Joseph Loconte: The mayor of London debates Daniel Pipes





[Joseph Loconte is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the host of the weekly television/Internet program "Britain and America."]

The chill wind and cheerless skies didn't discourage thousands of Londoners from trudging to the Queen Elizabeth II conference center on Saturday, January 20, to hear a debate about "the clash of civilizations"--the challenge of militant Islam to the West. The overflow event, sponsored by the city of London, pitted American Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes against the leftist mayor, Ken Livingstone. At another level, it laid bare a massive divide between America and Europe: between those who view Islamic radicalism as an existential threat and those who see a protest movement that can be integrated into democratic societies.

Elected mayor in 2000, "Red Ken" Livingstone has become notorious for his role as London's chief America-basher, Iraq war critic, friend of shadowy Islamists, and apostle of multiculturalism. He played his role flawlessly.

The great problem, he argued, was not Islamic jihad, but its American counterpart. "I think there's a real danger," he warned, "that we could repeat the days at the end of the Second World War." What days does he have in mind? The beginning of American hegemony--Washington's secret plot to dominate the world, which everyone knows set off the Cold War.

Livingstone received rabid applause for the notion that the West, particularly the United States, has invited Muslim rage because of decades of miscreant foreign policy. Worse still, he huffed, America projects a pugnacious, Manichean view of culture and politics. Its militarism toward Islam threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Livingstone's immodest conclusion: "There is no honorable basis for the foreign policy of either the United States or Great Britain."

The mayor's lodestar is multiculturalism, the active accommodation of Islamist values by Western states. He personally flaunts this doctrine, choosing as his debating partner, for example, the Islamist activist Salma Yaqoob. The pairing symbolized the macabre alliance of the political left with militant Islam: Yaqoob, who campaigns on behalf of captured terrorists, belongs to the RESPECT party--founded by George Galloway, the MP expelled from the Labour party after he "incited foreign forces" to attack British troops in Iraq.

Livingstone defended multiculturalism as outreach to moderate Islam. London, he said, is proof that his vision is working: The city boasts more language groups than any in the world, yet remains an exemplar of social integration and civic peace. "I think," he announced, "that we're at the beginning of a global civilization emerging."

Daniel Pipes, whose irenic style could not hide the magnitude of his burden, took Livingstone to task. There is indeed, he said, a fundamental clash--between those who are civilized and those who could be called "ideological barbarians." These modern-day barbarians, Pipes said, are the Muslim radicals who follow in the footsteps of European fascists and Communists. Like them, they seek to dominate through terror; to usher in a utopian vision; and to silence or destroy any murmur of dissent. Multiculturalism is not the remedy for this disease, but rather an enabler. "[Livingstone] wants everyone to get along. I want to defeat a terrible enemy."

Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, was joined by London-based commentator Douglas Murray, author of Neoconservatism: Why We Need It. Both argued that, contrary to the portrait of London as an oasis of calm, it has become a nesting place for international terrorism. The 7/7/05 train bombings, the first suicide attacks committed by native Britons against their fellow citizens, only hint at the problem. Britain's toleration of militant preachers--who use mosques and Internet cafés to incite violence--has inspired a vast network of Islamic radicalism.

Government reports suggest that about 3,000 British-born or British-based individuals have passed through al Qaeda training camps, and that at least 16,000 British Muslims are now associated with possible terrorist activity--many based in London. Pipes reminded hecklers that terrorists have carried out, or attempted to carry out, deadly attacks in at least 15 countries. The real danger now, he warned, is that London is exporting its terrorism abroad. "London is posing a threat to the rest of the world," Pipes said. "[Al Qaeda] seeks a cosmic confrontation with the West."

That doesn't seem far off the mark. Last month, the city's Metropolitan Police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, said the terrorist threat level was "of an unparalleled nature"--and growing. Blair cited the desire, and capacity, of terrorists to commit mass atrocities against ordinary citizens. "In terms of civilians, you would have to go back to probably either the Second World War or Cold War for that."

Multicultural policies, Pipes argued, make the problem worse by deepening a sense of alienation. Polls show, for example, that about one in four British Muslims express sympathy for the "feelings and motives" of the 7/7 bombers. A handful of politicians, such as the Labour party's Trevor Phillips, chairman of Britain's Commission for Racial Equity, have, however, pushed back: Phillips made front-page headlines in 2004 when he declared that the U.K.'s entire multicultural project had failed--thanks to its rejection of British values--and should be scrapped. "Shall we kill it off?" he asked. "Yes, let's do that."

