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At This Hour
New Clashes in Jerusalem Just Hours After Ceasefire Takes Hold; ADL: Rise in Anti-Semitic Attacks in U.S. Amid Mideast Conflict; Family of Ronald Greene Demands Justice After Seeing Arrest Video. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired May 21, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
Here are the top things we are watching AT THIS HOUR:
Clashes breaking out in Jerusalem again as a fragile cease-fire takes hold in the Middle East.
While here in America, a new wave of brazen anti-Semitic attacks.
Demanding justice. The family of Ronald Greene speaks out. His sister joins us today.
And Prince Harry's candid new interview about drugs and alcohol he used to numb the pain of his mother's death and who he and his brother now blame for Princess Diana's suffering.
Thank you so much for being here.
AT THIS HOUR, a fragile cease-fire holds. But for how long?
This morning, there are new clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in Jerusalem.
We're showing you this video of police firing rubber bullets and stun grenades in response to what they say was a riot. This is just today. More than a dozen people reportedly injured.
This comes just hours after a cease-fire set in, pausing the most intense conflict between Israel and Hamas in years. But not before more than 200 people were killed, most of them Palestinians, leaving Israeli and Palestinians further apart than ever.
This morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the 11- day conflict with Hamas an exceptional success, the operation that the IDF put against Hamas there.
CNN's Nic Robertson, he's joining me now for more on where things stand in this moment live near the Israel/Gaza border.
Nic, what are you seeing there? NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Kate, if there
was going to be a flashpoint to re-ignite the conflict, it would have been that we saw in Jerusalem today, the confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli police and border police in the Al Aqsa, on the Haram Al-Sharif, on the Temple Mount. Very sacred site.
And this has been essentially Hamas's warning to Israeli authorities to stay their hand in that particular area. But Hamas supporters today in Jerusalem were celebrating what they feel they've achieved during the past 11 days of conflict. It really does seem as if Hamas looks at that today and is not going to re-ignite the conflict. That's how it looks at this moment.
And looking where I am standing here just outside the border with Gaza, these artillery pieces and infantry vehicles were on the hills deployed just yesterday, artillery pointing toward Gaza. It is not now. They are parked and ready to leave this field here with their ammunition all packed up at the moment.
So, what I'm finding from talking to Israeli citizens close to here is concern that their government they feel signed this cease-fire too soon. They still feel unsafe. They think it would have been better if the government had continued its military attacks on Hamas because that is the only way they think they have security in the short and medium term.
The reality is there is a cease-fire in Gaza but the underlying problems, land rights issues that underpin so much of what goes on here, those are not being addressed at the moment. Maybe in the future but not right now, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Right. Nic, thank you for your reporting.
Joining me for more is Martin Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel, former Mideast peace envoy in the Obama administration.
Ambassador, thank you for being here.
We are already seeing and showing folks new clashes in Jerusalem today. Gaza from new video we also have from this morning is in shambles. If the cease-fire holds, what was gained? What was lost?
MARTIN INDYK, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: Look, good morning, Kate. Thank you for having me.
I think that the flash point shows you how fragile things are. In terms of what was gained what you have now is both sides trying to spin the record for their own purposes. Netanyahu has reported a great victory achieved here.
And Hamas is saying almost the same things on their airwaves to the Arab world that they were the sort of -- that they put Israelis into shelters, half of Israel's population, they disrupted commercial airline traffic, and ignited conflict between Jews and Arabs within Israel. So, both sides are going to claim victory. But in terms of what was
gained, I would say in terms of anything that's changed, we are going back I think to the status quo ante.
Both sides will start to rebuild, maybe we'll have five years of quiet like last time but the same equation of quiet for quiet and nothing else seems to be all that we'll end up with as a result of this conflict.
BOLDUAN: Yeah. Last night, President Biden, he pledged to work with the United Nation and allies to help rebuild Gaza.
Let me play for you what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will do this in full partnership with the Palestinian authority not Hamas, the authority, in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: It is important and an important statement to be made but I am left wondering how does the Biden administration do that, ambassador? What will be different this time?
INDYK: Beats the hell out of me. Hamas controls Gaza. The Palestinian Authority is its rival. And while it is a good idea in principle, to try to reintroduce the Palestinian Authority's control in Gaza, because it is committed to negotiating peace with Israel whereas Hamas is determined to eliminate Israel one way or the other, nevertheless as long as Hamas controls Gaza and nothing was done during this conflict to shake that control in any way, it's difficult to see how the Palestinian Authority is going to move back into Gaza even if the United States does support it.
Hamas needs to reconstruct Gaza, needs to take care of the people there because they are responsible for that. And so they are going to want reconstruction paid and so the United States does have some leverage on Hamas, but whether it can succeed in distributing that aid through the Palestinian authority, which has no authority in Gaza, seems to me to be a stretch at this point.
BOLDUAN: Looking into Israel for a second, ambassador, you've said, and it really has had me thinking, you've said that it is entirely possible that Benjamin Netanyahu uses this conflict to somehow maintain power. What do you mean?
