had a lot of different warnings. And we had -- first of all, I mean, I
guess one of the headlines was to raise the threat level because he is concerned about attacks here on U.S. soil by a varying number of different
SREENIVASAN: Why does the FBI take this this step now?
KAYYEM: Right. So, immediately after the terror attack by Hamas, the threat levels -- or there was a warning to local and state law enforcement,
then that gets very specific in which a local and state law enforcement are told by the federal government, you know, the Jewish community is under
particular threat because of what we were seeing online or what the U.S. was seen online and because of, obviously, the atmospherics, then that, a
third time, increases to an overall increase in the national threat level.
We don't use a color system anymore here in the United States. Christopher Wray, the FBI director, then testifies to say, it is essentially off the
charts now. That's happening for a variety of reasons. One is, of course, the conflict abroad is animating and energizing a lot of political interest
and religious interest here that are getting -- that are, for the most part, the appropriate, you know, First Amendment right to have an opinion,
but in some instances do become violent.
The second is the right-wing, a white supremacist apparatus that has always been antisemitic is playing off of this conflict to draw others into their
sort of historic antisemitism.
The third piece is, of course, foreign actors taking advantage of our fights, our political fights, our religious fights, the -- and I mean, you
know, verbal fights and protests, taking advantage of it and amplifying and creating disinformation about what's happening here. So, all three of those
things combined have now increased the threat environment for, of course, Muslim Americans, Arab Americans, but in particular Jewish Americans in the
Jewish community. And that's why you're seeing local and state law enforcement, you know, fortify or be present at synagogues and try to
protect that community.
SREENIVASAN: So, let's break that down a little bit.
SREENIVASAN: I mean, he said both homegrown violent extremists as well as domestic violent extremists.
SREENIVASAN: I think for our audience, what is the difference there?
KAYYEM: So, the homegrown is the groups like the right-wing groups whose names like, you know, vary depending who have always been violent and have
organized around antisemitism. The domestic terrorist threat they're viewing as maybe sort of a -- not sort of, but as a lone wolf, someone
who's just going to become animated, no tie to an organization, maybe doesn't even know what they feel who, you know, people get inspired by this
language, inspired by the hate, inspired by the sort of, lack of, you know, sort of -- I guess I would say just like lack of ability to show empathy
for either side, like each side is sort of, you know, more animated than maybe it ought to be.
SREENIVASAN: You mentioned earlier that we are not in a color-coded system in the United States right now, but if we were, we'd be kind of off the
charts. Spell that out for us. What is that threshold? Where -- what is -- how do we get to an 11?
KAYYEM: Yes, exactly. So, that people remember after 9/11, which there's a lot of analogies to right now in terms of some of the domestic issues going
on, that there was a color code system of which -- sort of was roundly criticized because no one actually knew what to do if it went up to red
alert or orange or yellow.
And so, it's been replaced essentially with a narrative, and which you heard FBI Director Christopher Wray tell, which is the these are the
numbers that we're seeing in terms of the increased threat level, right? You have a population that's barely -- Jewish population that's barely 3
percent of the United States population receiving over 70 percent of the hate filled ugliness that we're seeing online and the kind of thing that
the FBI has been paying attention to.
So, basically, when Christopher Wray says that, or Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas says that, they are basically talking to different
constituencies. The first is your local, state, tribal, territorial law enforcement, which is, this is serious. This is not just background
chatter. You need to keep vigilant. You need to provide information if you're worried about individuals, support your communities, figure out what
they want. So, it's -- in some ways, it's a message to them.
The other is it's a message to the impacted communities that some of this is also on your own situational awareness, your own protection of your
facility. So, you do see synagogues, for example, hiring private guards or just finding ways in which they can make people feel protected and the most
sacred of religious sites for them, the -- their synagogue. That's basically what we heard this week, was, everyone, this is serious. This is
not just the background stuff anymore.
And hopefully, this will help minimize the potential for harm, even if it can't minimize the hate language that's out there.
