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Is Turkey Coming Back? Updating U.S. Policy
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Articles and Blog Posts by Daniel Pipes   RSS 2.0 Feed

Siraj Wahhaj Seeks My Validation

by Daniel Pipes  •  May 12, 2020

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Ironically, the same Islamists who disdain and attack infidels also seek their approbation, as shown by the lists they compile of illustrious non-Muslims – mostly Westerners – who praise Muhammad, Islam, or Muslims. The admiring views of such prominent figures as Gandhi, Gibbon, Goethe, Napoleon, George Bernard Shaw, Toynbee, and H.G. Wells are a special source of pride.

Well, imagine my surprise to be added to this list by Siraj Wahhaj, the founder and imam of Brooklyn's Al-Taqwa mosque. He's a leading figure of American Islam. In June 1991, for example, he enjoyed the distinction of delivering the first-ever Islamic prayer in the U.S. House of Representatives. Less salubriously, he was listed in 1995 as one of the "unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators" in the attempt to blow up New York City monuments.

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A Reply to My Critics

by Daniel Pipes  •  May 10, 2020  •  JNS

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As Aristotle long ago recognized, virtue is the midpoint between extremes. And I found myself smack at that midpoint in recent days.

I published a modest article suggesting six reasons why the Jewish state should not extend its sovereignty to a Palestinian-majority territory. (Confusingly, the New York Times titled the May 7 online version "Annexing the West Bank Would Hurt Israel" and the slightly different May 8 print version as "Annexation Would Hurt Israel.")

I hardly expected the article to arouse high emotions. It deals with a tactical issue distant from philosophical foundations, principles, or ideology. I did not condemn annexation in principle but only argued that now, given today's circumstances, the tradeoff looks unfavorable compared to the status quo. I evaluated the topic from a mainstream friend-of-Israel vantage point. I did not instruct Israelis what to do but addressed fellow Americans.

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Annexing the West Bank Would Hurt Israel

by Daniel Pipes  •  May 7, 2020  •  New York Times

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Thanks to the Trump administration's "Peace to Prosperity" plan, the topic of Israel annexing parts of the West Bank has moved from the fringe to the center of Israeli politics. The apparent noninvolvement of the United States State Department in the issue has prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to state his confidence that annexation will happen within "a few months," or before the American presidential election in November.

I am not someone who frets over the Israeli "occupation" of the West Bank: in my view, the Palestinians long ago would have enjoyed self-rule had they stopped murdering Israelis. I ignore the Clinton Parameters, the former American president's compromise formula to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict two decades ago. Contrarily, I do encourage Israeli steps that signal the Palestinians that the conflict is over, and they lost.

Despite these views, I strongly oppose Israel annexing any of the West Bank, and I do so for six main reasons.

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Finding Europe's Hidden Conservatives

by Daniel Pipes  •  April 21, 2020  •  Gatestone Institute

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Does Europe have any conservatives? That is, believers in individual responsibility, national independence, free markets, a single law for all, the traditional family, and maximum freedom of speech and religion.

Seemingly not. Politicians called conservative – such as Angela Merkel of Germany Jacques Chirac of France, and Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden – are often in reality mild leftists, as are their parties. One might conclude that conservatism is defunct in its homeland.

One would be wrong. A substantial conservative movement exists and is growing in Europe. It is hiding in plain sight, obscured by being tarred as populists, nationalists, extreme-right, or even Neo‑Nazis. I call this group by another name: civilizationists, acknowledging that (1) they focus on preserving Western civilization and (2) they forward some distinctly un-conservative policies (such as increased welfare and pension payments).

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Erdoğan's Turkey Is Not Coming Back

by Daniel Pipes  •  April 20, 2020  •  National Interest

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From 2002, when Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AK Party reached power, until about 2016, a debate raged among Turkey-watchers in the United States: Is Ankara still an ally?

Actually, due to nostalgia, that debate dragged on long after it was obvious that Turkey no longer was an ally. That issue, happily, is now closed; NATO membership notwithstanding, nobody seriously makes this claim anymore.

But a new debate has opened up: Is Turkey's hostility a temporary aberration or the long term new normal? Is it more like Necmettin Erbakan's coming to power in 1996-97 and Mohammed Mursi's in Egypt in 2012-13, or more like the Iranian Revolution, now in its fifth decade?

Opinion in Washington is divided. Broadly speaking, the president, Defense, State, and business interests argue for it being an aberration; they expect this unfortunate interlude to end with a cheery return to the good old days. Congress and most analysts argue for long-term change; that's my argument here.

