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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Secy. Of State Blinken Pushes For Israel And Ukraine Aid Together; CNN Speaks To Relative Of Family Member Kidnapped By Hamas; Split Between House, Senate GOP Leaders On Israel Aid; Anti-Defamation League: Anti-Semitic Incidents In The U.S. Up Nearly 400 Percent Following Hamas' Attack On October 7. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 31, 2023 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The cost of that strike civilian lives. Doctors at the nearest hospital tell CNN hundreds of injured and killed have been brought to the hospitals, many remain under the rubble. Photographs from the scene show multiple large craters in the ground surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings. And eyewitness telling CNN children were carrying other injured children.
And running bodies were hanging on the rubble, some were burned. Israel's attack on Hamas in the refugee camp is part of its expanded offensive inside Gaza where overnight Hamas's underground tunnels came under fire. Israeli forces saying they struck about 300 Hamas targets that includes the, IDF says, military compounds inside those underground tunnels. At the same time a new threat to Israel is emerging from Iran. Iran backed Houthi militants in Yemen claimed responsibility for targeting Israel with drones and missiles near the Red Sea in the south.
Israel saying it forwarded that attack. Israel also facing incessant rocket fire from Hamas in the west and throughout the country. This evening, Hamas has fired numerous rockets at us here in Tel Aviv, intercepted by the Iron Dome just a couple of hours ago. That's the intercepting missiles going up.
And earlier today, here is what my team and I witnessed when we were driving north of Tel Aviv. We heard an explosion to the west. And every car on the highway pulled over, we all got out and we ran into a ditch that was built there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: We're driving and we all had to pull over and heard sirens. And I've said it a million times on air, the death toll in Israel is not as high as it is in Gaza. And the buildings don't look like they do in Gaza, it's not for Hamas's Lanka (ph) trying. They're constantly has like firing rockets into Israel. The Iron Dome stops most of them, but not all of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: One of the families sheltering with us in that trench had a newborn baby and a weeping young daughter. The mom was bursting into tears as she held her daughter. And they looked up to the sky for any incoming rockets, which is day to day life in Israel, with Hamas right next door.
Back on Capitol Hill in the United States, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin were making the case for more aid to support Israel and also to help the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The fighting as of now may be contained within Israel and Gaza but the overall threat awakened by this war has transcended borders. The United States is now in a heightened threat environment with possible threats at historic levels. These are warnings from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary and the FBI director who are saying that this significant rise in threats and propaganda could encourage violent extremists to act against the Jewish community in the United States.
Let's get back to this horrific blast, However, at the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza, north of Gaza City. A witness described to CNN that, quote, "felt like the end of the world" and that 78 holes, craters in the ground were filled with dead people body parts, quote, "all over the place." CNN's Nada Bashir has more on the Israeli airstrike. We want to warn our viewers that the images in this report are quite disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Horrifying scenes of utter despair. Where is she, this man pleads, with everything here is gone. Part of the Jabalya refugee camp, among the largest and most densely populated in Gaza now turned to rubble. The latest target of Israel's relentless air campaign. The IDF has claimed responsibility for the airstrike, the targets they say a senior Hamas commander killed in the blast.
LT. COL. RICHARD HECHT, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESMAN: We were focused again on a target, a senior commander,
BASHIR (voice-over): But this attack, this massacre, as doctors in Gaza are describing it, has hit civilians hardest. Emergency Response Teams work desperately in the hope of finding more survivors. But outside Gaza is overwhelmed Indonesian hospital, corpses line the street. The number of those killed and injured according to the hospital's director already in the hundreds.
DR. SUAIB IDAIS (through translator): They were just in their homes, children, women, the elderly, we have no idea what to do. The injured are everywhere.
BASHIR (voice-over): Inside the hospital, mothers with their children, wounded and traumatized. But outside, survivors continue to dig through the debris of what once were their homes, desperate to find loved ones buried beneath, but all fearing the very worst. Some of the videos which have emerged from the aftermath of the airstrike on Jabalya are simply too graphic to show. Doctors tell CNN, the bodies were found charred and dismembered. This nightmare comes of the residents in northern Gaza were warned by Israel to evacuate southwards, but many simply cannot leave.
