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Interview with "To Be a Jew Today" Author Noah Feldman; Interview with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy; Interview with Save the Children U.S. President and CEO Janti Soeripto. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 27, 2024 - 13:00:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.

Descent into depravity, an exclusive and chilling investigation into the heinous atrocities allegedly carried out by Myanmar's military junta.

And --


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I feel an immense obligation to speak and to act.


AMANPOUR: -- "To Be a Jew Today," Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman explores how war is widening the generational rift in the Jewish community.

Then --


VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: I came to believe as a kid that something was wrong with me. That's why I was lonely.


AMANPOUR: -- how to be happy, I speak to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy about smartphones, anxiety, and tackling the scourge of loneliness.

Plus --


JANTI SOERIPTO, PRESIDENT AND CEO, SAVE THE CHILDREN U.S.: These kids have seen things that no child should ever see.


AMANPOUR: -- from Gaza, Save the Children President Janti Soeripto tells Hari Srinivasan that time is running out to stop a famine.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Tonight, we start with the fallout from a brutal military coup in Myanmar, all but forgotten by the wider world, while atrocities play out in plain


Remember Aung San Suu Kyi, the embodiment of that country's struggle for democracy while she remains detained after the military overthrew her

elected government in 2021. Since then, the junta has been fighting rebels across the country headed up by the People's Defense Force or PDF.

Now, the junta recently brought in conscription and is reportedly summonsing civilians. Now, there is evidence emerging of horrific

extrajudicial killings by the junta. In a new investigation, Correspondent Anna Coren examines videos that show two rebel PDF soldiers being tortured

and killed, part of a pattern of horrific violence at the hands of the military, which it denies. Here is her exclusive report. And some of it is

very disturbing.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Walking through the flat dry scrublands of the Yor (ph) Valley in Central Myanmar, a soldier films on

his phone.

Hey, brother, raise your three fingers, he jokes. Mocking the salute symbolic of the country's resistance movement. No more three fingers, yells

one of them and laughs.

He moves on to another group of pro-junta militia resting in the shade. Revolution, he cries. It's bullshit, they respond.

Moments later, the man filming asks a soldier wearing a military junta uniform of a PDF. A reference to the opposition People's Defense Forces.

Yes, he replies. This brief exchange caught on camera is about two rebel fighters they had just captured a few hours earlier.

Before dawn, on the 7th of November last year, rebels part of the PDF staged an attack on the pro-junta militia stronghold in the village of

Myauk Khin Yan Ganggaw in Magway (ph) Division. But instead, the rebels were ambushed coming under heavy fire.

Platoon Commander Ninja says as they tried to retreat in open fields, several of his fighters were injured while others were cut off from the

group, including 21-year-old Phoe Tay and 20-year-old Tatwong (ph).

NINJA, YDF FIGHTER (through translator): He last time I saw them they were hunkering down about 50 meters away from me.

COREN (voice-over): A few hours later Ninja's platoon received a message from a villager saying two of their rebel fighters had been caught alive.

Video obtained by CNN shows the two young men bound and bloodied, relentlessly taunted by the militia. The revolution must lose PDF's dogs,

replies Phoe Tay. How many dogs have we killed? Aren't you PDF dogs? We're dogs repeats Tatwong (ph). The video then shows them being dragged on the

ground, their arms and legs hogtied in chains.


The next clip, too graphic to show in full, reveals the young men hanging in chains from the branch of a large tree over a fire, being burnt alive.

Their screams heard over cheers from the militia as the prisoners writhed in agony as flames cede their flesh.

An eyewitness to the execution told us the militia had ordered one person from each house to watch.

ZAWZAW, EYEWITNESS (through translator): When I got there, they hanged them on the tree and poured gasoline and diesel on their bodies. The rebels

were moving and screaming and said they apologized. But the militia replied, apologize in your next life.

COREN (voice-over): Cross referencing more than a dozen interviews with witnesses, villagers, resistance fighters, family members, and experts with

analysis of the video and pictures from the day using open-source techniques CNN has found evidence that the military and its allied militia

were responsible for the killings.

The junta denies the claim stating the video was fabricated. However, they do admit an attack took place that day and that its troops were stationed

in the village.

CNN spoke to both fathers who confirmed their sons had been killed. They said they encouraged their boys to join the revolution and fight, but to

die like this will haunt them forever.

MYINT ZAW, FATHER OF PHOE TAY (through translator): I got a chance to watch the video, but I could not finish it. I stopped because I knew it was

going to break my heart.

COREN (voice-over): The brutality of this execution however is not a one- off case. Since the military junta staged a coup in 2021, the level of depravity among its soldiers and aligned militia has increased in response

to the mass losses and defections it's suffering on the battlefield.

The junta's recent announcement of compulsory conscription, a clear sign it is facing enormous pressure. As fighting engulfs two-thirds of the country,

experts believe the military is using fear and intimidation to try and control a defiant population.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been able to verify over 400 burnt bodies since the coup and we've verified over a dozen instances of individual

beheadings. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

COREN (voice-over): But the burnings, beheadings, and indiscriminate artillery and airstrikes are doing anything but stamping out the


Rebel fighter Yolay (ph), who fought alongside Phoe Tay and Tatwong (ph) that fateful morning, says what happened to his friends has only

strengthened their resolve.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We won't give in to fear. We will continue this revolution until we win. Only then will it be worth it for

those who sacrificed their lives.