Plenty of Londoners agree with him. Judging by their applause and howls of approval, the audience at last week's debate--probably as diverse as any in the city--named Pipes and Murray the victors. Nevertheless, it's doubtful that their arguments are gaining ground among British politicians or voters. Despite Livingstone's rationalizations for Islamist violence and his cozy relations with terrorist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, he was reelected mayor in 2004--and many think he'll win again if he seeks another term.

In addition, last month the Foreign Office instructed cabinet ministers to drop the phrase "war on terror" because it might offend British Muslims. A Foreign Office spokesman defended the action this way: "We tend to emphasize upholding shared values as a means to counter terrorists." And just last week, the director of public prosecutions denied that Britain was in a "war on terror" and called for "legislative restraint" to address terrorist acts.

Just what the "ideological barbarians" were hoping for.




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omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"(along with getting the anti-Islam bias out of HNN itself)"
Whether that is attained or NOT it will NOT affect Islam one iota; though it is liable to misinform many Americans for some time.

In a way I would rather NOT deprive the HERD, being the resident representatives of AIPAC here, from this platform.

What we have here is the rare opportunity, born out of the post 9/11 hysteria that engulfed the USA, afforded the Zionist lobby to present their battle and interests as America's.

Its practical output was, primarily, the Iraq WAR that most Americans have come to realize that it did NOT, it does NOT, serve America's interests.

However it has had an other, benign, byproduct: it is slowly uncovering, unmasking, the intrinsic nature of the Zionist lobby in the USA as an Israel First, America Second, if at all, political force.

Few Americans will, ultimately, fail to see that and draw the inevitable conclusions there from.
Should President Bush yield to Israel/AIPAC pressure and attack Iran it will also be the final undoing of the Zionist lobby in the USA!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

One way or another it all ends up, or did it all start with, "terror"?
The concept and associated perceptions has been the main "selling point" in all anti Islam campaigns here at HNN and else where .

The word/perception/concept/policies has surfaced sooner than later as the main argument of the Islamophobic lobby!

Few have looked at the origin of the conflict, as few has investigated the real motives hiding behind the so called anti terror campaigners .

FEWER still have looked at the terror practiced by
BOTH sides on each other.

History aside for now , though colonization was attained through regular armies TERROR on the colonized, the presenr scene shows that much more, and hugely much more intensive and destructive, terror has been recentlty, is still presently, inflicted by the imperialist/Zionist West on the Arab and Moslem worlds as a matter of daily practice and avowed public policy; under other appelations of course.

The conquest and destruction of Afghanistan and Iraq in the last few years and the ongoing conquest and destruction of Arab Moslem/Christian Palestine that has been ongoing for the last six decades are ACTS of TERROR by excellence by any objective standard .

These terrorist acts of the imperialist/Zionist West are much more vile than anything ever practiced by Arabs and/or Moslems not only because of the incomparably greater number of victims and more intensive destruction inflicted on their victims BUT equally for being practiced by offical governments with the approval of their peoples representatives!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Clarke
You write:
".... with Iraq and the West Bank as examples of anyway ill-defined "terrorist acts of the imperialist/Zionist West." in which the qualification "ill defined" , coming from you, caught my attention.

I contend that unwarranted and unprovoked armed invasion and subsequent conquest and willful direct or indirect destruction achieved through and caused by superiority of destructive power and lethality of weapons are quintessentially "acts of Terror” of the worst kind.
I also contend that the domination and subjugation of a people enabled by the same superiority of destructive power and lethality of weapons is equally and as quintessentially an "act of terror"!

For except for the utter "terror" , the actual naked "terrorizing" of its victims , caused by the application of this destructive and lethal capability neither could have been achieved by the USA and Israel in Iraq and Palestine respectively.
That is as far as "definitions" go.

I also contend that the mere fact that these "terrorist" acts were, still are, practiced by established governments , with the approval and acclaim of their people's elected representative ,as with the USA and Israel, make them much more vile, subhuman and "barbarian" that those acts committed by the few of a fringe movement as with al Qaeda and fellow travelers.
That is in an attempt at establishing a hierarchy, a scale, of vileness baseness and evil!

