Episode

2/20 UNRWA’s Critical Work In Gaza; Big Plastic’s Recycling Lies w/ Bill Deere, Richard Wiles

February 20, 2024

It’s News Day Tuesday! Emma speaks with Bill Deere, director of the Washington office of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), to discuss the ongoing situation with the agency in Gaza. Then, she speaks with Richard Wiles, President of The Center for Climate Integrity (CCI), to discuss the recent report the CCI issued about the plastics industry. First, Emma runs through updates on the UN’s ceasefire vote, the ICJ’s hearings on Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, the Knesset’s attempt to expel Ofer Cassif, the decimation of Gaza, the expansion of Israel’s war, Trump’s demanding lead over the GOP, Alabama’s Supreme Court decision to further clamp down on reproductive rights, and West Virginia’s criminalization of librarians, before watching some of the major public actions in Europe ahead of Julia Assange’s extradition trial. Bill Deere then joins, diving right into the history of UNRWA’s founding in the wake of the 1948 Nakba as a “temporary” service to aid Palestinian refugees, that has since taken on a breadth of responsibility to feed, educate, and medicare millions of refugees across Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza in the 75 years since, working as a primary healthcare network, an education provider, and the primary humanitarian assistance provider, with little to no development towards an ends to their work. After touching on the overwhelming pressure that faces the 30k workers at UNRWA, Deere and Emma walk through the recent expansion of UNRWA activity in Gaza as Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the region has progressed, made all the more difficult by the devastating conditions and the active obstruction from Israeli demonstrators. Next, Bill briefly walks through the recent allegations of UNRWA involvement in 10/7, including Israel’s refusal to provide UNRWA with the actual proof, UNRWA’s decision to nonetheless fire those allegedly involved, and the international community’s revocation of funding in response, before touching on the devastating impact of that funding, and the ongoing attempts to keep UNRWA operating. Wrapping up, Deere explores the work UNRWA does with the Biden Administration, and what those of us outside of Government and NGOs can do to help. Richard Wiles then dives right into the myth of single-use plastic recycling and the recent revelations around the oil and gas industry’s multi-decade attempt to keep the plastics industry thriving at the expense of humanity. Wiles walks through the failure of the industry to push landfills and incineration as appropriate plastic disposal methods in the mid-1900s due to their obvious environmental impacts, looking to recycling as their answer – despite myriad internal studies that had shown it to be an expensive and wasteful process – presenting public demonstration project after public demonstration project alongside large sums of money to bring state and local governments on board with their bunk science. Wrapping up, Wiles and Emma explore the various legal battles going on in an attempt to hold the industry accountable for their societal harms, and what to expect from them moving forward. Emma also expands on the recent decision out of Alabama to categorize frozen embryos as children.

And in the Fun Half: Emma discusses Rashida Tlaib’s call for Michigan voters to use the primary to pressure Biden, and MSNBC’s unsurprising take that it will cost Biden the election nine months from now. Tom from Newton discusses the politics of tech and teens, Emma dives into the ICJ case over Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, and Tim Scott continues his audition for VP by throwing Nikki Haley under the bus on Fox. Donald Trump struggles with the Black vote, Bernie can’t seem to find the words “ceasefire,” “genocide,” or “apartheid” when it comes to Israel, and Mario in Georgia explores the failures of police training, plus, your calls and IMs!

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