tv Book TV After Words CSPAN November 29, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EST
>> host: jim, it's a pleasure to be here with you. we've known each other a long time and i must say i really enjoyed reading the book. there was a lot that i knew but there were some things that surprised me and i want to give you an ample opportunity to talk about how you came to a lot of your conclusions but i thought i would begin a little bit with where we are right now because obviously all of this effort began after 9/11, an effort to explain the arab world to the
united states and vice versa. where do you see we are right now? because there have been some really disturbing incidents, threats to burn the koran, the whole controversy over the so-called ground zero mosque. have we really made progress over the last ten years in terms of mutual understanding? >> guest: yes and no. there are clearly signs of progress on some levels. my community, arab-americans are i think have institutionalized themselves in a way they were not 30 years ago. those institutions who work towards understanding have reached i think a level of maturity, middle east institute and the like i think are doing wonderful work within the jewish community there's a tremendous new development in the we of organizations that are advancing jewish era of communications, and that is all across the
country. there were sections of the book that are wonderful and indicative of the fact that people are wanting to reach a house at the same time there is on another level i think a hardening of attitudes here, and it's the same in the arab will. i look in the look at corporations that were doing marvelous work of being good citizens, projecting america in the middle east. i think our state department has reached a better approach, come to a better approach to doing the work they do in the region. we certainly are we beyond where we were in the charlotte era, but at the same time there is stuff going on in the arab world that is just horrible, so i mean, yeah, it's a kind of uneven development with its good stuff and then there's bad stuff. on balance, i feel we are probably better off than we were a decade ago, the but i also think that we've got some really difficult problems to solve that are not getting any easier.
>> host: you mentioned charlotte fierce. i had to be reminded of this incident after 9/11. tell us who charlotte had been before she came into this department and will turn idea of public diplomacy was. >> guest: she was a great advertising executive, i mean called legendary. uncle ben's right, etc.. somebody who when she got the job to sell america abroad, some folks in our work said only god why are the appointing her? and i thought ghosh if she has as good as doing this stuff give her a chance and went to see her. she said what should i you? i said listen. she wasn't a good listener. and her idea of marketing brand america without paying attention to what people were actually thinking, what they were singing, in beijing on the level where people's this course was was a fatal flaw. she thought she would buy
advertising and changing attitudes and the wanted dead or alive poster really played into al qaeda's hands and did some of the commercials were they were offering the networks, you know, huge amounts of money to carry them and looked like america was trying to buy friends and it didn't work. it was unfortunate because that is the moment people were asking really important questions on both sides and i think we squandered the opportunity to reach people. >> host: i remember these infomercials about the wonderful loves of muslims in the u.s. command in my experience travelling of the middle east find most people know they have a good life here, muslims have a good life here. that wasn't the issue and i don't think it ever has been. >> guest: in addition those stories were coming out and been trumped by the banner on the bottom of the television set about -- i was actually in the middle east where this was going on, talking about her work on
one level it the bottom level about people being detained, and the numbers were increasing as you were calling the first few weeks every day the numbers were getting higher and in the roundup of 5,000 treetops and and the stories about the tensions taking place abroad and here. there was no thought that if you're doing this on one level that trump the middle level of real policy you're just wasting money. >> host: no after charlotte left, they brought in karen hughs who was so close to president bush and she went on to the middle east but did a lot more talking also than listening. i remember her in saudi arabia she was actually warning of the women of of how the needed to be able to drive. >> guest: we have a conversation about that before she went on the trip. >> host: did she accomplished anything? >> guest: she did, and charlotte did, too. again, made mistakes but one thing she did is open the office
in london and the rapid response unit was smart. some but on balance, she failed. and karen hughes in the same weighted smart things. one of the things she i think last accomplishment was changing some of our programs to the more demand driven programs, and sort of enhancing the visitor program aspect because of people want to come here come the one to study here, it was becoming more difficult to do so. she changed some of the aid programs in the nepy outreach program that brought students, that brought professionals here. and i think karen hughes actually did some good work on that level. where she failed was she talked at one point i remember her saying to an audience and we've done this and we've done that, and an arab woman in the
audience next to me say a few really are doing good things, our culture says don't talk about it so much. [laughter] it doesn't look right. but i think it is a temptation of translating the politics that she did in america to doing that kind of work in the middle east, it wasn't an easy shift for her to make. >> host: one aspect you look at on the books that is important to what extent americans now more understanding of the muslim world, the arab world. and you had some statistics that were a little bit distressing if i can find them here. yeah, only 370 u.s. colleges offer arabic, and there are at this only 2,400 students in8090 advanced era began you asked what happened? i thought there was going to be this big interest in the united states and americans learning arabic. >> guest: there was and if you look at the numbers before 2001, it is a dramatic increase. >> host: that's a dramatic
increase? >> guest: from where it was. the problem is the resources are not there and the professors aren't there to do the teaching. colleges don't have the money to hire. what we need is to take a program like eisenhower's national defense education act, and we do it. congress did appropriate additional funds for the critical language program but sent $20 million is not enough to cover the need that is there. so you have a tremendous demand on -- from students who wanted to get a bit. colleges don't have the teachers or the resources to hire teachers, so a lot will bring in a local era the speaker to do course here or there, but not enough to bring the students of to the loveless proficiencies of the actually can either qualify for a degree or pass a test that would get them to the next level. so the demand is there and supply is not. >> host: is the trend line still for mardy mant?
