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Reflections on the UAE-Israel Joint Statement
August 24, Fox News

Turkey's "Reconquests" in the Eastern Mediterranean and Beyond
August 2020, Eastern Mediterranean Policy Note

Islamism and Syria Update
July 9, Arutz Sheva

A Short Conversation with Daniel Pipes
July 8, Gatestone Institute

U.S.-Turkish Relations in Context
May 28, Secure Freedom Radio

Interview: Islamism's War on the West
February 2020, Media Wars: The Battle to Shape Our Minds

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Articles and Blog Posts by Daniel Pipes   RSS 2.0 Feed

Will Turkey and Greece Clash over a Tiny Island?
Kastelorizo lies a mile from the Turkish mainland

by Daniel Pipes  •  September 16, 2020  •  The Spectator

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An obscure Mediterranean flashpoint may soon come to a crisis; that would be the minuscule and remote Greek island of Kastelorizo (or Megisti; Meis in Turkish). Like many other Greek islands, it lies much closer to the Turkish than the Greek mainland (1 mile vs. 357 miles). Unlike other small Greek islands, its location between Rhodes and Cyprus bestows outsized military and economic importance on it.

Were Kastelorizo, with a population of under 500, to enjoy the full rights bestowed on it by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Greece can claim a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) that leaves Turkey with a cramped EEZ along its shores; take away Kastelorizo and the Turkish EEZ more than doubles in size. The discovery of large gas and oil deposits in the Mediterranean Sea makes that of especially great potential significance.

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Convincing Anti-Zionists that the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Is Over

by Daniel Pipes  •  September 7, 2020  •  Washington Times

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In the wake of the exhilarating joint UAE-Israel statement, that old sourpuss, Hanan Ashrawi, emerged from her hole to pronounce that "There is an erroneous assumption that the Palestinians are defeated, and they have to accept the fact of their defeat." No, she insisted, "The Palestinians are willing, generation after generation, to continue their struggle."

There you go, an unambiguous statement of intent from my old adversary, mirroring the views of both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas: No matter what anyone else does, she says, we Palestinians will battle unto the end of time to eliminate the Jewish state and subjugate the Jews.

Now, some may wonder: Didn't Yasir Arafat long ago accept Israel, was that not the gist of the 1993 Oslo accords, when he recognized "the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security"? No, he only pretended to accept Israel.

Let me explain.

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Disquiet about Philadelphia Airport's "Quiet Room"
Taxpayer money should not be used to favor one religion over others in government facilities such as PHL

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 17, 2020  •  Washington Times

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Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) opened a heavily promoted "Quiet Room" in August 2018. Accessible 365/24/7, it's an excellent addition to a frenetic travel hub. But it also presents a disquieting problem.

The 315-square-foot space with two chambers is located after security controls, between the D and E terminals. A PHL press release touts the room as "a place of silence which all passengers may use regardless of their worldview, culture and religious affiliation," an area suitable for "those who desire a place for solitude or prayer." What could be wrong with that?

Well, it's the same problem that has turned up in schools, hospitals, at airport security, and more broadly: Islam enjoys a favored status. The Quiet Room privileges it in four ways:

First, the room's name, announced in five languages, presents a problem:

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Feeling Optimistic about Israel and the Emirates

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 14, 2020  •  National Interest

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I was skeptical about Israel's 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, 1983 agreement with Lebanon, 1993 Oslo accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization, and 1994 peace treaty with Jordan. But the joint statement by Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States on Aug. 13 breaks new ground and, as it itself claims, deserves to be called "historic."

The statement boils down to Israel's commitment to "suspend declaring sovereignty over [parts of the West Bank] and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world." In return, the UAE "agreed to the full normalization of relations" with Israel. This exchange of promises in three ways improves on previous Israeli agreements with Arabs.

First, the Egyptian, Lebanese, and Jordanian agreements basically ignored the Palestinians, but UAE leaders can point to wringing a commitment from Jerusalem to suspend its West Bank annexation plans. (Perhaps that was what Benjamin Netanyahu all along had in mind; my colleague Matt Mainen presciently outlined two months ago the Israeli prime minister's "brilliant bluff" of sacrificing annexation for diplomatic recognition by Gulf Arabs.)

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The Folly of the Intellectuals
How common sense evades the smartest of us

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 14, 2020  •  The Spectator

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A sixteenth-century expression holds that "there's no fool like an old fool." But the emergence of totalitarian ideologies like fascism, communism, and Islamism around World War I means this saying needs be amended to "there's no fool like an intellectual fool."

An intellectual is someone engaged in the world of ideas; who reads and writes for a living; who turns facts into theories. Jean-Paul Sartre defined him as "someone who interferes in what does not concern him." Cute that, but intellectuals overwhelmingly criticize their own societies, something that provides a useful function in autocracies but has an insidious impact in democracies; just note our educational system.

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When Muslims Leave the Faith

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 6, 2020  •  Wall Street Journal

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In the West, conversions involving Islam appear to be a one-way street in its favor. Famed new believers include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Keith Ellison, and Sinéad O'Connor, as well as flamboyant flirts like Prince Charles, Michael Jackson and Lindsay Lohan. Also, there are about 700,000 African-American converts and their descendants.

But, in fact, it's a two-way street. Indeed, born Muslims who leave Islam have a far greater impact than do converts to Islam.

To begin with, some numbers: In France, around 15,000 Muslims convert annually to Christianity, according to a 2007 estimate. About 100,000 American Muslims abandon Islam each year, reports a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. This amounts to 24 percent of all Muslims in the United States, with Iranians disproportionately represented. These numbers roughly counterbalance those of non-Muslims converting to Islam.

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How Fares Western Civ?

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2020  •  Academic Questions

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Eliminating courses on Western civilization ranks as one of the many radical changes in the American university over the last few decades. Symbolically, the shift began in January 1987, when Jesse Jackson led Stanford University students who, in a farcical demonstration with deep implications, shouted "Hey-hey, ho-ho, Western culture's got to go."

And go it did. Those students, writes Stanley Kurtz in The Lost History of Western Civilization, not only succeeded "to dismantle Stanford's required course on the history and great works of Western Civilization ... but [they] helped set off a 'multiculturalist' movement that swept away Western Civilization courses at most American colleges and set the terms of our cultural battles for decades to come."

Western civ courses matter because they help the intelligent citizen and voter understand three topics: how things came to be; what works and what does not; and where one fits into the world. Their abandonment leaves tomorrow's leaders less capable.

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Explaining Israel's Timid Security Establishment

by Daniel Pipes  •  June 27, 2020  •  Israel Hayom

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We who argue for Israel Victory watched with dismay as Qatar's government threatens Israel with ending its financial donations to Gaza, insinuating that Hamas will resume its incendiary balloon attacks. Where, we wonder, are those extraordinary armed forces that defeated three states in six days, pulled off the Entebbe raid, and heisted Iran's nuclear archive?

Israel's security establishment, it turns out, has a Doppelgänger, an uncelebrated, defensive, reticent counterpart that emerged after the 1993 Oslo accords to deal with West Bank and Gaza Palestinians, the one that needed 50 days to end a minor military operation in 2014 and cannot stop burning balloons coming out of Gaza. The classic IDF seeks to win but the Palestinian one just wants calm.

What accounts for its timidity? Here are six factors:

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Jerusalem, Jordan, and the Jews

by Daniel Pipes  •  June 22, 2020  •  Israel Hayom

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The Palestinian Authority and Hamas famously deny any historic or religious connection of Jews to Jerusalem. To cite one example, Ikrima Sabri, the city's mufti, announced in 2001 that "There is not the smallest indication of the existence of a Jewish temple on this place in the past. In the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history." This bizarre fraud, Itamar Marcus has explained, is based on a simple switch: Take authentic Jewish history, "documented by thousands of years of continuous literature": cross out the word Jewish and replace it with Arab.

So much for the rejectionist Palestinians. What about the moderate and sober Jordanian government, Israel's long-time, discreet partner; what says it? Amman does not go so far as to deny any Jewish connection, but it too makes a hash of history.

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Deciphering Bidenese

by Daniel Pipes  •  June 15, 2020  •  Gatestone Institute

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There is a brand-new game: decipher the rhetoric of Joe Biden, former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee for president.

American politics has never had a top politician who (apparently suffering from dementia) makes such wandering, incoherent, garbled comments. The game he has inspired has two simple rules: (1) prune the gibberish and (2) add what is needed to make sense.

Here is an example on an important topic, taken from a long interview with New York Times editors on December 16, 2019. Speaking about Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Biden said:

He has to pay a price for whether or not we're going to continue to sell certain weapons to him. In fact, if he has the air defense system that they're flying F-15s through to see how they can try to figure out how to do it.

