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Interview: U.S. Embassy Move May Bring Regrets
June 15, Canadian Jewish News

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June 5, Savvy Street

Trump Nixed the Iran Deal: What Next?
May 14, L'Informale (Italy)

"Regime Change in Iran Is Inevitable"
May 13, Global Review (Germany)

The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem: What's Next?
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Articles and Blog Posts by Daniel Pipes   RSS 2.0 Feed

"He Has Lived"
Richard Pipes, 1923-2018

by Daniel Pipes  •  May 30, 2018  •  JNS

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My father Richard died peacefully in his sleep early in the morning on May 17, 2018. His physician did not disagree with me when I described the cause of death as old age.

His life of drama and accomplishments is recounted both in an autobiography, Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger (2003) and in a forthcoming intellectual biography by Prof. Jonathan Daly of the University of Illinois. I should like to complement those books by briefly relating the stages of his life, then offering some personal observations.

That life divided into four eras: Poland, building a career, public intellectual, and senior scholar.

1. Poland, 1923-39

In the small border town of Cieszyn at the very south of Poland by the Czech border, Richard was born in 1923. His father, Marek, was a 30-year-old businessman with a specialty in candies; indeed, one of them, Gala Peter, was the original milk chocolate. His mother, Zosia, was just 21 years old. Herself one of 11 children, she decided that one sufficed for her and she gave Richard her full attention.

Many pictures survive from his childhood and they suggest a modern life that we would recognize almost a century later: work in an office, active social life, car excursions to the countryside, occasional trips abroad for work or vacation.

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Israel Has Nothing to Fear from Trump's Plan?

by Daniel Pipes  •  May 27, 2018  •  Israel Hayom

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Jonathan S. Tobin, editor-in-chief of the Jewish News Syndicate, argues that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "has nothing to worry about!" when it comes to the expected Trump plan that recognizes "Palestine" with Jerusalem as its capital, even though such a plan normally "would be fiercely opposed by the Israeli right and could potentially set off a coalition crisis."

Why is this lack of concern? Because "Palestinians will reliably say 'no' to any peace deal," making it virtually certain that "Trump's peace plan will be dead on arrival." Tobin does not quote but implicitly evokes Abba Eban's aphorism that the Arabs "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

Even more strikingly, he argues that Trump's prospective plan "is not an Obama-style messianic quest for peace" but "a diplomatic diversion that can give some cover to Sunni Muslim states like the Saudis, Egypt and Jordan as they join with the United States to pursue their real priority: rolling back the gains Iran made under Obama."

In other words, Tobin contends, Trump's "peace plan" assumes Palestinian rejection and amounts to an American-Israeli pretense to ease Saudi and other Arab cooperation with the Jewish state.

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NYT: Richard Pipes, Historian of Russia and Reagan Aide, Dies at 94

by William Grimes  •  May 17, 2018

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Richard Pipes, the author of a monumental, sharply polemical series of historical works on Russia, the Russian Revolution and the Bolshevik regime, and a top adviser to the Reagan administration on Soviet and Eastern European policy, died on Thursday at a nursing home near his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 94.

His son Daniel confirmed the death.

Professor Pipes, who spent his entire academic career at Harvard, took his place in the front rank of Russian historians with the publication of "Russia Under the Old Regime" in 1974. But he achieved much wider renown as a public intellectual deeply skeptical about the American policy of détente with the Soviet Union.

In 1976, he led a group of military and foreign-policy experts, known as Team B, in an ultimately pessimistic analysis of the Soviet Union's military strategy and foreign policy and the threats they posed to the United States.

The group's report, commissioned by the Central Intelligence Agency as a counterweight to an analysis that had been generated by the C.I.A.'s own experts — Team A — helped galvanize conservative opposition to arms-control talks and accommodation with the Soviet Union. And it set the stage for Ronald Reagan's policy of challenging Soviet foreign policy and seeking to undermine its hold over Eastern Europe.

