#123 | A Bull In A China Cabinet: Israel, Gaza, & The Madman Theory w/ Zak Witus

In this episode, I speak with Zak Witus, freelance journalist and activist. Zak discusses the unfolding events in the Gaza Strip, in which thousands of Palestinians, over the past several months, have demonstrated against the horrific conditions imposed on the Palestinian territory by the state of Israel. Over a 100 Palestinian demonstrators have been killed by Israeli forces, with over 1200 injured, during what has been called "The Great March of Return," a large scale protest that demands “that Palestinian refugees and their descendants be allowed to return to what is now Israel.”* Zak also goes over the recent decision made by the Trump Administration to move the US Embassy to the city of Jerusalem, and how this decision fits into the demonstrations in the Gaza Strip.

In the later half of this episode, Zak and I discuss his most recent piece in Truthout titled ‘Israel Continues Aggression Against Syria While Playing the Victim,’ an article that explores Israel’s belligerent and aggressive relationship with it’s neighboring nations, in particular Lebanon and most recently, and frequently, with Syria. To quote from the article: “[o]ver the past six years, Israel has launched at least 100 attacks against convoys in Syria that were allegedly carrying weapons (perhaps advanced missiles) to Hezbollah and other Shi’ite militias. In February, the Guardian reported that Israel had been conducting near weekly strikes in Syria for the past 18 months, and there’s little reason to think that the rate of attacks has since ebbed. These attacks, which escalated under Trump, target Syrian government forces, Hezbollah and, as of late, Iran.” What are the aims of the Israeli government in Syria? How does US President Nixon’s infamous “Madman Theory” describe the kind of behavior coming from the state of Israel? Zak goes over this, and more, in this episode.

Zak is a freelance writer, and a recent graduate from the University of Michigan, where he studied Cognitive Science and Art History. His research and writing post-graduation have focused on US foreign policy and international relations, particularly the US role in the Arab-Israeli conflict and Israeli Occupation of Palestine. Zak presently lives in Jerusalem, and is participating in Achvat Amim (Solidarity of Nations), a service-learning program dedicated to the principle of self-determination for all peoples in the place that they call home. **

*Source: https://bit.ly/2LjQ2FM
**Sources: https://bit.ly/2JenmNG / https://bit.ly/2sySYGE


Episode Notes:

- Read Zak’s most recent piece in Truthout ‘Israel Continues Aggression Against Syria While Playing the Victim’ here: https://bit.ly/2stsHKZ

- Follow Zak’s recent articles on Truthout: https://truthout.org/authors/zak-witus

- Also on Times of Israel: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/author/zak-witus

- Follow Zak on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZakWitus

- The song featured in this episode is “Badd” by Sporting Life from the album 55 5’s.