To understand the American debate, one needs to go back to those good old days. The period from Turkey's accession to NATO in 1952 to the key election of 2002 lasted a round 50 years; U.S.-Turkish relations, though not without hitches (most notably mutual fury over Cyprus in 1964), were simple and good: Washington led, Ankara followed.

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Shaken Out of Complacency by COVID-19?

by Daniel Pipes  •  April 8, 2020  •  Washington Times

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Is there a silver lining to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 virus? Observers note a variety of possible gains, from long-term lower oil prices to improved air quality, from weakened extremist movements to a loosening of unneeded regulations. But these possible benefits pale next to the truly big one: shaking Americans out of their complacency and opening their minds to the potential of catastrophe.

A worldwide virus that has changed nearly everyone's routine and disrupted the economy provides a shocking reminder about the fragility of supply chains, the vulnerability of public health, and the precariousness of democracy. This unsettling experience will have positive consequences if it opens smug minds to the possibility of upheaval. Two existing threats stand out as most likely: electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and the demise of Western civilization.

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COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories Proliferate

by Daniel Pipes  •  March 17, 2020

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My article, "Conspiracy Theories in a Time of Virus," offers deep background and some current conspiracy theories about the novel coronavirus. This blog keeps up with some of the latter.

(1) Good news: A U.S. State Department spokeswoman has stated that Secretary Mike Pompeo "conveyed strong U.S. objections to PRC efforts to shift blame for COVID-19 to the United States. The Secretary stressed that this is not the time to spread disinformation and outlandish rumors, but rather a time for all nations to come together to fight this common threat."

(2) Tracing the two lines of alleged conspirators, secret society and Jewish, is a central focus on my 1997 book, Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From.

(3) Various conspiracy theories not covered in the article above:

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Conspiracy Theories in a Time of Virus

by Daniel Pipes  •  March 17, 2020  •  Washington Times

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Suddenly, influential voices blame the COVID-19 virus not on Communist China but on the United Kingdom, the United States and Israel. This shift fits a pernicious medieval pattern that needs to be taken seriously and refuted.

That pattern goes back to about 1100 A.D. and the Crusaders in Europe. Since then, confused folk hoping to make sense of unexpected and malign developments have the permanent option of conjuring up a world conspiracy. When they do, they overwhelmingly blame just two alleged conspirators: members of Western secret societies or Jews.

Secret societies include the Knights Templar, Freemasons, Jesuits, Illuminati, Jacobins, and the Trilateral Commission. Jews are supposedly ruled by a shadowy authority, the "Elders," that strictly keeps them in line through such front organizations as the Sanhedrin, the Alliance Israélite Universelle, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

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Tel Aviv's Mayor vs. the Middle East Forum

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 22, 2020  •  Israel Hayom

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For three years, the Middle East Forum has been engaged in a campaign to wean Americans and Israelis off the deceptive charms of the "peace process" which has, in fact, produced overwhelmingly malign results. Instead, we argue for an Israeli victory and a commensurate Palestinian defeat.

We constantly seek out new ways to bring this argument to the public's notice, especially in Israel. Although the topic is deadly serious, we've had some fun in the process. Israel Victory Project's attention-getting tactics have included posters of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in a swimsuit thanking Israel for all the money it sends his organization; a 10-meter tall rubber chicken posed in front of the Israeli parliament and the Ministry of Defense; and switching street signs in Tel Aviv (e.g., from Ben-Gurion Street to Yasser Arafat Boulevard).

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Israeli Arabs Say No to Palestine

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 4, 2020  •  Jerusalem Post

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The Trump administration's massively detailed "Peace to Prosperity" vision contains many specifics, some of which are currently reverberating in Israel and among the Palestinians.

One of the most surprising of these deals with an area known as "the Triangle," a region of Israel bordering on the West Bank and predominantly inhabited by some 300,000 Arabs. The Trump plan "contemplates the possibility, subject to agreement of the parties, that the borders of Israel will be redrawn such that the Triangle Communities become part of the State of Palestine."

In other words, no one will be evicted but Israel's border will be moved so as to exclude the Triangle, transferring it to become part of today's Palestinian Authority and (maybe) tomorrow's State of Palestine.

Moving the border is hardly a new suggestion, for several Israeli prime ministers have raised it, including Ariel Sharon in February 2004, Ehud Olmert in October 2007, and Benjamin Netanyahu in January 2014. In addition, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman raised it in September 2016.