>> guest: the trend line seems to be for more demand because business and law enforcement, government agencies want it. and the number of qualified speakers aren't, so what i'm looking at is the fact we need to put resources into this and we are not doing it. >> host: when you talk about studying arabic and so on, there's one incident you described in the book. obviously it is helpful if you can begin studying at an early age and there was a school set up and new york that was supposed to teach arabic from the very beginning. talk about what happened at the academy in new york. of the park 51 mosque explosion. it was the same cast of characters, started a campaign, and exploded just like part 51.
it got localized in new york but the headlines in the new york post were al qaeda comes to new york, that kind of thing coming and creating real fear. the same people like pam miller, dannel piatt -- pipes wrote an article in the new york post saying just studying arabic would lead people toward islam and extremism. >> host: daniel pervvijze of arabic? was in the middle east scholar? >> guest: he has inoculated himself and is immune from it. but the problem was people obviously were afraid and believed it, and the campaign. the poor woman, extraordinary woman who was the person put in charge of the school had been half and even where students were wearing the shirt that had the words infitada on it, and
the words literally meant of ie as sort of a coming out, peeling off of sort of the young generation, rising up in new york doing great things, but "the new york post" called for insurrection and violence, etc., and she wanted to define the word literally, which only infuriated the company more, and by the end of the uproar mayor bloomberg and others in new york were saying to hurt you got to step down and leave the job and by then it was over. they had tainted the public discourse about the school that by the time it opened it was no longer an arabic school. it was no longer meeting the very special need that school was going to meet, and it is today a rather weak imitation of itself. >> host: this is on the mid part of the decade.
what do you think is going to happen with the community center in lower manhattan? >> guest: i don't know. the dust has settled a bit. the question is now will faisal be able to raise the money or will people be sort of scared off? i just don't know. i think those are the repercussions will be with us for a long time. clearly this has had a greater impact overseas than almost anything that we've done in the last several years, and as i say in the notebook people don't just buy what we say about ourselves, the judge us by how we become and we behaved very badly on this one. literally every call presidential candidate on the american side with the exception of chris christi who appears to be somebody who would like to be in the running not only spoke about the mosque but said pretty
horrible things about islam. gingrich's comments were awful, palin and huckabee, it was rather shameful. >> host: a couple of things that come up in light of this, you talked about daniel pipes and geller and so on, all of the so-called expert, is mom even someone like tom friedman, is it partly because we had this insatiable need for talking heads to simplify things and boil them down? is it because some people are making money off this sort of has become an industry now talking about muslims and arabs in this way? is their anything we can do about it? >> guest: there is a cottage industry and it's been around for a long time, the antiera of, and how muslim crowd that has done quite well for themselves in the stories recently about sort of crumbling of nonprofit and for-profit money on the part
of some of these characters, really quite the serving. and there were some other political groups on israel's side that one of the did not engage in the activity turned a blind eye to the fact that looks, if daniel pipes or steve emmerson were battering and tarnishing the image of the era of american muslim groups would just let them do it with a wink and a modicum of the sort of use their work and would never stand in the way of telling them would go to them and say stop this is not in the interest of building harmony between people the networks have a real problem and they have failed miserably. the rolodex has gotten thinner and thinner instead of fatter. >> host: but people like you have the same ambition --
>> guest: if they stop getting calls at some point, and i don't know why. just the fact maybe i told o'reilly to stop one to many times and he didn't want me back on to beat it wasn't something on a enjoyed doing the kind of sort of dark alley late night fight that you get into for what? entertainment purposes? i mean, news stopped the news and discussions stopped being serious and i think they like the folks they go to because they are probably good for ratings or sensationalist enough but you take a steve emerson wrong about the world trade center, wrong about oklahoma city, wrong about so many times but he is a good talker and that is what they want. i had one little episode with one of the networks if it was comical. they said we want you to come on about afghanistan tonight and i said i don't to afghanistan. she laughed and said nobody ever
says that to us. but we don't really want to one as an expert. you're a good talker. and i said i don't do that, sorry, and hung up. and i thought to myself that's what it's become. >> host: the plater industry. >> guest: people over the cliffs here and there and let's put them on. the damage it does, when you have some of these folks like steve emmerson defining the middle east, where daniel pipes defining an entire culture and into your religion of people is horrible and it's taken a real toll. people ten years ago when you ask the question do you want to know more about arabs or muslims, 75% of the american people would say yes, to the that is down to 60%. more than half actually -- >> guest: >> host: they are shutting down. >> guest: they are saying i know enough i don't need to know more and on the republican side is almost 80% think they know enough and don't need to know more. what that means is they have been watching fox, the of the