AMANPOUR: Anna Coren reporting there. Real brutality happening in Myanmar.

And now, it has been nearly six months since Hamas' brutal massacre in Israel and the start of Benjamin Netanyahu's brutal war on Gaza. It's a

particularly fraught time for Jews everywhere especially in America. Older generations often see the State of Israel in the long shadow of the

Holocaust, proof that a safe and secure haven for Jews is possible and indispensable.

The slaughter of 1,200 in Israel, the remaining 130 hostages, have only strengthened that belief, but as the horrors of war and starvation mount in

Gaza, with over 32,000 people now dead, many younger progressive Jews see Israel primarily through its treatment of Palestinians and the increasingly

powerful settler movement.

In his new book, legal scholar Noah Feldman, grapples with Jewish identity in the 21st century and how Jews reckon with Israel. It's called "To Be a

Jew Today." And Noah Feldman is joining us from New York. Welcome back to the program.

NOAH FELDMAN, AUTHOR, "TO BE A JEW TODAY": Thank you for having me, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Yes. So, it's -- you know, this is really a well-timed book. Obviously, you planned it way before October 7th and were well underway

before October 7th, but it is a discussion that is just so relevant right now.

So, let me first ask you what you, you know, state that October 7th actually does -- is a moment of Jews outside reckoning with Israel, and you

focus mostly on American Jews. Tell me what do you mean?

FELDMAN: You know, before October 7 it was possible to say -- and I did say in the book, that ultimately Israel has come to play a more central

role in the lives of Jews around the world in recent decades than it ever has before.


And October 7 really brought that home because it meant that whether Jews are extremely supportive of Israel, whether they're critical but also

supportive, or whether they're frankly against Israel, they're forced to, in some way, define themselves in relationship to Israel. And that's a

really remarkable development. It's not inherently the case that that's always been so.

AMANPOUR: And what about the initial motivation, inspiration for the book? What were you actually setting out to discover?

FELDMAN: I wrote the book because I knew that my kids were relatively close to going off to university and I was really struck by how much their

experience with respect to being Jewish, in the broadest sense, was going to be different today than mine was back when I was in college 30 years


And it is really very striking that the main issues that face Jews today are so different than the issues that existed at the time. They have to do

with inclusion and community. And of course, also with Israel, and Israel is viewed by many people, including Jews, in a very different way today

than it was a quarter century ago.

AMANPOUR: In what way? Tell me what? Because I've heard people say, American Jews say for instance that, you know, Israel used to be -- you

know, when it was first created, 1948, the David, it's morphed to the Goliath, and there's all these things that people are saying that the

different generations view Israel through different lenses.

FELDMAN: I think the most significant change of all of them is that 25 years ago it was very possible to be optimistic about the possibility of

there being an Israel and a Palestine living side by side. There were live peace talks that involved the most senior figures on both sides, there was

a big handshake, you know, on the White House lawn.

And in that environment, it was very easy for American Jews to think Israel aspires to be and is becoming a Jewish democratic state and it will have a

State of Palestine alongside it. And under those conditions Israel's values and the values of American progressive Jews will be perfectly aligned.

And the key here is to understand that for most American progressive Jews their Jewishness is defined in terms of the values of liberal democracy and

those go all the way back to the Bible in the sense that they focus on clothing the naked and feeding the hungry and creating and establishing

social justice.

So, if that's your Judaism then it's hard to identify with Israel if you don't think Israel matches up to those goals. If you think Israel does

match up with those goals, then there is an alignment between what you believe in Israel.

AMANPOUR: So, this obviously brings us to -- this was really exemplified in a very unusual and unprecedented way by Senator Chuck Schumer as he

declares himself the highest elected Jewish official in the United States. He is the Senate majority leader. He is an older generation American Jew. A

lover of Israel and Jews. And he yet took to a public forum in the Senate to deliver an amazing speech. And I'm going to play just a little bit of it

and we'll talk about it.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): As a lifelong supporter of Israel, it has become clear to me the Netanyahu coalition no longer fits the needs of

Israel. I believe a new election is the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about the future of Israel at a time when so

many Israelis have lost their confidence in the vision and direction of their government.


AMANPOUR: So, Noah, and you've worked, you know, with the U.S. government on other issues in the Middle East and we've talked about them. He was very

deliberately talking about the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He was not casting aspersions on any wider, you know, geographical or state

institution. He was just saying that -- and many say, that Netanyahu's policies are driving a big wedge between Israel and the United States but

also affecting Israel's standing around the world. Do you think most Jews took that message?

FELDMAN: Yes. I mean, I think there are still probably some Jews who think Israel is in war and why is Schumer criticizing. But I think Schumer really

did speak for what he called the silent majority of American Jews, the overwhelming number of whom are Democrats, who still care about Israel, in

many cases, really love Israel, but who really want Israel to behave in a humane way and Israel to be governed in a democratic way.


And are extraordinarily upset, not just by Netanyahu and his policies, but also by his coalition government which includes fringe figures or

previously fringe figures who are now in important cabinet positions who have really, really overtly terrible views on questions of Jewish supremacy

over Palestinians, on questions of expelling Palestinians from their traditional places of living, many, many policies that are flatly rejected

by the United States. And it's important to say rejected by many, many Israelis. And that's what Schumer is pointing to.