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Enjoy the Jerusalem Embassy – But Don't Get Giddy

by Daniel Pipes  •  May 15, 2018

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Yesterday's opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem marks a peak emotional moment for anyone wanting a secure and prosperous Israel; in that spirit, Donald Trump has been hailed as "the best thing that has happened to Israel in a long time."

Maybe. There's also reason to see the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital not as an end in itself but as one act of a three-part drama that ends badly for the Jewish state. Allow me to sketch this theory:

Trump cut his teeth as a real estate developer. He reached deals by giving stakeholders – partners, unions, neighbors, building inspectors, banks, etc. – what they wanted so they bought into his project. That's the art of the deal.

Turning to the Middle East, Trump has two grand priorities: reducing the Iranian threat and accomplishing the "ultimate deal" of bringing an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The two goals are related because the only way to build a powerful alliance against Iran is by including Israel, and that in turn means resolving the Palestinian issue, so that the Saudi and other Arab governments will fully cooperate with Israel. Therefore:

Step One: Give the Saudi leadership what it most wants – lots of attention and armaments.

Step Two: Do the same for Israel, giving it what it longs for – a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.

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NATO's Turkey Challenge

by Daniel Pipes  •  April 19, 2018  •  Ally No More

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In an inarticulate but important statement, then-National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said in a December 2017 closed-door session that the Islamist threat has been "myopically" treated in the past: "We didn't pay enough attention how [Islamist ideology] is being advanced through charities, madrassas and other social organizations." Alluding to prior Saudi support for such institutions, he noted that it "is now done more by Qatar and by Turkey."

Dwelling on Turkey, he added that "A lot of Islamist groups have learned from" its president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, or AKP). The Turks, he went on, offer a model of "operating through civil society, then the education sector, then the police and judiciary, and then the military to consolidate power in the hands of a particular party, which is something we'd prefer not to see and is sadly contributing to the drift of Turkey away from the West."

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The Rise of Western Civilizationism

by Daniel Pipes  •  April 14, 2018  •  Australian

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Victor Orbán's landslide electoral victory on Sunday, gaining 134 seats out of 199 in Hungary's parliament, increases his governing supermajority and endorses his tough policy of excluding illegal immigrants, especially from the Middle East. His success dramatizes a new reality across Europe and in Australia: a novel kind of party has emerged, disturbing the political scene and arousing impassioned debate.

Examples of this phenomenon include the other three members of the Visegrád group (Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia) as well as Austria's four-month old government. Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, sees western Europe following the Visegrád group: "In the Eastern part of Europe, anti-Islamification and anti-mass migration parties see a surge in popular support. Resistance is growing in the West, as well."

In France, the National Front emerged as the second strongest party in last year's presidential elections, in Italy, a muddled situation could lead to an Orbán-like government, while Cory Bernardi's Conservatives and Pauline Hanson's One Nation have made their mark on the Australian scene. Indeed, like-minded parties have quickly become a significant force in some twenty countries.

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A Historic Step in Austria?

by Daniel Pipes  •  April 5, 2018  •  Washington Times

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VIENNA – Something unprecedented took place in Austria in December 2017 – and hardly anyone outside the country noticed: For the first time in Western Europe, a government took power that advocates anti-immigration and anti-Islamization policies.

The government comprises two very different parties which together won 58 percent of the vote: the arch-establishment, very-mildly conservative Austrian People's Party (Österreichische Volkspartei, ÖVP) and the populist, firebrand Freedom Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ) whose roots lie in the far-right swamp of German (not Austrian) nationalism.

The two parties' coalition agreement is a counterjihadi's dream. Distinguishing between Islamism (which it calls political Islam) and the religion of Islam, it boldly stakes out new ground:

Austria guarantees freedom of belief and religion but fights political Islam. By political Islam we mean groups and organizations whose ideological foundation is Islam, and which seek to change the basic political and social order by rejecting our constitution and Islamizing society. Political Islam, which can lead to radicalization, antisemitism, violence and terrorism, has no place in our society.

