In the Arena

Obama’s Middle East Advisers

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Roger Cohen makes a very good point in his New York Times column today. There are no Arabs or Persians on Barack Obama’s Middle East negotiating team–at least not yet. And most of those who have been named or rumored are Jewish males.

I suppose that it falls to Jewish males like Cohen (and me) to point out this discrepancy since anyone else making the observation would immediately be accused of anti-semitism by the usual suspects. But Cohen has listed some powerhouse Muslims, who would be a terrific addition to Obama’s team–Shibley Telhami, Fawaz Gerges and Vali Nasr, among others. I’d also suggest that Pete Mansoor, a Palestinian-American who recently retired from the U.S. Army–he served on David Petraeus’s Baghdad team–would be an excellent staffer.

One can imagine the howls if Obama named an all-Arab team to negotiate a middle east peace. It seems to me that some, er, balance is in order.