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Interview with Former French President Francois Hollande; Interview with Physician and Peace Activist Izzeldin Abuelaish; Interview with "The Politics of Language" Author and Yale University Professor of Philosophy Jason Stanley. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired November 16, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
Israel's special forces remain inside Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital, still searching for proof that Hamas headquarters are underneath. We bring you a
report on what was found.
And Israel's allies wrestle with conflict and conscience. My conversation with former French President Francois Hollande.
Then, a story of devastating loss. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish still fights for peace after losing dozens of family members to this war in Gaza.
And finally, the power of words. Author Jason Stanley tells Hari Sreenivasan how language can influence war.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Israel pushes ahead in Gaza, leaving the world in turmoil. In Washington, pro-Palestinian demonstrators chant for a ceasefire. Whilst in Israel
itself, the five-day march to parliament in Jerusalem continues, demanding all their hostages be rescued or released.
As conditions in Gaza and the death toll there worsen, Israel's allies grow increasingly concerned. Despite widespread condemnation, the IDF remains
inside the main hospital, the Al-Shifa, which they claim was a Hamas command center. They have yet to release conclusive proof of that, and this
was the scathing reaction of the Israeli claim from the Jordanian foreign minister.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AYMAN SAFADI, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: That is yet to be verified by any independent international entity. Obviously, what they claim to be
evidence that they showed is just ridiculous. It's an insult to intelligence to say what they showed is representative of a military
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Israel says it will reveal more in the coming days amid mounting pressure to justify the raid.
Correspondent Nic Robertson has a closer look at the operation underway at the hospital and what has and has not been found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Inside Al-Shifa Hospital, Israeli forces are facing their biggest credibility test in Gaza so far.
After weeks of claiming its basement is a network of Hamas bunkers, the IDF moved in in the early hours of Wednesday morning. But 24 hours later, no
evidence of Hamas's subterranean network here has been presented.
REAR ADMIRAL DANIEL HAGARI, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON (through translator): We found weapons, intelligence materials, military
technologies and equipment. In addition, a military command post was located.
JONATHAN CONRICUS, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: Israeli troops breached here a few hours ago. This is where patients come in order to get
ROBERTSON (voiceover): We have no independent access to Al-Shifa Hospital so far.
CONRICUS: If you follow me behind the MRI machine. I'll show you what our troops exposed just minutes ago.
ROBERTSON (voiceover): An IDF spokesman gives an unchallenged tour of what he claims they have discovered.
CONRICUS: There is a -- an AK47. There are cartridges and ammo. There are grenades in here, of course, uniform and all of that. This was hidden very
conveniently, secretly behind the MRI machine.
ROBERTSON (voiceover): CNN cannot independently confirm the IDF's claims, but two days ago, when CNN was taken by the IDF to the Al- Rantisi Hospital
in Gaza, we posed this question when shown another alleged Hamas weapons cache.
ROBERTSON: But some people, they would look at this and then question the reality of what we're -- what you're showing us.
HAGARI: I see this is hard evidence that you see here. And when we entered the hospital, you asked me, why did you open the back of the hospital like
that? Because we knew the terrorists were here.
ROBERTSON (voiceover): Unlike Al-Rantisi Hospital, Al-Shifa still has staff inside, seen here a few days ago. But reaching them has been made
near impossible as communications were cut as the IDF went in. One doctor did manage to get a call through.
DR. AHMED EL MOKHALLALATI, SENIOR PLASTIC SURGEON AT AL-SHIFA HOSPITAL: The whole hospital is totally, like here, like, me say, in a way
handicapped. Like, no one is operating. No one is seeing anyone.
It's like all waiting for what the endpoint of this one. Are we going to survive this moment or not?
ROBERTSON (voiceover): And a local journalist inside the hospital, reached by CNN, said he had seen the IDF "conducting search and interrogation
operations" with the young men amidst intense and violent gunfire inside the hospital. CNN cannot independently verify these accounts. Hamas
dismissed an earlier IDF claim that found weapons at the site as propaganda.
On a tour with troops Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared emboldened by taking the hospital.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): They told us that we would not enter Shifa. We've entered. And in this spirit, we say
a simple thing, there is no place in Gaza that we will not reach.
ROBERTSON (voiceover): Absent proof of Hamas's bunkers in Al-Shifa, Netanyahu may find that reach curtailed as international outrage at the IDF
Nic Robertson, CNN, Sderot, Israel.
AMANPOUR: Indeed, as that fighting continues and the death toll mounts, Josep Borrell, the foreign policy chief of the European Union, delivered
this message to Israel's foreign minister, Eli Cohen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEP BORRELL, E.U. FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF: Let me ask you not to be consumed by rage. I think that's what the best friend of Israel can tell
you. Because what makes the difference between a civilized society and a terrorist group is the respect for human life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Inside Israel for the first time today, opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yair Lapid called on Benjamin Netanyahu to resign,
saying the Prime Minister has lost the public's trust.
