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State of the Union

Interview With Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan; Interview With Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX); Interview With Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Interview With Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- CT); Interview With Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired November 05, 2023 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): Push for peace. The U.S. tries to contain the Israel-Hamas war.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We need to do more to protect Palestinian civilians.

BASH: As Israel continues to retaliate against Hamas for its terror attack, is the U.S. making headway privately? Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal join me in an exclusive bipartisan interview.

Then, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, is here.

And progressive rift. Concern about civilian casualties in Gaza exposes a political split.

PROTESTER: Palestine will be free!

PROTESTERS: Palestine will be free!

BASH: Where does a key progressive stand? Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is here exclusively next.

Plus: on the ballot. In Florida, Donald Trump's critics face fierce backlash, as a new poll shows Trump leading President Biden in key swing states. How worried should the White House be? My panel is coming up.


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, where the state of our union is reeling from a month of war and global fury.

This morning, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is trying to thread the needle with close U.S. ally Israel, as outrage grows worldwide over civilian casualties in Gaza. Secretary Blinken just met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. And, earlier, in tense meetings with Arab leaders who want a cease-fire, he defended Israel's right to retaliate against Hamas for murdering almost 1,400 civilians last month. But Blinken has also urged Israeli leaders to take a humanitarian

pause to let critical aid into Gaza and to press for the release of Israeli hostages there.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live in Sderot, Israel, where you just heard sirens, Jeremy. What's going on at this moment?


We just got sirens here at our location in Sderot. And as you can see our cameraman, Lorenz (ph), is showing down here some smoke, and that appears to be impact from some rockets here in Sderot. So this is the second time in just a couple of days that those rockets have made it through the Iron Dome system here.

Again, this system does take out the majority of rockets, but you and I, Dana, were talking on Friday, when we were at another location in Sderot, and a rocket made impact about 100 meters away from our position and where several other journalists were based.

So this is still very much an active and very dynamic situation, and we are still seeing these rockets starting to come in. But I also want to talk about the secretary of state, who has been visiting here. He just had a meeting today with the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah. This is his first visit to -- the secretary of state's first visit to the West Bank since this war began.

And what we have watched, as the secretary of state has been in Tel Aviv, in Amman, Jordan as well, and today in Ramallah is him playing a very fine balancing act between reiterating, reaffirming U.S. support for Israel and its right to defend itself and go after Hamas, but also trying to urge the humanitarian side of things, urging Israel to minimize civilian casualties and working to try and get more humanitarian relief into Gaza.

That was also part of what I saw on the ground yesterday, Dana, when I was in Gaza with Israeli forces as part of the first group of foreign journalists allowed into Gaza with Israeli forces. And the point that they were trying to emphasize was their efforts to try and establish a humanitarian corridor for Palestinian civilians to flee from the north and to go to the south.

Of course, we know that, in recent days, Israel has come under heavy, heavy criticism and scrutiny from international law experts for its strikes on very densely populated neighborhoods, residential areas, where Israel says Hamas is maintaining tunnels underground, and also some strikes on near, very near to hospitals and on ambulances.

So, a very dynamic situation still, Dana, Israel coming under heavy scrutiny, and the U.S. trying to play a fine balancing act between its support for Israel and its concern about civilian lives in Gaza.

BASH: Jeremy, thank you so much for your excellent reporting, as always. And, across the U.S., this weekend, large crowds of pro-Palestinian

protesters took to city streets to call for a cease-fire. And on Capitol Hill Friday, dozens of activists were arrested after entering the offices of several senators.


One of those senators is here with me now, independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Senator, thank you so much for joining me this morning.

Four weeks ago, more than 1,400 Israelis, mostly civilians, were slaughtered in their homes and at a festival. You have been critical of Israel's response recently. How do you think Israel should be responding?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Well, this is what you have got.

It's, I think, clear to most people what Hamas did -- and Hamas is an awful terrorist organization -- is, they slaughtered 1,400 people in cold blood. Israel has a right to defend itself.

But what Israel does not, in my view, have a right to do is to kill thousands and thousands of innocent men, women and children who had nothing to do with that attack. So, the immediate concern, Dana, to my mind, is, we have got to stop the bombing now.