SREENIVASAN: So, what should universities and campuses do? Because right now, it seems that the conversation is primarily about who is -- whose free
speech is being restricted or what are the kind of consequences to this. So, what are steps that schools or colleges are taking and should be
KAYYEM: So, there's a couple. The first is we got to view this through a public safety lens first, right? So, the students are free to have whatever
opinions they want. They are not allowed to threaten. They're not allowed to isolate. They're not allowed to intimidate. And then, certainly, they're
not allowed to use violence, period. Those -- that's not even a university rule, that is in fact rules of the public safety system that we are guided
And I think what's happened is in their sort of twisting of trying to figure out what they want to say, universities have not taken that
seriously enough. And I think that behavior would be better, in many ways, if we began to just view this as we need to -- you know, we need to protect
students and their safety and security, whatever their opinion is.
The second is just actually kind of related to our first part of this conversation is, I think I've been around a long time. I think this is the
first sort of Israeli conflict or war or violence in the area that has a -- has had a very organized Palestinian support that you're just seeing it in
colleges and universities. I think that's the nature of information. I think it's the nature of this generation and other organizing. I think
universities are not used to that.
They have to get used to the idea that there are multiple opinions about a very complicated area and to create the forums where we can do what we do
best, which is try to find solutions and to educate and to provide forums for different ideas and maybe give students a space to be able to do that.
I do believe that a lot of these higher political conversations and fighting that's going on in universities and colleges from the funders,
from outsiders and others who are unhappy with various statements that university presidents have made and stuff, I think that has increased some
of the tensions that we now -- I think this can be a long war that we now need to begin to moderate and provide forums for. Students with them
understanding under no circumstances is violence or intimidation allowable.
SREENIVASAN: I wonder if whether it's a Department of Homeland Security or the FBI are looking into the impact that outside actors may have on our
social media ecosystem because in the run up to the elections --
SREENIVASAN: -- we saw that there were state actors who profited from dividing Americans.
KAYYEM: Right. I think that's exactly right. And you can see it and there's been reporting in "The New York Times" about Iran's, involvement in
trying to push a lot of these images, Iran being pro Hamas. And Hezbollah. You have the Russians who are clearly taking advantage of it through their
bot system. Anyone who's online can just tell what's going on. You know, people with two followers are pushing stuff.
And then what we're adding to it is one of the most popular social media sites, X, formerly Twitter, now has no filters to get this stuff out. You
know, as anyone who's been in -- who's in the field of analysis or reporting, X used to be a place where you could have some confidence of
what you were looking at. That's no longer true because those filters are gone. So, you have outside actors taking advantage of our domestic
divisions. And then, you have the filtering system no longer existing. And that's why you're getting this sort of -- it seems like there's no room for
In particular, I mean, you raise the politics in the election of this. I mean, something that is clearly going on that the White House and the
Democratic Party are going to have to face is Michigan. If you're an outside country that wants a GOP candidate or honestly, if you're just
looking at the polling right now, Michigan, a swing state, it is sort of ground zero for these fights because as a large Arab and Muslim population
and President Biden's polling amongst the Arab and Muslim community has plummeted in ways that no one's ever seen before, right?
I mean, it's just -- it basically because Biden is being viewed as to pro- Israel or to pro Netanyahu, that too, will have political consequences if, in fact, Michigan becomes, you know, sort of a ground for foreign actors as
well as domestic ones to take advantage of the just horror that's going on in the Middle East.
SREENIVASAN: You know, I wonder about what the potential for some of this content online, whether it's real or it's amped up and fake is. I mean,
Director Wray, one of the quotes that he had was, our most immediate concern is that the violent extremists, individuals or small groups, will
draw inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks against Americans going about their daily lives.
So, you know, how did -- you know, connect those dots?
SREENIVASAN: How do -- how does the FBI see what is this sort of online chatter in this --
SREENIVASAN: -- and turn into action?
KAYYEM: Right. So, one of the challenges with this particular conflict, from a law enforcement perspective, is the language is so heightened in
ways that we've never really seen in recent history, and it's essentially the language of annihilation of one population or another. It is either the
Palestinians and the Muslims are expendable or they're all terrorists, right? Or it's that, it's the anti-Zionism and -- or antisemitism, which
many Jewish Americans will view as -- and view as appropriately as sort of the annihilation not dissimilar to the Holocaust.
And we have to -- I think we have to understand that's how it's being perceived by both populations of Americans to maybe be able to bridge that
gap. This is not just, I don't like this person. Both communities view it as annihilation language. So, turning to the FBI, they're seeing this stuff
online, someone randomly says, you know, basically no more Jews or whatever, but that's just a statement. It's not going to be an action in
terms of violence. You're allowed to say that in the United States.