uneducated. but will they become educated in the stereotypes' they'd miss, and a lot of really horrible things of the arabs and muslims which are not true, which is why i wrote the book. >> host: the talk about language, some of the language turnabout. i was fascinated, you described in the book that in the mid 70's i think it was benjamin netanyahu, now the prime minister of israel got some advice about how to brand palestinians and really all palestinians to brand the -- them as communists because the laws the boogeyman at the time. >> guest: it was terrorists and soviet -- post together. host, of course we hear the israelis are branding the armenians as religious fanatics a recital fanatics. the use of the term islamofacist , you write in the book that president bush used this as a press conference. >> guest: used them once. >> host: and maybe somebody pulled him aside and said this isn't the right term, but that
terminology unfortunately is still with us in a lot of these places. how can you complete islamofacism? >> guest: in a couple levels but some to become -- on the disturbing, taking religion using it in that we is distressing to people of faith on the muslim side. i also felt the weight during the bush administration they can flee to iran in particular as the sort of headquarters of the common term and try to sort of match it up against the old soviet empire was really quite distressing. in that iran will never be more than a fair rate power at best. it will never be nazi germany or russia in their wildest dreams. they will never reach the level of power. >> host: they are not invading their neighbors lately. >> guest: and don't have the capacity to. deer army has been destroyed, their air force is gone, they are at best a weak struggle.
the as a leader that makes outrageous comments and loves to provoke he's a little more fair, and anything else. he likes to be of outrageous. it gets some good press at home as he is attacked back. >> host: it doesn't give him such good press at home, it does give him attention -- >> guest: yeah, that's it, and also in the broader region, people that are angry at america and save the are attacking him i like him. but, sort of when the president bush would give a speech, seeing this as a global empire and the caliphate, i would think to myself that's not helping people understand what's going on here. and far more thoughtful was the way, for example, jim baker, when we were going to buy back, sort of kept in perspective. this is something that cannotp stand.p let's not blow it out of proportion, this is not a global empire in the making, and a were very existence or our survivalp as a free people is at stake.
i think that was a horrible exaggeration that actually has done damage to the political discourse. >> host: let's talk about what a ribs to really think since that is the heart and soul of this book. and the polls that zogby, your brother has done. what do arabs want come and how different is that from the stereotype that is being promoted? >> guest: i see the stereotype is this. people will say those guys go to bed at night hitting america, which in the morning hitting israel, spend the day watching one of the arab networks and fueling their hatred, or sittin in a pmosque listening to a man who is getting them even angrier. the reality is they go to bid of my thinking about their jobs, worried about their kids, thinking about their health care, get it in the morning, think about whether or not their kids are going to have an opportunity to advance their
lives, and during the day they work hard at their jobs, they come home and they watch television, and the number one rated shows and movies and after that our so-called pros and traumas and to entertain it. they watch television for the same reason we do. for entertainment. i had a funny experience last weekend. i was in the middle east, and i was with a number of folks including some very prominent american jewish leaders, and we are at ap conference one night after the dinner there was entertainment and it was an egyptian woman singing from [speaking arabic] and one of the members with was marveling at the woman, and he didn't understand the words that he was enthralled the and then he looked at the palestinian leaders who were there, ministers and some of thep government officials coming and they were clapping along and moving their hands and so enthused over it and he said i
am seeing something different than i never saw before and i said about this whole discussion that the experts were guys who the five words in arabic and used to of them in a sentence and a word madrasses etc command the words they needed to know were [speaking arabic], and words about love and with what seeing you in the money and thinking of you. this is what was moving this culture. i don't think we understand these are people just like us. the only picture that we see of arabs are these young guys shaking their fists with increases of protesters, but that is into people are. it's sort of like a story i tell when i was living in central pennsylvania. i lived in philadelphia for about ten years. before then we would then it a small little town teaching and steve kawlija and the next-door neighbor came to me and said did
you really live there? kysa yet upc with your family? and sit or too afraid? i said no, not really. why? he said because people get murdered they're afraid.pw and i that is all we see in the newspaper and that is the only story we see about the arabxx world year with a story about iran. is the fact is there is normalx life people and egypt are actually happy and pleasant and fun to be with. it's something i would be beyond america. they couldn't understand it because they never see it so i wanted the book to tell the stories of the people as they are. folks like us with kids and jobs and hope for the future, and we need to understand that. like the need to understand us as we really are for us to move forward. >> host: i think one thing that upsets me, my husband and i were based in cairo for four years in the 80's and i wrote lots of features about ordinary life and thought he egyptian
