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To read more about Episode 303, visit the main episode page.
[ “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” — Natalie Merchant with Susan McKeown & the Chanting House ]
Michael Moore [00:01:27] This is Michael Moore. This is my podcast. T he song was Natalie Merchant, along with Susan McKeown and The Chanting House singing their riff on the Emily Dickinson poem, Because I Could Not Stop for Death, He Kindly Stopped for Me. It’s sort of a mournful, soulful tune to play today, appropriate for what we’re going to do on this episode of my podcast. For now, over three weeks, I, like many of you, have felt deep despair. I felt it actually for much longer than these three weeks. I first visited Gaza almost 39 years ago. That’s how long this little strip of land, 3 to 5 miles wide, about 25 miles long, one of the most god awful sights imaginable. And when I first saw it, I never recovered from it. 39 years ago. This has been with me. And I went back to Gaza. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. And it’s been like this now, for me at least, for, what, almost four decades of being a witness? And lucky me. All I have to do is suffer through what I observe and see and experience. But I don’t have to be Palestinian. And to wake up all these years later on the morning of October 7th and to learn that there are over 1400 dead, slaughtered Jewish brothers and sisters in the streets, in their homes. I want to live in a world where we don’t slaughter anybody, where we don’t harm or take hostages or put anybody in an outdoor prison for 17 years. I don’t want to live in that kind of world. But I’m alive. I’m alive. And I’m a witness. And I’m a citizen of this world. And I just can’t turn away. I can’t ignore what’s going on. And you’ve heard me, those of you who’ve been fans of mine for a long time, say that I will not stand for anti-Semitism. I will not stand for any kind of bigotry or racism. I will not stand for anybody who wants to harm the Jews of this world. And I’ve talked in the past about what I’ve done throughout my life since I was a teenager, to stand up against the haters, to stand up and say with other non-Jews, with Gentiles, that we will never let what happened in the 20th century ever happen again. Never again. Never again.
[00:05:13] But that promise, that pledge, if you’re Jewish and you hear a non-Jew like me say, “I will never let this happen to you again, I will stand. I will have your back. I will not allow harm to you.” If you don’t also hear me say that I also will not let that happen to any Palestinian brother or sister of mine on this planet, if I can’t say that also, then I have no credibility when you hear me say that I will stand for you. You shouldn’t believe me in fact. If I can’t also say that I will not let harm come to the Palestinian people, that I will stop this madness. I will stop this treatment. I will stop this apartheid. I will stop this. I will do whatever I can. I will not let my government send weapons, send billions of dollars to fund a sad, disgusting, disastrous situation. And I’ve had many talks with many Jewish friends, family members. My niece had her bat mitzvah at Masada — you know, the cliff there in Israel, the Holy Land, where Jews were forced to jump many, many, many, many, many hundreds of years ago because they would not take being slaves, being subservient to the masters of that time, and lost their lives as a result of it. This is where she — she didn’t have her bat mitzvah at the Western wall at Masada. Hmm.
[00:07:16] So, you know, I have a lot to say. And I will say it here in the next days and weeks to come. It’s taken me this long just to wrap my head around it, just to get over some of the grief so I could think clearly and say the things I want to say in the coming weeks here. And when I say “weeks,” we don’t really have any time because they’re being slaughtered. Children are being killed. There’s a carpet bombing going on. There’s no such thing as “they’re targeting Hamas.” I mean, I know, I don’t have to tell any of you this. You’re smart enough to know the B.S., but especially for these last few nights, you know, now some cameras have gotten in there. They wouldn’t let any in at the beginning because they had shut down, canceled, they got rid of all the communication towers and Internet so we didn’t see anything these past few days. But now we’re seeing the images of neighborhood after neighborhood after neighborhood, miles upon miles leveled, just buildings leveled, rubble, nothing but rubble. God knows how many people are under that rubble. And you could never say to me, you could never justify that to me, “Oh, well, so-and-so who lived in that neighborhood did this awful thing. And so we’re going to go kill a bunch of their people.”.