And while Israel denies carrying out collective punishment against the Palestinian people, with scenes like this reflected across the Gaza Strip, show that it is civilians that are paying the price.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BASHIR: And look, Jake, we have seen airstrikes taking place like this one across northern Gaza. We've heard that evacuation order from the IDF. But there are simply so many people, including patients inside hospitals, that cannot leave northern Gaza, they cannot evacuate southwards. And while the south has been described as being a safe zone by the IDF, what we have seen for more than three weeks now is that safe zone. That southern part of the Gaza Strip also coming under relentless bombardment by the IDF, there is nowhere safe for people in Gaza to turn.
TAPPER: Nada Bashir in Jerusalem, thank you so much.
I want to bring in CNN's Jeremy diamond, who is in Ashkelon, Israel, which is in Israel, just north of Gaza.
And Jeremy, what is the official response from the IDF about this strike on a refugee camp?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the Israeli military says that it was responsible for the airstrikes that appears to have leveled entire buildings in the Jabalya refugee camp. But they say that this strike was justified because they say that in this airstrike they were able to kill a Hamas commander Ibrahim Biari, who they say was responsible in part for those terrorist attacks that took place in Israel on October 7. They also say that he is a key commander who has been commanding Hamas forces in northern Gaza fighting Israeli troops as they have expanded their ground operations in that area over the last five days.
Now, the IDF says that Hamas is responsible for the civilian casualties that may have resulted from this strike, blaming Hamas for hiding behind civilians, which is a frequent argument that we have heard from Israeli forces when there are civilian casualties in these types of strikes. They also repeated their urging for civilians to move south, which we also know has proved very difficult for many civilians, particularly as a lot of these routes going south have been constantly bombarded. The IDF also says this about that Hamas commander, quote, "His elimination was carried out as part of a wide scale strike on terrorist and terror infrastructure belonging to the central Jabalya battalion, which had taken control over civilian buildings in Gaza City. The strike damage Hamas' command and control in the area. As a result of the strike, a large number of terrorists who were with Biari were killed."
And the IDF also later said, Jake, that the underground infrastructure that existed below these buildings is partly responsible for why a number of the buildings around the one that were targeted collapse, we cannot independently of course, verify that claim. And what's also should be noted is that Israel has carried out more targeted attempts to kill previous Palestinian militants in Gaza, including in November 2019 when they actually struck the specific bedroom where a Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander was staying. And that just shows you that they can and have been more precise when necessary in the past.
And lastly, Jake, I just want to say we actually believe that we may have witnessed this airstrike earlier today. We saw what appeared to be this very same airstrike, it was at the same time our camera was pointed in the direction of that -- of the Jabalya refugee camp. And you can see in this video a enormous plume of smoke that emerged right around the same time when that airstrike was conducte. Jake.
TAPPER: Jeremy Diamond in Ashkelon, Israel, thank you so much. It could be weeks of course before we know just how many innocent people were killed by that Israeli strike today on the refugee camp in Gaza. We may never know is Israel calculating those figures as it -- as forces carry out these targeted attacks, and Hamas apparently hides in the refugee camps. We're going to seek an expert opinion on that next.
TAPPER: And we're back live from Tel Aviv. Today on Capitol Hill, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified before members of Congress about atrocities committed by the terrorists of Hamas in graphic detail. He shared the horrors of their attack to drive home the need for Congress to send Israel and Ukraine more U.S. military aid. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE; A family of four, a young boy and girl, six and eight years old and their parents around the breakfast table, the father has eye gouged out in front of his kids, the mother's breast cut off, the girls foot amputated, the boys fingers cut off before they were executed. And then their executioner sat down and had a meal. That's what this society is dealing with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Joining us now to discuss, the former Secretary of Defense under President Trump, Mark Esper.
Secretary Esper, there is this growing divide within the Republican Party over tying aid to Ukraine with aid to Israel. Today, the current Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, said not sending aid to Ukraine could soon result in U.S. troops fighting in Europe. Why do Republicans see aid for Israel and aid for Ukraine so differently do you think? And what's your view?
MARK ESPER, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: Oh, good evening, Jake. Good to be with you, first of all.