You had over 600 -- 600,000 people pushed out of their homes. Where are they going? They're staying in United Nations facilities, overcrowded. There's not enough water, there's not enough food, there's not enough medicine, not enough fuel. You have got a humanitarian disaster. It has to be dealt with right now.

BASH: So, Senator -- go ahead.

SANDERS: But the issue is -- I'm sorry, go ahead.

BASH: No, please.

SANDERS: Go ahead, Dana.


BASH: OK, so what you're saying about -- what you're saying about the lack of food and water and so forth, I think that most people in the West, certainly the U.S., believes that that is because Hamas is hoarding it.

And the other question is, how does Israel destroy Hamas?

SANDERS: Dana, it's not just...

BASH: How does Israel destroy Hamas without...

SANDERS: It's not just that Hamas is hoarding it. They are. BASH: Yes.

SANDERS: It's more than that. That's what Israelis' policy has been.



SANDERS: So it's a combination of factors. Go ahead.

BASH: Let's get to the other point that you made, which is really the key one, which is innocent civilians dying. And they are.

How should Israel destroy Hamas post-attack on these innocent civilians in Israel without hurting, killing innocent men, women and children, when Hamas is hiding behind them and putting them in danger? How does that work?

SANDERS: Well, that is exactly the right question to be asked of military experts, of which I am not one.

But, clearly, yes, they have -- Israel has a right to defend itself. Hamas has sworn -- that's what its goal is, to destroy Israel. They have got to deal with that. But there's got to be a better way than killing thousands of men, women and children.

So, once again, the immediate concern is, you have got to have a pause in the bombing. You have got to take care of the immediate disaster. Israel's got to change its strategy.

Let me just say this. The United States of America provides $3.8 billion every year to Israel. We have a right. Israel can do what they want. They're an independent country. But we have a right to say, sorry, you need a new military strategy. Go after Hamas. But that means -- but do not kill innocent men, women and children.

BASH: You mentioned money. There is going to be a measure before you relatively soon for -- the House passed 14 -- more than $14 billion. And there is going to be at least some version of that in the Senate.

Will you support that, or will you put conditions on it?

SANDERS: Well, we will see what the bill -- we will see what the bill looks like.

But I think it's terribly important that, as we debate that, to say to Israel, you want this money, you got to change your military strategy. The other point is, we have to give hope to the Palestinian people. They are living -- they were living before October 7 in a disastrous situation in Gaza, 75 percent youth unemployment, massive poverty.

And right now in Israel, you're having the Netanyahu government, an extreme right-wing government, with racists aboard, trying to make it impossible for a two-state solution in the West Bank. They're killing settlers there. So what we need is the world to come together to give hope to the

Palestinians. We need a two-state solution. And we need to have many of the very wealthy countries in the region -- the United Arab Republic, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, they are extraordinarily wealthy.

BASH: Yes, they are.

SANDERS: Work with the United States, work with the community in order to provide some hope and decency and freedom to the Palestinians, which Hamas will never do.

BASH: I just -- you're right about that. They have a lot of money. And they to this point have not been really willing to use that money in that region to help their fellow Arabs.

I want to just clarify one thing, Senator, if I might. You support a humanitarian pause in Gaza. Some of your fellow progressives say that there should be a full-on cease-fire, which would require an agreement on both sides to halt the fighting.

Do you support a cease-fire? And, if not, why not?

SANDERS: Well, I don't know how you can have a cease-fire, permanent cease-fire, with an organization like Hamas, which is dedicated to turmoil and chaos and destroying the state of Israel.


And I think what the Arab countries in the region understand, that Hamas has got to go. So what we need right now, the immediate task right now is to end the bombing, to end the horrific humanitarian disaster, to build, go forward with the entire world for a two-tier, two-state solution to the crisis to give the Palestinian people hope.

BASH: Senator, Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib released a video on Friday. I want you to watch part of it.


REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): Mr. President, the American people are not with you on this one. We will remember in 2024.


BASH: That last screen said "Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people."

I know you know the definition of genocide. It is defined as a crime committed with intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. Do you think that's what Israel is doing here?