[00:08:38] We won’t last as a world, as a planet, as humanity, if that’s how we think. And vengeance, vengeance will be the death of all of us. After 9-11, nobody could think straight in this country. And so right away it was like, “Let’s invade. Let’s invade Afghanistan. Let’s invade Iraq.” Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. Didn’t matter. “Let’s go kill.” What did we kill, 300 people? The estimate is about 300,000 Iraqi civilians. That’s who we are. But, you know, listen, we’re the pros at genocide. So this goes back a long way. North Americans and the people that first settled here, the Spanish and the Portuguese and the British were really good at genocide. And we’ve been copied by the Masters.
[00:09:37] I’m sure you’ve read or heard this incredible, awful story of how Hitler, when he was elected in 1932/1933, sent a couple of academics to the U.S. to study how the U.S. gets away with putting their people of color in the parts of town, the ghettos. How do they create the ghettos and how do they make sure that they have no power? They actually studied this, the Germans did in the 1930s. Well, I have a lot more to say about all this, but I thought on this first episode of us talking about this horrific slaughter going on, that I would let the people of Israel, our Jewish neighbors, our brothers and sisters and our Muslim and Palestinian brothers and sisters have the microphone here. So on part one in today’s podcast, my team here, my Rumble podcast team went down to a mass demonstration at rush hour on Friday afternoon where a few thousand New York City Jewish men, women, children took over Grand Central Station and shut it down in a mass act of civil disobedience. We joined them so we could give the microphone to them so we could hear what they had to say. That’s what you’re going to hear on today’s episode of my podcast. It’ll be a series of people to talk about why they belong to Jewish Voice for Peace, JVP, and I personally joined Jewish Voice for Peace myself. These are people demanding an end to the Israeli slaughter, an end to their asking for a cease fire — both sides — cease fire, a release of the hostages, stop the killing. And as Jews, they wore these t shirts that said Not in My Name. Over and over they told us on Friday night, “I don’t want a single Palestinian hurt in my name as a Jew, I will not stand for this.” Over and over this is what we heard. It was very powerful.
[00:12:03] And police at first didn’t quite know what to do or how to take care of this because they had shut down Grand Central Station, which is, you know, no easy feat here. So I’m going to turn it over to them. You’ll hear some of the chanting and some of the singing also that was going on. And because this is an audio podcast, I don’t have subtitles to put up there for you. So you can, you know, read them. But I’ll just tell you some of the the chants. I think you’ll be able to understand most of them. They’re chanting “Not in our name. Raising our voices higher and higher. No war. No war. Call for a cease fire.” “Cease Fire Now.” “Your people are my people. Your people are mine.” These are Jews chanting this to the Palestinians of this world, and especially in Gaza. “Where you go, I will go Palestine. Where you go, I will go.” “Never again for anyone. Never again is now.”.
[00:13:12] So you’ll hear all this, and then you’ll hear some of the little brief interviews we did. I really want to thank the only two executive producers that this podcast has had. And it’ll be four years old here, this podcast in in December. The co-founder of this with me was Basel Hamdan and he was the executive producer of it for the first two and a half years. And then for the last year and a half, Angie Vargos has been the executive producer. Basel is a Palestinian-American and Angie is originally from Illinois. So it’s not a false equivalency or anything. I’m just letting you know who they are — two great people I’ve been able to work with and a real privilege and an honor. So my thanks to them. You’ll hear their voices doing a little bit of this interviewing and talking to people there in Grand Central, Basel and Angie.
[00:14:15] And then part two of this, in a few days, will air because the very next day on Saturday of this weekend, we went to Brooklyn and again Angie and Basel marched with the Palestinian demonstration for peace and talked to Palestinians and Palestinian allies, which was one of the amazing things of this massive march and demonstration on Saturday, is how many people came out to support Palestinians. All kinds of people, all ethnicities, races, religions, colors, old and young. It was very powerful. So I’ll play that for you in a couple of days on part two of this.
[00:14:59] I think before we get going, I want to thank a couple of my underwriters here and then a couple more I’ll thank at the end of the the podcast.
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[00:17:37] Okay, so we’re back now. And now let’s turn the microphone over to Jewish Voice for Peace, semi-live from Grand Central Station on Friday night at rush hour — one of the most powerful demonstrations I’ve ever seen in New York City. So many people and so many Jewish voices demanding an end to all of this. It’s very powerful.
