Northam's first "expert" is Robert Danin of the Council on Foreign Relations. The most stellar part of his bio has to be his role as
"Former head, Office of the Quartet Representative, Tony Blair, in Jerusalem" (Tony Blair...ouch!).
Danin also has been employed and recognized by the US State Department with "Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards."
Northam's second guest, Aaron David Miller, from the Woodrow Wilson Center is also a standard State Department award winning expert. As Miller's bio indicates:
"...he served at the Department of State as an advisor to six secretaries of state, where he helped formulate U.S. policy on the Middle East and the Arab-Israel peace process....received the department's Distinguished, Superior, and Meritorious Honor Awards."
But it is Northam's third expert that sets a new low standard. To bring in the Israeli perspective Northam features Dan Schueftan, a professor who has made the following classy and nuanced remarks:
- "The Arabs are the biggest failure in the history of the human race.”
- "While Israel sends while sends a sophisticated satellite into space, the Arabs come up with a new kind of hummus." "
- "There is nothing more fucked up under the sun than the Palestinians."
- "The Palestinians are a repulsive part of the Middle East, let’s leave those ratbags."
- "All over the Arab world they fire shots at weddings in order to prove that they have at least one thing that is hard and functional and can shoot."
How's that for a diverse line-up? And what do these three have to say about the situation in Egypt?
- Danin makes the relatively innocuous comment that "There have been a few comments out of Israel, but for the most part they're keeping quiet, and that is wise."
- Miller also contributes a rather dull observation: "I think the administration is doing a lot of hand-holding and minding of the Israelis. But then again, why would the Israelis bet on our assurances?" Later his comments expose his State Department roots, noting that "The critical point will come once the transition is secured and once a process of political reform is underway, to see exactly how constraining the new Egypt is to American interests, how hostile it may be toward Israeli interests."
- Schueftan - speaking like the Neocon that he is - rails "There has been almost unanimity here in understanding the significance of the American policy vis-a-vis Egypt, namely you can't trust the Americans. More specifically, you can't trust Barack Obama.
Of all the substantive reflections and analyses that one could find on the effects that the Egyptian uprising might have on Israel and US behaviors in the region, this lousy lineup is the best that Northam and NPR can offer.