As we said, many of Israel's staunchest supporters abroad are trying to maintain that support while warning of the dangers of what the U.N. calls
carnage in Gaza. And I've been speaking to the former French President, Francois Hollande.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
President Hollande, welcome back to our program. We are in a terrible, terrible global situation right now. And I wonder what your immediate
thoughts are about the solution, the immediate solution, with the storming of the Al-Shifa Hospital, with the amount of deaths of civilians that are
clearly mounting in Gaza. Your own president called for a ceasefire. What do you think?
FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, FORMER FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): We are in a war, a murderous war. Hamas is responsible for it. We know that Israel is
going to push for the eradication of this terrorist organization, but there must be respect for humanitarian law. And that is why I've been urging,
like many others, for a provisional ceasefire. And I stress provisional because we need to get the hostages freed, evacuated the wounded and to get
help to the people inside Gaza, particularly the displaced persons.
Afterwards, after what has happened in the hospital, I think there must be a provisional ceasefire. While some people have called a humanitarian
truce, but I think it would be better to call it a provisional ceasefire, because I think this will allow us to prepare for what happens afterwards.
So, it's during the war that we have to prepare for post-war.
AMANPOUR: Can I play for you your own president? And of course, he worked for you, you were from the same party, President Macron's intervention this
weekend, and it was the first of the major western leaders and the allies of Israel to actually call for a ceasefire. He did not say provisional, he
said a ceasefire. Let me play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: We clearly condemn this terrorist attack and terrorist group and recognize the right of Israel to protect
itself and react. But day one, we say that this reaction and the fight against terrorism, because it is led by a democracy, should be compliant
with international rules, rule of war, and humanitarian international law. And day after day, what we saw is a permanent bombing of civilians in Gaza.
I think this is the only solution we have, this cease fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, how do you interpret what he called for? And is President Macron, is France moving away from what other, like the United States has
HOLLANDE (through translator): Well, first of all, he was expressing his feelings about what was happening in Gaza. Whole families being bombed,
children dying, and there's been the attack on the hospital. So, I think that his compassion is something which everybody can understand. But it's
important that France speaks up clearly about what's happening in Gaza, even if the responsibility is clearly that of Hamas.
As for the ceasefire, I think we're all in favor of it. And we know perfectly well that Israel can't stop there. It's beating Hamas and putting
the organization out of action.
So, what we have to do, and I think this is the message that democracies as a whole have to convey, is to say that there should be provisional
humanitarian truths and also to work up a peace plan. But this peace plan can only happen with Arab countries.
For too long now, the Palestinian issue has been put to one side. Democratic countries have not been engaging with it, have not addressed the
two-state situation, and Arab countries have been negotiating directly with Israel without even mentioning the Palestinian issue. And now, the Arab
countries, because it's their responsibility, have to negotiate with the entire International Community to prepare for the post-war situation and
especially the two-state issue. And that implies making sure that Gaza is safe because obviously it can't return to what it was.
AMANPOUR: Do you believe that now, as you say, many of the western leaders took their eye off the Palestinian issue. They thought there were other
more important issues, and there are a lot of important issues. But do you believe that this crisis, this terrible, terrible war will really
concentrate people's minds now to solve this crisis once and for all?
HOLLANDE (through translator): Yes. With the return of war like this I think we simply cannot have the same kind of images coming back every 10
years, terrorist attacks followed by Israeli intervention. Neither can we accept the settlements that Netanyahu supported in the West Bank, which
tomorrow can give rise to such dramatic events as we've just seen in Gaza.
So, now, after the war, one has to take action, which means finding a political solution. It's only politics which will allow us to find a
solution to this conflict.
AMANPOUR: So, I'd like to read to you, in view of what everybody's saying and what you're saying, about the day after, because it does not look as if
Israel has a plan. First, do you think Israel has a plan for the day after?
HOLLANDE (through translator): Netanyahu certainly has a plan, but it's not the right one, to reoccupy Gaza, but that's impossible.
AMANPOUR: He doesn't say reoccupy, but I know he's saying similar.
HOLLANDE (through translator): Yes. Afterwards he corrected himself, but he was wrong. I don't think he does have a plan because Netanyahu may not
still be in power the day after the war ends. So, the Israelis really should be asking themselves how they want to live now and next to whom and
whether it should be with or without a Palestinian State? That is a question first and foremost for the Israelis.
But we, the International Community, we should facilitate the peace plan and not postpone it until later. We need to do it now.
