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Disarming Hamas Is an Illusion

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2023  •  Middle East Quarterly

I commend Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser for his subtle and knowledgeable analysis. That said, I believe his plan makes Hamas potentially more, not less, dangerous to Israel.

He advocates that Israel end the Hamas threat "by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively that threatening Israel is indisputably against its interests." This will leave Hamas "weakened and deterred vis-à-vis Israel, but strong enough to govern Gaza." Should the Government of Israel implement the Kuperwasser plan, Hamas can no longer torment Israelis in nearby towns like Sderot with rockets, nor set their agricultural fields on fire with weaponized kites, balloons, and condoms, nor launch rockets to stop a parade in Jerusalem. This has obvious appeal to an Israeli population that is under siege but dreads going back into Gaza after the unilateral withdrawal of 2005.

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review of Reclamation: A Cultural Policy for Arab-Israeli Partnership

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2023  •  Middle East Quarterly

Braude, founder and head of the Center for Peace Communications, an organization focused on improving Arab-Israeli relations, has written an important and highly original book. He recalls the positive history of this fraught relationship, applauds the Moroccan exception, surveys current possibilities, concludes that "a critical mass in favor of reclamation has emerged" whose noise "can be heard from the Atlantic shores to the Strait of Hormuz," and offers a comprehensive set of policy recommendations.

Three words in the title and subtitle deserve notice. "Reclamation" refers to Braude's slightly nostalgic recollection of good Arab-Israeli relations a century ago. He offers an impressive array of pro-Zionist Egyptian and Iraqi voices; for example, Egyptian scholar Ahmad Zaki, held that "The victory of Zionism is also the victory of my ideal." But such a view was always minoritarian. To make it majoritarian requires a revolution more than a reclamation.

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review of Palestine 1936: The Great Revolt and the Roots of the Middle East Conflict

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2023  •  Middle East Quarterly

Kessler, a think tanker and journalist writing his first book, has taken up a topic that ought to be well studied but, as he notes, is not. His impressive immersion in the sources and lively writing bring the "Great Arab Revolt" of 1936-39 to life and show its continued significance. It was then, he argues, and not in 1948, "that Palestine's Jews consolidated the demographic, geographic, and political basis of their state-to-be. And it was then that portentous words like 'partition' and 'Jewish state' first appeared on the international diplomatic agenda."

His history details how growing Palestinian-Zionist disputes, tensions, and violence built and built until they reached a climax with the London conference of early 1939. At that point, awareness of a looming conflict with Germany forced the pro-Zionist Malcolm MacDonald, British secretary of state for the colonies, effectively to walk back the Balfour Declaration's promises of a "national home for the Jewish people." With great fairness, Kessler dismisses as unpersuasive David Ben-Gurion's claim that, if not for that reversal, "the six million Jews in Europe would not have been exterminated. Most of them would have been alive in Palestine." But he does endorse Golda Meir's claim that "hundreds of thousands of Jews—perhaps many more" could have been saved.

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review of Arabs and Jews in the Ottoman Empire

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2023  •  Middle East Quarterly

"Could a sharp-eyed observer of mid-nineteenth-century Palestine have detected hints of the future struggle between Jews and Arabs over this land? It seems unlikely. The fact is that none of the observers at the time foresaw the conflict that was yet to come." Thus does Dowty, professor of international relations and political science emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, open his book and set the scene. Why was the dismal future not visible, what changed over time?

Step by step, through meticulous scholarship and clear prose, Dowty shows how local problems over grazing and water rights expanded into self-aware national confrontations, how "muscle men" avoiding firearms evolved into organized militias. He convincingly concludes that "it is hard to see how the conflict could have evolved much differently" from the way it did, given the Muslim attitude toward these immigrants and the Zionist aspiration to leave the diaspora behind and live as independent actors.

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Irene Pipes (1924-2023)
An Appreciation

by Daniel Pipes  •  July 31, 2023  •  DanielPipes.org

I would like to tell you about my mother.

She was born Irena Eugenia Roth in Warsaw on Nov. 28, 1924. Her father was a businessman with I.G. Farben, the largest company in Europe; her mother was a renowned beauty and the first female automobile driver in Warsaw. Her sister Hanna came along two years later. The family lived in downtown Warsaw, close to her maternal grandparents, owners of a leather-goods store.

As this family sketch suggests, Irene had a good life in Poland. Photographs attest to the elaborate skits she performed with her sister. She enjoyed after-school treats with her grandmother at an elegant pastry shop. Her parents attended white-tie parties boasting an elegance we hardly can imagine nearly a century later. When she compared notes with her future husband, Richard Pipes, who lived not far away and whom she later met at Cornell University, they found they had attended the same birthday party.

Then, of course, it all came crashing down. The Nazis invaded Poland on Sep. 1, 1939, when Irene was 14. Her father was arrested (ironically) as a German citizen and the family fled by car to the northeast. Miraculously reunited with him, they flew together to Stockholm and from there, took a ship to New York City, landing on Jan. 27, 1940. After spending an eye-opening weekend on Ellis Island, they entered the United States.

