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Mounting tension with Iran
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Islamism vs. Europe: Which Will Win?
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Articles and Blog Posts by Daniel Pipes   RSS 2.0 Feed

How Trump Put Netanyahu in an Untenable Position

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 16, 2019  •  Washington Post

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It was understandable but unfortunate that the Israeli government on Thursday banned a visit by two of its most hostile congressional critics, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). On Friday, the reasons it wasn't a good idea became even more apparent.

The decision to block Omar and Tlaib was understandable because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot afford to rile an emotional and unpredictable U.S. president. Last month the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, said his country would allow a visit by the duo, who in 2018 were the first Muslim women elected to Congress and are ardent supporters of the boycott, divest and sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel. But after President Trump on Thursday morning criticized the Israeli decision, saying it showed "great weakness," Netanyahu deferred to Trump and cancelled the visit.

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Outrageous Covers at a Saudi Book Fair

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 12, 2019

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After 250 years, the Saudi dynasty under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman appears cautiously to be exiting the Wahhabi hammerlock. But books on display at the 2019 Riyadh International Book Fair gave no hint of this, as suggested by the following selection of current titles with an emphasis on the Arab-Israeli conflict:

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Yes to Nationalism, No to Imperialism

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 4, 2019  •  Washington Times

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Yoram Hazony's breathtakingly counterintuitive book, The Virtue of Nationalism (Basic Books), corrects a simple but colossal mistake: The Nazi monstrosity, he argues, did not result from nationalism but from imperialism. Hitler aspired not to make Germany great in education, justice, and industry, but to create a thousand-year Reich (empire) and conquer the world.

This fact, obvious to everyone during World War II, soon thereafter disappeared from sight because post-war Germans, especially Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (in office 1949-63), believed that demonizing nationalism and transforming Germans into model Europeans would best serve to normalize their country and hinder yet another German drive to brutal conquest. Or, in Hazony's more pungent formulation, the Germans decided to pursue their imperial dream not through invasion but through the gentler mechanism of what today is called the European Union (EU).

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Poll: Israelis Find the Security Establishment "Too Timid"

by Daniel Pipes  •  July 23, 2019  •  Jerusalem Post

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Twenty years ago, the idea of Israel defeating the Palestinians appealed to maybe 3 percent of Jewish Israelis. The dominant Oslo spirit asserted that, given enough concessions, money, and hope, Palestinians would abandon their enmity toward Israel and become its peaceable neighbors. So pervasive was the spirit of accommodation, even defeatism, that as late as 2007, the prime minister of Israel could declare that "Peace is achieved through concessions. We all know that."

But relentless Palestinian vitriol and violence eventually disabused most Jewish Israelis of this gentle hope. By now, according to a poll commissioned by the Middle East Forum, barely a quarter of them still hold on to the Oslo dream. (The poll with 703 likely Jewish voters and a 3.7 percent margin of error, was conducted in Hebrew by New Wave Research on July 7-11. It follows on similar MEF-commissioned polls in 2017 and 2018.)

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The Demon in Liberalism

by Daniel Pipes  •  July 14, 2019  •  Washington Times

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"Why has Sweden become the North Korea of Europe?" That's what a Dane semi-facetiously asked Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks at a conference I attended in 2014. Vilks unconvincingly muttered about Swedes' partiality for consensus.

Now, along comes Ryszard Legutko, a Polish professor of philosophy and leading politician, with a better answer. His book, translated by Teresa Adelson, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies (Encounter), methodically shows the surprising but substantial similarities between Soviet-style communism and modern liberalism as defined by Sweden or the European Union or Barack Obama.

(But before exploring his argument, one clarification: Legutko discusses liberal democracy, a term I find too complex. So, I use liberalism here.)

Legutko does not claim liberalism resembles communism in its monstrosity, much less that the two ideologies are identical; he fully acknowledges that the first is democratic and the second brutally tyrannical. After recognizing this contrast, however, he gets down to the more pungent topic of what the two have in common.

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Polish Telephone Books Reveal My Family's History

by Daniel Pipes  •  July 4, 2019

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Paper telephone books have virtually disappeared from our lives, but they recorded essential information during the twentieth century. Thanks to a recent visit to my father's hometown of Cieszyn, Poland, plus the discovery of an unpublished Warsaw telephone directory (unpublished due to the German invasion), I now have records of my ancestors dating from 1926 and 1939.

1926: The Cieszyn telephone book lists my father's father as "Pipes Marek, fabryk, Ciężarowa 2." Fabryk refers to owning the Olza SA chocolate factory that he had founded in 1920, where he manufactured the Prince Polo chocolate-covered wafer. I photographed the title page and p. 85 on a visit at the Muzeum Śląska Cieszyńskiego (Museum of Cieszyn Silesia) in May 2019.

1939: The Warsaw telephone book is available at the Library of Congress website. It also lists my father's father, now as "5 98 10 Pipes Marek, m., Chmielna 43." He lived 1893-1973.

With the help of Denis E. Lazarev, my second cousin, I have found that the Warsaw directory lists other relatives, including my:

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Istanbul's Election Puzzle

by Daniel Pipes  •  June 25, 2019  •  Washington Times

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The Middle East rightly has a reputation for inscrutability, with seemingly illogical actions part of its routine business. The Saudi crown prince kidnapped Lebanon's visiting prime minister, forced him to resign, only to watch him return to his position on return home. The Palestinian Authority angrily refused to attend a conference in Bahrain where it could gain up to $27 billion. And then there's the Istanbul mayoral election re-run that took place Sunday.