AMANPOUR: And it's still the two-state solution, that's the only one on the table. In a "Washington Post" op-ed, Jordan's king, Abdullah, who
obviously has a peace agreement with Israel, has called again for the two- state solution. But he's also said, in the name of our common humanity, how can such brutal acts and murders be accepted? He's obviously talking about
what's happening in Gaza. Today's human suffering and global tensions urge us to adhere to the norms of humanity before we reach a moral breaking
point for all.
So, there are two things there. A moral breaking point with what's happening there, with what's happening in Russia, Ukraine, all these other
places and wanting to restart something that Jordan has signed up to, Egypt has signed up to the Palestinian Authority, the United States, Europe, the
Security Council, China, Russia, everybody. What do you make of the moral collapse, moral breaking point?
HOLLANDE (through translator): Yes. There certainly has been a neglect on the part of democracies of a number of issues and not just the Palestinian
issue, there's been neglect of what dictatorships have been and what they could give rise to, in particular Russia. And what we see quite clearly is
that these authoritarian regimes have no moral scruples left. Now, they're determined to resort to force. Its force which has been imposed over recent
And this is something completely new. We were all under the illusion that peace would prevail everywhere and that it was the common objective. But
no, that is no longer so. There are countries today envisaging resorting to force. So, that's the issue.
?Will democracies be strong enough, but also morally strong enough? It's not enough to be strong, it's also a moral issue to ensure that the world
will be able to solve the major global crises.
AMANPOUR: So, to me, that's a really important and difficult thing that you've just said, that we no longer as a world believe that peace is the
default option, but it's war, and you've talked about powerful nations doing that.
So, about Ukraine and Russia. It looks as if people have taken their eye off that for the moment. I don't know whether government's have but it's
not in the news, it's not being talked about. Are you worried that Putin is making hay, in other words, taking advantage of this crisis in the Middle
East, even Xi Jinping?
HOLLANDE (through translator): Putin wants to gain time across the board. Time is in his favor. I think that in Ukraine, the fact that the conflict
on the front line isn't moving, despite the Ukrainian counteroffensive means essentially that what he's doing is to wait for the U.S. elections
and hoping that if the Republicans win, and in particular Donald Trump, that the U.S. will abandon Ukraine and that the Europeans would not
mobilize quickly enough to assist it.
As for the Israeli Palestinian conflict, Putin only sees advantages in its continuing because meantime, nobody's going to reproach him for bombing
Ukrainian towns or getting more arms from either Iran or North Korea. So, we see that authoritarian regimes, Russia, China as well, are thinking
about it. Hence the meeting. between Biden and Xi Jinping.
And at any rate, Russia has every interest in these crises never being resolved. And Xi Jinping, as well as Putin, calculate that we are weak,
weak because we don't want to defend ourselves properly. And they think that we are weak from within our divisions, our societies, which are
difficult to govern, the social debates. All these sows doubt as to the solidity of democracy.
AMANPOUR: So, if you were president or if you're advising any of the NATO allies and Ukraine's friends, what would you say? Because billions of
dollars in American and European help and military assistance has gone to Ukraine. And as you say, there main general has called it a stalemate right
now. What would you do now to send Putin the message that you want to deliver?
HOLLANDE (through translator): We will continue to assist Ukraine, to supply them with more and more powerful arms until such time that Russia
eventually decides it cannot occupy a territory which is not theirs.
And if, regrettably, the U.S. were to withdraw their assistance to Ukraine, then we Europeans, with the British, should continue to increase even more
our aid to Ukraine. If we stop, we would create the precedent that force will prevail over law.
AMANPOUR: And finally, there have been marches all over the world since October 7th. Some pro-Palestinian, some pro-Israeli. Notably, this weekend
in Paris and in Washington, there were pro-Israel marches. I remember, you know, when you led a march after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, and the
world came in solidarity. If I'm not mistaken, Benjamin Netanyahu came as well to those marches.
Do you see an irrevocable antisemitism rising, Islamophobia rising? How do you analyze the public mood and what will happen in terms of keeping the
public, you know, from being so divided?
HOLLANDE (through translator): Antisemitism has deep roots in France and in Europe, and history, alas, shows us that. So, we have to always be very
vigilant as to the resurgence of racism against Jews. And of course, the Israeli Palestinian crisis has rekindled this racism against Jews, which we
thought was dead.
But there is often a section of the population which is young and urban and not necessarily Muslim, contrary to what is often assumed, although they
can be Muslim, which is eager to condemn Israel. But by condemning Israel, there is the risk of antisemitism, which is unacceptable. And this is what
happened in France, in the U.K., in the U.S., people have been attacked simply because they're Jewish. We have to react to that.