sense of humor and all the rest and how holidays are celebrated and you don't have so many foreign correspondents in the united states anymore so the only kind of stories you are getting more from the war zone because the youngsters who go to report these know they can solve the stories and may be morep difficult to sell the feature that used to be a staple. >> guest: without sort of getting into the arab-israeli conflict, the fact is that the israelis are understood as people here so that we see them as a people like us that sort of as an object or an abstraction and largely pingree and just not like us and so in some ways the absence of the foreign correspondent now, the absence of people who will tell the full story doesn't hurt the israeli side as much because they already established themselves in our culture, and the website never really did. they went from invisible which
is where they were before the 67 war. >> host: but there is this campaign that the israelis talk about, the key legitimization campaign. don't you detect that the israelis are having to defend their society, their policies a little bit more these days? i think particularly after the flotilla incident. >> guest: defend their policies, yes, and they ought to because the policies are indefensible but to defend the people i don't think so. i think if they are like i said i think that they have in green and to our culture is the sense that there is a people like us. it goes back as i wrote -- >> host: paul newman in exodus. >> guest: yes, it was a trace for this overlay of the israeli era story on the cowboy and indian story, and we watched it and this is before we knew the indians were actually good guys, too. we watched it and said of the understand them, the largest like us, they want to be free
and they want to be happy, and the savages are doing everything they can to block them, and it worked. that is something to this day we identify the arab-israeli conflict as the israeli people wanting to be free, versus the palestine problem and at best it is a problem to be sold but not real people to care about and identify with. i think if you ask people, think of israel, they can think of people, think of palestinians the can't think of people like us. >> host: somebody hasn't been sufficiently marketed in this country. >> guest: part is a palestinian problem and a arab problem, they haven't done the marketing, but at this point it doesn't matter whose fault it is, we have a job to do and tha is we are to invested in that region. we have to many lives at stake, to the interests at stake, spent too much money and spend too much political capital. we have to now with the arabs
are not going to do a good selling job we have to do the learning ourselves. >> host: we are going to take a break in a minute so i am not going to get too deep into the u.s. policy. we will get into that soon but let me tell you briefly tell you became who you are and the sort of professional era, you are christian, you were born in this country. why this? how did this become your mission in life? >> guest: you know, actually, i always felt close to the culture. i grew up in that era. it was hawaii and. but -- >> host: you were raised speaking arabic? >> guest: actually arabic for english as a child.p a mother who was an extraordinary and a giftedp person who valued learning and was shown from some of her letters in the book was so determined that we would be proud of to leave for and of the
heritage and i was doing my graduate work and i was very active in the civil rights and active movement and in the middle of all that i got a fellowship from temple university to go to the middle east and do some research. i was working on religion and revitalization movement and ix had the idea of studies of what the refugee camp to see what was going on with the trauma of being in the camp. i collected all the stories inp xe camp south of lebanon, and the date that i left a woman grabbed my arm, she was the woman who introduced me to many of the people come and see steered me down and said we've told you everything. now what are you going to do? and i remember sitting next to my wife on the way, and said we said to each other our lives are never going to be the same again. this was a transforming
experience in that i found out about something i didn't know about and i learned about it in a personal way. i could put faces on these people. i had their stories. i knew where they had come from, what they were experiencing and how desperately they wanted to go back to the lives they had forced to leave. and it was a few years later i started the palestinian rights campaign, and it was funny because i was involved in antiwar stuff and i remember speaking at a rally about vietnam and somebody from the jd all, why are they letting the era guice fecund i was like who is that? i was an american, was of their lives descent, but i thought that arabs were people from over there and i was an american. once a star to the campaign it was over. i was like the arab guide support of it happens to you. some of it is like a gay person
coming out. people don't look to the same anymore and that is what happened to me. i was proud of hawaii and, wouldn't you would think differently than i do. i'm glad of the work i do. >> host: we are going to take a quick break and we will be back in just a couple of minutes. >> "after words" with james "after zogby and barbara slavin will continue after this short break. "after words" with james zogby and barbara slavin continues. >> host: jim, we were talking
about how you got into this. you started in the early 70's and this must of been an incredibly challenging time. this is when we had palestinian terrorist attacks, black september. how did you manage it? >> guest: we didn't deal with the issue of the sort although we were condemning terrorism and actually pretty harsh. i said some pretty harsh letters to people in the different palestinian movement condemning what they did and was very public about that but we focused on human rights. we focused on people who were being tortured under occupation, and we focused on some of the problems refugees were heading in different countries and so by not overtly being a political organization, i.e., you know, we didn't take positions on a range of political issues but we talk about individual cases. we are doing what amnesty international wasn't doing.
