Democracy Now! 04-14-2016

On today's episode of Democracy Now!

As Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders prepare for tonight’s debate in Brooklyn, one issue expected to come up is the Israel-Palestine conflict. New York state, which holds its primary on Tuesday, is home to the largest Jewish population in the world outside of Israel. Sanders made headlines recently when he mistakenly told the New York Daily News editorial board that 10,000 civilians died in Israel’s assault on Gaza. Sanders said, "I don’t remember the figures, but my recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza. Does that sound right?" According to the United Nations, the actual civilian death toll was at least 1,473. Last week, former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, who now serves in the Israeli Knesset, said Bernie Sanders owes Israel an apology. Oren accused Sanders of a blood libel. A blood libel is a false, centuries-old allegation that Jews were killing children to use their blood in religious rituals. During a recent CNN interview, Sanders described Israel’s response in Gaza as "disproportionate." Clinton defended Israel’s actions, saying, "When you are being attacked, with rockets raining down on your people, and your soldiers are under attack, you have to respond."

A federal judge in Oregon has rejected an attempt by the U.S. government to dismiss a landmark lawsuit over the government’s failure to take necessary action to curtail fossil fuel emissions. The lawsuit was filed by Our Children’s Trust on behalf of 21 young people—all under the age of 21. They argue that the federal government is violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by enabling continued exploitation, production and combustion of fossil fuels. In his ruling, Judge Thomas Coffin wrote, "If the allegations in the complaint are to be believed, the failure to regulate the emissions has resulted in a danger of constitutional proportions to the public health." We speak to plaintiff Aji Piper, a 15-year-old 10th grader, and Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel for Our Children’s Trust, which filed the lawsuit.

Stanford University students are demanding change in faculty diversity. Stanford’s faculty is 73 percent white and 73 percent male, while less than half the undergraduate student body is white. The student diversity effort, called Who’s Teaching Us?, grew out of Stanford’s Asian American Activism Committee in 2014 when the Stanford English Department denied tenure to a queer Asian-American scholar, a trusted mentor among the student community. The movement has since expanded to include all students of color and marginalized identities. Who’s Teaching Us? recently issued a list of 25 demands to the administration, including increased diversity among faculty and the curriculum, residential space and other programs that meet the needs of students of color, and divestment from institutions that harm marginalized communities. We speak to Stanford student Maya Odei and LaDoris Cordell, a retired superior court judge who spent 19 years on the bench in Santa Clara County in California. She is former assistant dean at Stanford Law School and former vice provost of Stanford University.

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