Normally I would wait until a regularly scheduled release date to publish this conversation with Robert Wright, the proprietor of the Nonzero Newsletter, author of many books, and host of the Nonzero podcast. But we spend the episode discussing Israel, Hamas, and the Gaza War, and the situation on the ground is changing every day. So rather than wait another week, I decided to release it today as a free bonus episode. Tomorrow, subscribers will receive my conversation with John McWhorter, Tyler Austin Harper, and Daniel Bessner, with a public release of that episode on Friday.
I signed a letter from Brown University faculty calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, and I seek Bob’s counsel. He supports my decision but takes issue with some statements made by John McWhorter in our previous discussion about Gaza. Bob then lays out the history of Hamas’s rise to power in Gaza. The phrase “From the river to the sea” has been at the center of some controversy, and we debate what it actually means. The Israel-Palestine issue is more than political, and we discuss the psychology of victimhood and the desire for retribution. Finally, I ask Bob, who has written a wonderful book on Buddhism, psychology, and mindfulness meditation, whether peace in Israel will ultimately require a spiritual component.
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0:00 How Bob gave Glenn his start in podcasting
2:05 Is the Gaza War in Israel’s best interests …
11:46 … and if not, what should Israel have done in response to October 7?
18:06 How Hamas gained control of Gaza
26:53 Bob: Some in the Israeli government wouldn’t mind a wider war in the Middle East
36:46 What does “From the river to the sea” actually mean?
46:10 Bob: Every settlement in the West Bank is a war crime
54:20 The psychology of victimhood and retribution
1:00:37 The challenge of spiritual transformation
Recorded November 13, 2023