AMANPOUR: I'm glad you said that because the polls for the current Israeli government inside Israel are at rock bottom right now. And that call for

election, while it might have been, you know, unprecedented maybe, is certainly echoed by former Israeli prime ministers who started those calls.

Ehud Barak wrote a very pointed article in an American publication.

But what I want to ask you is about the extremists. First of all, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, part of what keeps Netanyahu in power.

He said this in a recent interview talking -- you know, talking about this language. Presently, Biden prefers the line of Rashida Tlaib and Sinwar to

the line of Benjamin Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir.

I mean, you know, how do you even -- that is just -- how do you read that? I mean, he's talking about an elected congresswoman and a terrorist

basically who was responsible for slaughtering 1,200 Israelis.

FELDMAN: Ben-Gvir, you know, he exists in a reality distortion field of nationalist Jewish supremacist ideology and a kind of milieu of messianism

that believes somehow that no matter how confrontational Israel becomes with its neighbors and no matter how difficult Israel's international

security position becomes, divine intervention will somehow save it.

And, you know, that is morally wrong and it's also pragmatically extremely foolish. And so, he's misrepresenting, you know, pretty much everybody

across the line there, except perhaps the Hamas leadership. And that's characteristic of how he does politics.

And look, his presence in the Israeli government is a disaster for Israel. And it's a moral disaster as well as a practical one. And that's the kind

of thing that Schumer is, I think, talking about. And it's also the kind of thing that undermines support for Israel among American Jews, among

progressive American Jews, not just in the International Community, but right here in the United States, where I'm speaking from.

And that's why it's so important for American Jews to remember that there's an affirmative reason for them to be connected to their Jewishness. Not

only is it important for them to combat antisemitism and to support Israel if that's core to their beliefs, but also that there are deep personal,

spiritual, and familial reasons for connection to Jewishness that will sustain belief and sustain commitment, even when the politics is very fast


AMANPOUR: Now, as you know, the current Israeli government blames antisemitism or describes it, lumps it into antisemitism, any complaint

about the government, any criticism about this particular government's war aims and conduct.

Do you agree with Senator Schumer when he said that Netanyahu is "allowing his political survival," along with -- you know, propped up by Ben-Gvir and

his likes, "allowing his political survival to take precedence over the best interests of Israel"?

FELDMAN: Certainly, as I understand the best interests of Israel. Look, Israel is an independent country, but it needs the support of the United

States, it needs the global support of the United States because it lives in a very difficult region. And in fact, the U.S. has strongly supported

Israel in the aftermath of October 7, in particular trying to avoid a war between Iran and Israel.

And so, given that geopolitical fact -- that geopolitical reality, that geopolitical fact, Schumer is certainly correct that if Netanyahu's

policies continue to drive support away from Israel in the United States broadly and among progressive American Jews, that represents a genuine,

even an existential threat to Israel in the long run. And Schumer is speaking as a long and committed friend of Israel when he makes this point.

AMANPOUR: Both Ehud Barak and Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and other Israeli officials, former have told me since October 7th that one of

the key platforms and realities of Israeli security that the Israeli people believe is their close relationship to the United States.

So, I don't even understand politically why Netanyahu -- or what do you think is the political reason for Netanyahu's thumbing his nose constantly

at the Biden administration now?


FELDMAN: Well, I think Netanyahu has a calculus, which has worked for him in the past that he can rely on broad-based U.S. support because of broad-

based American Jewish support of Israel no matter how far he pushes the policy envelope and he can also hope to get Donald Trump back in office,

who was probably -- you can't be sure ever with Donald Trump, but probably would be more tolerant of what he's doing. Although again, I think that's

unclear, Trump is pretty volatile and that might not actually turn out to be correct.

But I think Netanyahu thinks, I've gotten away with it in the past and I'll get away with it now. And what Schumer is saying and what the Biden

administration is saying to him is that you've misread the reality of politics in the United States. And if you continue the war in Gaza in the

way that you are doing it, you're going to continue to alienate even moderate democratic Jewish supporters of Israel.

And that, in a generational sense, can't be reversed, because Israel needs in the long run broad support, bipartisan support in the United States for

its continued safety. And that can be squandered. And I think that's the central message, and I think it needs to be heard loud and clear in Israel.

And again, I think it's crucial to understand that the reason for this is that progressive American Jews are progressive because of their Jewishness,

their progressive politics they experience as a result of, a direct result of their deep, personal, familial, and spiritual commitments.

And so, if those come into conflict with support of Israel, those deeper spiritual commitments will prevail. And so, support of Israel isn't an

absolute fact for all American Jews. What matters more fundamentally is, as Schumer himself said, the Jewish value of repairing the world of tikkun

olam, which most American Jews identify with a commitment to social justice.

AMANPOUR: So, as you mentioned, social justice, progressive American Jews, but they're also a big cohort of -- or a significant cohort of conservative

American Jews. And Former President Trump, who you mentioned, is jumping on this bandwagon now, basically saying there are good Jews and bad Jews. I

mean, he said it. Here's what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their

religion. They hate everything about Israel and they should be ashamed of themselves because Israel will be destroyed.