Re Afghanistan; what the USA inspired and led NATO forces and UN supported, under US coercion and black mail, did was much more than liberate it from the wayward, primitively backward Taliban as, I believe, you know.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You are nitpicking, F.

I do continue to believe, based on having carefully read many articles by Pipes on HNN that Pipes has built a career based largely on clever demagoguery and fear and hatred of Moslems, and many other people from many walks of life have independently reached similar conclusions, but that was not and never has been my main point here. And I have no more time for your obsession with it.

My main point from the start, on this page, has been that the article is absurd because it amounts to one side of a debate analyzing and interpreting that debate. Please get this through your thick skull, now. I won't repeat it again.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

(along with getting the anti-Islam bias out of HNN itself)

"Corralling all Moslems into the same category" is the be-all and end-all of Mr. Friedman's many hundreds of HNN posts over the past 4 years. He will squeal like a spoiled child to hear this, but take a look in the archives of HNN articles concerning Islam, "War on Terror", or the Mideast over the past four years: the evidence is massive and undeniable. I have had enough of his immature motormouth, and of being his diapermaid. Waste your time chasing his tail in circles with him if you want to learn the hard way what I already learned the hard way.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The particular "herd" of which you write, Mr. Baker, has always tried to align its interests to America's. Until the end of the Cold War and the takeover of Israeli government in 2000 (due I in large part, I must say, to the insane terrorism condoned by Arafat, which was to the massive detriment of the Palestinians) by ruthless fearmongers and war criminals, it mostly WAS aligned. Like any successful special interest group in America, AIPAC et al (of which the "herd" constitute only a fringe) does not act only to America's benefit, it also gets America's government to act against the public interest by remaining too small for most Americans to give a hoot about.

The "undoing" you foretell seems extremely unlikely even IF the US attacks Iran (unlikely) and even if APAIC et al HAD been the main force behind the decision to attack Iraq (clearly NOT the case).


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Why does Daniel Pipes constantly get view uncritically highlighted on this website? The Weekly Standard is notorious for pandering to his brand of demagogic Islamophobia. It would nice to know what really happened in London from an objective source. But this not remotely close to such an outlet. HNN is profoundly and everlasting biased on the everything to with Pipes.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

One more time in proper English. Sorry folks.

Why does Daniel Pipes constantly get his views uncritically highlighted on this website? The Weekly Standard is notorious for pandering to his brand of demagogic Islamophobia. It would be nice to know what really happened in London from an objective source. But we are not remotely close to such an outlet here. HNN is profoundly and everlastingly biased on everything to do with Pipes.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

It is not my job to investigate your pet theories. If you have corroboration from distinctly separate sources (obviously not including Pipe's own website) indicating that this Weekly Standard Neocon Chickenhawk Manure account is valid and fair, be my guest: Stop puffing hot air, and show your cards.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

When it comes to the Mideast, Israel-Palestine and Islamic extremism, Pipes and the Weekly Standard are scarcely distinguishable. Anyone denying this is "Bozo" Numero Uno. And HNN is in clownsville for running such an absurd tautology.

Suppose the London debate had been about Palestinian-Israeli relations, and had taken place between a diehard Hamas official and a "dovish" Palestinian such as Yasser Abed Rabbo. Would you insist that the Hamas party newspaper was a reliable objective source of information on the debate? Would you lash out at any person or persons suggesting otherwise? And insist that THEY "investigate" and "prove" that Hamas's own propaganda outlets are not an objective source of information about the viability of the views of top Hamas officials?

I think even you are not that much of an "idiot." But you are acting like one by applying, in your blind rage, the same sort of illogic here.




Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I have read tons of Pipe's stuff. Right here, mostly. On this very website. He is one of the most frequent writers here. Most of his pieces are well written. Some of them are mildly informative. It all boils down to fear and hatred of Islam in the end, however. Really quite predictable and boring. ("Islamophobe" is tame compared to the imflammatory rhetoric that is Weekly Standard's lifeblood, incidentally.) I'd like to read about a debate involving Pipes, but not if it is written by one of his partisans. For that, I am better off just going to Pipes himself. I hope I am now speaking in words you are able to understand, for a change.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Baker,

It is quite incorrect to lump Afghanistan in with Iraq and the West Bank as examples of anyway ill-defined "terrorist acts of the imperialist/Zionist West."