The original election took place in March, when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's candidate lost by a microscopic 0.16 percent. Discontented with this outcome, Erdoğan did what a dictator naturally does and ordered it nullified on the basis of a minor technicality, with a redo to follow. One would imagine he also told his minions to get it right the second time and ensure that his candidate won by a substantial margin. Instead, his candidate lost by a whopping 9.22 percent, almost 60 times' larger margin than his loss the first time.

This drama prompts two questions.

First, why did Erdoğan allow it to happen? He has ruled as a near-absolute dictator for about six years, so it would have been consistent for him to demand a big win. He controls the military, the police, the parliament, the judiciary, the banks, the media, and the educational system. He does whatever he wants. For example:

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Italy at the Crossroads

by Daniel Pipes  •  June 18, 2019  •  Washington Times

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ROME – Italy is in the news these days for two main developments. First, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has – against massive opposition from the media, the judiciary, and the church – shut the country's ports to illegal migrants and thereby reduced the number coming from the Mediterranean Sea by 97 percent between 2017 and 2019. Second, his civilizationist party, the League (Lega in Italian), went from winning 6 percent of the votes in the 2014 European parliamentary elections to 34 percent in those same elections last month, making it by far Italy's most popular party.

Seen from outside Italy, these dramatic developments suggest that growing numbers of Italy's 61 million inhabitants have stopped denying their country's apocalyptic immigration and Islamization problems and are ready to confront the country's existential threats. But is this really the case, have Italians turned a corner in the battle to control their destiny? What do the port closures mean and how significant is the rise of the League?

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Making Sense of Palestinian Logic

by Daniel Pipes  •  May 4, 2019

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Palestinians do weird things: A few days ago, the Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules most of the West Bank, refused to accept the tax revenues it is owed by the Israeli government. Today, Hamas, which rules all of Gaza, launched more than 200 rockets against Israel.

Both of these are, on the surface, self-defeating steps that make no sense. Not taking the money means the PA could collapse; firing rockets means Hamas is getting battered militarily by the far superior Israeli forces.

So, why do the leaders of these quasi-governmental entities take such apparently self-defeating steps? Because they bring results. Follow the logic:

  • Israel is thriving in nearly every domain, from demographics to economics, from democracy to cultural creativity.

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The Cowardice of Middle East Studies

by Daniel Pipes  •  May 1, 2019

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It's been ten years exactly since Ryan Gingeras published an extraordinary preface to his book, Sorrowful Shores: Violence, Ethnicity, and the End of the Ottoman Empire 1912-1923 (Oxford University Press). I therefore quote it at length:

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Going Out on a Trump-Plan Limb

by Daniel Pipes  •  April 26, 2019

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The Trump plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has prompted enormous speculation – when revealed, what specifics, who gains? – speculation that I confess to having contributed to in a series of articles:

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Academic Malfeasance: Do Moderate Muslims Exist?

by Daniel Pipes  •  April 22, 2019  •  Gatestone Institute

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Did you know that the War on Terror actually "is a war for natural resources – and that terrorism has little to do with it"?

So argues John Maszka in his book, Washington's Dark Secret: The Real Truth About Terrorism and Islamic Extremism (Potomac, 2018), as summarized in the publisher's blurb. If you were curious how this "Terrorism Scholar" (his capitals) and professor of international relations at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi, would pull off so implausible a thesis, you might want to dip into the book.

A sentence, however, on p. 54, might give you pause: "Islamophobes such as Daniel Pipes insist that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim."

Okay, you might ignore the predictable "Islamophobe" silliness; but where did that statement come? Wherever did I "insist that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim"?

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Anticipating Trump's "Deal of the Century"

by Daniel Pipes  •  April 9, 2019  •  Washington Times

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President Trump's peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict surfaced two years ago and to this day – remarkably – only he and a handful of aides know its precise details. A stream of leaks, however, contains enough internal consistency that their collation, supplemented by conversations with administration officials, provides a plausible outline of the plan's contents.

These suggest the plan boils down to a grand exchange: The Arab states recognize Israel and Israel recognizes Palestine, both with capital cities in Jerusalem. This approach builds on elements forwarded by Egypt's President Sisi in 2016, the Obama administration in 2009, the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, and even my 1990 symmetry plan.

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Harvard's Communist Uprising, 50 Years Later
That takeover and bust culminated my political education

by Daniel Pipes  •  April 9, 2019  •  National Review Online

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Today marks 50 years of my political education. The events of April 9, 1969, helped make me who I am today and the university what it is.

I was a sophomore in college when my fellow students at Harvard University decided that politics, especially the war in Vietnam and the presence of a military training program on campus, compelled them to take over the main administrative building, called University Hall.

Although opposed to this action, I joined the Communists in University Hall to witness the uprising first hand and take pictures. My photographs reveal about 250 students packed into the august President's and Fellows' Room, harangued as they disrespectfully stood and sat among its statues and under its portraits reaching high to the ceiling.

The mood was triumphalist: Finally, students had taken matters into their own hands and showed those deans that they mean business! Flexing their muscles, the students escorted establishment lackeys out of the building, rifled through their files, and announced to humanity the dawning of a revolution.

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Repairing America's Broken Universities

by Daniel Pipes  •  March 20, 2019  •  Washington Times

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When the FBI informs us that parents are ready to spend up to $6.5 million in bribes to get their children into prestige colleges, it seemingly implies that all is very, very well in the American university. But Warren Treadgold tells us that's an illusion.

He's a distinguished professor of Byzantine history at St. Louis University who has also taught at Berkeley, FIU, Hillsdale, Stanford, and UCLA. Having entered college in 1967, he draws on long experience to both indict and offer a remedy of the most thoroughly left-wing major institution in America. His book, The University We Need (Encounter, 2018) presents its case with insight and a light touch.

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