Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dennis Ross spoke about the Arab Spring and its implications for the Middle East in an event sponsored by the Program for Jewish Civilization on Thursday.

Ross, who has served as an advisor to Presidents Bush, Clinton and Obama, joked about his bipartisan career.

“I spent a long time working with Arabs and Israelis; I figured I might as well work with Republicans and Democrats,” he said.

His lecture, titled “The Arab Awakening and Its Implications,” focused on the events in the Middle East, describing them as an ongoing awakening rather than a fleeting spring, and the future of Iran and Israeli-Palestinian relations.

“It may not have been easily predictable when this would take place, but it was predictable that if change came, Islamists were going to have all the advantages in the early going,” he said.

Ross explained that the environment created by rulers like Hosni Mubarak, former Egyptian politician and military leader, resulted in all organized resistance occurring in mosques, separate from the secular arena.

Ross also discussed steps that Israel and Palestine both must take in order to achieve peace, relating the conflict to events in the broader Arab world.

“Both on the Arab Awakening and the issue of peace, the circumstances are dramatically different than they have been, but there is always something to be done. And only when you decide there is nothing to be done do you make that a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said.

Students who attended the lecture were pleased by Ross’s foreign policy expertise.

“I’m a total standard SFS nerd and I followed Ross before I came here, so I was very excited,” CharlyJaffe (SFS ’13) said.

Ross currently teaches a course entitled “Statecraft and Negotiation” in the International Affairs program.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *