x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Arab Voices: Dispelling 'conventional wisdom' that is anything but

James Zogby attempts to dispel "super-myths" that spawn from widespread lack of knowledge about the region.

For the majority of Arabs, US interference and the Israeli- Palestinian conflict are the main catalysts of instability in the Middle East. Polls conducted in the region by Zogby International in the spring of 2009 corroborated this decades-old truism, which curiously remains slippery for the US public and policymakers. In fact, the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more of a priority for some Arabs than reform to their education and health care systems.

Elegantly stitched to historical data, balanced commentary and just the right amount of pertinent autobiographical material, a set of poll results like these impart a scientific edge to James Zogby's central argument in Arab Voices: that the impasse between the United States and "the Arab World" is the result of a self-righteous aversion to lending an ear (especially in Washington), not to irredeemably opposed views.

Arab Voices is a serious attempt to dispel what the author terms "super-myths" about the Arab world and to expose the "widespread raw lack of knowledge about real Arabs" that has persistently compromised the way the US has engaged this region.