So, what they do is they continue to monitor these open websites. There's nothing wrong with that. Determine whether anyone has a criminal or violent
history, someone who may amplify it a bit more target a particular synagogue, that's on the sort of investigatory front. That's what the FBI
It can't do much until someone says, I'm going after this temple tomorrow, or, you know, something more organized than, I don't like Jewish Americans,
or I don't like the faith.
The second piece of it is now defense, and that's what you're also seeing. You're seeing governors, mayors, and the Department of Homeland Security
begin to push protective assets at synagogues, Jewish community centers, Jewish schools, where people may feel or be more vulnerable. So, it's that
combination of things. But we have to understand the challenge is really is this language of annihilation of both against Judaism and Jews and against
-- or viewing all Palestinians as pro Hamas.
It gives the person who might be radicalized a justification for the violence, right? They're just simply protecting themselves. And that is why
you saw Chris Wray, I think, more energized, in some ways, than I've ever seen him before in that sense of, this is really a flashing red light
moment and we all need to watch what we say and to protect ourselves because of this heightened environment.
SREENIVASAN: And unfortunately, we've seen actions take place against synagogues --
SREENIVASAN: -- Jewish individuals, as well as Muslim individuals in the United States.
KAYYEM: Yes. Yes, that's exactly right. I mean, either it's a -- it's the attacks or the -- against student groups at universities, Jewish student
groups, again, universities, concerns about synagogues and the threats, specific threats against synagogues and other areas. And then, of course,
the killing by stabbing, the sort of most intimate in a weird way, violence, right? I mean, he knew the kid of a Muslim child in Chicago.
So, all of it is what concerns the FBI at this stage. It's not just talk. There are individuals who will act on it and it takes sort of, you know,
local, state, federal and the community government and the community to remain vigilant. And I should say, and it takes leadership from all of
these institutions and government to not amplify that talk of annihilation, right? I mean, in other words, we -- that language is also something that
triggers people who are looking for justification for their hate.
SREENIVASAN: Julia Kayyem, thanks as always.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Well, now, when we talk about gender, sports is often on the front line. But while the debate frequently becomes a binary, the truth is
often far more nuanced. No one exemplifies this more clearly than Caster Semenya. The extraordinary South African athlete has won two Olympic gold
medals for the 800 meters. But she also has found herself as the subject of a very toxic debate surrounding her very own identity.
For a year, she was forced to take hormones to lower her natural testosterone levels. Well, now she's telling her story in her new memoir,
"The Race to Be Myself." And raising questions about how we debate natural abilities. Caster Semenya joins me now from Los Angeles.
Caster, thank you so much for joining us. Congratulations on the book. You know, the timing of the book, given that your career has spanned decades
now has raised questions as to why you felt now was the time to tell your story.
I want to read a bit from the book, "I have never spoken about it in detail, about what happened during this time of my life, but now, I am
ready to do so." Why is now the time?
CASTER SEMENYA. AUTHOR, "THE RACE TO BE MYSELF" AND OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: Good morning. I think now is the time because (INAUDIBLE) I think I've
grown into sports, but I think the most important thing is that we need to start growing women's sports. We need to start understanding the worth of
women in sports and their abilities.
I think for me, it's all about fighting for what is right for women, the equality, inclusivity, and the diverse. I think I'll say, yes, I'm ready,
emotionally, psychologically. Yes. Within, I say I'm fulfilled. And now, I think it's the right time for us as women to take over and make sure that
we protect our own.
GOLODRYGA: Athletes, you have an innate sense to fight, but you fight on the field, you fight in your sport, you fight when you're racing, and
you're fighting against your competitors. In your case, though, you were fighting behind the scenes as well, and it started at a very young age.
You describe in the book, when you were just 18, you faced your first gender test, and you talk about what you thought was a doping test that
ended up being a gender test on the rest day, before the biggest race in your life. Can you talk to us about that moment, and how violating that
must have felt at such a very young age in your life and in your career?
SEMENYA: Yes. I think it was a life changing story because here you are, you're 18 years of age, and then you're asked if you're not women enough,
and you're entire, you know, childhood, you have been a woman. Yes, regardless of the differences that you have in your body. But I think for
me, what I had to turn around was like the humiliation, you know, the injustice and people treating me with no respect.