SANDERS: Look, what's going on right now is a horror show. We don't have to quibble about words.

Thousands of men, women and children are being killed. It has got to end right now. And one of the things that concerns me, Dana, is, there has not been enough talk about what right-wing Republicans are doing right now. They don't want any aid to go to the Palestinians. Somebody should be talking about that.

Somebody should be talking about how Trump wants to expel Palestinians from this country. So, it's -- you can disagree with Joe Biden, but, on his worst day, he will be 100 times better than where Trump and the right-wing Republicans are on...


BASH: So, you think that Rashida Tlaib should save her ire for Trump and the right wing, and not her fellow Democrat?

SANDERS: Rashida Tlaib -- Rashida is a friend of mine. Her family comes from Palestine. I think she has been shaken, as all of us are, about what goes on -- is going on right now.

BASH: Yes. And...

SANDERS: And we have to address that humanitarian crisis.

But if anyone thinks that Trump is going to be better than Biden on this issue or any other issue, for that matter, I think they are sorely mistaken.

BASH: And I understand that.

I also understand and I know you know that words matter. And I want to ask about what she said in...

SANDERS: Look, words...

BASH: Well...

SANDERS: No, words matter, but what matters more, Dana, is, you have a horrible humanitarian disaster that has to be dealt with right now. You call it whatever you want to call it. It has to be dealt with.

Women and children cannot be bombed with 2,000-pound bombs. And we need the entire world community to stop that.

BASH: So, when she says from the river to the sea, when she says from the river to the sea, which the ADL says is antisemitic, she says it's aspirational, but the ADL says it is antisemitic.

Do you want her to stop using terms like that, and others, and others?


SANDERS: Her -- Dana, it's not what I want and anything else.

This is what you got. President Obama just said the other day, I think, quite correctly -- and we all got to deal with it -- this is an enormously complex issue. And slogans like the river to the sea, if that means the destruction of Israel, that's not going to work. People who are saying, Israel, right or wrong, we're for you all the

way, that's not going to work. This is a horrendously complex issue. You have got a right-wing government in Israel which is racist. And the people -- by the way, the good news is, last poll I saw, only 18 percent of the people of Israel want Netanyahu to stay in office.

I hope they get rid of them. I hope they put in a government which understands the severity of the crisis and can help us move to a two- tiered state.

BASH: Senator...

SANDERS: And, on the other hand, in terms of Hamas, you have got a terrorist organization that cannot be trusted for a minute. This is, as President Obama said, a very complex issue.

BASH: Senator, real quick -- and you're really alluding to this in your answers and our discussion here.

You really are in a unique position, maybe even a difficult one, because you're a leading progressive voice in American politics and you're also Jewish. And you have family who died in the Holocaust. How difficult is this for you?

SANDERS: This is not -- it has nothing to do with me, Dana.

What this is, is, as a nation, we are living now, in my view, for a more difficult moment than we have lived in my lifetime. People are worried about the pandemic. We're worried about climate change, worried about the attacks of democracy. Our health care system is collapsing.

We have artificial information, which is going to make radical changes to the economy. You have got crime all over this country. People are worried and they're concerned.

All that I am begging people is to understand, slogans are not going to do it. Social media is not going to do it. We need a serious discussion on how the hell we got out of this difficult situation, maintain democracy, bring peace to the world. And it ain't easy, but slogans are not going to do it on any side.

BASH: Senator, thank you so much for your time this morning. I really appreciate it.

SANDERS: Thank you, Dana.

BASH: One Republican says there should be no limit to what Israel can do to Hamas.


A bipartisan interview with Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal is next.

Plus, a new poll this morning has a major warning sign for President Biden's reelection.

That's coming up.


BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

A dispute between the House and Senate could delay badly needed USA to both Israel and Ukraine after House Republicans passed a bill this week that is a nonstarter in the U.S. Senate.

Here with me now to talk about the latest in Israel is Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal. They have traveled extensively internationally together, including to Israel after the October 7 attacks.

Thank you both for being here.

Senator Graham, I will start with you.

The Biden administration is warning Israel that failing to limit civilian casualties and address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza risks eroding global support, including in the U.S. You have said there should be no limit to what Israel can do to take out Hamas.