I reacted by calling for a march after the massacre at the Jewish supermarket in France and after Charlie Hebdo. And last Sunday, there was
another demonstration, and it was necessary, I thought, useful for French people to show their solidarity and fraternity with the Jewish community.
That doesn't mean to say that there hasn't also been anti-Muslim acts, racism and discrimination. We have to fight against that scourge as well,
Authoritarian regimes actually want to see this. There are no demonstrations in Russia, and I can't see any in China, either, or in Iran.
In Iran, if you demonstrate for your rights, you end up in prison if you're not actually shot. So, authoritarian regimes are hoping that through these
conflicts, we will be divided.
So, what will we have to do? We have to stand firm. Each one of our societies has to stand firm around common values and what our democracy
stands for without forgetting, of course, the Global South, because that is the other challenge. The countries of the Global South, South Africa,
Brazil, Africa, if we want a fair distribution of power in the world, should also be part of these major decisions and not forced to remain in a
kind of ambiguous situation over these global conflicts today.
AMANPOUR: President Francois Hollande, thank you very much for being with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And in 2009, during an earlier ground war in Gaza, Palestinian Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish suffered a devastating tragedy. His three daughters
were killed in an Israeli attack. He showed me what happened there. And yet, he held on to his dream of peaceful coexistence, writing a memoir
called "I Shall Not Hate."
But now, some 25 of his family members have been killed in Gaza in this new war. So, I asked Dr. Abuelaish how he's able to hold on to forgiveness in
the face of such loss.
Dr. Abuelaish, welcome to the program. We have spoken together over many, many years. The first time we met was in 2009 after your daughters, your
nieces were killed in an Israeli tank fire during the last -- or one of the last ground invasions.
You then wrote a book called "I Will Not Hate -- I Shall Not Hate." How were you able to summon that forgiveness at that time?
DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH, PHYSICIAN AND PEACE ACTIVIST: At that time, even when I wrote my book, "I Shall Not Hate," because the people were expecting
me to be afflicted with this disease called hated. And even I mentioned it, if I could know that my daughters were the last sacrifice on the road to
peace between Palestinians and Israelis, then I will accept it.
My daughters and my niece were not the last. They are just numbers. And these series are continuing until now among the tens of thousands who are
killed. That's why I don't accept it. And I feel these days, it's not with hatred, I feel angry in a positive way.
AMANPOUR: In a positive way you feel angry?
DR. ABUELAISH: Yes. I want to do more because I know the meaning of the loss. I lost my daughters. I see my daughters in every innocent human being
who is killed and the Palestinian children and the Israeli children, the innocent who are killed.
So, the only way, as a medical doctor, when there is a bleeding patient, I rush to stop the bleeding. So, my main goal now, as I said to you, I wish
to come here to celebrate this ceasefire, to save lives, to give life.
AMANPOUR: And just to point out here, when I visited you, you were a doctor living with your family in Gaza, but working across the border in
Israel at the special hospital there. You're an OBGYN. So, you had real relations, so-called, with the other side, right?
DR. ABUELAISH: Yes.
AMANPOUR: And what was that like? Because you knew the story of the other.
DR. ABUELAISH: Yes, I know the story. And that's why I lived it. I understood it. And that raised the question about ignorance. We judge each
other without knowing each other. So, it's important to know each other, to communicate with each other, not to be misinformed.
When I worked, I believed in the mission of the work I am doing that medicine is a human equalizer, stabilizer, socializer, harmonizer,
sustainizer. So, you see it, if you go to any hospital, can you differentiate between the cry of the newborn Palestinian, Israeli, English,
The cry of the newborn baby is a cry of hope, cry of life. And the newborn baby is born free, born free. And we treat all equally. Why when they leave
the hospital, we start to discriminate between them based on ethnicity, religion, color, name? It's time to learn from that.
AMANPOUR: As you know, Israel has said it will try to remove these children, somehow get them out of the danger. Whether or not it can, we're
not sure, or whether it will. They're also calling on doctors to abandon Al-Shifa and take -- just go.
And yet, we've seen in many wartime situations, whether it was the terrible floods in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, whether it's in Syria,
whether it's in Gaza, whether it's in Israel, wherever it might be, doctors have a duty of care. Would you leave if you were told to leave, even if
your life was in danger?
DR. ABUELAISH: I will never leave the place where I am coming. This is my moral responsibility, my ethical and the human responsibility. To give care
to the people who are in need. It's immoral to leave them.
AMANPOUR: You lost, I think you said, two dozen, 25 members of your extended family in this current war, not to mention, as we've mentioned,
daughters and niece in 2009.