AMANPOUR: I mean, what does one meant to think about that?

FELDMAN: I mean, that's repugnant in my view. I mean, first it's repugnant because it's not the business of Donald Trump or anybody else to tell

American Jews what they must believe as Jews. That's for them to figure out. It's also, you know, blatantly opportunistic in a kind of way that I

think is really very transparent. So, it's pretty bad business on both of those fronts.

I would add though that for American Jews their political values, as I was saying, are intertwined with their religious commitments. And so, they

don't think -- many American Jews don't think Israel, no matter what, Israel right or wrong. They want Israel to conform to its own declaration

of independence, which demands that it be both Jewish and democratic. And if Israel doesn't do that, they want to hold it to account. And they want

to make sure that Israel is a liberal democracy with equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel and alongside a Palestinian State where

Palestinians will be able to live normal decent lives like any other person has a fundamental human right to do.

And so, from that perspective, Trump couldn't be more wrong in saying that American Jews have to support him or have to support the Republican Party.

And to say that Jews somehow hate their own religion unless they support Donald Trump is a kind of distortion that if it were anybody other than

Donald Trump saying, you would just say, oh, my goodness, this person is off the rocker and no one will take them seriously because it's Donald

Trump. He might be off his rocker, but we have to take it seriously.

AMANPOUR: And very, very, very, very, very briefly, we talk about the two- state solution and what progressive Americans and many others around the world want. It seems now that -- at least the United States and all its

allies are really putting that front and center. Do you think it'll have a chance on the so-called day after?

FELDMAN: It has a chance. And the main reason it has a chance to my mind is that Saudi Arabia clearly wants -- even after October 7, even after

Gaza, really wants normalization with Israel and will insist for that to happen on real steps being taken towards the emergence of a genuine

Palestinian State.

And that means there's practical geopolitical interest that is very, very powerful that will be supported by many in Israel and by the government of

the United States.

AMANPOUR: All right. Noah Feldman, thank you so much. "To Be a Jew Today" is your latest book. Thank you.

And now, it has never been easier to connect with other people on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and more. So, why are we all so lonely? Vivek Murthy,

the U.S. surgeon general, knows this struggle personally, grappling with his own sadness as a child and even during a lull between jobs. Murthy says

that addictive smartphones are to blame for rising anxiety, and he wants lawmakers to do more about it as he told me when he came here to London

recently on a visit to exchange views with government officials and academics.


AMANPOUR: Surgeon General, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: You are in England. I mean, perhaps people would be surprised to know that you're here for a happiness summit. In fact, we're talking on

International Happiness Day. Why? What is the problem with the deficit of happiness?

MURTHY: Well, the problem is that, you know, if people -- happiness is intrinsically linked to health. You know, when we are not feeling happy,

when we're not feeling fulfilled in our lives, it affects how we show up at work, at school, in our communities, but it also, ultimately, has an impact

on our physical health.

We've now learned over the years that there's a strong connection between our mind and our body, how we feel and how we are. And the more we've

learned about that, we've learned, for example, that issues like loneliness and isolation have tremendous effects and increasing the risk for both

depression and anxiety but also for heart disease, for dementia, and for premature death.

AMANPOUR: I know that you're a Yorkshire boy. In other words, you are a Yorkshire lad, let's say.


AMANPOUR: Are you surprised that this country, I mean, you know, pretty close to top of the tables in the OECD nations, is the second most unhappy

depressed country in the world only Uzbekistan has it worse. Are you surprised?

MURTHY: Well, I'm deeply concerned. But I think one of the key lessons from this is that economic prosperity alone is not the key to happiness.

And in fact, what we are seeing is that in many countries, which are increasingly modernizing in terms of their economy, their culture, et

cetera, we're actually seeing that unhappiness is growing and I think that's coming for a few different reasons.

One of them is because we are actually pulling further and further apart from one another with the benefits and efficiencies of modern technology

and ways of life, we actually have fewer friends that we trust, we have fewer relationships that we can rely on, and that is a direct impact on our

happiness and well-being.

The other challenge though is I think technology has been a mixed blessing for us, and I think particularly when it comes to young people, the impact

of social media on their mental health has often been quite negative, which is why last year I issued a surgeon general's advisory on social media and

Youth Mental Health to point out the fact that when young people are using social media, as they often are for more than three hours a day, they

double their risk of anxiety and depression symptoms.

AMANPOUR: You have, in fact, gone even further comparing social media and the tech companies to 20th century car giants, which have produced vehicles

without seatbelts and airbags until legislation mandated it. What's happening in social media is the equivalent of having children in cars that

have no safety features and driving on roads with no speed limits, no traffic lights, no rules whatsoever, and we're telling them, you know what,

do your best. Figure it out. It's insane.

MURTHY: Yes, that is what we've done to our children. We've put them in unsafe, untenable environments, and we're hoping for the best. And you

know, who else we've placed a burden on, our parents.

Parents all across the world are trying to figure out how to manage social media for their kids. These platforms are rapidly evolving. Many parents

never grew up with them. And what they are finding is that their kids are often exposed to extraordinary harms, whether that's violence and sexual

content, whether it's content generated by the algorithm that in some cases tells them to harm themselves.