amnesty at the time was not taking cases in america for adoption because they were afraid of losing support year. so only london amnesty took palestinian cases. so if we can across a woman prisoner who has been tortured in prison or a young arab american who had been detained for months and forced to sign a confession in hebrew without ever even read it, we take individual cases or house demolition cases, etc., people in the camps being treated badly by the lebanese authorities, etc., that's the stuff we did so in some ways we were not the palestine solidarity committee that existed. we were not the plo friends of the plo group that existed. we were a human rights campaign, and so some of those issues didn't affect us but we were clear in condemning that stuff and made it very clear that it
will only was destructive of human life on the israeli side but it was destructive of people love understanding of the palestinians on the other side. it was bad for both. >> host: talk about the central the of the palestinian issue for era this. you think i do a very good job of explaining that there is and in a way no such thing as an air of tecum -- arab world, from morocco through these countries are quite similar. but the palestinian issue does loom large. why is that? >> guest: there isn't a arab or on the other hand but there is on the of your hand. it's like there are catholic sensibilities. there are distinct the era of sensibilities, and one of the key issues is palestine. i call it the wound that never heals. in some ways there is an existential identification that arabs have with that question,
and there are people like them who hurt remind them of their vulnerability, the loss of history, a sense of betrayal by the west. i say and some folks don't quite get it, but if they hear me out i think they will. the rule of palestine in the arab consciousness is not unlike the role of the holocaust and the jewish consciousness in america. it's not a holocaust to be sure, it's not 6 million people who've been exterminated, but it is a people like them who are vulnerable to remind them of their own vulnerabilities and who hurt and therefore make them hurt for themselves and for the prison. i have had ministers call me and say guys who paid hamas and everything they stand for but will call me and say i saw what was coming on in gaza. those kids look like mine. i feel so powerless.
that sense i think is it looms large, you're right, in the speed of consciousness and we ignore it at great risk. >> host: as you have said many times it is the policy, too, yet all of these efforts to sell america to the arabs and some basically do not work when the united states is seen as on how powerless to resolve this conflict to do more than put a band-aid on. >> guest: if you understand the speech of narrative, which americans don't, it's like the native american negative. they were living in that region, foreigners came, car velt, states were created of the cloth and regimes or put in place. the land was promised to another people who then came in and said we are going to modernize and make it ours and it was like what about ross? where do we fit in the story and that sense of losing control has
been so critical speed of consciousness, and continues to be felt every day when gaza happens or lebanon happens or new settlements are built. the inability to control anything. the false promise of the terrorist who promises control by dealing a blow does in fact make some people say good, get it. but it's a product of the same crisis, the same increases in history that has shaken the arab world for so long which is why there's the ability to realize their condition to read it will reverberate beyond that and make people feel that international justice works, the law does work, but violence does pay off, that those who want to negotiate actually can accomplish
something, but to date the negotiators have been the ones who have failed and people in the arab world feel that. they feel people aren't listening to us. what else can we do? it is a sorry state of affairs. >> host: talk about the current state of the so-called peace process. where are we and what happens if it just dribbles out the weight seems to be now with the israeli foreign prime minister and a palestinian refusing to come back and talk. >> guest: i feel bad for barack obama. in the sense that i had the opportunity to talk with them in the senate, he truly understands the issue and wants to solve it, it's important to him. but he gets elected in the middle of a crisis and takes office in the middle of the gaza crisis or at the very end of it and in this up with a prime minister who i personally feel is not at all committed to peace and has if you look back at his
record in the 90's is say mastered maneuver and as never tired of trying to outmaneuver and fro faint in one direction while he is moving in another direction. how many times do we believe the word he says and when he says i had no idea they were going to make that announcement clacks it's almost as if every time a u.s. official was going to meet with him, they come up with an announcement. he's covering the one while moving in another deduction. but the net result is that there is no confidence in his commitment to peace and if you wanted to make a new government, it is there for the asking. he has cut the night in the wings. he could form a government that would support peace. he doesn't want to support peace therefore he wants to continue to have the guys in his government who don't want peace so he can complete to the americans i can't do it, it's too hard you have to help recover my right flank.