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Why Palestinians Need an Israel Victory

by Daniel Pipes  •  March 24, 2018  •  Australian

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[Australian title: "Israeli victory essential for Middle East peace"]

The moment is right for fresh thinking in order to dispatch the old and stale Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

With Arabs focused on other issues – the Iranian nuclear weapon build-up, civil wars in Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, Turkey going rogue, the Islamist surge, and the water drought – hoary anti-Zionist taboos have lost much of their pungency. A prosperous and strong Israel has lost hope in decades' worth of "peace process." The cowboy in the White House likes breaking with precedent. And the global Left's turn toward antisemitism, exemplified by Jeremy Corbyn of the British Labour Party, adds further reason for urgency; when it eventually holds power, the implications for Israel will be dire.

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Anatomy of a Media Error

by Daniel Pipes  •  March 2, 2018

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Which is worse, academic sloppiness or fake news? Hard to say, for both present a challenge to a functioning democracy. I've so often documented the outlandish errors that leftist and Islamist academics make about me, I even have a bibliography on the topic. So, here's one about the press.

Step One occurred in August 2017 when PressProgress, a website that calls itself "Canada's most shared source for progressive news and information" and takes pride in its fact-checking prowess, went after Ezra Levant of (the conservative) Rebel Media. Its article, "Rebel Media's Ezra Levant Received Foreign Funding from 'Anti-Muslim' Think Tank," refers to the Middle East Forum as anti-Muslim and other inaccuracies. But never mind that, just note the key passage that vaguely connects MEF to the Koch brothers:

According to the Center for American Progress' report, MEF has previously received millions in funding from foundations bankrolled by wealthy conservatives and GOP donors.

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The End of Carbon Fuels?
A Symposium of Views

by Daniel Pipes  •  Spring 2018  •  International Economy

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The world's chief trouble spot, the Middle East, will be even more problematic.

As the region with well over half the world's carbon fuel reserves, the Middle East is disproportionately affected by the price of oil and gas, from cases of extreme national dependence (tiny Qatar with its outsized global role) to ecological disaster (Saddam Hussein's burning of Kuwait's oil wells in 1991) to geo-political tensions (over eastern Mediterranean Sea gas). So, should the price of hydrocarbons collapse, the area from Morocco to Iran will be the most affected.

Yes, some economies, such as those of Tunisia, Turkey, Israel, Bahrain, and Dubai, do not depend heavily on fossil fuels. Yes, some leaders, notably Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, realize that the rentier model cannot be sustained and seek to diversify. And yes, the demise of oil and gas will bring some good news: More water desalination plants, less Islamism (petrodollars basically fund it), and Israel's enemies weakened.

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review of Racing Against History: The 1940 Campaign for a Jewish Army to Fight Hitler

by Daniel Pipes  •  Spring 2018  •  Middle East Quarterly

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The when campaign to do what, you ask? You're excused if the subtitle does not ring a bell, for Richman, a lawyer, talented author, and formidable researcher, has resurrected the failed and now-obscure effort to mobilize American Jews to create a fighting force against Nazi Germany.

On the surface, he relates a story about three grandees of Zionism – Chaim Weizmann, Zeev Jabotinsky, and David Ben-Gurion – who traveled to the United States in the single year 1940 to arouse the world's largest, richest, and freest Jewish population to concern itself with the horrors underway in Europe and to respond by supporting a Jewish army. Each of the three met with frustration because of a prevailing American mood of isolationism and a Jewish leadership fearful of getting out too far in front of general opinion.

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The US-Israel Honeymoon May Not Last

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 6, 2018  •  Washington Times

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President Trump has taken two unprecedented steps highly favorable to Israel: recognizing Jerusalem as its capital and cutting funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), an organization ultimately devoted to eliminating the Jewish state. These long-overdue actions break antique log-jams dating back nearly 70 years and offer fresh opportunities to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Bravo to Trump for enduring the slings and arrows of conventional thinking to take these courageous steps and then stick with them.