And the experience itself, many young people tell me, has led them to often feel worse about themselves and about their friendships. Yet, they feel

they can't get off of it because the features that are built in are meant to maximize how much time we all spend on them. And that is a profound

source of concern for me as a doctor as I watch the profound and disturbing health effects on our kids.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you a personal question?


AMANPOUR: Did you have personal experience as a child with any kind of loneliness that informs your -- you know, your zeal for this?

MURTHY: I did, Christiane. I struggled a lot with loneliness as a child. I was shy. I was introverted. I didn't have a lot of people who were from

similar cultural backgrounds or, you know, immigrant backgrounds. And I ended up feeling quite different and left out a lot. And that was really


But what was particularly hard for me, Christiane, was a shame that came with that. I came to believe as a kid that something was wrong with me.

That's why I was lonely. Something was broken. Maybe I wasn't likable. Maybe I wasn't lovable. And even though my parents loved me

unconditionally, Christiane, I never told them about these struggles because I felt ashamed.

I have felt this as an adult at times, too, these struggles with loneliness. After my first stint as surgeon general, in fact, I was left

without a work community. I had largely neglected my friends and family as I allowed myself to get inundated with my work. And I bore the consequence

of that later when I felt profoundly alone and lost.

And I think a lot of people go through these struggles. We don't talk about them often, but they're deep. They're profound and they're part of the

human experience.

If you experience loneliness from time to time, that's one thing. If you reconnect with people, that loneliness goes away. It's when it's prolonged,

when it's deep, that's when it starts to have impacts on our health and well-being. And if we can just talk more openly about this, if we can

recognize the power of showing up in each other's lives or checking on friends, of putting 10-minute society today to reach out to people we care

about, we make a big difference in how connected we are.


AMANPOUR: That's one aspect of the loneliness, the other aspect, as you've said, is the social media. And you, I was staggered to read that you had

gone to several universities in the United States, and where there should be chatter and connection, there was total silence.

MURTHY: Yes, this is one of the most striking things on the university tour that I did in the Unites States, was just the volume on the campuses

and in the dining halls was much lower. I remember when I was in university, the loudest place on campus was actually the dining hall. We

would all finish our classes, come there, and everyone wanted to talk, talk, talk and catch up.

But not only is it quieter there because people aren't talking, they're on their devices, but so many students came up to me and said, how are we

supposed to build connection with one another when the culture isn't to engage people in conversation?

AMANPOUR: They asked you, how are we're supposed to even meet people and have conversation?

MURTHY: That's right, because it feels intrusive, they would say, to approach somebody when they've got their earbuds in, when their looking at

their phone. And the harder -- the less you do it, the harder it gets, because our social muscle has to be built over time. If we don't exercise

it, meaning if we don't interact with other people, start conversations, engage in person, that muscle becomes weaker and in-person interaction

becomes harder and harder. And that's what we're seeing with our kids.

AMANPOUR: And so, of course, now everybody thinks A.I. is going to be the replacement, you know, for romance. Not just dating apps, but actual robots

and things. What's your view on that?

MURTHY: So, I think it can be tempting and easy to look at A.I. as a panacea for all ills, and it might be easier and more convenient to turn to

a chatbot than to go out and build a relationship. But these are fundamentally different. There is no replacement for in-person human


It's how we were evolved over thousands of years. We were wired -- hardwired, to connect with one another, and we've got to intentionally

build that back into our life now because it is slipping away.

AMANPOUR: Now, let's talk about disease and what keeps you up at night. For instance, the explosion of measles. Apparently, there are 36 states in

the United States which are not vaccinated to the herd immunity level.

MURTHY: This is very, very worrisome, and it should be worrisome to everyone because this is about measles but it's actually even bigger than

measles. This is the fact that we have, over years, developed powerful vaccines that can protect us, that could save lives.

And in the case of measles alone, we have saved globally nearly 58 million lives in last 20 years because of the measles vaccine. Yet, despite these

being available, we are seeing, in some cases, vaccine hesitancy grows, we're seeing that not as many people are getting these vaccines. Most

people still are, but the fact that not enough people are means that we are starting to see these outbreaks of measles. Measles should be --

AMANPOUR: And people are dying.

MURTHY: And people who are dying. Measles is a deadly disease. And it's also important to know that measles is one of the most contagious diseases

that we know of. If you are not vaccinated, for example, and you're exposed to measles, there's a 90 percent chance that you will contract that

disease, which is profound.

But I think that what we have to do is recognize that a lot of this misinformation is spreading online. It's spreading a of it on social media

platforms. And I think we all have to recognize that we have a role to play when it comes to addressing the flow of that misinformation.

If you're in public life, whether you are in government, whether an entertainer, a musician, anybody who has a public reputation, what you say

is often heard by a lot of people. We have to be thoughtful and cautious about not just taking something we hear online and spreading it everywhere.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about reproductive rights, because there has been a massive backlash in the United States to the Supreme Court reversing Roe

v. Wade and other things that other states have tried to do to prevent women from having the choice to determine their own reproductive care and

futures. How does this affect the surgeon general's remit?

MURTHY: We've seen that with reproductive rights. When you restrict people's access to reproductive services, it actually does lead to unsafe

procedures and to worse health outcomes.