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Reservations about the Trump Peace Plan

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 29, 2020  •  Washington Times

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Along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, all my friends are delighted with Donald Trump's plan to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I agree that, in contrast with prior presidential plans, this one has much to commend it; unlike the Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush proposals, it takes Israeli security concerns seriously. Most of all, it indicates an unprecedented and emotionally wonderful level of U.S. support for Israel.

That said, I am not delighted with the plan, and for two main reasons. First, who needs it? Israel does best when it acts independently on its interests, not following the U.S. lead. All Israeli leaders since 1948 have wisely resisted plans imposed from the outside, implicitly asking, "Who assigned you to solve our problems?" But this time, the country's top two politicians dashed to Washington to endorse just such a plan. I predict that these same leaders or their successors will rue ceding such authority to Americans.

Second, I worry that, like every previous and failed scheme to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Trump plan is based on giving the Palestinians hope. That sounds nice but it is profoundly counterproductive.

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Will Arab Anti-Zionism Revive?
The old wall of Arab anti-Zionism has fractured, but lingering hostility against Israel could explode anew

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 6, 2020  •  Jerusalem Post

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It's become conventional wisdom to point out that the old wall of Arab anti-Zionism has fractured. I have done so myself. But lingering hostility against Israel could explode anew.

A brief history of Arab attitudes toward the Jewish state puts this danger in context:

For about 20 years, 1910-30, enmity toward Zionists was a local fracas of little interest to other Arabic speakers. Then the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, the most toxic and influential anti-Zionist of all time, internationalized the conflict by sending out alarms about the supposed dangers to Jerusalem.

Pan-Arab nationalist sentiments prompted multiple Arab states to jump militarily into the fray to eliminate the newly independent state of Israel in 1948. The shock of their defeat (the Nakba) caused governments to fall in Egypt and Syria and turned anti-Zionism into the Middle East's most potent political emotion.

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2019's Biggest Hits at DanielPipes.org

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 1, 2020

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As I have done previously (2015, 2017, 2018), here is a roundup of the most popular articles, blog posts, speeches, and interviews on my web site, DanielPipes.org, in the just-concluded year. (The statistics below concern only DanielPipes.org, not postings elsewhere.)

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Why I Am Not a Populist

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 26, 2019  •  Washington Times

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Populism has made great strides in the West. But it is misguided, and I greatly hope it fails.

There's no standard definition for populism but it always includes some degree of denigrating the rich and powerful while praising the virtuous and innocent common folk. Populists ascribe obscene self-serving motives to the greedy, privileged, and exploitative elite. Were only the country class to mobilize, they argue, it could expel the ruling class, replace it, and claim its righteous share.

Populism has left and right versions, led in the United States by Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Leftists usually focus on money (Occupy Wall Street's 1%, Sanders' billionaires), while Rightists attack insider influence (the Tea Party's Swamp, Steve Bannon's Deep State). Very occasionally, they agree on a common enemy, such as Globalists.

Populism need not rely on conspiracy theories, but it often does, as these neatly explain how so tiny a minority can enjoy such wealth and influence. Likewise, it need not turn to antisemitism, but the temptation permanently exists to single out Jews as rich, connected, or both.

I am not a populist. I do not blame the rich or bureaucrats for our problems; rather, I blame the Left.

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America's Early Apologists for Islamism

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 20, 2019  •  Washington Times

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The good, the just, and the chic of the United States enjoy filling the role of Islam's patrons. The Establishment emphasizes several benign and simplistic themes: There is no clash of civilizations. Terrorism is not Islamic. Islam is compatible with American ideals. It adds to American life. Americans must learn to appreciate Islam.

Whence sprang these views that blithely ignore the myriad problems associated with Islam in its relations with non-Muslims, from jihad to dhimmitude (living as second-class citizens)? Not from the remarkable 1796 U.S. document promising "no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims]," for that assured neutrality, not favoritism.

In fact, this patronage dates back to July 1979 and the founding of a now-forgotten but once-grand initiative called the "National Committee to Honor the Fourteenth Centennial of Islam" (for short, Islam Centennial Fourteen, or ICF). In celebrating the turn of the Islamic century on Nov. 21, 1979, the committee hoped to counter growing tensions with Iran's new revolutionary government.

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For a listing of original stories concerning non-Muslim women with Muslim men, starting in September 2019, please click here.

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