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The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem: What's Next?
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UNRWA: Perpetuating the Psychology of Victimhood of the Palestinians
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Anatomy of a Media Error

by Daniel Pipes  •  March 2, 2018


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

by Daniel Pipes  •  Spring 2018  •  Middle East Quarterly


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


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


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


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


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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99 Percent of "Palestine Refugees" Are Fake

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 10, 2018  •  Washington Times


In the words of a veteran Washington hand, the problem of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main UN agency dealing with Palestinians, is always important but never urgent.

Well, it just became urgent.

That's because President Trump tweeted "with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?" Then, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley added that the U.S. government is prepared to cut off funds to UNRWA. And, Axios reported, a U.S. payment of $125 million was not delivered (though that was later denied).

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Dhimmis No More
Christians' Trauma in the Middle East

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 2018  •  The Future of Religious Minorities in the Middle East


A new strain of thought has developed in Sunni Muslim thinking: ethnic cleansing. It's not genocide, but it involves expelling non-Sunni populations. Its spread means that non-Muslim minorities have a grim future in Muslim-majority countries; and some may have no future there at all.

I shall trace the origins of ethnic cleansing in the Middle East, note its impact especially on Christians, and consider responses to it.

To begin, let us look at the standing of non-Muslims in Muslim-majority countries before 1800.

Muslims viewed non-Muslim in two categories: monotheists recognized by Islam as adhering to a valid faith (this being mostly Jews and Christians) and polytheists (especially Hindus) lacking that recognition. The former category, our topic here, are known as People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab).

Muslims were relatively tolerant of People of the Book - but only if they accepted becoming dhimmi (protected persons) who acknowledged the rule of Muslims and the superiority of Islam; in other words, if they accepted an inferior status. They had to pay special taxes (called jizya) could not serve in the military or the police or, more generally, exercise authority over Muslims. Sumptuary laws abounded; a Christian or Jew should walk or go by mule but not on a horse and should defer to a Muslim on the street. (Of course, actual practice differed from one country to another and from one era to another.)

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2017's Top Hits at DanielPipes.org

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 31, 2017


Looking over the past year's statistics, my ten most-read articles of 2017 (ignoring articles from prior years) were:

10. Merkel's Historic Folly
9. Historians Run Amok
8. Erdoğan to Me: Stay Out of Turkey
7. No to Bombing Syria
6. Florida Museum Celebrates the Loss of Hagia Sophia
5. Italy's Apocalypse
4. Will Trump Turn Against Israel?
3. Linda Sarsour, The Left's Latest Star
2. The Way to Peace: Israeli Victory, Palestinian Defeat
1. Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting

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Beauty and Nausea in Venice

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 28, 2017  •  American Thinker


"On or about December 1910, human character changed," wrote British novelist Virginia Woolf in 1924. "I am not saying that one went out, as one might into a garden, and there saw that a rose had flowered, or that a hen had laid an egg. The change was not sudden and definite like that. But a change there was, nevertheless."

Woolf's famous quote refers specifically to an exhibition of naturalist paintings. More broadly, 1910 marked the approximate date of a huge shift in the world of art: out went the traditional goal of creating beauty, replaced by the modernist goal of promoting ideals and imparting a political message, especially one that would épater la bourgeoisie (shock the middle class). Toward this end, rudeness and ugliness is inherent to the progressive goal of irritating, disturbing, and teaching.

Italy, home of the Renaissance, widely considered to be the apogee of artistic achievement, offers a striking place to observe this contrast, as my recent travel to twelve Italian towns brought home.

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Trump's Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital – What Does It Mean?

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 11, 2017


Question: On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump made a statement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and declaring that his administration will immediately begin the process of building an embassy in Jerusalem. What does Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital mean?

Respondents: Elliott Abrams, Daniel Pipes, Max Singer, Eytan Gilboa, Jonathan Rynhold, Hillel Frisch. Click here for the other responses. Slight changes made to the BESA Center original.