So, the bottom line here, and I come at this first and foremost as a doctor, is that we've got to give people freedom to make their decisions.

We've got to support them in having access to good health care. And this is where the restrictions on reproductive health become highly problematic.

And it's not just bad for patients, but I will also say it has put many health care providers in impossible situations of knowing what their

patient needs, but in some cases, being unable to deliver it because of restrictions in the law.

AMANPOUR: To bring this back in a way to social media that you are very concerned about. Social media algorithms amplify misogynistic content,

again, all about women. Podcaster and business professor at NYU Scott Galloway has said, you know, there is a really dangerous phenomenon, we do

not want young, lonely, depressed males, you know, in society, which is what social media is also enhancing, plus all those incels, you know, women

hating incels, all of this also is on social media.


MURTHY: Well, when it comes to the algorithms, I do think that they are highly problematic. I think that they tend to amplify content that has, as

I think of it, a high emotional valence. That means that content that's going to stoke our emotions.

If you want to draw people's attention in, psychology will tell you that the best way to do that is to stoke anxiety, fear, and anger. There are so

many parents, Christiane, that I have met all across the United States who have told me that when their child was in a moment of emotional distress,

they broke up with a girlfriend or a boyfriend or they had a major disappointment in life, that at those times they have sometimes turned to

social media for help, and that the algorithm has often served up content that in fact amplifies their sadness.

In too many cases, parents have told me that in those settings, the algorithm brought content to their child that not only suggested that they

take their own life, but actually walked them through how to do that, and in many cases, their child did end up losing their life. These are

unconscionable circumstances and situations that should not be allowed.

AMANPOUR: Well, you have certainly taken the bull by the horns and you're calling for regulation and warning about these consequences, something all

of us can relate to. Vivek Murthy, thank you very much for being with us.

MURTHY: Thanks so much, Christiane. Good to be with you.


AMANPOUR: And indeed, we can all relate to that. And more now on the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. A senior U.S. defense official says that

there has been a "significant increase in the amount of aid flowing into the enclave," with an average of 200 trucks entering a day, almost double

what it was in February.

But, as at least 12 people drowned off the coast of Northern Gaza while trying to receive aid-drop parcels that had fallen into the sea on Monday,

obviously the situation is clearly still desperate.

Janti Soeripto, the head of Save the Children U.S., tells Hari Sreenivasan now what it's like where she is in Rafah.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Janti Soeripto, thanks so much for joining us. You are in Rafah right now. For people who've just

been watching this through their TVs, give us an idea of what you've walked through today, what you've seen.

JANTI SOERIPTO, PRESIDENT AND CEO, SAVE THE CHILDREN U.S.: Thank you, Hari, for having me. Look, what I've walked through today was essentially

what we've also seen on our television screens, but there's nothing like being sort of up close and personal and viscerally seeing it here.

I mean, in Rafah, there are literally people everywhere. There are tents everywhere. There are children everywhere running around, many of them

without shoes on. Some are playing, some are trying to find food, some are just, you know, running around as children do, but it is an unbelievable

sight to have so many people in such a small space together.

It is difficult to literally make our way through by car. It's certainly difficult for aid organizations to get their supplies through if you're

driving trucks. And it is just a massive scene of essentially people in humanitarian need.

SREENIVASAN: So, what is the infrastructure there? Is it straining under the wake of all of these people? I mean, is there power or water or light

and how are people getting food?

SOERIPTO: All of the above. So, massive, of course, lack of clean drinking water, which is, of course, one of the biggest issues, particularly in

terms of health and disease. I saw many kids today with rashes. There's lots of coughing, respiratory diseases. There's kids presenting with

hepatitis, diarrhea, et cetera. So, you see kids who are really undernourished, malnourished. There's not enough food.

You know, the IPC numbers that came out last week were shocking and record- breaking in the worst sense of the word. Those numbers have not been recorded ever anywhere to that extent.

Essentially, everybody in Gaza currently is skipping meals. And in particular, of course, mothers will skip meals and mothers always eat last

because they are trying to save some of the food for their children.

SREENIVASAN: So, you know, you're starting to talk a little bit about those choices. What are the choices that families are having to make now to

keep their kids fed?

SOERIPTO: So, they're skipping meals. You know, you also hear horrific stories about the choices that doctors have to make. I was talking to a few

doctors earlier today in one of the field hospitals. And, you know, they see -- they have babies in incubators three to four at a time, because

there's not enough space for them.


Doctors have to make really difficult choices to say, which baby shall we save and which one are we sending home, knowing that the baby will die.

180 babies are born per day in Gaza. There's not enough -- of course many of them are prematurely born as well because mothers are in distress, are

undernourished. So, that happens more often. And a lot of their babies get sent home to die.

Mothers forgoing food to save them for their children. They're spending hours and hours to find a way to go to the bathroom, because there's only

one bathroom for roughly 800 to a thousand people. They have to find wood in order to find something to cook with, if they are lucky enough to

actually find some ingredients. So, that is, you know, daily life in Gaza at this point in county.

SREENIVASAN: Janti, what do the children say to the aid workers that they see?

SOERIPTO: They -- look, kids always want to be children. I saw, you know, amazing bunch of kids today. On the one, they want someone to choose,

because they had none and it was still pretty cold. They were -- literally, we were standing on this road outside. They had no shoes. So, someone

choose -- somewhat -- all of them want food or water.