Protestors singing [00:18:36] Raising our voices. Higher and higher. No war. No war. Call for a cease fire.
Angie Vargos [00:18:36] Can I ask you what brings you here today?
Holocaust survivor [00:18:38] I’m Jewish and I’m a Holocaust survivor, and I’m totally against what Israel does.
Dr. Steve Auerbach [00:18:49] My name is Dr. Steve Auerbach. I am Jewish. I am a pediatrician and I am calling for cease fire now. Not in my name. The horrific attacks by Hamas were indeed horrific, but history did not begin on October 7th.
Protestors singing [00:19:05] Not in our name. Not in our name.
Dr. Steve Auerbach [00:19:13] The mass retaliation by Israel against civilians is itself also a war crime. And as a pediatrician, I am saddened and despondent at the deaths of children and their families, in Gaza, in Palestine, in Israel. I’ve never been prouder of my completely mainstream New York state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which came out with a statement on October 13th calling for a ceasefire on behalf of the children of Israel and Gaza and Palestine. I am… Shocked, disappointed — I don’t know what the right word is — that calling for a ceasefire while thousands of civilians are being killed is somehow considered an extremist position. Calling for a ceasefire in the midst of mass bombings of civilian areas is and should be a normative mainstream view. I call on President Biden. I call on Senator Schumer, majority leader in the Senate. I call on my own Congressperson Nadler, who considers himself the senior Jewish representative in the House. I call on them to stand up for actual Jewish values. A ceasefire, No more killing of children and moving towards an honest, negotiated settlement. The right wing government in Israel has had no interest in a two state solution. That’s why they have spent the last ten years propping up Hamas. Neither of those two parties has any interest in a two state solution, and we just get these endless cycles of violence. The United States can use its authority and power where it has leverage, principally with Israel, to insist — insist — on a ceasefire now and real movement to a just internationally recognized two state solution borders. And on behalf of the children and families of Israel and of Palestine, I send you my love. I send you my care as a pediatrician, as a Jew, as a father.
Protestors singing [00:21:35] Cease fire now. Cease fire now.
Basel Hamdan [00:21:37] You mentioned it shouldn’t be controversial to want a ceasefire, but are you heartened to see that the first polls that have come out show that the majority of Americans actually do want a ceasefire and a majority of Americans don’t want the United States sending more weapons to Israel? Does that heartened you at all?
Dr. Steve Auerbach [00:21:57] It heartens me to the extent that we can believe the polls. It heartens me that people are seeing what’s going on with their own two eyes on the screens — and please take care of yourselves. Watching these videos over and over again is also harmful. I was a first responder with 9-11 and watching horrific videos over and over again is not good for your own health. But having seen that, please stand for a ceasefire. The brave 18 or so Congress persons who supported the ceasefire now including Jamaal Bowman, who I worked for, including Velasquez, including AOC in the New York City area. Bravo to them. But again, yeah, you know, Israel bombed the heck out of Gaza roughly ten years ago, then spent the next ten years propping up Hamas because neither party is interested in an actual solution. And here we are bombing again. So clearly, bombing is not the solution. Clearly, more civilian deaths is not the solution. And again, as a pediatrician, all I can do really is hold up the value as a Jew that all lives matter, as a Jew and a pediatrician, that all children’s lives matter and their families, and that, you know, these mass bombings, semi-discriminate, I guess at best you could call them, is simply unacceptable. And that’s why we call for a ceasefire now.
Man with megaphone [00:23:29] What do we want?
Protestors [00:23:29] Ceasefire!
Man with megaphone [00:23:29] When do we want it?
Protestors [00:23:29] Now!
Angie Vargos [00:23:33] Are you here to take a train?
Woman Pedestrian [00:23:33] Excuse me?
Angie Vargos [00:23:33] Are you here to take a train today?
Woman Pedestrian [00:23:35] I am. Yes. I would like to say that I believe that this is a volatile situation and I don’t think anybody here wants to add to the bloodshed or the sorrow that is on both sides that is fueling the anger. And I believe that this is a dangerous situation and it is not the way to address it. I would like to say that to the crowd if it were possible.