The move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem brings on a flood of thoughts. Briefly:

This completes the UN creation of Israel on Nov. 29, 1947.

Coincidentally, it came 70 years and 7 days after the UN vote. Also of note, it came 3 days shy of the centenary of British conquest of Jerusalem from the Ottomans.

It effectively recognizes pre-1967 west Jerusalem, not the whole of Jerusalem, as Israel's capital. It also leaves the ugly old consular and passport practices in place.

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The Dubai Miracle Has Become Real

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 7, 2017  •  Washington Times


The Great Recession of 2008-09 convinced me, like many other observers, that the city-state of Dubai's razzmatazz – Go skiing in the boiling heat! Gawk at the world's tallest building! – was but a desert mirage. I lambasted Dubai in a 2009 article for "hucksterism and fast talk," running a "trompe l'oeil economy," and suckering outsiders with Ponzi-scheme real estate deals. It appeared to be only a matter of time until the whole edifice collapsed.

But that did not happen. The leaders learned from their mistakes, addressed major flaws, and oversaw Dubai's roaring back bigger, bolder, and brassier than ever. To learn how this happened, I have annually visited Dubai (one of seven polities making up the United Arab Emirates, somewhat like the United Kingdom's four countries) since 2015.

There I found not hucksterism but something rarer and far more impressive: capitalism. And not just capitalism but raw, unfettered capitalism with few regulations, minimal taxes, and emasculated trade unions.

The emirate sits among some of the richest oil and rentier states in the world; nearby Qatar has a per capita annual hydrocarbon income of about US$500,000 per Qatari national. Neighboring Abu Dhabi's income per national is over $400,000.

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Accepting Europe's Anti-Immigration Parties

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 30, 2017  •  Washington Times


In a typical assessment of recent European elections, Katy O'Donnell writes in Politico that "Nationalist parties now have a toehold everywhere from Italy to Finland, raising fears the continent is backpedaling toward the kinds of policies that led to catastrophe in the first half of the 20th century." Many Jews, like Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association, echo her fear, seeing "a very real threat from populist movements across Europe."

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Why Palestinian Delusions Persist

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 13, 2017  •  Israel Hayom


In 1974, Second Lt. Hiroo Onoda of the Imperial Japanese Army was still fighting for his emperor, hiding in a Philippine jungle. He had rejected many attempts to inform him of Japan's surrender 29 years earlier. During those long years, he senselessly murdered about one Filipino and injured three others per year. Only a concerted effort by his former commander finally convinced Onoda that the emperor had accepted defeat in 1945 and therefore he too must lay down arms.

The Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza are Onoda writ large. They formally acknowledged defeat by Israel 24 years ago, when Yasir Arafat stood on the White House lawn and recognized "the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security." Trouble was, Arafat himself did not sincerely offer this act of surrender and most Palestinians rejected it.

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Italy's Apocalypse

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 2, 2017  •  Washington Times


ROME – When thinking about migrants and Islam, Italy is not a country that comes to mind.

Unlike its northern neighbors, Italy had no economic miracle that required the massive importation of labor. It lacks a deep bond to some major source of migration, such as South Asia for Great Britain. It has not experienced major acts of jihadi violence such as France has. Unlike Sweden, one does not hear tales of crazy appeasement and unlike Belgium there are no partial no-go zones. Unlike the Netherlands, no flamboyant anti-Islamic politician has emerged comparable to Geert Wilders and unlike Germany no anti-immigration party has become a significant political force.

But, no less than its northern counterparts, Italy deserves attention for it is undergoing massive changes. Arguably, they are even more pressing, far-reaching, and denied more than in the better-known countries.

For starters, there's geography. Not only does Italy's famous boot stick prominently into the Mediterranean Sea, making the country a tempting target for sea-borne illegal migrants, but Italian territory reaches into North Africa: the small island of Lampedusa, population 6,000, lies just 70 miles (113 km) off the coast of Tunisia and 184 miles (300 km) from Libya. In 2016, 181,000 migrants entered Italy, nearly all of them illegal, nearly all by sea.

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