But is the administration right that Israel needs to do more to protect civilians in Gaza?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Well, I think Israel is committed to following the law of armed conflict.

One thing I want to say for sure is, Israel is not engaged in genocide. And another thing we need to deal with is the whitewashing of the status of people in Gaza.


I'm sure there are plenty of people who would love to be free from Hamas, but the most radicalized people on the planet live in the Gaza Strip. They have been taught since birth to kill and hate the Jews. How do you teach math in Gaza? If you had 10 Jews and you kill six, how many would be left? That's been in their school system.

So, I'm all for providing humanitarian aid in a fashion that doesn't help Hamas. I'm all for Israel having the time and space to destroy Hamas. I'm all for a new governing regime over the Palestinian people when this is over. And I'm all for Israel and Saudi Arabia reconciling. That's sort of where I'm at.

BASH: But no pause, no humanitarian pause?

GRAHAM: I don't want to take the pressure off Hamas militarily, but if Israel can find a way to help the humanitarian situation, yes, I'd like to do it.

But, after World War II, did anybody ask us these questions? You got to realize the United States dropped two atomic bombs on cities in Japan to end the war. I think this is total war between Israel and Hamas. I want to protect innocent people as much as possible.

But I want the world to realize that the radicalized population in Gaza has been going on for over a decade. This will not be easy, when you have been taught from birth to hate the Jews and kill them all and drive them into the sea.

And here's what I think. Eighty percent of the people in Gaza support the idea from the river to the sea. That has got -- that has to change.

BASH: Senator Blumenthal, 14 of your Democratic colleagues said there should be a pause.

What do you think?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): I agree that there should be a pause to enable more humanitarian relief, food, fuel, water to reach the Palestinians, but also to enable release of the hostages.

I have met almost every day by phone or in person -- and we saw them when we were in Israel -- with the families of hostages. These situations are really heartbreaking. And I think that we should do a humanitarian pause to enable release of the hostages, also movement of civilians from the north part of Gaza, which is really the combat zone, to the southern part through a humanitarian corridor.

There are measures through a humanitarian pause that can be taken to reduce civilian casualties. But let's keep in mind Israel's right to defend itself. We went on this trip, a bipartisan group, 10 of us, to express solidarity with Israel.

And what we heard and saw was harrowing in the videos that were shown to us and what a minister of the war cabinet said. These people tried to run and hide. For our whole history, we have tried to run and hide. Israel was supposed to be a safe place where we didn't need to run and hide anymore.

So, for Israel, this is a fight, a war about its very existence against a terrorist organization that has a single goal, destroy Israel, annihilate the Jewish people, and is continuing to advocate it. Just the other day, Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official, said that Israel can expect a second strike, a third strike, a fourth strike just like October 7 until it is annihilated.

So, Israel, I think, should do a humanitarian pause, but the ultimate goal has to be kept in mind.

BASH: And you're talking about Hamas. I know you're both very concerned, as are others, about it expanding beyond the Gaza border and expanding more regionally.

You both are introducing a bipartisan sense of the Senate resolution tomorrow about Iran. Senator Graham, what will it say? GRAHAM: Well, it basically says, if the war expands, if Hezbollah

opens up a second front in the north against Israel in a substantial way to overwhelm Iron Dome, then we should hit the Islamic Republic of Iran.

There is no Hamas without the ayatollahs' support. There is no Hezbollah without the ayatollahs' support. The great Satan in the region is not Israel or the United States. It's Iran.

So, Senator Blumenthal and I just got back. Israel is begging us to deter Iran. They don't want the war to widen. If any of our troops are killed in Syria and Iraq by Iranian-backed militias, I think that's an expansion of the war.

So, the resolution puts Iran on notice that all this military force in the region will be coming after you if you expand this war by activating Hezbollah or killing an American through your proxies in Syria and Iraq. And they need to hear that. They need to believe that.

BASH: Senator Blumenthal, that's -- I mean, I know it's just a sense of the Senate, which means it's not binding.


But to have that voice from the U.S. Senate that warns Iran that the U.S. could militarily strike Iran if they expand this war, that's pretty aggressive.

