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Maysoon certainly made that a hard act to follow. We can start by saying that not a single Norwegian was involved in this vote tonight. Anyway, Shibley Telhami is being honored tonight as a Palestinian-American for his signal contributions to scholarship and public policy on the issues of Middle East peace. He has written widely praised books and countless articles. He has served as advisor to our Mission to the United Nations and to congressional leaders, and has participated in critically important study groups.

I've known Shibley for over 20 years, beginning when he stopped being an academic nomad, teaching at no less than seven of our finest universities, and settled into his post as the Anwar Sadat Prof. for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park. Adding to that is his work as a nonresident fellow at Brookings here in Washington.

I applaud the diligence with which Shibley validates his analyses through his rigorously designed polling of public opinion in the Arab world and in Israel. He doesn't overwhelm his readers with statistics -- he may have read Mark Twain's view of statisticians: there are liars, damned liars and statisticians -- but he uses them to sound and very persuasive effect. Finally, when dealing with questions of critical importance to American interests in the Middle East, I have admired his ability to combine a passion for peace with his perception that no one party has a monopoly on justice.

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