Daniel Pipes loves Arab cuisine, Arab literature and the Arabic language. When working in his Philadelphia office, he often plays Arab music in the background.
That's about as far as he goes.
Otherwise, the soft-spoken Harvard Ph.D. and Middle East pundit is hard-pressed to speak well of the Arab world, at least when it comes to politics. Israel, he says, is at war with Arab enemies and "when a war takes place, you should try to win. Wars are resolved not through negotiations, but with one side giving up."
As director of the think tank Middle East Forum, Pipes has been a reliably hawkish voice when it comes to geopolitics. He intends to make his case when he addresses the Northern California chapter of the Zionist Organization of America on Nov. 11. The title of his lecture is "The Threat to Israel's Existence: Why It's Back, What It Means."
In Pipes' view, that existential threat is definitely back after a post-Oslo lull. And he doesn't even have to include in the equation an Iranian nuke with Israel's name on it.
"There are many threats that are long-term and insidious," he points out, "including the anti-Zionist population within Israel –– including Muslims and anti-Zionist Jews. The [threat] I focus in on is almost solely determined by attitudes toward Israel."
He cites not only the anti-Israel sentiment across Europe and throughout the Muslim world, but especially that voiced in Palestinian media, textbooks and mosques. Pipes says that message is one of "victory" over Israel and Zionism, not of peace and reconciliation. Therefore, he says, the time has come to return to Israel's former policy of deterrence.
"In 1993, with [the Oslo accords], Israel's policy was, ‘We'll give you some of what you want, just leave us alone,'" Pipes says. "Appeasement has been the dominant thread of Israeli policy. It doesn't work, not with mortal enemies. I advocate we return to deterrence."
What would a new deterrence look like? For one thing, no more parleys with Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers shaking hands across a table. Not until the Palestinians give up any notion of vanquishing Israel. "I refuse to discuss final status until our side wins," Pipes says. "I see no reason to give carrots to Palestinians."
He also advocates razing Palestinian villages proven to be sources of attacks against Israel.
Pipes says he does have Arab and Palestinian friends, and he believes up to 20 percent of the Palestinian population is willing to "give up" and make peace on Israel's terms. "They're a potential base to turn it into 60 to 70 percent," he says, "but they are a minority at this point."
That 20 percent gives Pipes hope that peace may eventually come. He stresses that radical Islam is the problem, while modern Islam is the solution.
"I'm not anti-German; I'm anti-Nazi," he adds. "I'm not anti-Russian; I'm anti-Soviet. I have no position on Islam, but I have a very explicit position on radical Islam and totalitarian ideology. There are plenty of Muslims who agree with me."
Pipes declined to weigh in on Iran's nuclear ambitions and well-known animus toward Israel. However, he has signed on with GOP presidential contender Rudy Giuliani's campaign as a foreign policy adviser. So did fellow pundit Norman Podhoretz, a proponent of immediate preemptive strikes on Iran.
Such hard-line views have endeared Pipes to the right wing of American and Israeli polity. At the same time, he is often treated as a pariah when making public appearances, especially on college campuses.
Three years ago at U.C. Berkeley, he was nearly hooted off the stage by a phalanx of pro-Palestinian students chanting "Racist! Racist!" Just last month, at Detroit's Wayne State University, pro-Hezbollah protesters repeatedly heckled Pipes. But he refuses to back down.
"The debate is extremely vulgar," Pipes says. "One doesn't enjoy it, but there's utility in raising the flag and raising points, particularly on campuses."