BLUMENTHAL: It's aggressive, but it's absolutely necessary.

And it's not only in Israel's explicit interest. They will support this deterrence. And the key word here is deterrence.

GRAHAM: Right.

BLUMENTHAL: The purpose of the resolution is to deter Iran by showing we're going to be behind the president as he seeks to stop the war from widening or escalating.


BLUMENTHAL: And here's the other point, Dana, which I think is really critical.

We visited Saudi Arabia and Egypt. And, believe me, they loathe and fear Iran and Hezbollah and Hamas and the other proxies as much as Israel. So, they are in favor of deterring a wider war. I think there's bipartisan common ground here. And there's consensus in the region that deterrence is critical, because Iran here is the toxic malign influence.

It is financially fueling, equipping, supplying all of these proxies that have as their goal to disrupt and destabilize the region, when powers like Saudi Arabia want economic prosperity. They want to normalize relations with Israel and achieve stability and peace. And there is a strong view, and I agree with it, that the reason why

Hamas struck now and why Iran gave them the green light to strike now is because the talks on normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia were making progress.

BASH: Right.

There is going to be a -- some form of a measure to approve more funding for Israel. The House passed something that was just focused on Israel. You both, I'm sure, would agree it's dead on arrival in the Senate, in part because it doesn't include support for Ukraine.

Senator Graham, I will start with you.


BASH: The Senate, will it ultimately pass a bill that includes funding for both?

GRAHAM: Yes, I think so.

I think you will have a bill that will have border security. We will be insane as a country not to fix our broken border. It's just a -- we're living on borrowed time in terms of the border being broken and an attack on our own nation.

I am for Ukraine support. We can't pull the plug on Ukraine, let Putin get away with this. There goes Taiwan if you do that. I'm definitely for Israel. So I think you will see a package of border security, funding for Ukraine, funding for Israel coming out of the Senate probably as one package. I would support that.

BASH: Before I let you both go, Senator Blumenthal, I have to ask about some new polling that is a big warning sign for your fellow Democrat in the White House, "The New York Times" and Siena College.

It shows that Donald Trump is leading in Nevada, Georgia, Arizona, and Michigan, tight races in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. How worried are you about the president's reelection campaign?

BLUMENTHAL: I was concerned before these polls, and I'm concerned now.

These presidential races over the last couple of terms have been very tight. No one is going to have a runaway election here. It's going to take a lot of hard work, concentration, resources. And so we have our work cut out for us.

But I believe that the president's record -- and we have just been talking about an area where his leadership has been critical, where he's forged a bipartisan consensus in favor of a peaceful outcome with a Palestinian state as the goal, a lot of bipartisan agreement between Senator Graham and myself on the need for a combined package.

I think his leadership is going to be really critical, as it was in putting together this trip. But let me just make this point, Dana. I think we are at a turning

point in the Mideast, a critical point of potential no return, if there is a widening of the war. And so we need to get together...


BLUMENTHAL: ... on deterring Iran and making sure it understands...


BLUMENTHAL: ... that it will face consequences if it unleashes its proxies, as it seems possibly to be intent on doing.

I think President Biden's leadership is important.

BASH: You definitely do not have bipartisan agreement on who should be in the White House after 2024, but it is important to have this bipartisan discussion on such a critical...


BASH: ... issue in such a critical moment. And I appreciate you both coming on. Thank you so much.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

BASH: And up next: Israel's U.N. ambassador draws attention by wearing a yellow Star of David at the U.N.

We will talk to him next.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

This week, a shocking symbol on the floor of the United Nations, the yellow Star of David. Israel's ambassador there wore that star to call attention to the sharp rise in antisemitic incidents worldwide following the Hamas attacks in Israel.

Here with me now is Israel's ambassador to the U.N., Gilad Erdan. Thank you so much for joining me. I want to get to that moment at the U.N. this past week soon.

But, first, I want to ask about President Biden. He was actually asked by reporters just last night if there had been any progress toward a humanitarian pause in the Gaza conflict. He said yes. He gave a thumbs up.

Is that true? Are you making progress towards a humanitarian pause in the fighting? GILAD ERDAN, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: As far as I

know, we are fully coordinated with the administration. We are closely monitoring the humanitarian situation in Gaza, obviously.