And they are also missing school, right. And that is sometimes seen as sort of a secondary priority, which in our mind it is not, because education is

also a fantastic intervention to help children process trauma. It is, in a way, also a mental health intervention.

I was talking to this mom earlier today and she said to me -- and it was really striking. She said to me, I need mental health support more than I

need food. And she said that in a context where essentially everybody is hungry, starvation is already happening, particularly in the north, and yet

she still said she felt that she needed mental health support more.

SREENIVASAN: Now, I see the definition of famine by the integrated food security phase classification, the IPC, as at least 20 percent of

households are facing a lack of food. Would you say that's there?


SREENIVASAN: OK. 30 percent of children are suffering from malnutrition. Were -- did three out of 10 of the kids that you saw today, did they look



SREENIVASAN: And then, at least two people per 10,000 are dying each day from starvation or disease. That's a harder number to quantify. But what do

you hear from the health officials that are working on the ground?

SOERIPTO: Yes, that is a hard one to quantify because tracking of the data is hard here currently. How people classify deaths, are they, you know,

trauma-related, non-trauma-related? So, that one is a harder one to crack.

If you look -- if you really read that IPC report carefully, and I've read all 44 pages of it, there is a -- you know, they -- it's a really

technical, you know, well-established, well-experienced format and mechanism.


SOERIPTO: They've been very conservative, I would say, in how they phrase it. So, all kinds of caveats about, you know, the difficulty of actually

confirming the data, you know, in person. But they say there's a reasonable -- you know, there's a very reasonable evidence that famine is occurring.

So, I think that that is a very strong statement. It's also -- you know, the kids I saw today were in the south and we know that the situation in

the north is still much, much worse because they've had much less aid come through there.

SREENIVASAN: My question, I guess, is even if we cross those thresholds into the state of famine, does that change anything?

SOERIPTO: No. So, from our point of view, we need to respond now and get much, much more aid in, start malnutrition treatment for children now,

because no matter when this threshold, this technical threshold is crossed, as you say, it doesn't matter, they're starving now, you have to start now.

People will still die in a few weeks' time, even if you start now, because for some it will be too late.

SREENIVASAN: What are the longer-term challenges that happen after something like this? I mean, I want to hope, like everybody else, that the

actual immediate conflict subsides. But when you look around at these kids who -- you know, some of them who have physical injuries and rashes from

close quarters and unhygienic conditions to the ones who have not had school and the ones -- as you said, the mom who was asking for mental

health, what are the kind of structural and longer-term problems that arise when you have this kind of massive displacement and internal migration and


SOERIPTO: Yes, look, these kids have seen things that no child should ever see. And it's not just -- you know, the numbers the numbers here are so

staggering, right? This is a million children. 13,000 kids have died. Many thousands more have life-changing injuries.


I was really shocked by the fact that over a thousand kids are reported to have lost one or two limbs. When I speak to doctors about that, you know,

that in and of itself is life-changing injury. It's often, you know, difficult to treat it appropriately, et cetera.

So, we see that. We see the mental health impact. We see, you know, kids who are malnourished, particularly very young children under the age of

two, that has a lifetime impact on their mental development and their physical development as well.

So, it will take an enormous amount of, you know, manpower funding to clear the streets of rubble, the amount of rubble that's over here. And the north

is, according to report, much, much worse. Get the rubble out of the way, rebuild, rebuild the schools, rebuild the water infrastructure, rebuild

homes. It will take many, many years.

And at the same time, we also need to rebuild this civilian population, particularly the younger ones, to help them recover from trauma, to process

it, to catch up their lives, their -- yes, their education and their way of interacting.

SREENIVASAN: The report last week said that even in Northern Gaza there is an opportunity here to try and stop famine from spreading if we can try to

get water and nutrition products, medicines, health, sanitation there.

I'm wondering, seeing what you've seen, is it possible to stand up that infrastructure fast enough before this gets worse?

SOERIPTO: Yes. If everybody makes the right choices, absolutely. There is a road. There are various roads into the north of Gaza. We need to flood

the north of Gaza with food, with water, with basic necessities.

There are thousands of trucks waiting, just literally 20 kilometers down the road here that can go in and actually make those deliveries into

Northern Gaza. There are community leaders there who can help with the distribution. So, it is absolutely possible to get that level of supplies

in that are needed to make the best effort to stave off famine and starvation.

SREENIVASAN: Is there a coordinated coalition? Are you working with different agencies, different governments to try to get food in?

SOERIPTO: Yes. I mean, there is coordination here. We -- actually, I met some of them this morning, U.N. agencies, the World Food Programme, U.N.

OCHA, and there is a real effort from everybody to share information, to share supplies, to help each other out, to combine trucks and supplies, to

combine, you know, wreckies (ph) into the north so that it's safer, people go together.

So, there is a real -- you know, there is a collaboration. There's also sometimes a scramble for that information because it is very unpredictable.

The level of violence and bombing is still unpredictable, notwithstanding the resolution. So, there is coordination, but it is still unbelievably


We would like to see 40 trucks per day go into the north of Gaza. We were super happy earlier this week to find out that we got seven trucks in. So,

that gives you a sense of the gap that still exists if we really want to stave of famine.