Come again? Sure, read a second and even a third time. I'll wait. A bit murky, no? But with the magic of the above two rules, it does make sense. I dropped the fluff and added the implicit bits (in square brackets), resulting in an intelligible new version:

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This Time, the Far-Left Surge Might Succeed
(As It Is Doing In Europe)

by Daniel Pipes  •  June 14, 2020  •  Washington Times

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Street riots, eminent liberals fired, the Democratic party veering sharply Left: these trace directly back to events of fifty years ago.

"The 1960s" (which in fact ran from 1965 to 1975) was a decade of massive change, a rebellion against the stability, growth, and (yes) smugness of the immediate post-World War II era, 1945-65. The 60s are now remembered primarily as a time of youthful rebellion, of sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. University hippies in Volkswagen microbuses decorated with peace signs represented the vanguard; mellow students followed. Woodstock represented the heights and Altamont Free Concert the depths. British poet Philip Larkin memorialized this spirit in a famous poem with its first line, "Sexual intercourse began/In nineteen sixty-three/(which was rather late for me)."

But it was not all fun, the leftists of yore adopted classic themes of Marxism-Leninism, focusing on imperialism and insisting that the Western wealth came from plundering the rest of the world. The imperialist system, with its perpetual drive for new markets on which to dump its industrial surplus, stood as humanity's central evil; the war in Vietnam supremely represented its rapaciousness.

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Khaled Abou El Fadl on Judeo-Christian Values
Academic Malfeasance

by Daniel Pipes  •  June 7, 2020  •  American Thinker

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Khaled Abou El Fadl, who revels in the title of Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor in Islamic Law at the UCLA School of Law, has a big theory. As explained in a talk on April 21, 2018, titled "What It Takes for Islamic Intellectuals Today" (at 37:34-42:05; transcript here), his breakthrough idea goes like this:

As the number of Muslims in the West grew in the late twentieth century, the Christian Right sought a way to counter this "dangerous" new population and devised the idea of promoting supposed Judeo-Christian values to which it connected all things modern – "from cars to planes to electricity to computers, everything." The beauty of this myth lay in helping the Christian Right create an alliance with its "natural allies" in what Abou El Fadl calls the Zionist Right.

And who were the key figures in this alliance? Why, none other than Robert Spencer of JihadWatch.org and myself.

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A Reluctant but Unhesitating Vote for Donald Trump

by Daniel Pipes  •  June 4, 2020  •  Newsweek

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If I don't say so myself, my #NeverTrump bona fides are pretty impressive.

I watched in dismay as I helped the Ted Cruz presidential campaign, seeing Republican primary voters select Donald Trump out of a field of 16 viable candidates and make him president-elect. I signed an open letter committing to "working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted" to the presidency and wrote many articles lambasting Trump. I left the Republican party on his nomination and voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson in the general election. After the election, I hoped for Trump's impeachment and President Mike Pence.

In 2016, two matters primarily worried me about Donald Trump: his character and his policies.

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De-platforming in Daily Life

by Daniel Pipes  •  June 1, 2020  •  Washington Times

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Complaining about censorship ahead of the 2020 elections, President Trump signed an executive order that encourages the Federal Trade Commission to probe whether Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social media are biased against conservatives.

Such an order raises questions about de-platforming – excluding those who have the wrong politics on grounds that they are haters – to a new and welcome level. But it is mistake to focus only on companies dealing with information and communications, as is the case now. Yes, the educational system, traditional media, social media, non-profit organizations, and advertisements are problematic. Of course, information has vast importance; but de-platforming has quietly and ominously crept much further and affects much of daily life.

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What Would Ben-Gurion Do?

by Daniel Pipes  •  May 28, 2020

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My Middle East Forum colleague Nave Dromi disagrees with the negative view I expressed of Israel's annexing some parts of the West Bank.

My six-part argument, as spelled out here, boils down to dismissing annexation as too-expensive symbolism. It brings no rewards but creates problems everywhere one looks. Therefore, I conclude, annexation obstructs her and my goal of an Israel Victory and Palestinian defeat.

Nave's six-part argument, as presented here, holds that annexation advances that same goal: It puts territorial pressure on Palestinians. It guarantees security to all. It gives Israel the initiative. It seizes the moment. It has President Trump's reliable backing. It enjoys wide support within Israel.

I accept most of these points, other than two: those about guaranteeing security (nothing on the ground changes) and about Trump (his volatile views cannot be predicted). But, for the sake of argument, I'll even grant the one about Trump.

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For a listing of original stories concerning non-Muslim women with Muslim men, starting in September 2019, please click here.

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