That said, there's a problem. Both moves were undertaken for what appear to be the wrong reasons. This is not an abstract worry but implies that today's celebration could turn into tomorrow's fiasco.

First problem for Israel: Trump says he recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital to settle the Jerusalem issue. Listen to him ruminate on this: "The hardest subject [that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators] had to talk about was Jerusalem. We took Jerusalem off the table, so we don't have to talk about it anymore. They never got past Jerusalem."

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Islamic London: "Run, Hide, Tell"

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 5, 2018  •  Gatestone Institute

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To understand the development of Islam in Western countries, I make a habit of visiting Muslim-majority areas such as in Lakemba in Australia, Lodi in California, and Lunel in France. But London, England, is unique in the extent of its Islamic impress.

Muslim-majority areas typically consist of poor, unattractive housing projects remote from the city center that long ago were abandoned by their original indigenous, working-class populations. They often feature men sitting around cafes and women cooped up at home. They suffer from a range of social pathologies, including unemployment, criminal gangs, and drug-trafficking.

London too has such areas, and they are very large; but what makes the English capital unique is the intense Muslim presence in the very most central and expensive parts of the city, where Muslims do not constitute a majority. This presence takes two main forms.

First, there's the posh Muslim element. According to a CBRE study, Middle Easterners invested over $4.2 billion in London commercial real estate in 2015 (the most recent full year with statistics); this money tends to go into high-profile properties such as the Shard, the city's tallest building; Harrods, its most glamorous department store; Claridge's, its most luxurious hotel; and purchasing the former U.S. embassy building.

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"Arabs and Muslims Will Never Accept Israel as the Jewish State"

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 2, 2018

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Mordechai Kedar, a distinguished specialist of the Middle East, recently published an article arguing that Israel can never win its neighbors' acceptance. This conclusion flies directly in the face of the Israel Victory Project I have proposed, which is about gaining precisely that acceptance. So, Kedar's analysis calls for a reply.

He makes two arguments, religious and nationalist, to support his conclusion. "The religious reason is rooted in Islam's conception of itself as a faith whose mission is to bring both Judaism and Christianity to an end and inherit all that was once Jewish or Christian: land, places of worship, and people. ... That] Jews now attempt to pray on the Temple Mount, suggest[s] that Judaism has returned to being an active, living, and even dynamic religion. This brings the very raison d'être of Islam into question. ... Muslims loyal to their religion and aware of this danger cannot possibly accept the existence of a Jewish state, not even a tiny one on the Tel Aviv coast."

The nationalist motive concerns the Palestinian national movement being "wholly based on the negation of the Jewish people's right to its land and state." Therefore, it seeks "an Arab state on Israel's ruins, not alongside it."

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No News in Republican and Democratic Views of Israel

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 31, 2018

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A recent Pew opinion survey showing 79 percent sympathy for Israel over the Palestinians among Republicans versus a mere 27 percent among Democrats has aroused a furor in pro-Israel circles. But this sort of ratio has been around through the twenty-first century with little change.

By way of proof, note the 13 opinion surveys I collected between 2002 and 2018 at a blog titled "Republicans and Democrats Look at the Arab-Israeli Conflict." Arraying the surveys together (carefully done by my researcher, Delaney Yonchek), one finds that attitudes remaining consistent within specific bands. Favorable Republican attitudes to Israel range between 59 and 84 percent, averaging 73 percent. Favorable Democrats attitudes range between 24 and 64 percent, averaging 44 percent.

Yes, the 2018 Pew poll does show a wider gap than ever (52 percent) but Republican pro-Israel sentiments have been higher and Democratic pro-Israel views have been lower, so it's well within the 16-year range.

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