The multilateral, UN-backed, and almost universally-supported liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban freed that country from one of the most uncivilized and brutal regimes ever inflicted on earthlings.
Even Saddam didn't blow up World Heritage sites and crow about it.

The NATO involvement in Afghanistan is a radically different situation from the unilateral and almost universally condemned actions of recent Israeli regimes in oppressing Palestinians, and from the internationally excoriated and unusually incompetent Bush Administration's nearly unilateral and predictably botched attempt at "nation-building" in Iraq.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. N. Friedman has taken offense some of my comments above and insisted upon "research and evidence" to back them up.

Okay, here below is more than enough "evidence" on Pepperdine professors Pipes and Loconte (the author and subject of the article in question here) and the anti-intellectual, anti-freedom, anti-American and scandal-mongering milieu from which their polemics spring.

I have not googled Pipes' opponent in the recent London debate, Ken Livingstone. Maybe Mr. Friedman would like to heed his own advice, for once, and do so himself. Or maybe after HNN has featured a hundred articles by Livingstone, and published a story about a debate he was involved with, written by a colleague of his (as it HAS done with Pipes), I might feel inclined to google Livingstone myself. Meanwhile, even if Livingstone turns out to be the Devil Incarnate, he has provided a public service to the extent if he has helped further expose the demagogical trickery of Pipes.

PKC




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Pipes

Daniel Pipes is an American historian, author, counter-terrorism analyst, and scholar of the Middle East…He contributes regularly to David Horowitz's online publication FrontPageMag.com…As of Jan 2 2007 Daniel Pipes was appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University

Pipes' Middle East Forum sparked controversy in September 2002 when it established a website called Campus Watch... The project was accused of "McCarthyesque intimidation" of professors who criticized Israel, when it published a "blacklist" of professors. In protest, more than 100 academics demanded to be listed as well. Campus Watch subsequently removed the list from their website…

In April 2003, President Bush nominated Pipes for the board of the federally sponsored U.S. Institute of Peace [USIP], on which Douglas Feith was already serving….Christopher Hitchens, who is also a prominent critic of Islamists, also expressed "bafflement" at this appointment in a critical essay entitled "Daniel Pipes is not a man of peace" in Slate. Hitchens claimed that Pipes "employs the fears and insecurities created by Islamic extremism to slander or misrepresent those who disagree with him" and that this contradicted the USIP's position as "a somewhat mild organization [...] devoted to the peaceful resolution of conflict." Hitchens concluded his opposition to Pipes' nomination by claiming that Pipes "confuses scholarship with propaganda" and pursues "petty vendettas with scant regard for objectivity."

…Pipes expressed his support of "the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II because...given what was known and not known at the time...the U.S. government made the correct and sensible decisions." (See also his article Japanese Internment: Why It Was a Good Idea--And the Lessons It Offers Today.)…

In 1987, Pipes encouraged the United States to provide Saddam Hussein with upgraded weapons and intelligence, ostensibly to counterbalance Iran's successes in the Iran-Iraq War



http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1465

The Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) is one of several policy institutes established by neoconservatives to promote the increased role of religion in public policy.



http://www.ttf.org/index/about/loconte/

Joseph Loconte is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center in Washington, DC where he is co-director of the Evangelicals and Civic Life program.

For the 2006–07 academic year, he is a distinguished visiting professor at Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy.

His articles have appeared in the nation's leading magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, The Weekly Standard, National Review, Reader's Digest, The American Enterprise…



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Weekly_Standard

The Weekly Standard is an American neoconservative magazine…It made its debut on September 17, 1995 and is owned by the public company News Corporation... Its current editors are founder William Kristol, chairman of the Project for the New American Century, and Fred Barnes.

The magazine loses more than a million dollars a year. Nevertheless, Rupert Murdoch, the head of the News Corporation, denies that there are any plans to sell it.[2]



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch

Keith Rupert Murdoch AC, KCSG, (born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 11 March 1931) is an Australian global media executive …

Murdoch has a particular genius for tabloid newspapers.

In 1995…Murdoch announced a deal with MCI Communications to develop a major news website, as well as funding a conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard.

In 1996, Fox established the Fox News Channel, a 24-hour cable news station.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) is a US political neo-conservative think tank, based in Washington, DC co-founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan. The group was established in early 1997 as a non-profit organization. The chairman is William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and a regular guest on the Fox News Channel.

PNAC was a major advocate for the United States' 2003 invasion of Iraq. The invasion formed a centerpiece of the group's neoconservative agenda. Complications with the invasion have contributed to PNAC's decline along with the decline of the larger neoconservative foreign policy movement. PNAC now only has one employee and is seen as nearly defunct.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Horowitz_(conservative_writer)

David Joel Horowitz is an American conservative writer and activist. A prominent supporter of Marxism and a member of the New Left in the 1960s, Horowitz later rejected Leftism… He is the editor of… FrontPageMag.com. He founded the activist group Students for Academic Freedom and is affiliated with Campus Watch, and frequently appears on the Fox News Channel as an analyst.



http://www.tysknews.com/Articles/radical_transformation.htm

A Radical Transformation

By Michael Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 28, 2001; Page C01

Former '60s Agitator David Horowitz Has Changed His Politics,
But Not His Tone

Horowitz had genuine leftist bona fides: He edited Ramparts, the quintessential '60s radical mag…One of its covers featured a burning Bank of America with this line: "The students who burned the Bank of America in Santa Barbara may have done more towards saving the environment than all the Teach-ins put together."
…"My personal odyssey has given me much less respect for intellectuals," he says. "I respect street smarts. I have the disposition to be a battering ram."

So the former Marxist bookworm picks up the rhetorical paving stone and flings it at the windows of the high Establishment.

Still revolutionary after all these years.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Starr

Kenneth Winston Starr (born July 21, 1946) is an American lawyer and former judge who was appointed to the Office of the Independent Counsel to investigate the death of the deputy White House counsel Vince Foster and the Whitewater land transactions by President Bill Clinton. He later submitted to Congress the Starr Report, which led to Clinton's impeachment on charges arising from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He currently serves as dean of Pepperdine University's School of Law in California… He originally accepted another Pepperdine post in 1996; however, he withdrew from the appointment in 1998, several months after the Lewinsky controversy erupted. Critics charged that there was a conflict of interest due to substantial donations to Pepperdine from billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, a Clinton critic who funded many media outlets attacking the president.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

It seems to me that if the term “Islamophobia” is valid at all, then it must apply to those whose careers have been built around the wholesale fixation, fear, and dislike of an entire family of religion.

But, in deference to the opinion of respected historian Walter Laqueur, I am going to try to drop the word. Despite its convenience in this case, it has certainly been heavily stretched in public discourse recently, and Laqueur has persuaded me that it would be best to avoid it where possible.



See:

http://blog.oup.com/oupblog/2006/10/the_use_of_the_.html


“The Origins of Fascism: Islamic Fascism, Islamophobia, Antisemitism

by Walter Laqueur

...If Islamic fascism is a dubious term so is, for different reasons, Islamophobia...In brief Islamic fascism, Islamophobia and antisemitism, each in its way, are imprecise terms we could well do without but it is doubtful whether they can be removed from our political lexicon.”


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Baker,

Mr. Friedman agrees with you that "Israel is aligned with the West" in Afghanistan and Iraq, but I dispute that. I see no evidence of significant Israeli involvement in either country, except for some associated underlying "ideological" fantasies of some former and current members of the Bush administration and some elements of the present ruling party in Israel which are doomed to fade, at least in the near to medium term, because of their colossal failure to work in recent practice. In any case, "terrorism", Friedman correctly suggests, is a tactic, not a strategy, and therefore does not apply as a fundemental causal explanation for any of these conflicts. I certainly think it inaccurate to describe most Moslems as terrorists.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

All the quotations which you fail to address, were taken directly from unbiased sources. I stand by them as such. I highly doubt that you -or any of your cleverer idols and admirerers here- will be able to seriously contradict the clearly discernable (to an unbiased mind) overall cohesion of demagogical opportunism, by any comparable counter-citation from UNBIASED sources.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

There you go again, Mr. Croker. Running around in irrelevant circles with Mr. Friedman across and far beyond the far right of the page.

And this time -wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles- he is actually RIGHT!

There were Jewish Nazis. So much for your "race" united by common traits or interests.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I have stated my position in the various posts above and provided support from various sources for it, and I stand by that position. I retract only the use of the unnecessarily provocative and over-used-and-abused phrase "Islamophobic." Further details on Mr. Pipe's notorious motives and views can be found nestled within his many past HNN articles, and the many devastatingly critical comments they almost invariably engendered.