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How Obama's Muslim Childhood Became a Taboo Topic
Reflections on when a gigantic biographical inconvenience was successfully hidden and denied.

by Daniel Pipes  •  June 23, 2023  •  FrontPageMag.com

Americans have an abiding fascination with their presidents, especially with their foibles and secrets. Who lied? Who ordered illegal operations? Who had mistresses?

Thus was the country transfixed by Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, and the tawdry drip-drip of their liaison. When newly declassified documents revealed hitherto unknown CIA connections to Lee Harvey Oswald, this made a media splash, with Tucker Carlson asking: "Did the CIA have a hand in the murder of John F. Kennedy?"

But that fascination dies when it comes to Barack Obama, the Left's quasi-sacred figure. About him, no curiosity, please, no gossip, and no hint of impropriety. When he falsely claimed in 1991 to have been born in Kenya, and not in Hawaii, blame fell on a sloppy literary agent. When Stanley Kurtz proved that Obama lied about not being a member of Chicago's socialist New Party and a candidate for it, the Obama P.R. machine smeared Kurtz and the story disappeared.

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Muslim Africans' Harrowing Journey to Israel

by Daniel Pipes  •  Summer 2023  •  Middle East Quarterly

"I was dancing with joy when I arrived. It was one of the happiest days of my life." So spoke Ismail Abdul-Rasul, a father or four from Darfur in Sudan, describing his 2007 reception in Israel after five miserable years in Egypt and a hellish journey across the Sinai Peninsula.

Generally forgotten today, a large influx of Africans – Eritreans and Sudanese especially – made their way without authorization during the years 2006-12 to live in Israel. Their immigration temporarily traumatized Israelis and left a substantial body of Africans living in the country, mainly in Tel Aviv. The total number of illegal migrants to Israel from Africa is estimated at 55,000, with about 35,000 living in the country today. This episode is worth recalling for its drama, horror, resolution, and implications.

The Passage

Muslim Africans nearly all reached the Jewish state by land. The influx began in 2006, apparently due to some Egyptian smugglers helping a few hundred Africans enter Israel and the Israeli government treating them leniently. As word got back to Egypt and more distant parts of the continent, larger numbers followed. Journalist Uriel Heilman in 2009 captured the motives of Africans living in Egypt:

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Turning off the Comments at DanielPipes.org

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 18, 2023

Dear Reader:

I opened my website, DanielPipes.org, to comments in April 2002. (This appears to be the oldest one: "Bravo.")

They came tumbling in – 185,000 in all. Of these, 165,000, or about 21 per day, made the editorial cut and were posted. I read them all and replied to thousands. The comments provided me important (and often enjoyable) feedback while adding substantially to the website's interactive nature.

But all things come to an end. In this case, social media has largely replaced website commentary, leaving too much spam and too much that is off topic. Accordingly, I have as of today, with sadness, closed DPO to further comments.

Daniel Pipes

2022's Biggest Hits at DanielPipes.org

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 18, 2023

Traffic statistics at DanielPipes.org indicate that the following ten articles are my most read writings published in 2022, in ascending order. (Gary Gambill of the Middle East Forum kindly provided the tabulations and summaries.)

10. Review of Arab American Women: Representation and Refusal (Spring 2022)

I review a new book on Arab American women and call into question whether the classification "Arab American" – denoting Arabic speakers of all backgrounds and religions – remains analytically meaningful. Most Arab Americans are Christians, who typically downplay or even deny their Arab identity. "It is high time to retire, not elevate, the slippery term Arab-American in favor of others, such as Muslim-American and Arabic-speaking Christian American," I conclude.

9. Israel Is the Least-Stolen Land (June 19)

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review of Sajjilu Arab American: A Reader in SWANA Studies

by Daniel Pipes  •  Winter 2023  •  Middle East Quarterly

The preface does not shy from declaring the politics that inspires what follows. The volume fits into something called the Critical Arab American Studies book series that raises and addresses "the politics of producing radical antiracist, anti-imperial, and feminist knowledges about Arab American and SWANA [a new term, meaning Southwest Asian and North African] communities as well as their connections to other racialized communities in the United States and in the global South more broadly." (News to me that the United States is in the global South.) The book under review "directly attends to such critical investments in radical and decolonial knowledge production, investments that continue to be articulated and solidified in response to ongoing racial and gendered violence and to evolving imperial agendas and military projects."

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The Revolt in Iran Lacks Leadership

by Tommaso Alessandro De Filippo interviewer  •  December 14, 2022  •  Atlantico (Italy)

Tommaso Alessandro De Filippo: Does the current protest movement in Iran differ in fundamental ways from prior ones?

Daniel Pipes: Yes, it does. No other protest since 1979 has continued for so long or been so widely supported. It also has key constituencies – Kurds and women – that add to its impact.

TADF: Does the Iranian regime still enjoy a solid position of power or might it collapse?