Protestors shouting [00:24:22] Let Gaza live! Let Gaza live!
Police over megaphone [00:24:23] If you refuse to leave, you’ll be arrested and charged with trespassing.
Protestors singing [00:24:23] Your people are my people, your people are mine. Your people are my people, your people are mine. Where you go, I will go Palestine. Where you go I will go. Where you go, I will go Palestine. Where you go I will go.
Angie Vargos [00:25:00] Can I just ask you why you’re here and willing to get arrested? Do you min?
Jewish man protesting [00:25:03] I guess I’m here because I just feel like I can’t sit by and watch ethnic cleansing and genocide happening in my name. I just can’t watch it.
Angie Vargos [00:25:11] Are you Jewish?
Jewish man protesting [00:25:12] I am. Yeah.
Angie Vargos [00:25:13] And you’re willing to be arrested for that today?
Jewish man protesting [00:25:15] I’m willing to be arrested for that as much as it takes. I just… We can’t allow this to happen and have the world sit silently and just watch it as if Palestinian lives don’t matter. They do matter.
Protesting Mom [00:25:26] I’m married to a Palestinian and my family is Palestinian. And I am here so my children can live in freedom and dignity and all Palestinians can live in freedom and dignity in their homeland.
Angie Vargos [00:25:37] And today, you’re willing to be arrested for that cause?
Protesting Mom [00:25:40] Hell, yeah.
Jay Saper [00:25:55] My name is Jay Saper, and I’m here with Jewish Voice for Peace. Thousands of Jewish New Yorkers reverberated our voices here in Grand Central Station in New York City calling for a ceasefire. Right now, hundreds of arrests are being made. As a people who have survived a genocide, we know that we have to do everything we can to put our bodies on the line to try to stop a genocide from unfolding in real time against the Palestinians of Gaza.
Basel Hamdan [00:26:28] Have you been heartened to see, despite some very tough media coverage, that in the first round of polling, the majority of Americans actually do want a cease fire? I mean, at first it felt like we’re on the defensive, everyone is against us, everyone who wants peace, that the media is rushing to war again. But it seems like there’s actually a groundswell of support in favor of a cease fire. Is that what you’re sensing? Are you seeing that? Are you feeling that?
Jay Saper [00:26:57] Yeah. Well, this evening you got to feel the resounding collective dissent of us raising our voices, saying we need a cease fire. We were just in Washington, D.C., last Wednesday where hundreds got arrested in Congress calling for a cease fire as well. We know that the public wants a cease fire, does not want the U.S. to send more money and more weapons to Israel. But instead call for an immediate cease fire. Some of your Jewish brethren, it’s the term that gets used all the time, will say “Self-hating Jew” “Look at what these animals did to us on October 7th.” “You’re taking their side. How could you do that?” What do you say when you hear something like that?
Jay Saper [00:27:44] We understand that everybody is grieving in this moment and we refuse to allow our own pain and trauma to be used to justify further acts of violence against another people. We are raising our voices to say, “Not in our name.” The hundreds who are getting arrested are wearing T-shirts right now that say, Not In Our Name, because we believe that our safety can never come at the expense of the safety of another community. We are proudly Jews who believe that our tradition compels us to take action for justice, to honor life as sacred. And so we had rabbis here getting arrested with us who are deeply rooted, proudly, in our Jewish tradition, which tells us to take action to save life. To speak up right now, to try to stop the bombing of Gaza and also to challenge the U.S. government, which sends $3.8 billion every year in military funding to Israel. We know that that U.S. complicity and moral cover has allowed Israel to carry out not only this latest act of violence, but 75 years of occupation and apartheid, which are the root of the violence that we have to address.
Basel Hamdan [00:29:09] For people who are listening that want to do something, say something, take part in this, where should they go and what can they do?
Jay Saper [00:29:19] So right now, everyone is needed to raise your voice to call for a cease fire. You can call your members of Congress and demand that they support the Cease Fire Now Resolution. You can take to the streets to support demonstrations that are right now helping to build the international outcry that is necessary to bring an end to Israel’s bombing of the 2.2 million Palestinians trapped inside the world’s largest open air prison in Gaza. If they want to take collective action with Jewish Voice for Peace, which organized this historic demonstration here this evening, you can go to JVP.org/act.
