The World Through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East

Shibley Telhami, Author
Shibley Telhami. Basic, $27.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-465-02983-9
Reviewed on: 04/22/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Ebook - 237 pages - 978-0-465-03340-9
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Resentment of America and Israel is the “prism” that shapes Arab perspectives, according to this finely calibrated study of public opinion in the Middle East. University of Maryland political scientist Telhami (The Stakes: America in the Middle East) analyzes decades of his own polling data in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates, supplemented by polls of Israeli Arabs and Jews and of Americans, to probe evolving views about the international scene and domestic politics and society. His survey partly confirms—and complicates—conventional views of Arab opinion. He finds, unsurprisingly, an overwhelmingly negative view of Israel and the United States, one that is energized by a preoccupation with public dignity and a “hunger for Arab power.” But that antipathy, he contends, is based on policy rather than clashing values: most Arabs, he contends, like American pop culture, support women working outside the home, and favor democracy. Telhami weaves mountains of data into a lucid, thoughtful account of shifting attitudes, one that registers the impact of the Internet and Al Jazeera in changing attitudes and the growing influence public attitudes exert over government policy, especially since the Arab Spring. The result is an unusually rich portrait of the Arab worldview. (June 11)
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