Look, I believe that aid for Israel and Ukraine and the rest of the package too, which includes Taiwan, and border security should all be passed. I think it's important to our national security, I think it's important to our border security. And I think it sends the right messages to Iran and Russia and China about the seriousness for which we take the fence and the unity of our political leaders here in the United States. I don't know exactly why Republicans are split on this issue. Clearly, former President Trump has spoken out and others on that wing of the party, talked about the need to divert money for Ukraine to address border security issues.
And maybe even Taiwan, I think that's a false choice. I think we need to do both. We need to do all the above because our adversaries are watching them because it does send the wrong signals to those capitals.
TAPPER: I want to play part of Defense Secretary Austin's testimony today on Capitol Hill, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LLOYD AUSTIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The things that you do on a battlefield could -- if you're not thoughtful about them, they could create a resistance to your effort that lasts for generations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: One of the big questions that we've been talking about on the show now for weeks is not whether Israel has the right or the justification to try to eliminate Hamas but whether what they're doing is the right way. Certainly Hamas hides among civilians, and it's not only Israeli intelligence but American intelligence that says that they have command and control centers underneath hospitals in Gaza, but attacking a refugee camp, killing a Hamas leader and other Hamas terrorists, but also killing potentially hundreds of innocent people who are refugees, maybe children too. Do you think Israel is doing this strategically enough, thoughtfully enough, wisely enough?
ESPER: Well, the first question you ask, Jake, is always the important one that you have to weigh out. And you know, even during my time and during the Gulf War. When my unit went into southern Iraq, we weighed those issues as well, but taking precautions, abiding by the laws of war, and you want to make sure that you don't create more enemies than you kill or capture. And that's I think, what Secretary Austin was getting to.
Look, Israel is a professional military fighting force. And unlike Hamas, they are accountable to a democracy to an elected government. And they have signed up to the Geneva Conventions, I believe they are doing the best they can to abide by the laws of war, you know, they've provided access to humanitarian organizations. It looks like they're trying to be careful, but in such a densely populated area, it's impossible to not have collateral damage, to not have civilian casualties. And that's the tragedy of war. I do not believe that Israel is targeting civilians. That cannot be said of Hamas, who are clearly, as you reported earlier, still targeting on a daily basis large cities, Tel Aviv, they continue to hold innocent as hostages in Gaza somewhere. Israel's not doing that either.
So, look, I think we need to encourage Israel to be thoughtful as they prosecute this campaign. It's going to widen, of course, and unfortunately, it's going to get even uglier as ground forces move into Gaza.
TAPPER: Around 400 Americans and their family members are still stuck in Gaza. What's your understanding of why the U.S. isn't able to get these Americans out?
ESPER: It's a great question, Jake. I've tried to, you know, from what I can pick up and read, I've had heard at least two explanations, one, Egypt is not allowing the transit of people in either direction. The primary thing that I've picked up is that Hamas is not allowing them to leave. And why would that be? Of course, as you reported, Hamas uses civilians, innocent civilians, as human shields and of course, Americans -- keeping the Americans in Gaza keeps them vulnerable to Israeli collateral damage.
And of course, it's leveraged for Hamas to use both in the conflict itself and on the international stage politically and the information warfare game that they clearly are trying to exploit to Israel's disadvantage.
TAPPER: Mark Esper, former Secretary of Defense, thanks so much for your time as always. Good to see you, sir.
ESPER: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: So many families here are suffering two tragedies. Not only do they have loved ones missing, others in their families were killed. A woman dealing with that will join me next. You have met her on their show -- the show before and we'll meet her in person in just a minute.
TAPPER: Since the October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas, Abbey Onn has been sharing updates here on The Lead about the status of five of her family members who went missing after the attack. Two weeks ago, horrible news, Abbey told us about her cousin, 80 year old Carmela Don (ph) and Carmela's granddaughter, 13 year old Noya Calderon (ph), they were killed by Hamas, and three members of her families -- of her family, Noya's father, Ofer Calderon (ph), as well Noya's siblings, Sahar (ph) and Eris (ph), they're still missing, presumably kidnapped. Abbey Onn joins me here in Tel Aviv.
And Abbey, thank you for being here. We feel like we've adopted you to give us updates.
ABBEY ONN, FAMILY MEMBERS KILLED & CAPTURED BY HAMAS: Thank you. Thank you.
TAPPER: Have you heard anything about the three family members that are still missing? Do you know that they're kidnapped? Have you been told that?
ONN: They're confirmed kidnapped.