he could dump those guys and bring on people who want to work with him, he just doesn't want to. therefore i think clinton did a great job of ultimately helping ease him out and bring barack obama in just like baker and bush before him helped get shamir out. will barack obama be able to do the same? i don't know. he's been demonized so much by the right here and there. >> host: should he go to israel? one of the complaints he has been to so many muslim countries now, turkey, egypt, saudi arabia, indonesia, given all the speeches about reached the muslim world. jewish community? >> guest: he looked at the whole that we were in a the end of the bush term where we were in a crisis all across the arab and muslim world and it was, you know from the work you do that there was no way you could underestimated the severity of
the crisis from the unfinished war, peace process that was characterized by neglecting or recklessness on the part of the bush administration and all across the region the first challenge he faced was how do i get all of this whole? the first place to get all of the whole is to try to rebuild ties in the muslim and arab world. now he had gone to a pack twice. he given these remarkably pro-israel speeches. >> host: but he was running for office. >> guest: but believe me every word was listened to in the arab world as commitment on jerusalem, etc., retreated strongly on a difficult act and let's start here, let's start with the wound of gaza are still with us how we going to move forward so they appointed michel and of reach to the country's he did a interview and then tried to convince the arabs to join i
guess maybe taking for granted the israelis would be on board. at this point i don't know if there is a gain in going to israel or a net loss on the arab side. >> host: they could try to use more settlements. >> guest: i think it is a difficult time. >> host: what is the next move if you couldn't fight? >> guest: i think they should have been and still should be tougher. there is no loss to putting more pressure on him and sending a message of absolute displeasure only the possibility that and i think in israel the israelis do not want to wreck forfeiting the american friendship and -- >> host: but that's not going to happen let's be realistic. >> guest: when they tell me in the white house we were not as were, when i heard secretary
clinton say an insult to the united states of america over the jerusalem settlement or not one building, not one stone the first time they were pretty tough. there has been a meandering. they've gone from tough to a warm embrace, and nothing's changed in the process. consistently tough for just give it up. you have an abused child on the palestinian side and a spoiled child, tom friedman, on the right, and there are to have always easily enough, and in the middle of all that, your behavior has to be very consistent or else both as a place will only reinforce their privileges and go nowhere and what we have done by meandering is we've confused the abused child, the spoiled child and the process has gone nowhere. >> host: we just had our midterms and obviously a lot of people fought obama want to
terribly much in terms of pressure on this before but now the republicans have taken the house, the strengthened themselves in the samet, what are the implications of that for the u.s. policies toward that part of the world? are you concerned it is going to make it even harder that we are going to see efforts to prevent or prisoners from being transferred of guantanamo? you know, during strident pro-israel rhetoric. what's going to happen? >> guest: on the guantanamo issue that unfortunately is one of the issues we first told him he got the highest points and in guantanamo and stopping torture and ending guantanamo is most difficult to address so i think that issue is over. >> host: although they have lived a lot of people out of there. >> guest: we are not continue to close it down any time soon. the symbol remains that will not go away. on the arab-israeli conflict the
thing i fear the most is today the press accounts of and the congress is bid to be very tough on the issues and they are already looking for ways to maneuver to get the israel aid separate from the palestinian and other foreign aid programs so they can cut them and keep the aid protected. however writing one thing though good is keeping the senate even with the small margin and the leadership of the foreign affairs committee of john kerry and senator lugar this president will not have to deal with what bill clinton dealt with which were the compliance act that went through that really inhibited the peace process. it was an act that required the state department to write these regular reports on the compliance the setup that were just outrageous terms that at no a recipient could actually meet.
there was even a provision that no u.s. official could meet with any palestinian in jerusalem. there was the jerusalem embassy relocation act, there was the religious freedom act clearly designed targeted air of and muslim countries. there was the liberation that that was the first step of getting them in the regime change issue and so many things in the of the president's desk with majority that he had no choice but to sign it and it constrained diplomacy very severely. that won't happen right now. the one thing i furious aid but i believe the president has filled the power to change opinions here and change the opinion there and i think if you want to make a little better use of bill clinton where it could and more consistent. the meandering has taken a toll.
