Arab States Have Changed Their Tune on Israel; Why Hasn’t the U.S. Caught Up?

October 31, 2014 | Evelyn Gordon
About the author: Evelyn Gordon is a commentator and former legal-affairs reporter who immigrated to Israel in 1987. In addition to Mosaic, she has published in the Jerusalem Post, Azure, Commentary, and elsewhere. She blogs at Evelyn Gordon.

Last week, a major two-day conference took place in Abu Dhabi, where participants from around the world gathered to discuss issues concerning the Middle East. Surprisingly, Israel was mentioned only once—when an American diplomat criticized its policies. This, writes Evelyn Gordon, is typical of a new attitude in the Arab world: despite continuing hostility toward Israel, there is also a recognition that there are much bigger problems than the Jewish state. Many Arab statesmen are in fact concerned that the U.S. is not supporting Israel enough:

[I]n this new Middle East, a U.S.-Israel spat probably generates more worry than glee in Arab capitals. Once, it was an Arab article of faith that America cared little about Arabs but greatly about Israel. Thus, to the degree that Arab and Israeli concerns overlapped, as they do now on issues ranging from Iran to IS, America could be trusted to deal with the threat. Now, the Obama administration still appears to care little for Arab concerns; it seems hell-bent on striking a grand bargain with Iran and withdrawing from the Mideast. But the Arab world’s former ace in the hole to prevent such developments–Israel’s influence in Washington—suddenly looks more like deuce.

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