TAPPER: Confirmed kidnapped.
ONN: Two of the hostages that were released, one of them was from Nir Oz and was able to confirm that Ofer was alive.
ONN: Which gives us a lot of hope.
ONN: We heard confirmation that Eris and Sahar are live. we don't believe that the father is with the children, which is what we were hoping. But the hope gives us motivation to fight.
TAPPER: So, four hostages, you noted, that four have been released.
TAPPER: So, I guess the question I have is the fact that four have been released, and one has been rescued.
TAPPER: And the one that was rescued was a soldier.
TAPPER: And you would think those will be the first ones --
TAPPER: -- be murdered.
TAPPER: Does that give you hope? Does that -- I mean, obviously, we expect the absolute worst from Hamas. And we saw that --
TAPPER: -- on October 7, and you lost two of your beloved relatives to Hamas. But does that give you any hope for the three that are still?
ONN: Absolutely. I think Hamas is keeping these people as a bargaining chip. And I think keeping them alive and keeping them in good form is their best weapon right now. For us, it's the worst. We want them back as soon as possible.
But I do believe and I will continue to hope until I don't have reason to.
TAPPER: Yes. So, the video that they released, obviously these three women, one of whom spoke, obviously, under duress, obviously they didn't want to be there. Obviously, they shouldn't be there, they should be home.
TAPPER: But what was your response to it?
ONN: One, good to see a sign of life for whoever's family members got to see that, they got to see their relatives alive.
TAPPER: Yes, we had the brother of the one who spoke earlier --
TAPPER: -- on the show.
ONN: Right. So, that's positive. I'm guessing anytime we see a video, Hamas is telling them what to say, I'm guessing they want more political strife here, which it's already here.
ONN: My guess is, they're sending a message to us somehow. And this is what that was.
TAPPER: How worried are you about -- we're not -- for people don't know this, but like Gaza is that way, and Israeli troops are going in.
TAPPER: Its face to the ground campaigns going in, airstrikes continue. How worried are you about that impacting your ability to get your three family members home?
ONN: I'm worried. I think we're all worried. We're worried for the hostages, we're worried for our soldiers, we're worried for ourselves, civilians here and in Gaza.
ONN: Wars hard and bad. There's nothing good about it. And our continued requests in demand is that the hostages be brought home now because we know it's going to get worse.
ONN: And we want to make sure that they're home safe before anything else happens.
TAPPER: What you and your family are going through, it's so cliche that I keep saying this to people, but I can't imagine it. I mean, I have a wife, I have kids, I have a brother, I mean, like, I don't know what you're experiencing. And it must just be the worst thing in the world.
ONN: It's a horror movie. And I feel like I can say that without emotion because I'm compartmentalizing. I'm sticking all of these unbelievable stories of rape, and torture and babies burned. And all of these things that you can't --
ONN: -- process, I'm putting them aside and I'm trying to just keep my eye on the target, which is keeping this message of bringing these innocent civilians home as soon as possible. And at the very least, getting the Red Cross in, giving us signs of life for everyone, treating the wounded. There are wounded people there that need medical attention. And I don't understand the response from the international community that they're not putting pressure on this extremely basic need.
TAPPER: Yes. And the humanitarian aid, I haven't met an Israeli yet who doesn't want the innocent people in --
TAPPER: -- in the Palestinian people in Gaza to get the humanitarian aid. Everybody weeps for those poor people that Hamas is victimizing them too.
ONN: Right. I think this is a humanitarian crisis that Hamas is creating and allows them to continue this war to hold on to the hostages. And until we stand unequivocally against Hamas, against terror, then this will continue, both for them and for us. We are having rockets ourselves every single day. This is terror for us as well, on an ongoing basis since October 7th.
So it's not like what happened in the U.S. of 9/11, where the terror was one day, it's not that it was contained, but it was one day, and then the war was fought somewhere else. The terror happened here on October 7th, and we're fighting the war, and we're grieving. And we have our loved ones in tunnel somewhere.
TAPPER: Tell us about your nonprofit, Nevo.
ONN: Nevo is an organization that I founded with Michael Eisenberg, who is a venture capitalist here in Israel, three or four years ago. Basically Israel is a country of immigrants and immigrants need community and Nevo is a place for them to accelerate their careers and tech, which is the main economy in Israel right now.