For me, I had to just carry myself and knowing what I stand for. I think the importance for me it was knowing who I am, my identity and carry that,
you know, to represent my country. And, you know, that was a miscalculation, you know, from IWF then because they thought, for them,
doing what they did to me, it will distract me. It will stop me from loving the sports, you know, I'm doing. And that was wrong. And they need to
understand that they need to start respecting, you know, young women and respecting women's sports and they should stop regulating women's sports.
They should let women decide what is right for women.
But I'll say, it has grown me, it has built me to be the person I am. Now, I understand, you know, principles of life. I understand how to treat
people with respect. But then, I know the right of being. I'll say, yes, it did build me and I'm happy to be where I am today.
GOLODRYGA: For those that don't know your story, you mentioned the differences in your body. Can you talk about that?
SEMENYA: Yes, of course. For me, those who don't know, you know, the differences in my body, I'm born a woman, but I'm a woman with, you know,
no uterus, you know, no fallopian tube. I don't go through menstruation and stuff like that. I have a condition, you know, with, you know, DSD, which,
yes, I'm different, but it don't make me less a woman.
I have, you know, high elevated testosterone, but it does not really play a role in my training or a role in my performances. It's just that one of
those things we say it may be a disorder, but I think through my hard work, I am here where I am because of, you know, dedication, hard work, you know,
discipline and all those things, but then it's considered a threat to a man, you know, sports because when women does great, it becomes a problem.
But when a man does good, they are phenomenal. But genetically, it's something that you can say you cannot control it.
GOLODRYGA: And you talk about what you were forced to do to be able to compete.
GOLODRYGA: And that is the testosterone reducing drugs that you describe having a negative impact on your body. You know, people get tested for
doping and get punished for putting chemicals and substances in their bodies. And yet, that's exactly what you were forced to do in order to be
able to compete. Can you give us more insight into how that made you feel, physically?
SEMENYA: To be honest, I'll say it was hell because each and every day you live under stress. You're not happy within. You're never happy. And what
you feel is that you makes -- it makes you feel sick, nauseous. You have panic attacks. It start creating, you know, a little bit of blood clots,
you know, in your system. Your stomach is burning. You eat a lot. You can't sleep. You sweat a lot each and every day.
I'll say, I'll not advise each and every -- you know, anyone out there to go through what I had to go through because it's like digging a hole that
you can never fill up. You know, it's like you measure a casket and you get in and then you bury yourself. It was not easy. It was hard times, but I
think through that I had to learn to know the difference between right and wrong. Know the right of being. Know my rights as a young girl.
And for now, we advocate for what is right. We fight this cause so it cannot happen to these young girls, that's hell, if I may say.
GOLODRYGA: And you're so poised. I mean, it's unfortunate that it's taken your own experience and your negative experience to come out on the other
side and to talk about it in such a way as to be useful for others.
SEMENYA: Of course.
GOLODRYGA: You perhaps may be going through something similar and think that they are alone. You know, in the book, you talk about the world of
athletics needing to clean up the sport for male and female athletes. And I'm wondering just the irony and, and your reaction to how it felt when, in
2017, it turned out that a Russian winner was actually doping, that went -- that Russian beat you in the London Olympics, and then was disqualified.
So, after all of this attention focused on you, to then have this happen, what was that moment like?
SEMENYA: I think for me, I would say, you know, when things are meant to be, they are meant to be. And regardless of, you know, the ban and then
being upgraded for, you know, being Olympic champion or world champion, I think for me, it's more for start understanding the importance of, you
know, cleaning the sports, the importance of making sure that, you know, people are aware of, you know, situations like this.
And looking into World Athletics, where they start talking about they want equality for women, which is, there is no equality, there is no level in
the sports because it is specifically for, you know, certain women and you say you want what's, you know, good for women. And for me, yes, I'm a
brigade upgraded, you know, I'm happy with the results, but the most important thing for me is that we stand here and make sure that each and
every individual is treated with respect, with dignity, you know, humanity. It's most important in sports and we need to teach the sportsmanship within
us as women, you know.
But for me, I'll always, you know, advocate for what is right. I'll always question why women's sports, you understand, why is it that important for a
man to want to regulate women's sports? Why is it not important to allow women to decide what is right for women's sports? Why is it that important
for a man to want to justify himself? He wants to say, this is how women should look like, you understand?
