Controversial FOX News Mideast Pundit Walid Phares Speaking at FAU

Categories: Broward News

Asked if he supports Phares' thinking on the Mideast and Islam, Rabil replied, "I tell my students to never follow one line of thought. I don't endorse anything [Phares] says."

Rabil, who has co-authored several papers with Phares, took a much different tack when Phares was under attack during the Romney campaign. At that time Rabil wrote that the charges against Phares constituted:

an attack on Lebanon's Christian community as a whole, and perhaps against all minorities and liberal Muslims in the Middle East. They explicitly attacked Dr. Phares on the misleading basis of guilt by association without even considering either the political context in which the Lebanese Christians operated or the collective angst of the Christian community.

Phares has a well-oiled publicity machine at his disposal, but his vaunted predictive powers are non-existent (see what he said would happen after the U.S. exited Iraq) and his policy prescriptions are a lot of empty blather about winning the "war of ideas."

We expected a similarly critical comment from Professor Eric Hanne, faculty advisor to the FAU chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. In an email, though, he wrote:

As I've not read the book, or kept up with Phares' work (being a medievalist myself), I wouldn't be able to add anything substantial to the conversation regarding his discussion of the Arab Spring or US Foreign policy.

Having followed the coverage of the Arab Spring from its inception, and having read a number of pieces from a variety of scholars, I would say that the "jury is still out" regarding an assessment of the "Arab Spring." There is much more at work here, going beyond the confines of the Arab world (a problematic monolithic term in and of itself) and it would be premature to make predictions or judgements.

Asked if Phares' controversial history was problematic or likely to color his message and analysis, Hanne wrote back:

I wouldn't presume to prejudge his upcoming talk; his career has tied him to particular mindsets (Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Romney campaign) in which there are very clear parameters for discussion and analysis, but where he stands is still a mystery to me (as someone who looks elsewhere than the FDD, Romney crowd for analysis).

Dr. Walid Phares
Arab Revolutions and American Foreign Policy: The Lost Spring
Monday, March 17
6:30 p.m.
FAU Boca Raton campus
Social Science Bldg. (SO), 250

Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal sting -- covers public affairs and culture in Palm Beach County and elsewhere. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.




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