DR. ABUELAISH: I lost them. And even now, I'm trying to get in touch with my brothers, with my sisters to talk to them, because I don't know if I
will talk to them later on or not.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, they are moving coffins, they are waiting in line for nothing they did. There are people like others. They want to
survive. They want to live. And when my nephews, nieces, where we as Palestinians, as every other parent, they invest everything to raise their
children to be great people, to be proud of them.
My brother, they raised -- and my sister, they raised their children to be educated. One of them is my is Baraa (ph), who graduated from the School of
Medicine, and she was supposed to start her residency. My niece, Israa (ph), who is architect engineering. My nephew, Ali (ph), he is a
physiotherapist. My niece, Hanan (ph), she was killed with her husband and her three sons and daughter, she named her daughter Aya after my daughter
Aya, because we carry the names. We want to keep them alive. They are children. And even my nephew's wife, she was killed while she is pregnant
with her lovely daughters.
Is this going to put an end? I say it. How much of the Palestinians blood to satisfy the thirst of revenge and anger?
AMANPOUR: What will this do? You know, you've heard probably Netanyahu and others talking about deradicalizing Gaza, destroying Hamas, whether or not
that's possible. But do you think it will create another generation of radicals?
DR. ABUELAISH: It will lead only more bloodshed, more suffering, more pain, more hatred, more violence and more extremism. And I am sure we need
rational voices to bring an end to this and to realize one thing, military means and violence will never put an end to this.
AMANPOUR: What is going to make them safe?
DR. ABUELAISH: The Israelis?
AMANPOUR: Yes, from what --
DR. ABUELAISH: Yes, of course.
AMANPOUR: -- the kind of slaughter that happened.
DR. ABUELAISH: It's good. This is a question we need to ask, what are the root? Why they don't feel safe? This is important. And to dig deeper, to
find out the root causes both sides, Palestinians and Israeli, they want to be safe. They want to be free and to end the occupation, the big elephant
inside the room.
And personally, I fully believe Palestinian safety, security, freedom, independence, equality and the future, both of them, and the Israelis are
dependent and intertwined with each other. So, no one is safe as long as the other is not. And we need to work towards that, to equalize between
them and to get rid of the obstacles which are preventing them from being equal, which are the occupation.
AMANPOUR: And you always said that when you were treating patients they could have been from Mars, but they were your patients. They weren't
Jewish. They weren't Muslim. They were patients. And you have moved to Toronto where you say you have neighbors who are Jewish.
DR. ABUELAISH: Yes.
AMANPOUR: How do you interact on a daily basis, particularly in a situation that's so difficult?
DR. ABUELAISH: I deal with them as Canadian, as neighbors, and that's important. We never brought the conflict here. This is important. Anytime
politicians, they bring and they import the conflict from there to here by their attitudes, by being biased, polarized, and complicit about what is
You see the demonstrations in London, and that's what I say, the conflict back home, it's contagious and it crosses barrier. So, we need to put an
end, putting an end in just way, all the world will benefit from it.
AMANPOUR: It is clear to me after all these years that Hamas, military or political, do not put the fate of the Palestinian people first. They put
their own fate and the struggle, whatever you might want to call it first. And I wonder how much -- you know, everybody says all Palestinians are
Hamas or all Gazans are Hamas. I wonder what you would say to that.
DR. ABUELAISH: You know, I want to be able to differentiate, not to generalize. And this is one of the problems, the propaganda they use at
Palestinian people by their nature are secular people. But the current situation in the Gaza Strip and to reduce the conflict and the situation
just in Hamas and Israel, not as a Palestinian people with an Israeli people. That's what is needed. This is the main issue. Put an end to it.
And even Hamas was elected in 2006. Since 2006 until now, we don't have election. Help us to have election, to have a free democratic election on
the all of the occupied Palestinian territories, in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and let the Palestinians decide by themselves who
can leave them. I urge -- and we want to have a new leadership that represents the whole Palestinian people.
And even what is going on back home, it's -- there is difference between Palestinian Authority and PLO. Who represents the Palestinian people
everywhere is PLO, not the Palestinian Authority. Palestinian Authority is a byproduct of Oslo Agreement, which was signed between PLO and Israel.
And even for that, PLO recognized the existence of Israel. But Israel, they didn't recognize until now the existence of the Palestinian people. And all
of the time you hear it, they say, no for 67 borders, no for East Jerusalem, no for withdrawal of the settlements, and of course, no for the
rights of the return. So, what else?
We want to live side by side based on international law and international resolutions. This is the guarantee for long-lasting harmony and life
between Palestinians and Israelis. Let us humanize for once, not to politicize for the political agenda. Those political -- to leave a legacy
in their life.
What are they going to say to their children? The Children are the future. They are the hope. We want them to live in harmony as I deliver babies at
the hospital where they can live a Palestinian side by side to Israeli. Why not? They live outside.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, thank you very much indeed.