SREENIVASAN: In a recent joint letter by NGOs, you said, it's our experience that the humanitarian response in Gaza, including U.S.-funded

humanitarian assistance, has been consistently and arbitrarily denied, restricted, and impeded by the Israeli authorities.

And I'm wondering, this group of organizations, yourself included, do you think that that effort to impede aid is intentional?

SOERIPTO: Well, I think the outcomes are certainly known, right? So, if people know what the outcome are of having 50 trucks come into Gaza instead

of the 500 that there were before, of having only 30 percent of required authorizations of getting aid into the north come through, if -- you know,

if those -- if -- now, even with the U.N. resolution on the table, the bombs are still not silent, you know, that is certainly, you know, not

trying to mitigate loss of civilian lives, as is evidenced by the fact that more children have died over the last six months than in all conflicts

combined every year for the past five years.

SREENIVASAN: When you look at the kind of need, is the International Aid Community geared up to be able to tackle this scale of a problem this fast?


SOERIPTO: If there's a ceasefire, and it is possible to do more things in a safe and secure manner, I think the humanitarian community plus the

commercial sector could actually step up to that challenge and get stuff in.

As I said, there are thousands of trucks even waiting now as we speak that could come in, that are ready, and have food and hygiene kits and shelters

and incubators and generators and whatever else a hospital needs to actually operate, or what a desalination plan needs in order to be rebuilt

so that actually clean water can start to flow again.

So, all of those things are actually not rocket science at all. And that supply chain is there. We can do it via Egypt, we can it by Jordan, and we

do via Cyprus. And I think that is what the International Community combined with the phenomenal local departments on the ground can actually

do when we're allowed to do it.

SREENIVASAN: You know, just two days ago, Save the Children, along with other organizations, put out a release saying that there is a continued

closure of vital border crossings. There is still a denial of movement requests within Gaza. There have been repeated attacks on aid workers,

convoys, and distributions, and even humanitarian sites that have been submitted to Israeli authorities as part of deconfliction.

Are you still seeing that aid workers are in danger when they are trying to get food and supplies into Rafah or Gaza?

SOERIPTO: Absolutely, absolutely. We hear that all the time, not just from our own staff, but also from other agencies and partners, our local

partners that are still operating in the north as well as south, that deconfliction mechanism is still not working enough and not predictably so.

So, yes, coordinates are given, they are confirmed, and then still, sometimes attacks do happen on convoys, on offices, on warehouses, on

hospitals, clearly. And that makes -- you know, and at that level of complexity in the operation, how to get the trucks up to the north, how to

get the number of drivers who can drive the trucks authorized to go up to the north and then to make sure that you do not get attacked while doing

it, while delivering that aid, that all makes this operation incredibly complicated and dangerous.

SREENIVASAN: You've laid out the need and then there's still a gap between that and what might be a political reality or a tactical reality. Prime

Minister Netanyahu says that there are plans, they may be imminent, to try to, you know, push into Rafah. What would a full-scale invasion of that

area do to the place that you walk through today?

SOERIPTO: Well, I've been saying for, you know, a number of weeks now that every time I get asked this question that it can't get any worse, and every

week I have been proven wrong. Every week it's gotten worse. And it would be an absolutely unmitigated disaster.

There's 1.4 million people now in Rafah, a town where there were 200,000 before. So, it is completely overrun already. There is no reasonable, I

think, or adequate plan you can do for mass evacuation of that many people. And by the way, where are they going to go? They can't cross the border.

They can't run into the sea. They cannot really go back up north because it has completely destroyed, and there's lots of unexploded orders (ph) there.

So, they're stuck here. There is no realistic evacuation plan. So, a mass incursion into Rafah would be a massacre.

SREENIVASAN: What do people there and what do children there need the most right now?

SOERIPTO: They need peace. They needed a ceasefire. They need bombs to stop falling. They need the shelling to start so that everybody can take a

deep breath and then humanitarian workers and the commercial sector can start to really flood Gaza with the necessary supplies, humanitarian

supplies, commercial supplies so that we can rebuild lives, treat people adequately, have people supported in their mental health and psychosocial

needs, get children back into school, restart hospitals, desalination plants, essentially rebuild Gazan.

SREENIVASAN: Janti Soeripto of Save the Children, thank you so much for joining us.

SOERIPTO: Thank you for having me, Hari.


AMANPOUR: And finally, homage to a story beloved by children and their parents all over the world, Laurent de Brunhoff who wrote dozens of "Babar

the Elephant books," died recently at 98. The idea for the globe-trotting, green-suited elephant was dreamed up by his mother as a bedtime story. His

father, Jean, sketched the elephant and published the first Babar book in 1931.


When he was 21 after his father died, Laurent took up the torch, selling millions of copies worldwide in 18 languages and adapted into TV series and

films. But while Babar's fandom reached far and wide, from Charles de Gaulle to Maurice Sendak, some couldn't ignore the actual elephant in the

room. A few books were accused of including sexism, colonialism, and racism. And after Toni Morrison complained, de Brunhoff demanded the

offending book be taken out of print.

When asked what his utopian elephant world signified, he said that if there was one consistent message, it was non-violence.

That's it for now. Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.