And we always remind it to everyone we shouldn't believe or take any numbers coming out of Gaza at face value. Everything is being controlled by the terrorists of Hamas. There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In coordination with the U.S. and the U.N., we allowed the number of trucks entering Gaza now with food and medicines to reach almost 100 trucks every day.


So we don't see the need for humanitarian pauses right now, because it will only enable Hamas to rearm and regroup and prevent us from achieving our goal to destroy Hamas' terrorist capabilities.

BASH: You have said this before, that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

That's kind of an amazing statement, because there were humanitarian problems there before the war. And now, obviously, it has gotten bad.

ERDAN: But, Dana -- OK, so...

BASH: Take their numbers aside. It has gotten to the crisis point.

ERDAN: Yes, but I'm not -- no, I'm not saying that the life in Gaza is great. And, obviously, Hamas is the only one that should be held accountable for any situation in Gaza.

But there is a standard, due to international humanitarian law. What does it mean, a humanitarian crisis? And I'm saying, again, there is no humanitarian crisis, based on the international humanitarian law right now in Gaza.

By the way, only last night, everyone could watch thousands of Gazans near the Shifa Hospital with electricity, with their cell phones watching a movie how the Hamas terrorists are slaughtering Israeli civilians and soldiers.

So, obviously, you can even see it on the streets on the Gaza.

BASH: Right, but all those things could be true -- all those things could be true at the same time.

And I guess my question is, if Israel wants to maintain and the government wants to maintain credibility, is denying that there is a humanitarian crisis inside Gaza the way to do it?

ERDAN: I'm not denying that the situation in -- the humanitarian situation in Gaza is very bad. And it's very sad that, for 16 years, Hamas exploited all the money that was transferred to Gaza, instead of investing it to build hospitals or desalination -- water desalination power plants, only to turn Gaza into a war machine. It's very sad, but Israel shouldn't be held accountable for this

situation. We have a goal now to destroy Hamas' terrorist capabilities to prevent future atrocities from being -- happened. And it will happen, not only in Israel, but all across the globe, because other...


BASH: And I just want to -- I just want to underscore...

ERDAN: ... because other terrorist organizations will be inspired.


BASH: I just want to make sure, because there are -- I just want to make sure, because there have been -- because we know that Hamas has built its headquarters, they hide among the civilian population.

There was another incident at a refugee camp yesterday. And the Palestinians are saying it is because of an Israeli strike. Is that true?

ERDAN: Look, again, I will have to repeat what I said.

The fact that Hamas is using the Palestinians, the Gazan -- the population in Gaza...

BASH: But was that strike the Israeli -- was that blast from an Israeli strike?


ERDAN: I don't know.


ERDAN: I don't know the details, but it's -- again, I reiterate, Israel never intentionally targets civilians.

We do everything that is possible to minimize, to mitigate civilian casualties. Hamas is the only one that should be held accountable. Otherwise, if we accept the modus operandi of Hamas, Western civilization societies can never win and destroy terrorist organizations.

It will inspire all terrorist organizations across the globe, because that's the way now they attack our democracies.

BASH: Let's turn to a moment where you were at the U.N. Obviously, you were there in your capacity as Israel's ambassador -- we're showing a picture right now -- wearing a Jewish Star of David, and the words "Never again" were on it. This was during a Security Council meeting this past week.

The head of Israel's Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, said that doing that dishonors both the victims of the Holocaust and the state of Israel, and that the yellow patch symbolizes the helplessness of the Jewish people and being at the mercy of others.

I don't believe that that was your intention. What's your response?

ERDAN: Well, during times of war, I don't intend to fight or, again, and comment on every -- anyone.


I just want to emphasize that my goal was to, first of all, shock the Security Council that today it has been 30th -- it's the 30th day -- it has been 30 days since the worst atrocities committed against the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

And, still, the Security Council of the U.N. that was established in the wake of the Holocaust to prevent atrocities has not even condemned Hamas for this horrifying attack against the Jewish people. So, I wanted to shock them.

BASH: Yes.

ERDAN: I wanted to remind them of their silence.

