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Articles and Blog Posts by Daniel Pipes   RSS 2.0 Feed

In Defense of Europe's "Far-Right" Parties

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 2, 2018  •  Washington Times

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The European political parties called far-right by Establishment politicians and media (but civilizationist by me) are justly criticized for their mistakes and extremism.

For example, the Sweden Democrats party in its first years, 1988-95, did have some members with Nazi backgrounds and some who supported racist and white nationalist ideas. Even today, the party does foolish things – like call for a ban on circumcising boys.

Civilizationists also have a problem with antisemitism. Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the National Rally in France, has repeatedly been fined for dismissing the Nazi gas chambers as a "detail" of history. When Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) leader Heinz-Christian Strache in 2010 visited Yad Vashem, the Jerusalem memorial to the Holocaust, he wore the distinctive beer-cap of the Vandalia fraternity, an organization associated with antisemitism.

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Europe's Civilizationist Parties
Don't shun the populists of Europe; work with and learn from them

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 2018  •  Commentary

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IS EUROPE RETURNING to the horrors of the 1930s? In an assessment typical of the moment, Max Holleran writes in the New Republic that "in the past ten years, new right-wing political movements have brought together coalitions of Neo-Nazis with mainstream free-market conservatives, normalizing political ideologies that in the past rightly caused alarm." He sees this trend creating a surge in "xenophobic populism." Writing in Politico, Katy O'Donnell agrees: "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." Jewish leaders like Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association, sense "a very real threat from populist movements across Europe."

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Why Do You American Conservatives Keep Losing?

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 18, 2018  •  Washington Times

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I had no answer when Mária Schmidt, a historian and advisor to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, recently asked me, "Why do you American conservatives keep losing to liberals?"

By conservatives, she and I both understand individuals who respect tradition while intelligently adapting it to new circumstances; those following in the legacy of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Liberals are those who believe in each person's unlimited capacity on his own to figure things out rationally, the heirs of Tony Blair and Barack Obama. This permanent political conflict pits building on tradition vs. thinking things anew. It's recognizing 2 genders vs. 71.

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Harvard University Memorial Service for Richard Pipes

by Daniel Pipes  •  September 21, 2018

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Unfortunately, the requested recording by Harvard Event technicians was not made. I thank Robert Chung for recording nearly the entire service on his smartphone, with the exception of the musical prelude and the first talk, by Prof. Evelyn Higgenbotham. The recording begins with the welcome by Prof. Rawi Abdelal.

For the memorial service program, click here.

For a booklet with the tributes by the nine speakers, click here.

Tributes in Memoriam

RICHARD EDGAR PIPES

Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of History, Emeritus

11 July 1923 – 17 May 2018

Memorial Church

Harvard University

Friday, 21 September 2018
Three to Five o'clock in the afternoon

Evelyn Higginbotham
History Department

As the chair of the History Department at Harvard, I bring greetings and speak for my colleagues when I express sincere sympathies to Mrs. Pipes and the entire family of Professor Richard Pipes and when I say that we are grateful to be able to celebrate his life with you today. His was a life long-lived and well-remembered.

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German and Austrian Media Outrage Me

by Daniel Pipes  •  September 19, 2018  •  Washington Times

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Europe's mainstream media has reached a point of distorted frenzy about what it calls the "far-right" and "neo-Nazis." I know. I have just experienced this first hand. Allow me, please, to tell my tale.

Ezra Levant of Canada is a brilliant conservative and an eloquent critic of the Left. He's indefatigable and successful; Rebel Media, which he founded in February 2015, has over one million YouTube subscribers. Of his many concerns, such as "ethical oil," Levant most worries about the threat of Islamism.

Our common outlook means we often cooperate, and he recently invited me to join a Rebel Media cruise on the Danube River in June 2019, which I accepted. It makes roughly equidistant daily trips, beginning with two towns in Germany (Regensburg, Passau), then four in Austria (Linz, Melk, Dürnstein, Vienna), one in Slovakia (Bratislava), and one in Hungary (Budapest).

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Why Israelis Shy from Victory

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2018  •  Middle East Quarterly

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One day, imagine, a U.S. president tells an Israeli prime minister: "Palestinian extremism damages American security. We need you to end it by achieving victory over the Palestinians. Do what it takes within legal, moral, and practical boundaries." The president continues: "Impose your will on them, induce a sense of defeat so they give up their 70-year-old dream of eliminating Israel. Win your war."

How might the prime minister respond? Would he seize the moment and punish the incitement and violence sponsored by the Palestinian Authority (PA)? Would he inform Hamas that every aggression would temporarily stop all shipments of water, food, medicine, and electricity?

Or would he decline the offer?

My prediction: After intense consultations with Israel's security services and heated cabinet meetings, the prime minister would reply to the president with, "No thanks, we prefer things as they are."

Really? That's not what one expects, given how the PA and Hamas seek to eliminate the Jewish state, the persistent violence against Israelis, and how Palestinian propaganda hurts Israel's international standing. Yes. And for four reasons: a widespread Israeli belief that prosperity undermines ideology, awe of Palestinian resolve, Jewish guilt, and timid security services. Each of these views can be readily refuted.

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Venezuela's Tyranny of Bad Ideas
Socialism was a proven failure, but Hugo Chávez got his countrymen to try it

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 27, 2018  •  Wall Street Journal

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Ideas run the world: good ones create freedom and wealth; bad ones, oppression and poverty. Sure, money is important, but money is but a means to an end. Ideas are the end. You are not what you eat; you are what you think.

Politicians in particular fall under the sway of ideas. As John Maynard Keynes put it, "Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. ... it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil."