N. Friedman - 2/21/2007

Carl,

Well, presumably the West has some legitimate concerns about Russia being part of NATO. So, it is not likely a one way street.


Carl Becker - 2/21/2007

or as vile, you're right. Living nearby, maybe I feel a stronger sense of danger. I see film footage, quite often of how life is changing in Russia today, footage that you never see in the US unless occasionally through some alternative news sites. There seems to be a larger gap now between the decent Russians and a brutal army culture and political apparatus that keeps control. The last time I visited Russia was in the good old balance of terror days with my parents. Now I read about a "cold peace" as a sort of prelude to a resurgence of the Cold War because of barriers the West has put up against Russia becoming part of NATO.


N. Friedman - 2/21/2007

Carl,

I know too many people, including people from my family, who come from the USSR to see quite the parallels you see. The USSR was a vile state that made the life of the bulk of its own people, and a great many from other states, very miserable. The US is not a vile state and it does attempt to address, as I noted, the needs of its citizens but far from perfectly. And, as a force in the world, the US may or may not prove to be good. That remains to be seen over the long term. What can be said, I think, that it has elements of both good and bad.

As for Russia reverting to the USSR or having some of its characteristics, that may be so. I was in Russia in 2004. At that time, it was a rather interesting place. It was certainly rather different, at least back then, than the USSR. But, that may well be changing, from what I have read. I am not sure.



N. Friedman - 2/21/2007

John,

I assume the worst of them but not of you.

I assume the worst of them because, as I noted, the protest was a world-wide event, not a local event. And, the world-wide event included nasty groups with nasty agendas. Such agendas appeared in the signs such as a number of people carried in London. Such, frankly, is what the March 2005 event appears to be about - whatever it may have seemed like in out of the way places like San Diego.

Note: I do not oppose protesting the Iraq war. I have tireless argued, from long before the war, that the war is a mistake. But, I would not soil myself by joining to protest with Jihadists and those who advocate genocide - whether they join me locally or in other cities in a world-wide event. That is a principle I believe to be worth honoring.


John Charles Crocker - 2/20/2007

Virtually everything on the site refers explicitly to protesting the Iraq war. No other issue is directly addressed. The site says occupation once and occupations twice once immediately followed by the war. You immediately assume the worst of every anti-war protest and protester. You are as much an unwitting (I assume) tool of the right wing noise machine in your blanket condemnation of anti-war protests and protesters as you accuse those protesters of being for the Islamists.

"Islamists were among the organizers overall, as I understand it...But, overall, they certainly did."
Once again I as you to substantiate this allegation.


N. Friedman - 2/20/2007

John,

The cite you post to refers to "occupations" - in plural. So, I kind of doubt that you have it correct.

Again, the events on March 19, 2005 were worldwide. It was a major, major event and not limited to San Diego. Islamists were among the organizers overall, as I understand it. Maybe they did or did not have anything to do with what occurred in San Diego. I shall look into it in more detail. But, overall, they certainly did.


John Charles Crocker - 2/20/2007

Sorry for the typo. It was on the 19th.
Here is a website with information on the sponsorship.
http://sandiego.indymedia.org/en/2005/03/107862.shtml

Who are these really nasty groups that you refer to sponsoring the protests? Please limit your responses to or at least segregate your responses for the US and Western Europe.

RE: the London protest
By a lot of signs I take it you mean six (4 -Liberate Palestine and 2- the wall must fall) out of nearly a hundred signs and banners. I note that neither of these slogans would be considered by many to be at all inflammatory or pro-Islamist. Would being in a rally alongside these signs indicate approval of or support for genocide in your view? Would you sooner die than be at a protest where those signs were present?


Carl Becker - 2/20/2007

About the USSR; it’s gone in name only, I believe. They still have enough nuclear weapons to annihilate everyone. Russia is also making a comeback – besides weapons, they’ve got oil, which is more leverage than the US has. Also, when the USSR was our main rival, there were few differences between us and them, politically. Both states were ideologically hamstrung, one had the communist party, we had capitalist and the “other” party, the Soviets were able to crush protest while the American politicians were/are able to ignore protest by publicly fighting over symbolic little tokens of social policy, the Soviets hid the books and the American cook(ed) the books.