INDYK: Well, you know, I think that it looks like Israel is headed into a fifth election in two years. The previous four elections were inconclusive. Netanyahu failed to form a right wing religious government, which was what he was trying to do. Even now he cannot do that. So to the extent that the conflict strengthens the right wing shift of
the Israeli electorate supporting his view there is no peace to be had here and no alternative but taking a hard line he may just be able to shift the needle enough to get more votes even the majority.
But it is not clear yet. That is part of the reason he is out there touting this as a great victory because he is looking at the potential of going back to the polls and he wants to claim that he is the one who can lead Israel in these difficult circumstances.
Whereas it may be that people say, what has he done? How has he achieved anything for us? We are just back in the same old situation again and Hamas is still going to have its rockets and be able to threaten us.
BOLDUAN: Ambassador, you so perfectly lay out how many -- how complicated it is, and how many motivations there are on the ground. Thank you, Ambassador.
BOLDUAN: So, that is what is happening overseas. But the conflict and crisis is sparking hate-filled violence here in America. A new wave of anti-Semitic attacks in multiple U.S. cities in just the past week.
In New York, police are investigating a gang assault of a Jewish man in Times Square as a possible hate crime. That assault happened near a large demonstration taking place after the cease-fire was announced yesterday. Police said they made multiple arrests after pro Israeli and pro-Palestinian protesters clashed. This is the middle of New York City.
In Los Angeles an attack Tuesday on people eating sushi outside a restaurant. This also being investigated as an anti-Semitic hate crime.
You can feel the rage and anger. Police are also investigating an encounter Monday in L.A. when at least two vehicles chased a Jewish man down the street shouting anti-Jewish slurs. The man was forced to run for his life.
Joining me now is Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
Jonathan, that's not the only videos we could show. It is horrible what is happening. I know you are tracking more incidents even beyond L.A. and New York.
What do you say about this?
JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO & NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Yeah, Kate. I'm glad you're covering this issue because it hasn't gotten nearly enough attention in the past week. The reality is that the ADL has been tracking hate for over a hundred years and we have seen a dangerous and drastic spike in anti-Semitism here at home in just the past week to ten days.
We're literally tracking more than a 50 percent increase in anti- Semitic acts over the past week. And again, just so we're clear, we're seeing many more incidents than the ones you described. Incidents in Illinois, other ones in New York, in Florida, in big cities and small towns all over the country, acts of harassment, vandalism of Jewish homes and synagogues, assaults on people in broad daylight.
There was one report of cars driving through Jewish neighborhoods in Los Angeles throwing bottles at homes that had the Jewish mezuzah on the doors, literally picking out those Jewish homes that could be identified and hurling bottles at them.
Like this is unacceptable. You can have heated debates about Middle East policy but just so we're clear, when you target people because they are Jews, that is not activism. It's anti-Semitism. And it needs to stop and it needs to stop right now.
BOLDUAN: And, Jonathan, to your point, apart from the actual violence and harassment I think the most disturbing element I have heard of the anti-Semitic attack in L.A. is one witness told -- has said that dozens of men ran from the caravan toward the restaurant asking who's Jewish?
BOLDUAN: That should terrify Jews and non-Jews alike.
GREENBLATT: Jews are familiar with this. Jews being called out, being held to account, being held collectively responsible.
You know, if you are Jewish, somehow you are guilty. It is textbook anti-Semitism, Kate. And literally, this is happening the week, the day, just yesterday President Biden signed into law the COVID-19 hate crimes act. It was literally prompted by people holding Asian Americans collectively responsible for these crazy conspiracy theories about the virus.
Holding Jews collectively responsible for the events in the Middle East is depraved and disgusting. I don't care whether you are a Jewish leader, a Muslim leader, a Christian leader, I don't care what community you come from, all of us need to speak out strongly and stand up against this kind of victimization.
Now ADL, we're not only tracking it off line, on the ground, in the streets. What we are seeing online is equally horrifying. Last week alone, 17,000 plus tweets saying some derivation saying Hitler was right for slaughtering Jews and stuff that is so toxic I can't say it on your show today.
But we are working with elected officials, law enforcement, community leaders, social media companies, ADL is doing in our power to track the people pushing out this prejudice, and make sure the hashtags are brought down, the memes are taken out, and those who commit crimes are brought to justice.
BOLDUAN: It must be called out. If it is ignored, it allows the hate to fester.
GREENBLATT: That's right.
BOLDUAN: Jonathan, thank you so much.
GREENBLATT: Thank you. Thank you for covering the story.
BOLDUAN: Of course. We will continue.
Coming up for us the death of a black man at the hands of police, tased, beaten, dragged by officers who then lied about how he died. Two years later, Ronald Greene's family is still searching for answers. His mother joins us next.
BOLDUAN: My son was murdered. Those are the haunting words from Ronald Greene's mother, the 49-year-old man who died in police custody following a high speed chase in Louisiana two years ago. The body cam video is hard to watch but it is impossible to ignore.
Here is just some of it.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
BOLDUAN: The video shows Greene being tased, kicked, dragged by state troopers. At one point he cries out to the officers saying, I'm sorry. I'm scared. I'm your brother.
Again, this was two years ago. A year before, Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd. In both cases, officers lied in their initial police reports. In the case of Greene, the family says police told them he died in a car crash.
A state official with knowledge of the investigation tells CNN that Louisiana state police started investigating the incident as a criminal matter the night it happened. State police claim the investigation is still under way and the release of the video, they say, is premature in their view.
The only reason we are even seeing this video is because it was obtained by "The Associated Press".
So, what now?
Joining me now is Ronald Greene's mother, Mona Hardin, and the family's attorney, Lee Merritt.
Mona, thank you for being here. There is no way it gets any easier having to hear and see any of that tape again.
When did you begin to suspect the story that you were being told about your son was incorrect? MONA HARDIN, RONALD GREENE'S MOTHER: Within hours we were making our
way to Louisiana, the pieces never fit. We weren't able to make contact with anyone. Our first phone conversation was with -- from there she was letting us know Ronnie was being sent to the state of Arkansas for a first autopsy.
And this was within a couple hours after we got the news. And we told them not to move him. We are on our way. I want to see my son. Don't touch him before we get there.
And we didn't -- she wouldn't give us any numbers, any e-mails, anything. And also the fact that we have someone in the state of Louisiana who was there at Glenwood Medical Center that told us that he saw Ronnie and comments were made by the attending physician that none of the pieces fit.
BOLDUAN: I was going to ask you if can just describe -- can you just also then describe what it felt like to have been stonewalled and ignored and really alone for two years and trying to get the real answer of how and why your son died?
HARDIN: You know, we asked at first when the two officers told us Ronnie was in a high speed chase and behind that his car crashed into a tree, he died from head injuries. And ever since then, all that has happened has led us to where we are now. It's awful listening to my son scream.
I heard that last year, September, and the fact that it's been covered under the rug, I'm -- anger doesn't describe how me and my family feel for the fact this has been a cover-up from the very moment it happened. My son wasn't meant to walk away from that. He was purposely killed. He was murdered.
BOLDUAN: Lee, you mentioned in the break ahead of -- just before this segment -- you mentioned to me you are just becoming aware of new video that is coming out. What is it?
LEE MERRITT, GREENE FAMILY ATTORNEY: What has to be understood is that first as you pointed out this case is well over two years old. While the Louisiana state police have bemoaned the fact this video is coming out to the public, their investigation and actions they planned to take from the investigation, which was a five-month suspension for one officer and one officer being terminated, has already -- that discipline has already been meted out.
We don't know of any ongoing investigation at the state level to bring criminal charges against the men involved. That is what we're pushing for. As this evidence comes out, we are matching it with the facts that we have in our civil suit.
We're pressuring Jeff Lowry (ph), I believe, the attorney general for Louisiana, to continue to bring charges or pursue charges against these men and for the governor to take action. The video we just learned about, there is a new video from Lieutenant John Clary who would have been the supervising officer responding to the scene. He came on to the scene while Ron was still alive and he was still being brutalized by three officers.
He noted in this video that you'll see soon that we believe will be published by "The A.P." shortly, we just gave them permission to go ahead and publish. It's three officers covered in blood. He doesn't have a problem with the fact they're covered in blood. He continues to tell them to leave Rob in a prone position because he was afraid he might spit up more blood on them.
Just the sheer callousness of leadership on down reminds us that this isn't an individual problem. This isn't a bad apple problem. It's not even three bad apples. It is a whole system designed to justify this action and to cover it up.
BOLDUAN: And this video, correct me if I'm wrong, would fill in some of the gaps you don't have from the other body cam video of what they describe having blood on them as I understand in the video, the "A.P." has already obtained and put out portions of, but this gives an entirely new perspective from an officer that just came upon the scene.
MERRITT: That's right. As officer or Lieutenant Clary begins to walk on to the scene, he encounters one officer immediately and asks how are you doing because he noticed he is covered in blood. The officer says sort of gleefully I'm just cleaning off the blood. That's what was going on when he arrived. He told the officers that they had done a good job.
BOLDUAN: He said they had done a good job? As Ronald Greene is still in a prone position?
MERRITT: As he is still moaning and being told to lay on his belly by Officer York, in a position which everyone knows would have limited his breathing. He was commending the officers for what a great job they had done.
BOLDUAN: So this is news to all of us. We will be looking for the video when it is released and bring it to our viewers when we can get our hands on it.
Lee, thank you very much. I believe in the middle of our conversation unfortunately the shot with Mona went down.
So, please thank Mona Hardin, Ronald Greene's mother, for us as well. Thank you very much for your time. Much to follow up on now.
LEE: Thank you. All right.
BOLDUAN: Still to come for us, the Justice Department under President Trump secretly investigates one of our colleagues and we are just learning about it now. A member of house -- the House Intelligence Committee joins me next.