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Hungary: Not "Submitting to Islam"

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 14, 2018  •  Washington Times

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BUDAPEST – No European head of government talks remotely like Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. For example, he recently spoke of building in Hungary a "constitutional order based on national and Christian foundations," thereby avoiding a future in which "the whole of Europe has ... submitted to Islam."

That, in brief, is the disruption caused by Orbán, 55, and his Fidesz party. He outlines explicitly conservative (or in his terminology, "illiberal") goals that defend "the ways of life springing from Christian culture" and reject Muslim influence. By doing so, Orbán has undermined a continent-wide consensus and encouraged voters in Poland, Austria, Italy, and Germany to resist further uncontrolled migration.

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Who Are Europe's Most Important Politicians?

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 2, 2018  •  Washington Times

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"Who is the most important European alive today?" I asked in early 2010. Dutch politician Geert Wilders, came my answer, because "he is best placed to deal with the Islamic challenge facing the continent." I even raised the prospect of his emerging "as a world-historical figure."

In other words, I focused not on run-of-the-mill political leaders – the UK prime minister, French president, German chancellor, or even the Roman Catholic pope – but on the disruptive politician leading Europe's revolt against immigration and Islamization. Conventional politicians optimistically assume that the continent will muddle through, that some form of convivencia (Spanish for "coexistence," a term deriving from medieval Andalusia) will emerge, that multiculturalism somehow will tame the beast of Islamic supremacism.

But as Europe, population 741 million, heads toward cultural crisis, as indigenous birthrates plunge, as Islamist aggression increases, and as the elite made up of the 6Ps (police, politicians, press, priests, professors and prosecutors) myopically insists there is nothing to worry about, this happy talk has little basis in reality.

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Conservatism's Hidden History

by Daniel Pipes  •  July 31, 2018  •  Philadelphia Inquirer

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What is conservatism?

Before reading an article with this title by Ofir Haivry and Yoram Hazony in a recent issue of American Affairs, I would have replied individual liberty, small government, and a robust foreign policy. Their article taught me a completely different and much deeper understanding.

With clarity and brilliance, Haivry and Hazony reveal a little-known intellectual history of English conservatism going back to the fifteenth century and Sir John Fortescue's In Praise of the Laws of England (c. 1470), followed by such outstanding thinkers as John Selden, Jonathan Swift, and Edmund Burke.

They advocated an outlook that respects tradition while intelligently adapting it to new circumstances; Haivry and Hazony call this historical empiricism. Conservatives esteem what preceding generations have worked out – especially, the English Constitution and the Hebrew Bible. They see England's unique development of freedom as the happy result of such singular breakthroughs as the Magna Carta (1215) and the Petition of Right (1628).

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Foreword

by Daniel Pipes  •  Spring 2018  •  Beyond Terror: Islam's Slow Erosion of Western Democracy by Anne Marie Waters

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Every European country with an advanced Islamist problem has a political party in parliament focused on dealing with this challenge – except one, the United Kingdom. This absence of what I call a civilizationist party (because it seeks to save Western civilization) has profound implications; it means the British have no way to enact legislation against the Islamist threat nor do the existing parties feel pressure to pay attention to it. For this reason, "Londonistan" has the bleakest prospects of any Western country.

Anne Marie Waters, author of the book in your hands or on your screen, is one of the few who can fill the gap. As Beyond Terror: Islam's Slow Erosion of Western Democracy amply shows, she has the biography, skills, knowledge, and will to found a civilizationist party. Indeed, she initiated the process in late 2017 by establishing For Britain, a party "for the forgotten majority."

Seen in this light, Beyond Terror serves the triple purpose of self-introducing Waters to the public, documenting the civilizational problem, and laying out her policies.

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Israel Victory Gains Strength

by Daniel Pipes  •  July 3, 2018  •  Israel Hayom

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TEL AVIV - What do Israelis think of the idea of Israel winning and the Palestinians losing?

It's a radical idea, very different from the 50-year-and-counting win-win assumption of "land for peace" that has transfixed governments and monopolized their attention. That old idea holds that putting Palestinians and Israelis in a room together will prompt them to settle their differences. On the cusp of the Oslo Accords' 25thanniversary, we know precisely how well that worked out: Israelis gave real land, Palestinians rewarded them with false promises of peace.

Indeed, according to a poll commissioned by the Middle East Forum and carried out by Rafi Smith of Smith Consulting, only 33 percent of Jewish Israelis (and about half that number among those who voted for the current government) still believe in land-for-peace and about the same small number still believe in Oslo. So, the old ways not only failed but are deeply unpopular. What takes their place?

One alternative is the Middle East Forum's Israel Victory initiative, and it polls well. When asked, "Do you agree or disagree with the proposition that "it will only be possible to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians when they recognize they have lost their war against Israel?" Fifty-eight percent agreed. This has the makings of a revolution.

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Poland's Muslim Ban

by Daniel Pipes  •  July 2, 2018  •  Washington Times

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WARSAW – On being designated prime minister of Poland last December, Mateusz Morawiecki made the extraordinary statement that he and his government want to "transform [the European Union], to re-Christianize it."

Struck by this grand vision of Poland's destiny, and particularly interested in the near-total ban on Muslim migrants (Morawiecki again: "we will not accept migrants from the Middle East and North Africa in Poland"), I just spent a week in Warsaw to understand why that country differs so sharply from Western Europe and what this implies.

I found a raging debate over the country's civilizationist (usually and inaccurately known as "far-right") party, called Law and Justice (PiS, pronounced peace). More precisely, Poles disagree on: Did PiS foment or respond to anti-Muslim feelings?

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"He Has Lived"
Richard Pipes, 1923-2018

by Daniel Pipes  •  June 2, 2018  •  Australian

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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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