Obama’s Imaginary Embrace of the Arab Spring

Surveying international reaction to Barack Obama’s re-election, NBC Nightly News correspondent Richard Engel declared (11/7/12):

In the Middle East, there is hope that President Obama will embrace the Israeli/Palestinian peace process in second term the way he embraced the Arab Spring in his first.

Young protester in Tahrir Square (photo: Ryan McGovern)

The Arab Spring: unembraced. (photo: Ryan McGovern)

This would be a surprising reaction to find among people in the Middle East, given that Obama did not really “embrace” the Arab Spring. Consider Egypt, arguably the most high-profile uprising; the original White House response was to stand by dictator Hosni Mubarak. The White House continues to support the regime in Bahrain. And it’s likely longtime allies like Saudi Arabia and Jordan needn’t worry about the U.S. government “embracing” democracy movements there anytime soon.

There is a common notion in U.S. corporate media that the U.S. government has stood with the democratic protests in the Arab world. But the evidence to the contrary seems far stronger.

It’s hard to believe many people in the Middle East would like to see Obama apply the same rules to the Israel/Palestine conflict.




About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.