DP: The regime will likely survive. A counter-revolution needs leadership, which this one lacks. That many of the regime's top leaders helped to overthrow the shah means they have first-hand insights into suppressing their opponents.

TADF: Do you agree with the Biden administration's approach to Iran or should it support the anti-regime protests more?

DP: It should do more. At least Biden has improved somewhat on Obama's response in 2009, when the president, in an effort to reach a nuclear deal with Tehran, basically said nothing in support of the protests. But Biden's response is feeble. Now is the moment to declare that the U.S. government seeks a change of regime in Iran and that it will help those working toward such a change.

TADF: Will the Iranian nuclear buildup lead to a military intervention by either Israel or the United States?

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When Arab Politicians' Shouts and Whispers Contradict
Rely on Public Statements, Not Seductive Murmurings

by Daniel Pipes  •  Winter 2023  •  Middle East Quarterly

In 1933, an exasperated British ambassador to Iraq dressed down the country's King Faisal. "Was I to report to my government," he asked rhetorically,

that Iraq's public men, men who had held the highest positions in the State, made speeches on solemn occasions in which they voiced opinions which they knew to be false and meaningless? Was I to say that the Iraqi Parliament was just a sham, a place where time and money was wasted by a handful of men, who, while masquerading as statesmen, neither meant what they said, nor said what they believed?[1]

In like spirit, a U.S. ambassador to Iraq in the 1950s wrote of Nuri al-Sa'id, who served as prime minister on fourteen occasions: "Nuri's public statements on Israel differed sharply from what he had to say in private. His public statements, like those of all Pan-Arab nationalists, were bitter and uncompromising. In private, he discussed Israel calmly, reasonably, and with moderation."[2]

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Israel's Partial Victory
The Arab States Tiptoed Away

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 2022  •  Commentary

The State of Israel celebrates its 75th birthday in 2023, a year that will also mark a major but generally unnoticed milestone in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

During Israel's first 25 years, from 1948 to 1973, Arab states – with Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in the lead, followed by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon – fought it five times with­ conventional armed forces. They built up huge armies, allied with the Soviet bloc, and fought Israel on the literal battlefield. After 1973, the states quietly bowed out and remained out over the next 50 years – which is to say, for twice as long as the era during which they actively fought Israel.

The few exceptions to this cold peace – notably, a Syrian aerial confrontation in 1982 and an Iraqi missile attack in 1991 – help make the point. Their brevity, limitations, and failure enforced the wisdom of not confronting Israel. The Syrian air force lost 82 planes, while the Israeli air force lost none. And 18 separate Iraqi missile attacks directly killed one Israeli.* The Iraqi and Syrian regimes both started nuclear programs but gave them up after coming under Israeli attacks in 1981 and 2007, respectively.

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About Those Billboards in Israel ...
Letter to the Editor

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 2, 2022  •  Ha'aretz

Yarin Raban's article, "The Time Has Come to Violate the Divine Directive" (Oct. 12) misunderstands the billboard campaign initiated by the Israel Victory Project on the Ayalon Highway and elsewhere.

The billboards showed two prominent Israeli Arab politicians, Ayman Odeh and Ahmed Tibi, draped in and waving Israeli flags under the caption "This is the picture of victory." Raban understands this to mean our goal is "to subject Israeli Arabs to hegemonic Israeli culture, to Israeli national symbolism, and to the Jewish ethnic characterization of the Jewish state."

No, no. That is not the Israel Victory Project's object; I wish Raban had gone beyond the symbolism of the billboards to understand its purpose. Allow me to explain.

The billboards call on Israeli Arab leaders to accept the national identity of Israel, as symbolized by its flag. That does not mean imposing Israeli or Jewish culture on them. To the contrary, Israel provides for its Arab citizens a separate school system, recognition of its religious institutions and courts, and the Arabic language appears on every official state document and sign – and we are fine with that.

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Denmark Leads the West to Immigration Sanity

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 28, 2022  •  National Interest

Today in the West, no issue matters more than immigration policy, especially at a time when much of the world, from Mexicans to Nigerians to Pakistanis, wants to move to North America and Western Europe.

Controlling immigration has proven difficult because the Establishment in destination countries tends to view mass, unfettered, and unvetted immigration as a benign phenomenon. Two examples capture this outlook. In 2014, Sweden's establishment parties, making up 86 percent of the parliament, joined forces to marginalize the civilizationist party (that is, the party focused on controlling immigration and demanding the integration of immigrants) with 14 percent. Angela Merkel, the establishment German chancellor waved in a million-plus unvetted migrants, leading to a pan-European crisis in 2015-16.

Few parties are so arch-establishment as Denmark's Social Democrats (SD). Founded in 1871, it had the largest representation in parliament for seventy-seven straight years. Its accomplishments include creating the welfare state, building modern Denmark, and shaping the Danish character. "Deep down, we're all Social Democrats" a person who dislikes the party acknowledged to me.

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