Interviews with Daniel Pipes
Top Story: Interview with Daniel Pipes
Fox News: The O'Reilly Factor
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight.
Now for the top story tonight, President Bush weighs in on the war in the Middle East. Two highlights from his speech today. The president asked Israel to stop its offensive and pull back. And he called Yasser Arafat a failed leader.
Joining us now from Philadelphia is Dr. Daniel Pipes, the director of the Middle East Forum, a think tank.
What do you say, doctor, about the speech?
DANIEL PIPES, PH.D., DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST FORUM: I say, Bill, it's a very peculiar speech, because on the one hand, as you just indicated, he endorsed the Israelis' need to fight terror and defend themselves, and he condemned Yasser Arafat, but when it came around to policy, he actually did the reverse. And he said to Arafat, we'll give you another chance, and he said to the Israelis, please stop.
So it's very inconsistent with the war on terror as he has defined it.
O'REILLY: All right, but wait, you have to understand that Mr. Bush has to look out for America, not Israel. I mean, that's number one, to look out for us. That's his mandate.
Now. He said to Ariel Sharon, who is a questionable figure in everybody's mind here, we don't know whether Ariel Sharon wants peace or he just wants to annihilate people. We're not sure about that.
He said, All right, you've got your military, you did your damage, please pull back now, enough's enough. What's wrong with that?
PIPES: Well, it would be like us telling the U.S. government in, say, mid-October, after a week of fighting the Taliban, OK, we've done some damage, time to pull back, time to discuss things with Mullah Omar.
O'REILLY: Ah, it's not the same thing.
PIPES: Yes, same thing.
O'REILLY: It's not the same thing. No, no. Here's the difference.
Israel has a right to defend themselves, there's no question about it. All right? But what is going on now is, we're trying to reach a peace process. There was no peace process with Afghanistan. They basically said, hey, USA, take a hike, we're going to have al Qaeda here, we don't care. You know, because we asked them, turn over the al Qaeda people, we're not going to go in.
Here, you're trying to get some common ground, and you're never going to get common ground, you're never going to get the Palestinians to pony up and go to the peace talks, if you have the Israeli tanks in their face.
So I say the president did a smart thing, because again, looking out for the USA, we can't have the whole world allied against us, and if they don't pull back, not permanently, look, if they pull back, doctor, and then the suicide bombing continues, I say, go in back again. And they have the capacity to do it.
But what's wrong with pulling back for just to see if we can get peace talks started?
PIPES: What's wrong with that is that that's been tried and tried and tried. It is very clear from the last 10 years that trying once again with Yasser Arafat and hoping that he will behave himself and hoping that he will truly renounce terror is a ridiculous idea. It's about the same as saying, well, we should really try again and discuss things, we should have a peace process with Saddam Hussein.
O'REILLY: But then you're saying there's no peace unless the Palestinians get wiped out. That's what you're saying.
PIPES: No, I'm not saying that.
PIPES: Oh, no. Don't put words in my mouth.
O'REILLY: That's what it sounds like.
PIPES: Well, let me say what I'm saying. I'm saying that the only way to have peace, that is to say, a quiet situation between Israel and its neighbors, is for those neighbors of Israel, and the Palestinians in particular, to stop making war on it with the attempt to destroy it. Only when they realize that that's...
O'REILLY: But give them a chance...
PIPES: ... a full-time effort...
O'REILLY: ... to do that now.
PIPES: Well, they've had 10 years of the Oslo process.
O'REILLY: All right, fine.
O'REILLY: What's wrong with pulling back for a week? If they don't stop, you can go back in. It's not a big country. They can go back in in a heartbeat.
Look, take a look at...
PIPES: And next time?
O'REILLY: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- doctor, we're going to show...
PIPES: You'll tell them to do the same thing?
O'REILLY: ... some pictures now...
O'REILLY: ... and this is what I mean. We're going to show some
pictures of Israeli police in Tel Aviv in a demonstration. All right? Israeli Arabs, those are Arabs that live in Israel. OK? Trying to demonstrate for peace. And the Israeli police beating the hell out of them.
PIPES: Demonstrate for peace? Excuse me. What do you mean by demonstrate for peace?
O'REILLY: If they want, they want a cease-fire.
PIPES: They want the destruction of Israel.
O'REILLY: No, they don't.
PIPES: Let's get clear.
O'REILLY: Hamas does, Hezbollah does...
O'REILLY: ... Islamic Jihad does...
PIPES: ... does...
O'REILLY: ... but I don't believe the-all of the Palestinian people want Israel destroyed.
PIPES: Not every last one.
O'REILLY: I simply don't believe it.
PIPES: Well, not every last one, but...
O'REILLY: No, but look...
PIPES: ... the overwhelming majority do, 90 percent.
O'REILLY: Look at these pictures, though. You got the Israeli cops beating the living daylights out of these civilians. That is going to go all over the world and people are going to go, look, Israel is just as bad as the Palestinian Authority.
