Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Blog

AAI President Jim Zogby joined CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Kate Bolduan in the Situation Room last night to discuss a wide range of Middle East foreign policy issues as well as AAI’s recent poll on the Arab American vote in 2012. Dr. Zogby was joined by Danielle Pletka, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. While AAI’s poll shows that jobs and the economy rate as the two most important issues concerning Arab Americans this election cycle, foreign policy is also among the top issues. With unfolding events in the Middle East continuing to vex U.S. politicians, Dr. Zogby stated, the Arab American “community is a bridge to [the Arab world] and needs to be taken seriously.” Citing data from the poll, Blitzer noted the partisan agreement among Arab American Democrats and Republicans on the importance of U.S. outreach to Arab and Muslim countries. Among Democrats, 86 percent say outreach to Arab and Muslim worlds is either very or somewhat important. Among Republicans, 85 percent say the same.

Dr. Zogby also discussed the speeches of both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obamas at the U.N. this week. Much of the international community’s focus at the U.N. proceedings centered on a volatile Middle East region undergoing vast transition as well as Iran’s nuclear program.

The last part of Dr. Zogby’s discussion with Blitzer and Bolduan honed in on the controversial voice vote at the Democratic National Convention earlier this month when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pushed through an amendment to the platform recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol without sufficient delegate support. “Arab Americans were standing there [on the floor of the convention]”, Blitzer noted.  “You were probably not too far away, but they were obviously pretty upset. What do you think of that?” Jim responded: 

And rightly so… It shouldn't have happened the way it happened. The language that got added at the end of the day was inconsequential. I mean, the fact is, is that it said Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It's going to be the capital of Israel. But it's also going to be the capital of a Palestinian state if there's got to be peace. It said nothing about that, and it said that it has to be negotiated between the parties. We agree with that.

We will post the video of Dr. Zogby’s interview when it becomes available online. View a transcript of the segment

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