SEMENYA: For me, I think if those things -- you know, we get to draw the line between men and women to start understanding that it's important for
us as women to decide what is right for us I'll be fulfilled.
GOLODRYGA: Caster, on the issue of doping, I have to follow up with what World Athletics said to us in a statement, and they said, full-scale
reforms were initiated by World Athletics President Sebastian Coe after his election in 2015, "The Independent Athletics Integrity Unit is seen as the
gold standard in the world of sport and its anti-doping program has made a real and impactful difference in our sport."
I don't want to spend time litigating that statement because I do want to talk about the role of gender in sports. You are not transgender, but as
you know, this has become a very heated debate in the world of sports. I'm curious to get your take on this subject because we're hearing from many
athletes who support and have different countering views as well.
SEMENYA: No, of course, I think this is a very, very important, you know, issue to be discussed. I'm not really good in terms of governance. I'm not
really good in terms of regulation. But from my understanding, from someone who's different, I understand that things need to be, you know, taken
seriously issues like this we need to sit down and try to iron out, you know, those differences.
Each and every individual in this world has got the right of being, has got the right to compete in sports. But then in a situation like this, for us
not to step on each other's toes I think it will be very important, you know, for world sports to start understanding that, you know, the
inclusivity and diverse, making sure that each and every individual is respected, each and every individual is accepted, you know, to partake in
But like I said, now -- for now, I'm not really an expert in terms of regulating sports. I love trans people. They are my family. They are
beautiful. I love them for who they are. I think -- I hope, you know, towards the end, you know, these situations will be resolved and each and
every one, you know, will be able to take part -- you know, part in sports.
GOLODRYGA: Well, to conclude, we should let our viewers know in July the European Court of Human Rights ruled that you had been let down by the
Swiss legal system in your battle against limits on testosterone levels for female athletes. So, Caster, I do want to thank you, for taking the time to
speak to us, for speaking to other athletes who may find themselves in similar situations like yours to let them know that they are not alone and
we really do look forward to seeing what is next.
SEMENYA: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: And congratulations --
SEMENYA: I really appreciate it.
GOLODRYGA: -- for all of your achievements thus far.
SEMENYA: Thank you. Thank you very much. Stay blessed.
GOLODRYGA: Caster Semenya, thank you.
GOLODRYGA: Well, speaking of heroes, in South Africa's sport, the national rugby team is back home after a triumphant win at the World Cup in France,
beating New Zealand by just one point. While now taking a victory lap around the nation, thousands of South Africans are lining the streets in
celebration for a country plagued by poverty and inequality, this win really has boosted moral. Captain Siya Kolisi spoke of the significance on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIYA KOLISI, SOUTH AFRICA RUGBY CAPTAIN: This one is for every single person in South Africa, rich, poor, it doesn't matter. And it doesn't
matter where you come from because of the team that we have, which is a very diverse team, which is very beautiful as well. We all come from
different walks of life, different races.
I know this win will inspire a lot of people, but it's not going to change how people are in circumstance. But for us as players, it's going to give
us a platform that we can open more opportunities, like with our foundation, the works that we do around South Africa. So, yes, we really
hope this just doesn't end in a little bit of celebration for a week. And it needs to do more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: That's why we just love the world of sports, really uniting countries.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has even declared a public holiday on December 15th. That is another example of sport breaking down barriers and
And finally, we are so excited about this, as if she needed even more work. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for Christiane's brand -new show, "The Amanpour
Hour," where you can count on context and analysis of the stories gripping our world, we need her voice in this world even more so now. And this focus
this week is the Israel Hamas war, of course. Egypt shares a border with Israel and Gaza.
Here's a preview of Christiane's exclusive with the country's foreign minister.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: As a human being, how do you feel about what's unfolded October 7th and subsequently, and what should Americans and the rest of the world
SAMEH SHOUKRY, EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: This has been a very, emotional, impactful, painful experience all around. The images since October the 7th
and subsequently have been quite painful to me on a personal level. At the same time, it has been a stark reminder that there is a degree of the
double standards that still that we are unable to address issues of principle in a consistent manner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: The hardest working journalists I know. That interview debuting tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. on America's East Coast, 3:00 p.m. in London on "The
Amanpour Hour." I surely will be watching and so should you.
And that is it for now. Thank you so much for watching and goodbye from New York.