DR. ABUELAISH: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: What a terrible situation.
And yet, what wisdom he shows born of experience and deep, deep empathy in the hardest and most difficult of times.
Now, Palestinian health authorities now say that more than 11,400 people have been killed in Gaza. The war was launched after the October 7th attack
when an estimated 1,200 people were killed by Hamas.
Now, the Israeli military has given CNN body cam footage taken from a Hamas fighter that day. Correspondent Oren Lieberman takes us through it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): An explosion before dawn on October 7th. The time is here and the attack is underway.
Allahu Akbar, God is great, they chant, as they cross the breached fence.
Go right, go right, go right, they say.
Less than two minutes later, they cross the second security fence. They are in Israel heading towards a kibbutz.
The sun is up in a day that will reshape the region has begun.
This video comes from the body cam of one of the terrorists who took part in the attack. It was obtained exclusively by CNN and the Israel Defense
For the first time, we also see video inside Hamas tunnels before the attack. It is a look into a network of tunnels, with what appeared to be
supplies stored in the darkness. Writing on the wall is in Arabic says, what's hidden is far worse.
Above ground, the gunman fired his first shots. Go on, men. Go on, men, he screams.
They stop on the way. More than a dozen militants gathered here to prepare for the next assault. One has several rocket propelled grenades on his
Minutes later, a group advances across an open field, moving towards the village of Kissufim. The gunman charges the last bit, and spots an Israeli
soldier on the ground.
Others join in celebration.
Moments later, he's more composed as he turns the camera on himself. He says his name and that he's 24 years old. He's a father. He says he killed
two Israeli soldiers, he asks god for victory and well-deserved martyr.
On motorbikes now, they keep advancing, moving together along empty Israeli roads, or nearly empty. The man tears as he sees bodies on the road. His is
not the first wave. He rounds a corner.
Here, we have seen this place before, among the first videos to come out after the attack. This is dash cam video from a car on the same road
moments earlier. The car approaches a group of militants who opened fire. The car coasts, it's driver almost certainly dead by now. It's just after
7:40 in the morning.
After a quick reload, the group approaches a military base near the kibbutz of Re'im.
For 65 minutes, since crossing the Gaza fence, they've had nearly free rein in Israel.
The gunman closes the distance with a weapon he took from an Israeli soldier, opening fire. And fire comes back.
This man's part of the attack comes to an end. The terror is just beginning.
AMANPOUR: And let's not forget the more than 240 or so hostages who were taken across, including small children.
As grief and anger cascade across Israel and Gaza, language can be weaponized to drive a further rift, spread propaganda and advance agendas.
The war of words has also become a dividing line between the International Community in its efforts to respond to the crisis, and it doesn't stop
there. From the radical speeches of Donald Trump to the extreme rhetoric of Russia, language plays an often dangerous role in politics.
Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss his new book, "The Politics of Language."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Professor Jason Stanley. Welcome back to the program.
You have a new book out called "The Politics of Language," and it is happening and dropping at a time when there is so much language to be
discussed. My first example that I want to pull up is Former President Donald Trump at a speech on Veterans Day. He said, "We pledge to you that
we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical-left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country, that lie
and steal and cheat on elections."
But tell me, when you see that, when you heard that, what went through your mind?
JASON STANLEY, AUTHOR, "THE POLITICS OF LANGUAGE" AND PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY, YALE UNIVERSITY: OK. There's a bunch of stuff to unpack in
that statement. Let's begin with vermin and move to the claim that Joe Biden is a Marxist and a communist, essentially.
So, when you speak, you attune people to certain things. So, you attune people to things in the world, in this case, rats, and you attune people to
practices, in this case, things you do with rats. But this kind of hate speech, because that's what it is, it attunes its audience to a practice of
dealing with vermin.
So, it is -- the concept of genocide is complicated in this case, because it's being applied to political opponents and not an ethnic group, but we
have to remember that the Soviet Union intervened in the definition of genocide to make sure it didn't apply to political opponents or else Stalin
would have been accused of genocide. So, this is politicized, a politicized speech, and we can't forget that.
So now the second aspect of this is the overbroad use of Marxist and communist that one is familiar from the say, from the well-known writings
of say, Hitler, where Hitler said essentially, any pro-democratic person, the social Democrats, any political opponent was a Marxist.
So, this overbroad use of Marxist was used in the 1930s by the Nazi party to incarcerate anyone accused of this charge, which meant social Democrats,
the political opponents of the conservatives and this -- and we have to remember that in the 1930s until Kristallnacht in November 1938, the people
who occupied the concentration camps were Hitler's political opponents, the pro-democracy forces, who he falsely labeled as Marxists. And, you know,
it's absurd to say that there's any kind of dramatic Marxist or communist movement in the United States today.
