Amaney Jamal is a careful scholar, and her book has advanced the discussion about the drivers of Arab views of the United States in important ways. But her response to my review of it misses my major critiques and raises new questions about how to interpret her evidence.
Jamal insists that her data prove the existence of pro-American views among Arab publics before the Arab Spring and that such attitudes were more frequent among the aspirational middle class, which received economic benefits from the U.S.-backed status quo. This is true, as far as it goes, but is also unsurprising. No opinion surveys in the years before the Arab Spring, even in the darkest days of the George W. Bush administration, showed 100 percent hostility toward the United States. It stands to reason that the strongest bastions of pro-American attitudes would overlap with the better-off sectors of society.