>> host: about the rumors bill mitchell? >> guest: i think george mitchell is a remarkable person and i would follow to the end of the earth. but i think that the quiet diplomacy, the approach he is in ireland where as one of the irish principles involved in those negotiations told me the secret as he lets you talk yourself to death and when you are board of hearing yourself then he says okay are you ready to listen? the arabs and the israelis -- >> host: they will never be tired. >> guest: they are immune to that. but bill clinton, i rode with him to gaza and bethlehem and jerusalem and 98. i saw him go over the head of israeli side, get people to do what they would not do on their own. he has an incredible ability to
move public opinion, and right now we have to change opinion on the palestinian side and on the israeli side. you have to change policy here and change opinion there and if you can change the opinion and bill clinton can do it, george mitchell, that is not the style he brings. they would be a great team. clinton is the sort of life in the dough and spice it up and change the dynamic and then mitchell to actually bring the people together. >> host: it's a prayer for the president so if he continues with this. let me go back to a couple of things that surprised me. some of things that even covering this and something that kind of went right by me i didn't realize during that 2006 lebanon war it was a u.s. state department official -- sorry, not the lebanon war but after the assassination when you had
these demonstrations in the root of that it was paula who called the fever revolution and that it would actually be a lebanese called it the independence which of course doesn't ring as well because its association with the palestinian uprising. i am amazed is this part of the freedom agenda that was being done in the time? >> guest: the freedom agenda branding was done and president bush i will never forget his march of freedom afghanistan iraq and when we think that now each place those footprints on the march turned out to be a disaster. was more like the giant squashing people than it was helping them move forward, but i was as surprised as you in the research when i found out that the feeder notion came from here and was kind of a -- >> guest: >> host: because it is an american and lebanon -- >> guest: and certainly it
resonated well in this country but i think the idea is they wanted it to have a name that would resonate like the green revolution or the velvet revolution or the, you know, the lead after, was clearly an american issue. look, we handled it badly back then. i.t. we were right to do everything we could to get the syrians out, that was an important victory but once they were held we have an opportunity to help lebanon before word and we squandered it a host of the 2006 war came right after that and -- >> guest: even the time in between where we could have done more. in all of the polling we do one of the things that strikes me is that you will get on many questions a tremendous division but then there are issues you find that were the national consensus. understand the system has to be changed. people want unity and
reconciliation they understand they cannot exist to fight it. people want an emphasis on the etc.. we don't talk about those things. what we end up doing is grinding down into things people can't agree on instead of focusing on where they can come and i think that when the syrians were out with the time to live together with arab allies in the region and possibly bring the french to talk about okay how do we help the lebanese move forward and reform and implement the last piece which is the national accord -- >> host: the agreement signed in '89. >> guest: right. and one of the things it did is held in the the civil war but helped the syrians there and instead of making the final changes that they had to make to reform the system so they wouldn't have this kind of secretary in conflict again, we never did anything and still haven't done anything like this and it is a system crying for change, but we have to help it
or someone externally has to help it and we haven't done that. >> host: saudi arabia could play a role. one of things left out of the book was the phrase i will never forget during the 2006 war when so many people were being held in lebanon and so much damage was being done and condoleezza rice, then secretary of state called it the birth pains of the new middle east. >> guest: i guess i had to get enough shots at her in the book i decided that wasn't enough, the line about -- this is the new middle east. i thought enough of her already that one should have been there. second edition it's going to be. >> host: one of my personal favorites. when i was writing my book about iran, i was told that after the u.s. invaded iraq she told a
bunch of senior u.s. officials that the u.s. was the thing to do to the middle east where we did to europe after world war ii. that is another one of my favorites as though somehow you can take a template from one area and put it in another. >> guest: the reason that kind of thinking is there is only because we don't see them as just like us. we understand we lost 3,000 people in 9/11 and that will be with fosse long, long time and off to remained with us and people who don't remember that americans lost and are still afraid and concerned, etc., and angry about what happened, will pay the price for not knowing that. but when i rockies lost 100,000, when the lebanese lost 1400 a country of only 3 million people mean, and the palestinians lost the same number in gaza, and there will be a killing on the west bank and they will write an article that will say after a period of time and that period of time when the tide 100
palestinians, and we just don't think of their lives as equal to or alone if they just don't understand that they lived with this and they feel this hurt and if we sold them as people like us i think we would behave differently in our diplomacy would work better because we would appreciate them better. i use the line from my mom if you want someone to hear you, listen to them first because that means you're respecting them as equal therefore paying attention to them and that's the way you communicate. >> host: we are almost all of time that there was a couple of the -- i recommend this book highly for the charts that are in it, the tables, which are very surprising that couple things again that surprise me when you say that airlines don't hate us, they don't take our culture, they don't have our freedom if they don't even hate human rights, you found in one of the tables here that 81% of
them like freedom and democracy and 76% of the saudis think women should have equal rights. i felt i was quite remarkable. >> guest: i think he is on the right side and chongging to move the country forward there are some interest groups guerard and every country that he is struggling with, and it was against women working in supermarkets and so pbs cashier's from some of the religious guise, the the supermarkets have maintained the courts have maintained the right to do it and the struggle persists. that country changed dramatically in the last 60 years. with some 30,000 people and to davis for a half million. this incredible pressure when you have that kind of change in putting the rise of fundamentalism of people being shocked by this change, but i think the attitude of most today are on the right side of things. they want us to leave them alone and let them work of their own
change and idp can give them that kind of support. better for them to do would into intrude. as i see in the with the swedes came over figure this out, or the japanese, and the brits can move and said your handgun problem is out of control, do it our way. we get angry. we can't reform them they have to reform themselves. >> host: what are some of the approving as individual americans can do to educate themselves? >> guest: i have in the back of the book my last chapter getting it right and what about these you can do, the world affairs council, the great decisions run by the foreign policy association. it's a great way for communities to get together and do reading and study and engage in the debate on both critical issues and then there's web sites. every arab country now has eased its major arabic peter translated into english and on the web or a great newspaper in
english already that is read by so many people in the country and there are great organizations here. crisis group or the world affairs council or the arab american groups like my own, the arab-american institute, the material available that you can -- i.c.e. if you pick one arab country and leave their paper every day not just the front page of the letters to the editor, the commentary, etc. coming to become so invested the you will want to know what they are doing. and it is a great way to -- you can comment on their of head and have others comment on yours and you can engage in a conversation long distance. so many things you can do and an enlightened citizenry is what many today if we are going to make the changes and play the role in the world we want to play. >> host: and -- >> guest: and you can buy the book. [laughter] >> host: you can definitely by the book. what surprised you most in all the polls you've done what was the most unusual finding?
>> guest: mabey because i know the region with pretty well we didn't get surprised a lot. the women's issues were the ones that pleasantly surprised me. you want to think that the are moving forward but i did the women's issues, the right to work women in the three quarter range and the equal rights i think is quite striking panels those countries we ask the question to women have equal months, and they will give you not so yes answers, but should they have equal rights and the numbers go up, that surprises me. i didn't expect it to head the advanced that much in the period of time since we have been polling. >> host: there are yet again reports that iraq was going to have them in government, that the iraqis dislike intrusion and
interference from iran as much as they do from the united states political that was interesting with the stereotypes how iraq is becoming a iranian. >> guest: if we paid some attention to some of the polling going on early on we would have altered our course, but maybe the iran question is critical in the whole region because it isn't just the iraqi is that are concerned there. a lot of more recent polls we did where we had a red looking favorably in some countries on the irony in nuclear program, but if you look at the other numbers we have, not looking favorably about iran itself, they see iran as a threat, but there's almost a screwed you factor to their program. it's like we opposed it and so people are going to say okay he's defining the that may not be a bad thing that they are still concerned about iran's cool and we have so much more we
have to learn of the complex political dynamic in the country. i think the book only begins to open that investigation, but our polling system fascinating over the years, and i just am so thrilled we had the opportunity to do it for the last decade and now a chance to get it in print. >> host: and you're going to continue i hope? >> guest: without question. >> host: well mr. zogby it's a pleasure as always to talk with you. thank you very much for this new book. >> guest: thank you, barbara puna former secretary of state condoleezza rice recalls her childhood in birmingham alabama in the 1960's and profiles her parents, john and angelina. ms. rice discusses her memoir with her cousin constance, co-director of the advance a project of the millenium hotel in los angeles t