Occupied Thoughts: Former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes with Peter Beinart
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Peter Beinart speaks to Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor from 2009-2017, about working on Israel, Palestine, and Iran in the Obama Administration. Rhodes draws insights from interactions with different lobby groups, presidential travel to Israel and a memorable meeting with young Palestinians in Ramallah, and talks about navigating the assumption by Israel advocates that Blackness translates into sympathy for Palestinians living under oppression. Beinart and Rhodes end the conversation with a discussion of the Biden administration and Democratic foreign policy advisors’ approaches to the IHRA definition of antisemitism and Democrats’ longstanding commitment to the concept of the two state solution. Ben Rhodes’s new book, After the Fall: Being American in the World We’ve Made, will be out in June 2021.
Ben Rhodes is the author of the New York Times bestseller The World As It Is; a contributor for NBC News, MSNBC and Crooked Media; the co-chair of National Security Action; and an advisor to former President Barack Obama. From 2009-2017, Rhodes served as a Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. In that capacity, he participated in nearly all of President Obama’s key decisions, and oversaw the President’s national security communications, speechwriting, public diplomacy and global engagement programming. He also led the secret negotiations with the Cuban government which resulted in the effort to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba, and supported the negotiations to conclude the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. Prior to joining the Administration, he was a Senior Speechwriter and foreign policy advisor to the Obama campaign. From 2002-2007, he worked for former Congressman Lee Hamilton, supporting his work on the 9/11 Commission and Iraq Study Group. A native New Yorker, Mr. Rhodes has a B.A. from Rice University and an M.F.A from New York University. He tweets at @brhodes.
Peter Beinart is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He is also a Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York, a Contributing opinion writer at the New York Times, an Editor-at-Large at Jewish Currents, and a CNN Political Commentator. He tweets at @PeterBeinart.