Protestors chanting [00:30:03] Palestinians have — the right to live in freedom! Palestinians have — the right to return home!
Michael Moore [00:30:44] Powerful, powerful words on a Friday night at Grand Central Station. Before I close out here, let me just to thank our other two underwriters for this episode. And much gratitude toward those who support this podcast, who financially support it and support my voice. It’s not necessarily always the popular thing to do, but there’s enough good people that want to do the right thing and want to live in a world of peace. And I appreciate them sponsoring this podcast.
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[00:32:46] Okay, so our final underwriter for today’s episode of my podcast begins with me asking you a question. What do you call a person who speaks three languages? Trilingual, right? Yeah, trilingual. And someone who speaks two? Bilingual. And someone who speaks one language? We call that American. That’s right, because only 22% of Americans can speak a language other than English at home. So start learning a new language right now, this fall and be the exception, not the rule. And do it with Babbel. Why Babbel? Because it works. Babbel’s quick, ten minute lessons are designed by over 150 language experts to help you start speaking a new language in as little as three weeks. So if you start now, by Thanksgiving, you can say, “Pass the yams!” in French or Spanish or whatever. The lessons are designed by real people for real conversations. So all of Babbel’s tips and tools for learning a new language are approachable, accessible and rooted in real life situations and delivered with conversation-based teaching. Studies from Yale, Michigan State and others continue to prove that Babbel is better. One study found that using Babbel for 15 hours is equivalent to a full semester at college. So I’ve got a special for you, a special deal for our listeners to get you started right now. Get 55% off your Babbel subscription, but it’s only for our listeners at Babble.com/rumble. We’re really happy to welcome our new underwriter here, Babbel, and you can get 55% off by going to Babble.com/rumble. Babbel.com/rumble. Rules and restrictions may apply. All right, thank you, Babbel, for supporting my podcast and my voice.
[00:35:06] I’m so grateful to those who spoke to us. If you want to go on my site, you can see video we shot there on Friday night at Grand Central. So grateful to Jewish Voice for Peace. Like I said, I. I signed up and joined on Friday night. I’m not Jewish. I’m not Muslim. As you know, I’m a recovering Catholic, but all of our voices must be heard now. And we need to join with our Jewish brothers and sisters who are calling for this cease fire. And no more killing on either side. A release of the hostages immediately. Violence, war is not the answer. I’m grateful for those who have taken this stand. I know for a lot of them it’s not easy. They’ve had their own trials and tribulations in the past few weeks with their friends, family members, others that are happy with their strong voices for peace. I’m sorry to hear that. We should all be that. We all have to do that. We all have to call our members of Congress and tell them that we do not want to be the bank for more death and destruction. We are not supporting this. I know it’s hard for some people. I know. I understand the pain. I don’t know it because I haven’t had to live it. But I know that I have seen enough of it in my lifetime and I’m sick of it all. So thank you, all of our hundreds, thousands of Jewish brothers and sisters there at Grand Central the other night and in a couple of days, I’ll play part two of this from the Palestinian led march and rally that went across the borough of Brooklyn and across the Brooklyn Bridge. Thousands there on Saturday and Saturday night. A very powerful moment. And I want you to hear the Palestinian voices of this. So we’ll do that in a couple of days here on my podcast.
[00:37:12] Again, my great, great thanks to my two executive producers who have worked on this podcast — Basel from the very beginning, Basel Hamdan, and Angie Vargos, who is my current editor and executive producer. Thank you for the great work you did on there and the risks that you took to kind of pull this together. So let’s close up with the rest of that song from Natalie Merchant, who is also a signer to the cease fire letter. It was the one song I felt just kind of conveyed where I’m at this week, these last couple of weeks. And just if you can just hang with me here for two more minutes and and hear the last part of the song, I’d really, really enjoy and appreciate knowing that that we have kind of shared this together. Be well everyone, this is Michael Moore. This is Rumble.
[ “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” — Natalie Merchant with Susan McKeown & the Chanting House ]