SREENIVASAN: What do you mean by politicidal?
STANLEY: Politicidal is targeting a class of political opponents for extermination. So, for example, in Indonesia in 1965, '66, between 500,000
and 1.2 million communist party members were murdered by the government. That was a politicide. Stalin committed politicides against many millions
of his political, what he perceived as his political opponents. So, it's targeting political opponents rather than ethnic or religious groups.
SREENIVASAN: I do want to point out something else that he said later in the same speech. He said, "The threat from outside forces is far less
sinister, dangerous, and grave than the threat from within." Our threat is from within. What sort of actions do you think -- you know, when you talk
about attuning an audience, what does it do to an audience when they hear their leader say things like that?
STANLEY: So, it cleaves the audience into his supporters and the opponents. And the opponents are being said to be so destructive, such
existential threat that nothing they say can be taken at face value, that you can't trust anything they say, because, you know, in war, you can't
trust your opponent. If your opponent is telling the truth in war, saying something in war, they're just doing it in order to deceive you.
So, the idea here is to create a friend enemy distinction. And the -- as we say in our book, the friend enemy distinction has a communicative
consequence, and that communicative consequence is you shut out the voices of your political opponents.
So, he is trying to create a wall between Democrats and him and saying to his supporters, look, this is not about discourse, this is about us versus
them. They are an existential threat to the nation. Don't talk to them, incarcerate them.
SREENIVASAN: So, in this context, your book, your new book, "The Politics of Language," you're really saying that so much of the conflicts that we
are seeing around the world today have a pretty significant component where the language used to describe them, the opponents, and the framing either,
what, is an accelerant or entrenches people onto one side? How would you describe it?
STANLEY: Well, as the philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine said, you know, everything is mixed between world and language, separating out what
language does and what world, what factuality is, is very difficult. So, there's like a feedback loop, if you will, between the speech and the
actions. And it's certainly the talking strengthens the background ideology.
The -- you know, you talk about vermin, you link it to say, in this case, a stolen election and then you do a feedback loop. So, you repeat it, you
link it to the background ideology.
Germany in the 1931, according to Claudia Kunz, the scholar of Nazism, was the least antisemitic country in Europe. If you expected a genocide, you
would have expected it, say, in France. But in Western Europe, that is.
So -- but by 1939, it's the most antisemitic country and that's because of this kind of feedback loop, this kind of repetitive linkages between vermin
and the targeted people. And then, you have to link it back as the Nazis did, they linked this back to the Jews, Jewish -- German Jews, or the world
Jewish conspiracy, supposedly betraying the Germans in World War One, which as Timothy Snyder has pointed out is like the current situation. They're
saying that these hidden Marxist forces betrayed the country by stealing the election, and we need revenge.
SREENIVASAN: So, the more immediate conflict is raging right now between Israel and Gaza. And we have seen so many different examples of language,
specific words being used with very different connotations and meaning by both sides in this. How do you make sense of something when you hear the
word genocide being used maybe in different definitions or apartheid and whether they're parallel or frankly, even the word cease fire and how
political that word has become, which prior to this would have been a fairly innocuous, let's just put down the guns for a second kind of
STANLEY: Let's begin with ceasefire. OK. So, cease, what is the expression ceasefire is trying to do? I think ceasefire tries to put a kind of
equivalence between sides. It tries to -- it suggests that there's kind of a bargaining moment. And each side thinks that the other side is like a
And so, ceasefire kind of suggests emotionally a break in hostilities of the sort that occurred in World War I where it wasn't really clear who the
right side and who the wrong side was. You know, a ceasefire with the Nazis is hard to imagine, right? So, ceasefire has the emotional effect of toning
the emotions down.
Let's move to the word genocide. This is a word fraught with historical associations. Now, I think we can talk. We can talk about the factuality of
the word genocide. In our work, we emphasize again and again that speech is more than just about factuality. Here, it's particularly horrific to accuse
Israel of genocide because the very word genocide, historically, it originates with Lemkin and it's connected to the Holocaust.
So, when you cast that against Israel, Israel's actions, whether it's factually apt or not, it carries an extra knife edge. Now, the other
direction, when Israel or various forces in Israel accuse Hamas of genocide, they're trying to connect Hamas to the Nazis. Now, Hamas is a
violent terrorist, genocidal, murderous organization that in no sense should be equated with Palestinians, but this sort of grows and this is
what you're finding the Israeli government or portions of the Israeli government saying -- they're saying, well, the allies bombed Germany into
submission, killed a lot of civilians. That's what we're doing to target Hamas because that situation is exactly like the Nazis because they tried
to commit genocide against us.