Now, I don't believe that. But this kind of a situation makes it seem so.
PIPES: Let me turn the question around. Say the Israelis do what you want, and then there's another spate of suicide bombings, and then they go in again. You're going to tell them again they should leave for the sake of this so-called peace process. And it'll go on and on and on.
It's got to be closure, and the only way there's closure is by having the Palestinians realize that there's a price to be paid for this kind of behavior.
O'REILLY: Well, they've already paid the price. I mean, they've already taken almost 2,000 casualties, 2,000 dead.
Look. If I'm Sharon and I want...
PIPES: They haven't taken 2,000.
O'REILLY: ... peace-and again, I don't know whether Sharon wants peace or not, but if I'm Sharon and I want peace, I say, OK, President Bush, we're going to pull back in respect of your wishes now. We're going to pull back...
O'REILLY: ... and we're going to hope that Secretary of State Colin Powell, who's going to come over here, is going to be able to bring us to the table.
Now. So the Israelis pull back. All right? If the suicide bombing starts up again, other atrocities start up again, bang! They go right back, and then they say to the world, look, we tried, we gave them a chance, they won't stop. Then they can go in, no questions.
PIPES: You're going to get your way, because they're going to leave...
O'REILLY: That's right.
PIPES: ... and then we'll see, and I ask you to invite me back for us to discuss it next time, and I hope next time you'll say, OK, this time it's too much, this time there's no more chances for Yasser Arafat. Let's give up on him.
O'REILLY: If the Israelis pull back in a good-faith deal and go to the table and we still have terrorism and suicide bombing, I will be with you, doctor.
O'REILLY: I will be on your side.
PIPES: One more time, then.
PIPES: But I'm...
O'REILLY: Give them, give them and show the world, say, Look, we're going to do this, we don't think it's the right thing to do, but in respect of America, in respect of President Bush, we're going to try it. All right? Then it tilts to the Israeli side.
Now, here's a question for you, doctor, you're a Middle East expert.
European nations against Israel. Arab nations of course against Israel. Looks like the Far East against it. Everybody's against Israel except the United States. Why?
PIPES: Why is everybody against, or why are we for it?
O'REILLY: Why is everybody against Israel?
PIPES: Basically because Israel's a very small state with 6 million people that has enemies who are numbers of 200, 250 million, and whether you're looking at trade or looking at votes at the United Nations or other benefits, you're probably better going off with the 250 million.
O'REILLY: Oh, come on, it's got to be more than that. It's got to be more than that, just numbers. I mean, we-Israel doesn't have any friends. Is it anti-Semitism? What is it?
PIPES: There's probably a streak of that too. But the United States is unique in the world, not just in this case, but in all foreign policy, because we have a moral and humanitarian quality to our foreign policy...
O'REILLY: And no other country does?
PIPES: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
O'REILLY: No other country has that?
PIPES: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), no other country.
O'REILLY: Really? In the whole world...
O'REILLY: ... no other country?
PIPES: ... not Canada, not Britain. No, no. We are unique in this. And you'll find it throughout our history. There's a-it's American exceptionalism once again.
O'REILLY: Do you believe that if America-say Pat Buchanan was elected president. All right? And he cut off all aid to Israel, which he probably would do.
PIPES: That's right.
O'REILLY: Do you believe that Israel would be annihilated, and the rest of the world would stand by and watch that?
PIPES: Well, first, I don't think that the aid to Israel is the key thing. It's the alliance.
O'REILLY: Well, it's the military aid, doctor.
PIPES: But would, would the rest of the world-would the rest-would the rest of the world-sure, absolutely.
O'REILLY: They'd stand by and watch the Jews get -- 6 million Jews get slaughtered in Israel, wouldn't do anything.
PIPES: I certainly expect so. The United States is unique. And let's take another example, take Taiwan, which is roughly in the same position. It's only the United States that sticks by Taiwan, no one else. You'll find it over and over again.
PIPES: The United States...
O'REILLY: Japan sticks by Taiwan.
PIPES: Not really, not when the chips are down.
O'REILLY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I don't know when...
PIPES: Not when, not when there's...
O'REILLY: ... the chips are down, they haven't been down yet. But the, you know, mouthpiecing it inner (ph). All right. But youda-you but I still don't have the answer. Why does the whole world, why would they allow the Israelis to be slaughtered? Why? Is it anti-Semitism, they hate Jews, there's some historical thing? I just don't know. Do you know why?
PIPES: Well, I think it's a complex brew, of which anti-Semitism is one element. And looking for commerce and trade relations with investment in the Arab world is another. Also substantial new factor is in Europe that there's a large Muslim population, and their elections, for example...
O'REILLY: But it's still...
PIPES: ... in France...
O'REILLY: ... there's still something wrong there, and try to figure it out. All right, doctor, thanks very much. We'll see what happens. And we'll have you back.
Reader comments (1) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes