The Corner

Obama and Listening to the Arab Street

I’m watching CNN’s panel ahead of Obama’s speech. Christiane Amanpour is discussing how, not only in the “Arab world,” but the broader “Islamic world” is the Palestinian conflict. We need to listen to the Arab street, and be fair. Putting aside the question of moral equivalency which bolsters extreme positions rather than ameliorates it, if leaders gave too much credit to the populist rhetoric on the Arab street, Anwar Sadat would not have made peace with Israel, and King Hussein would not have made peace with Israel. Perhaps the problem isn’t “fairness”; it’s rejectionism.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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