Transcript: Rachel Goldberg-Polin on “Face the Nation,” April 7, 2024

The following is a transcript of an interview with Rachel Goldberg-Polin, whose son 23-year-old Hersh has been taken hostage by Hamas, that aired on April 7, 2024.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Parties are gathering in Cairo today to restart negotiations to release the more than 130 hostages being held by Hamas. Rachel Goldberg-Polin’s 23-year-old son Hersh is one of those taken by Hamas six months ago, and she joins us from New York. Welcome to Face The Nation, I cannot imagine how painful the last six months have been for you. The 184 days that your son has been away from you. But I know you’ve been on a mission. You met with the Pope, you’ve been to the UN, you have been to the White House, and tomorrow you will be back at the White House. What are you expecting to hear?

RACHEL GOLDBERG-POLIN: Well, you know, this is such a painful, staggeringly indescribable odyssey that we are on. And as you said, you can’t imagine. I often say, “oh, I also can’t imagine what we’re going through.” And yes, we are going to be returning to Washington tomorrow, to have meetings with different people in the administration. And we really want to understand what is happening to ensure that these people- and remember Margaret, we have eight American citizens who have been held for 184 days. And we are feeling extreme desperation, despair. And we’ve had wonderful access and sympathy, and open doors and lots of hugs from everyone in the U.S. government. But this is a very binary situation. We want our people back, period. And that’s what we’re going to be talking tomorrow about is what is actually going to be happening, what leverage, what levers need to be pulled in order to make this happen, because six months is actually a complete failure on everybody’s part. And I actually include myself in that as a parent, that I have not been able to save my son. And I don’t know- I think that- you’re a parent, anyone who is a parent can appreciate our job is to keep our children safe. And when they get in a situation when they’re not safe, our job is to save them. And I feel that I have failed. And I feel that our governments have failed. And I feel that all the parties at the table have failed to get these 133 souls back home.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You have said in the past, you wish the mothers could be at the negotiating table. I also read you said Israeli leaders are not thinking straight because they’re speaking from a place of guilt-ridden trauma. And you’ve asked the Jewish communities around the world to press the men in power. What are you asking people at home to do to help you?

RACHEL GOLDBERG-POLIN: Well, there are so many different things that can be done. You know, there’s advocacy really that needs to be done so that people around the world understand, who is this cohort of hostages that are being held? I think there’s so much noise and anger and hatred in the world that people are forgetting that there are so- there’s a representation of all different types of people being held. You know, we still have eight Muslim Arabs being held in this hostage cohort. We have seven Thai Buddhists being held. We have two black African Christians being held. We have people from Nepal and people from Mexico and people from Germany and people from France, people from all over the world. This is not just one homogenous group of people that is being held. And I think that that kind of gets lost in all the noise. I think talking to your leaders, wherever you are in the world, certainly your local elected leaders in America, writing to the White House. Again, the Biden administration has been wonderful and very supportive, but we have one goal. We need these people home.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We wish you our best. And we are watching your advocacy, and we’ll continue asking questions about your son and the others.

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