How is it that they feel OK using that term, genocide, against a very weak -- a much weaker opponent, Hamas, and the combined forces of Hamas are
strong and terrifying and a threat, but it's not like Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany was an overwhelming power that threatened the world and targeted
Jews for no reason whatsoever. There's a long history here.
So, what's happening in Gaza is not Nazi Germany. I mean, that's absurd. There's a long history here. But by saying that Hamas is perpetrating
genocide, and it's like the allied war attack invasion of Germany, they're reaching back into history to try to make these historical connections.
Again, it's not factuality, it's history.
SREENIVASAN: You know, in the wake of the horrendous attack by Hamas, just two days after, there was the defense minister of Israel, and he said, you
know, we are fighting against human animals, and we are acting accordingly. Given the context of what we've been talking about, what you've been
writing about, what went through your head when you started to hear things like that?
STANLEY: There's been too much genocidal speech on these -- on both sides, really. But that's both sidering (ph) it. In this case, Israel is the
It was horrific what Hamas did. I think it is warranted and indeed required to call Hamas a terrorist organization because their acts were terrorists.
But when you call Palestinians human animals your -- you are saying they don't have any rights. You can kill their children. You're justifying it.
You're saying you don't have to apply the laws of just war. You don't have to treat them. You can treat children as a non-human animal. You are saying
you don't have to treat them like humans. And, you know, you need to treat everyone like humans. And I think, you know, it's a simple moral dictum,
don't kill children.
SREENIVASAN: What is language that you can use when two sides think that the other ones are acting like Nazis and being genocidal?
STANLEY: Yes. It's very important to switch vocabulary in these cases when we're dealing with fraught historical associations. And other times it's
necessary to use the fraught historical vocabulary. I think it's necessary to point out that Trump is speaking like a Nazi. He's not speaking
antisematically. There's no antisemitism there, although anti-Semites will hear it that way.
But, you know, it's important to use the historical resonances. Now you're asking, when it's important to back away from the historical resonances,
from terms that are loaded, to calm things down, how do we do that?
And I think, you know, my colleagues at Yale, who work on climate change, they -- they've made advances on this problem. They go to communities in --
that tend to -- when they hear the expression, human caused climate change or climate change, they tend to think that's the opponents, that's the
people I shouldn't trust, that's vocabulary. You know, that means they're Democrats, you know, they're Democrats.
And they try to point them to actual circumstances in their communities that are actually the consequences of climate change but things that the
local community sees. We're losing sand on the beach, let's do something about that. Let's protect their shoreline. So, you switch the vocabulary up
to avoid the expressions that are connected with polarization.
And the goal of -- one goal of politics, a political strategy, is to infuse more and more words with this kind of identity. So, as soon as your
political opponent uses one of those words, in this case, climate change, people's minds shut off. So, they group people into groups and people don't
listen to the arguments. They're just like, OK, that's my opponent.
SREENIVASAN: You know, one of the examples you talk about is the phrase super predator and how successful that myth became. I mean, it was back,
what, in the '80s and Donald Trump even accused Joe Biden of using that phrase. And while there is no record of that, but there is record of, at
the time, First Lady Hillary Clinton using it.
What were the ripple effects of that? And why did that stick so much?
STANLEY: Yes. So, super predator comes from the mid-'90s, and that's important because violent crime in the United States starts dropping in
Super predator theory comes after this drop in violent crime. So, John DiIulio, it's sort of formulator sets, begins his -- I think 1995 paper,
"My Black Crime Problem, and Yours -- or Ours" with -- violent crime has been dropping, but hold the champagne -- don't pop the champagne quirks
yet. And he predicts that there's going to be a new group of people, super predators, and most of them are young black men, he says. And they can
kill, maim and rape without remorse, never explaining why they would do that if they have no emotions.
And so, he predicts that violent crime will shoot up. And of course, violent crime continued to sink so that 2010 to 2012 we're looking at the
lowest rates of violent crime and recorded in modern U.S. history. So, it was wildly wrong. But the vocabulary affected policy. In particular, it
affected policies in many states adopted laws to charge juveniles as adults.
And so, what happened -- so, there was no justification for this. The super predator thing was a myth. It was a complete myth. But like the vermin
vocabulary, it justified treating children in terrible ways. So, we know from U.S. history that this way of describing people leads to treatments
like locking kids up for sentencing to life in prison. So, we can just imagine what will happen with the contemporary vocabulary.
SREENIVASAN: Professor Jason Stanley from Yale, the author of a new book called "The Politics of Language," thanks so much.
STANLEY: Thank you so much, Hari.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It's a really important reality check for the need for precision in language.
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Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.