And I wanted to convey a message that we -- not like in the past. We are not weak, as we were during the Holocaust. That's why it was inscribed with the words "Never again." It wasn't aimed to mark the Jews, like during the Holocaust.

We will continue to fight without any peace -- cease-fires until we eradicate Hamas' terror capabilities.

BASH: Before I let you go, I know that you saw that we -- there was an Israeli official who warned Israelis against traveling abroad. And, if they do, please do not display outward signs of Israeli or Jewish identity.

There have been an -- there's an alarming rise in antisemitism, not only in the U.S., but around the world. As ambassador to the U.N., what do you do to combat that?

ERDAN: I think that the situation right now is shocking. We are on the brink of a catastrophe even here in the United States.

We see now thousands of people chanting "Death to Israel," "Death to the Jews." We see Jewish students all across the United States on college campuses that are being threatened, not only by other students, by their professors. And presidents of universities cannot even condemn the terror attack.

So, right now, I think it's already too late to say that we expect them to speak up or call out the antisemites. We expect to take -- to see actions. We expect them to expel students, to fire professors who are antisemitic. We expect them to call the police to investigate the harassments of Jewish students.

This is truly unacceptable, the situation, right now. And, as I said, we are on the brink of a catastrophe. Any moment, we might see a terror attack against a Jewish community here in the United States.

BASH: Well, God forbid, as they say.

But I appreciate your time. Thank you so much for coming on.

ERDAN: Yes, it's -- it -- thank you, Dana, for having me. Thank you.

BASH: Thank you.

Ambassador Gilad Erdan, thank you.

And here in the United States, on the political front, new polls are flashing bright red warning signs for President Biden and his campaign in key swing states. We're going to look at these new numbers next.




FMR. GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is a significant likelihood that Donald Trump will be found guilty by a jury on a felony offense next year.


FMR. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Your anger against the truth is reprehensible.


CHRISTIE: You can yell and boo about it as much as you like, but it doesn't change the truth.


BASH: Two of Donald Trump's opponents in the Republican race for the presidential nomination getting booed because they spoke out against the president.

That's one bit of evidence that we have seen recently about the former president's popularity when it comes to Republicans. There's new evidence this morning about his popularity when it comes to a potential general election matchup with President Biden.

A stunning "New York Times"/Siena poll shows that Donald Trump leading Joe Biden in Nevada, Georgia, Arizona, and Michigan and tight races in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

My panel is here with me now.

Karen Finney, I will start with you.


BASH: You're welcome.

I mean, in all candor, truth serum, this has to be like a political five-alarm fire in the White House.

FINNEY: Well, look, I think we have all always said this is going to be a tough race, period, full stop. I don't think anyone is taking anything for granted.

And a couple of things, though. I will say. One, if you look at the trend, right, in 2011, President Obama was not in good shape, And that has been a trend in several. And, remember, we were all thinking Hillary Clinton was going to be president and the economy was going to be the issue in 2022.

I only say that to say there's going to -- there's clearly more going on underneath the surface that this poll doesn't tell us. And that is where elections are won, understanding not just the what, but the why.

The second thing I would say, though, is, yes, I hope it is an alarm for the campaign, and I hope it shows, particularly when you look at young voters and voters of color, that, while they have made important early investments in reaching out to those electors, we have to keep doing it.

We can't take anything for granted. And it's not just about talking about the president's record and what he's done, but also elections are about the future, so reminding people, talking to people about what he wants to do to continue the work that he's been doing on their behalf.

BASH: Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett, Karen just talked about a warning sign, warning signs across the board, but particularly when it comes to people of color.

"The New York Times" -- and they're right about it -- says: "In a remarkable sign of a gradual racial realignment between the two parties, the more diverse the swing state, the farther Mr. Biden was behind. And he led only in the whitest of six."


REP. JASMINE CROCKETT (D-TX): Yes. No, it's really scary for me.

I'm glad that Karen, the expert, is not as scared, because here's the deal. Perception is reality. And so when you look at the data that was provided in this poll, it talks about how people feel. And when people decide whether they're going to the poll or whether they're not going to the poll, it's all about how you feel in that moment.

