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Jan 28, 2022

Interviewer: MATTHEW BERKMAN. Many accounts of the Arab Spring of 2010-11 view it primarily through a political lens: whatever the underlying grievances, its goals centered around removing autocrats from power and replacing them with more responsive governments. Historian JOEL BEININ argues that in fact the Arab Spring protests, particularly in Egypt and Tunisia, were rooted in a worker’s movement that had, over decades, launched numerous protests against harsh economic conditions imposed by the so-called Washington Consensus. In his discussion with political scientist Matthew Berkman, Beinin outlines the evolution of economic policy in the Middle East, points to the sources of funding for the post-Arab Spring counter-revolution, and describes the network of business interests – far beyond a narrowly conceived “Israel lobby” – that have cemented Israel’s place in American foreign policy.