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Reader comment on item: When Arab Politicians' Shouts and Whispers Contradict

Submitted by David (United States), Dec 13, 2022 at 19:15

I commented that I would no longer comment here, a few days ago, in a comment that was, after all, not published. Probably due to the fact it was not entirely topical to this subject. Since I do continue following the author's Twitter activity, which seems to border on intentional provocation sometimes, I'm breaking my vow.

On the subject of the contradictions between what politicians say in public and what they say in private, indeed it's a long held observation that what is said in public, is more important. None other than Tom Friedman observed this, in one of his precious few moments of accurate insight, in his long NYT career.

Relating to this, I find the author's observation of his interactions with Avigdor Liberman, to be surprising in itself, if I may take note. Liberman's statement that he thinks Gaza can be "Singapore," does not personally surprise me. His position with regard to politics, is entirely situational, and now he is motivated primarily by hatred toward the future PM. Hence the shift, in recent years, from focusing his political attacks on Israeli Arabs, to focusing political attacks on the ultra-Orthodox instead.

It is surprising to hear the author implicitly endorse such views on the proper incentive structure to change the circumstances of the Gaza Strip, however, directly in contradiction to everything the author has repeatedly posted on that particular subject. Shall it be assumed that the author's opinion on this particular subject, has changed? For a long time, Dr. Pipes has noted, and I think correctly, that neither financial improvement nor dialogue, is the way to change the Gaza Strip or anywhere else, but rather that the basis of change, must be an insistence on recognition of Israel, i.e. "victory." This has borne out as a reality in the long decades that Israel has confronted with terrorism from the strip. Indeed the strip has been a source of difficulty more than Judea and Samaria, for many, many decades.

If I were Liberman I'd be rather embarrassed to repeat, word for word, a prediction for Gaza that was famously uttered by Shimon Peres some 30 years ago, and proved to be spectacularly wrong. At least Peres had other accomplishments to his credit, and might be forgiven for underestimating the tenacity of old hatred in the Mideast. Three decades of bitter lessons afterwards, it seems spectacularly idiotic on the part of Liberman, to repeat such a prediction. But getting back to the point about politicians, personal pique can be as much of a driving force for what they do and say, as any kind of common sense and ideology.

It is my hope that the author doesn't succumb to such a malady himself.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

I did not post your long excursus on my tweets because they were fundamentally ill-judged and I did not wish to spend the time explaining myself.

You've done the same about the Lieberman tweet, https://twitter.com/DanielPipes/status/1602721848705392641, though this time I will reply to you:

My quoting Lieberman in no sense implies agreement with him. In fact, I thoroughly disagree with him and was displeased to hear what he told me. He sounded half like Shimon Peres and half like Yasir Arafat.

So, how about stopping fancifully to interpret me? Just respond to what I write, not what I do not?

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