But since October 7th, Nevo changed. It became a massive contributor to the civilian effort in supporting this country. They are immigrants from more than 20 countries and they're doing everything from bringing gear and getting them directly to soldiers. They are a foreign press on behalf of the prime minister's office. They are supporting the resettlement of families from the south. They are --
TAPPER: What do people need to Google to find it?
ONN: And there's a link that we're going to find a way to get to you.
TAPPER: OK. N-E-V-O. All right.
ONN: But the point is, that people who chose to make Israel their home are bringing the best potential in their best leadership to make sure that Israel stays a safe home for all Jews.
TAPPER: OK. Well, we're going to keep having on the show.
ONN: Thank you.
TAPPER: And at one of these times, it's going to be you and your three beloved family members back with you.
TAPPER: All right. Abbey Onn, thank you so much.
ONN: Thank you.
TAPPER: We'll be right back.
ONN: Thank you.
TAPPER: In our Politics Lead, a battle is brewing on Capitol Hill as new House Speaker Mike Johnson is pushing to tie aid for Israel to billions in cuts to the IRS budget money that had been allocated under the inflation reduction actor. That's what it was called. That bill already appears to be on a path to nowhere, as House Democrats and Senate Democrats say they will never support it.
The Senate Democrats obviously being much more important since they control the Senate. CNN's Melanie Zanona is on Capitol Hill. And Melanie, you've been tracking this battle over aid to Israel all day. Are House Republicans, are all of them behind the bill that Speaker Johnson is pushing for?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, almost all House Republicans are behind this bill except for two of them, Thomas Massie and Marjorie Taylor Greene have both said they would vote against an aid package for Israel. But Senate Republicans are really divided. In one corner, you have GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and defense hawks like Lindsey Graham who say it is in the interest of national security to do a broader package that includes Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, Border Security money.
But then in the other corner, you have Senate conservatives who say they don't support more money flowing to Ukraine, and they want to say Ukraine and Israel dealings. And they also were worried about undermining the new speaker, Mike Johnson. So this issue has really picked Mitch McConnell against his own party and put him in line with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: The House GOP package is woefully inadequate, has the hard rights fingerprints all over it. Making aid to Israel who just faced the worst terrorist attack in history contingent on poison pills that help ultra-wealthy tax cheats.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: And we'll see if the bill comes out of the House, and if so what kind of margin it has. My own view I just expressed is that we need to try to treat all four of these areas, all four of them, Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and the border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZANONA: So the House and Senate are really on a collision course here. The House is looking to pass its Israel aid package as soon as Thursday. The Senate is teeing up that broader package unclear when it will get a vote, it could be sometime next week. And meanwhile, government funding expires in just three weeks. So Congress doesn't have a lot of time to figure it out, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Melanie Zanona, thanks so much.
I want to bring in Erick Erickson, the host of the Erick Erickson show. Erick, you just heard Melanie Zanona's report. House Republicans under Speaker Mike Johnson, working on a bill that would tie Israel aid to $14 billion in spending cuts that had been allocated to the IRS to, you know, crack down on tax cheats, et cetera, et cetera. Senate Democrats said that would be dead on arrival.
I have to say, just hearing what Mitch McConnell said, supporting aid for Israel, aid for Ukraine, aid for Taiwan and strengthening the border, that just sounds like for things that Republicans would be in favor of. I'm kind of confused why House Republicans wouldn't be in favor of it.
ERICK ERICKSON, HOST, "THE ERICK ERICKSON SHOW": Yes. Look, there's a division as to how much to fund it. And I think they support almost all of them. But we do have a problem on our hands as a nation, we're rapidly getting to the point where the bond yield is going to push us to all of our revenue coming in is going to have to just pay debt service. So Republicans are starting to think we've got to cut. They've contributed to the problem and should be honest about it. But as much as I'm with Mitch McConnell on wanting to fund these things, I also do see we're headed towards a serious fiscal crisis in the country and do need to start having the conversation about what to cut.
TAPPER: Even if the aid for Israel and Ukraine were decoupled, do you think Speaker Johnson would be willing to bring a vote on a bill for Ukraine aid to the floor because there's obviously majority support for it if you include Democrats and Republicans but the question is, what did Speaker Johnson be willing to bring the vote to the floor even if he opposed it knowing that it would pass?
