According to a poll done by the Pew Research Center, the post-revolutionary Egypt is even more anti-Israel and anti- American than it was before the political turmoil and ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in the early months of 2011. The poll, which was released on Monday, also showed that there is strong support for democracy and human rights, despite the negative feelings toward the dominant world democracy, the US, and the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel.
Negative Feelings Despite Strong US Support
President Obama has shown consistent support for the changes which have come to Egypt, including calling for Mubarak to resign his position only a week after the beginning of the anti-government protests erupted. Obama has also expressed strong approval of Egypt’s transition to a democratic form of government. Yet the poll of 1,000 Egyptians conducted in face-to-face interviews taken from March 24th to April 7th showed that Egyptians still feel negatively towards the United States.
The report stated that “No dividend emerges for the United States from the political changes that have occurred in Egypt. Favorable ratings of the U.S. remain as low as they have been in recent years, and many Egyptians say they want a less close relationship with America. Israel fares even more poorly.”
High Hopes Hindered
The results of the poll must be a disappointment to President Obama, who has made improved relations with the Muslim world one of the major themes of his administration’s foreign policy. Two years ago Obama made a ‘watershed’ speech in Cairo in which he called for a “new beginning” in bilateral relations with Egypt and the rest of the Arab world, including pressuring Israel to come to a final agreement with the Palestinians. The policy in the US towards the various protest movements in the Middle East of late has been one of support in the hope that this support will win the favor of the Arab people resulting in an emergence of a new, pro-Western, liberal and democratic Middle East.
US-Egyptian Relations Not High Priority in Egypt
Maye Kassem, associate professor of political science at American University of Cairo explained that a majority of Egyptians do not consider relations with the US a high priority.According to Kassem, the subject Egyptians are most concerned with in recent days is making sure that the corrupt politicians and others from Mubarak’s regime are brought to justice.
“A lot of people are more concerned now whether these people are going to be charged or are they going to get away. This is more on people’s minds than the U.S.,” Kassem said. About attitudes towards the U.S, she added: “I wouldn’t say they are positive. I would say neutral.”