And so while the facts may not align with their feelings, their feelings are dictating their reality. Their reality is that they said that they feel better or they felt better when Trump was in office. But we have been trying to push back. We have got some very popular

African-American artists that are out here saying things like, oh, I got checks when Trump was in office, I want those checks again, not understanding that really came from Congress.

So we have got a couple of things, the perception issue. And then we also have an issue as it relates to civics in this country and people not understanding exactly how any of this works.

BASH: Congresswoman, former Congresswoman Comstock, I mean, I think it's fair to say you're not the biggest fan of Donald Trump as the head of your party.


BASH: What do these polls tell you?

FMR. REP. BARBARA COMSTOCK (R-VA): Well, I think the polls are -- these are obviously a year ahead, as Karen said.

And I think Republicans are ignoring the warnings of my friends Asa Hutchinson and Chris Christie and ignoring that very well the four- times-indicted Donald Trump could be a convicted Donald Trump by the time we get to next summer.

We know right now that there's a deficit for Republicans in terms of money. Joe Biden is raising a lot more money than Trump is, and Trump is spending a lot of his money on his legal bills. So, basically, if you're a donor to Donald Trump, you're often really a donor to his defense fund.

So, what they tell me is, when I look at those states, I see states that Donald Trump lost senators and governors for Republicans, in Georgia lost senators, and went after Governor Kemp, in Pennsylvania lost senators -- lost a senator last year and a governor, a very popular governor, Democrat Josh Shapiro, because Mastriano, who is a big Trumper, MAGA does not sell in general elections.

BASH: Yes.

COMSTOCK: A year out might -- this might be popular, but, going in, when people are faced with MAGA, it does not sell well when the reality of those ads that the Biden campaign is going to be spending on, MAGA has been losing for seven years.

Normal Republicans can win, like Glenn Youngkin, but MAGA has been a big loser for Republicans.

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: When I look at this poll, what I see are a lot of Americans who would say, look, I think Donald Trump is not a good guy, I think he's a crook, but you know what? He was better for my pocketbook.

And that's where Democrats really have a problem. Joe Biden's been out going around the country talking about Bidenomics, which is, frankly, a phrase that I think the Republicans are more likely to deploy as we get closer to November if Americans continue to feel that fuel, food, housing, et cetera, are all getting more expensive, and that they just look back on the Trump presidency and go, yes, he's crazy.

Yes, that was unpleasant in 500 different ways, but it was better at the bank.

CROCKETT: Yes, I mean, I hear you, and I think that that's absolutely true, but people have to recognize that the world has changed.

And that's the part that no one really is factoring in, is that we did not have a pandemic known as the coronavirus that existed when Trump first wore in. So, yes, absolutely, gas prices were in a better situation, but also people understanding that bad policy takes a little while to go into effect.

And, honestly, that's what we're seeing. It wasn't better for the American people that the rich folk got the tax breaks. It would have been a lot better if those that are struggling every day got them, or the child tax credit that is going away, or the fact that people are upset with the president right now as it relates to Israel.

But when you look at the package that was passed by MAGA Mike that was pushed out by the Republicans, what did that package do? It defunded American workers,saying, we're going to take money back from the IRS. And it also made sure that Israel got money and there was nothing for the Palestinians.

COMSTOCK: But, next year, the argument is not going to be that so much. I mean, next year, if the election is about Donald Trump, then Republicans lose.

So, I think, right now, everyone's focused on Biden and looking at Biden.


COMSTOCK: But next year is going to be a very attack Trump election, I'm assuming. And that's...

BASH: Sorry, 10 seconds.

FINNEY: Just again, when it's a head-to-head, it's a very different conversation, and when voters are reminded of the trauma of Donald Trump every day, because I don't think they're hearing it and seeing it, the way we were...

BASH: But they are head to head.


FINNEY: Not -- no, they're not. Democrats are not -- we have no primaries. So most Democrats are not really...


BASH: In this new poll. COMSTOCK: He's not on your screen every day. You aren't getting the negative ads.


BASH: Right.


BASH: When we're in the general election.


BASH: Thank you. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

We will be right back.


BASH: Thank you so much for spending your Sunday morning with us.