ERICKSON: He has said he would in the past, and I suspect he would. I'm told behind the scenes, he's sympathetic to funding Ukraine. His concern is the waste and graft in Ukraine and probably needing an inspector general tied into overseeing the money. At the same time, he's been amenable to funding Ukraine in the past, he's been very strong about supporting Ukraine in the past, obviously, the dynamics have changed with him in the Speaker's chair.
But you've got a majority in the House that want it. And there are mechanisms in the House for a majority to get something to the floor, even if the speaker doesn't want it. And I suspect you'd see moderate Republicans and Democrats unite in doing that if the Speaker doesn't allow and control the vote.
TAPPER: How do you see speaker Johnson? Do you think that he's going to be, member, it's, you know, Speaker of the House, not speaker of one party or the other, do you think he's going to be somebody that will be able to work with Senate Democrats, work with President Biden come up with compromises obviously, you know, push for what he wants, but ultimately meet in the middle, ultimately strike bargains or do you think he's ultimately more of a Jim Jordan type?
ERICKSON: I think he's between where Jordan and McCarthy were. He will cut the deals that need to be cut to keep the government governing. But at the same time, he's going to fight harder than McCarthy would. He's not willing to shut everything down and go for broke. He does understand he's in a precarious position with moderate Republicans as well.
But he is going to fight harder than I think conservatives expected McCarthy would. Because, again, it is something that we as a nation have to deal with, Jake, that we're about to be in a position where 100 percent of revenue to the government goes just to debt service. So we won't even be able to fund anything without issuing more bonds accumulating more debt. And that's going to put us in a real world of hurt.
So we've got to be mindful that I want all these things funded too more aggressively than he does. But I also realize where we're headed as a nation financially, interest rates probably going back up again tomorrow. TAPPER: Yes, Senate Republicans appear also divided on whether aid for Israel should be tied to aid for Ukraine. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Well, if we're going to have a piece of legislation that actually becomes law, it's going to include support for Ukraine, as well as Israel, it's not acceptable to abandon Ukraine, that would be devastating to our interests around the world.
SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): We have a Republican majority in the House, and so we ought to be listening what they want to do. And my understanding is Speaker Johnson has been clear. He is going to not put in Ukraine together with aid for Israel. And I completely agree with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: How do you think Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell should handle this predicament of a House Republican Conference that just views this differently than he does?
ERICKSON: McConnell is an expert at doing what they call jamming the House, sending over what he wants on a timeline that makes it unavoidable to get. And I suspect you'll see those Republicans and the Democrats jam the House on this. Thanks to Matt Gaetz, they dragged the speaker fight out for so long. We're within about two and a half weeks of our government shutdown that puts the Senate in the driver's seat. They've been there all along plotting while the House Republicans are in chaos, advantage goes to the Senate.
TAPPER: Taking what is playing out here over aid to Israel, how do you see this going when the House and the Senate and the White House need to come to an agreement over a bill to fund the government in just a few weeks?
ERICKSON: Look, I suspect what you're going to find is, is they will pull some of the Israel-Ukraine funding out. They will deal with it together as a separate piece of legislation. And they'll kick the can down the road for the larger spending issues until January or April, coming up with a continuing resolution. That's was Kevin McCarthy's plan. Mike Johnson sounds like that's his plan as well. So they'll deal with everything.
But they got to slow the train down a little bit thanks to the chaos we've had for the last few weeks. Things will get funded. I doubt the government's going to shut down. And we will just kick the can down the road further.
TAPPER: Congress's favorite game, kick the can. Erick Erickson, thanks so much. Good to see you, sir.
ERICKSON: Jake --
TAPPER: Coming up, the disturbing spike in the anti-Semitic threats. Oh, thank you Erick. Coming up, the disturbing spike in anti-Semitic threats in the United States since the start of this war started by Hamas against Israel. Stay with us.
TAPPER: And we're back now from Tel Aviv and a major update back in the United States concerning threats against the Jewish community at Cornell University. New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced earlier today a person is in the custody of New York State Police. Authorities began investigating over the weekend after online posts threatened students in a Jewish dorm and the university's kosher dining hall. Governor Hochul visited the campus to talk Jewish students quote, they are not alone.
