About 5 minutes before I went on air with the Huff Post Live team to discuss Obama's speech at the UN yesterday, I was informed I'd be sharing the platform with Rev. Jesse Jackson. I'm not usually one to get stage fright, but Rev. Jackson is an iconic figure in American politics and I must confess to getting a little nervous (despite my participation being online). The legendary civil rights activist and one time Presidential challenger is a formidable speaker and had much to say on President Obama's speech, and US foreign policy in general. It was a pretty lively discussion between the Rev. Jackson, Huff Post host Josh Zepp, Alicia Menendez and Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Robert Nolan (Editor at Foreign Policy Association) and myself where we all pretty much agreed on the topics at hand.
The major points of agreement were that Obama's rhetoric on Middle Eastern politics does not match US behavior, and while he preached democracy and peace, the US government has illegally invaded two sovereign nations and continues to support Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land. The Huff Post hosts are great - Ahmed had a ton to say about the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, and Robert Nolan really knows his stuff.
I have to say, bravo to the Huff Post for investing in this type of format - it's a brave new world online and they are paving the way for some very interesting possibilities. I've got to give it to Rev. Jackson as well, he's still out there fighting the good fight. It was great to be a part of a discussion with him.
You can check out the segment here (it takes a while for me to get in on the discussion - the venerable Jackson does like to talk a bit...).