At a high school in Mechanicsville, Virginia, someone painted a swastika on the football field. Authorities in Connecticut are investigating a swastika drawn on a high school campus in Stanford. It is the second time the symbol has been found there since October 7th. Today the director of the FBI testified before Congress on the rise of these anti-Semitic incidents throughout the United States.
This week, the Justice Department announced more than $38 million in grants to help local communities combat anti-Semitism. Joining us now to do discuss the troubling rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S. former Democratic Congressman of Florida Ted Deutch who is the CEO of the American Jewish community. Congressman, thanks for joining us. So according to the ADL, anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. have increased nearly 400 percent since October 7th. Today, FBI Director Wray said these incidents are reaching historic levels. What do you make of it all?
TED DEUTCH, CEO, AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE: Well, this is a really important moment, Jake, for the country and for the world. This is not just painting swastikas as terrible as that is. This is not just any Jewish stars on the homes of Jews as concerning as that is, this is a straight line from what happened on October 7th, when Hamas terrorists killed 1,400 people, men, women, children, raping women, killing babies, burning them alive, decapitating the people they killed and capturing it all on GoPro cameras.
It's a straight line from what happened that day to where we are today. And that line takes us through professors on college campuses, who viewed what happened on October 7th, at that horrific massacre as resistance. It's a straight line between October 7th. And what we've seen on Cornell's campus. What we've seen on other campuses across the country, what we've seen all around the world with people screaming kill the Jews, gasps the Jews, F the Jews.
This is a moment where we all have to sit up Jews and non-Jews alike and recognize the threat to the Jewish community that exists as a result of people standing on the side of Hamas terrorists who massacred 1,400 and standing on the side of civilization against those Hamas terrorists. That's the moment that we're in. And it requires leadership everywhere at every level of universities and government and business.
TAPPER: So a lot of the anti-Semitism that was public, and a lot of the threats were from the right, for years and years. You know, beginning with the Trump-era when that crowd began feeling emboldened and began saying the quiet part out loud. But what you're talking about, quite honestly, a lot of it's from the left. A lot of it quite honestly is from the left. And I'm wondering if you think the party to which you belong, the Democratic Party is outspoken enough.
If you think the Democratic House Leader Hakeem Jeffries is outspoken enough, if you think Democratic leaders from coast to coast are outspoken enough, not just saying that they decry anti-Semitism, but in calling out specific individuals in the Democratic Party who espouse what you're talking about.
DEUTCH: Yes, Jake, that is exactly what should happen. We have seen the playbook that's being used that, for example, brings in the Democratic socialists of America as allies. And when DSA candidates who run as Democrats are affiliated with the Democratic Party, talk about Intifada, Intifada, which is code for, not code, it reflects right back to what happened earlier this century, when 1,000 Israelis were slaughtered as a result of suicide bombs on buses in cafes and bars and clubs. That's a call for violence.
When they save Palestine from the river to the sea, you know this, you're there. From the river to the sea means no Israel, it means that exactly what Hamas wants, killing all the Jews. So every Democratic official should sever any ties with the DSA and the role that they play contributing politically to this horrific uptick in anti- Semitism. The same thing is true, Jake. As you may recall, I called out a colleague on the floor of the House who started in using some of the rhetoric.
We have to be clear wherever anti-Semitism comes from right or left. We've got to call it out wherever we see it. That includes in politics, it includes universities, it includes businesses, there can be zero tolerance for this Jew hatred that has put so many at risk right now in America.
TAPPER: Just for the record, you were talking about Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. And the debate was about whether or not to fund the Iron Dome than I have seen in the eight days I've been here stop so many Hamas rockets from killing so many Israeli civilians. Congressman Ted Deutch, thank you so much for your time really appreciate it.
The controversial decision to open Gaza's Rafah crossing tomorrow, who gets out and who's forced to stay in? That's next.
TAPPER: Tomorrow, Gaza's Rafah crossing along its southern border is expected to open but only for a select few. And Egyptian border official says 81 Palestinian patients described as seriously injured will be allowed to cross for medical treatment in Egypt, some 400 Americans are still trapped in Gaza as well as so many others from other countries all with food and water running out.
Wolf Blitzer is next in The Situation Room live here from Tel Aviv. I will be back tonight at 9 o'clock Eastern filling in for Kaitlan Collins on The Source. I will see you then.