N. Friedman - 2/20/2007

John,

I think you have your days mixed up. There was a protest on March 19, 2005 and it was worldwide - the second anniversary of the Iraq War. I have not found sufficient information about the San Diego version to know what signs were present. However, if the sponsorship was akin to the rest of the world, the entire spectrum of groups,including really nasty ones, were involved. And, if it was like, for example, what appeared in the UK, there were a lot of signs having nothing to do with Iraq but having a lot to do with the Arab Israeli conflict.

According to Wikipedia - which I do not site as primary source but this brief statement of the fact of the worldwide event seems accurate:

March 19, 2005

Protests to mark the second anniversary of start of the Iraq war were held across the world, in the U.S., UK, Canada, Central America, South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. (Some protests were also held on March 20). In Glasgow, Scotland about 1,000 people (BBC estimate) attended a rally were some of the names of people who had so-far died in the conflict were read out, along with a "name and shame" list of Scottish MPs who backed the war. Speakers included Maxine Gentle, whose soldier brother Gordon was killed in Iraq.[39] According to a survey (mainly of the reports of organizers), it has been claimed that, across the world, over one million people marched [40]. The protests had been called by the Anti-War Assembly of the 2005 World Social Forum an annual conference of the alternative globalization movement which took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil on 26 January–31, and were supported by coalitions from all over the world [41].


http://www.answers.com/topic/protests-against-the-iraq-war

Note this picture from that website:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/59/London_Anti-war_demo_2005.jpg

There were a lot of signs that concerned a dispute a bit to the south and west of Iraq!!!


N. Friedman - 2/20/2007

Carl,

I was not excluding any country including the US. Yes, the official ideology is angelic, as is the case in all countries.

I note, however, that people are free in the US and elsewhere in the West to point out the deficiencies in how people are treated and, in some instances, issues affecting how people are treated have been addressed and improved. In the case of the USSR, examination of the state's deficiencies was not only discouraged but it led mostly to jail time for those foolish enough to investigate and, in any event, the government would not address the issues as the government had different interests. Such, in no small measure, is why there is no more USSR.


N. Friedman - 2/20/2007

John

The groups I have considered all make clear at the outset that they are jihadist.


Carl Becker - 2/20/2007

N,

I thought the matter was ended(as if everyone always clearly defines what they mean). My last statement was intended only to be meant as another definition for racism in general.

The USSR which as you say “defined itself as the pinnacle of a just society, oppressive toward none” has a familiar sound to it that I also hear when someone talks about the United States, where there are also a lot of people living a “pretty difficult life” today. Our own belief that American society by some is that it is a just society is; this is the sanitized version of our system.


John Charles Crocker - 2/20/2007

The only specific date I can remember for a protest I attended was on the anniversary of the war in 2005 (Mar 18). This was in San Diego. The other protests were not on specific anniversaries as far as I can recall.

If a protest has no visible signs or rhetoric that support any message other than that against the war, what benefit does it give to the Islamists?

The settlers on disputed territories are an aggravating factor if nothing else. You should oppose any impediment to peace in the area.

If you have been studying what you consider to be harmful Muslim groups (some groups are indeed harmful but I doubt we would agree on all of your characterizations) you should have come across groups that are not harmful. Are you saying that every Muslim group you have looked into ended up being pro-genocide in your view? Have you never looked into the background of a Muslim group that you thought might be harmful and found out that it was not?


E. Simon - 2/20/2007

John,

You say:

"The attribute they (tanks and settlers) share is conservative American Christians pushing for provocative action in Israel to further their own agenda."

Really?

Perhaps you could explain to your average Israeli how wiping out terrorists in the West Bank is just part of of "conservative American Christians pushing for provocative action...to further their own agenda." Cause my guess is that when the frequency with which his kids' friends get blown up decreases drasticly as a result, he couldn't give a damn about "conservative American Christian pushing for provocative action...to further their own agenda." But perhaps you know something that he or I don't. Or perhaps, instead, your posts here are just furthering another agenda...


N. Friedman - 2/19/2007

John,

I cannot name Muslim groups, other than harmless Sufi groups in general, I support because I have not investigated harmless groups. Such does not interest me. What interests me are groups advocating for Jihad and genocide. So, I know about such groups, not about normal groups. OK?

Consider: if I was interested in studying organizations such as the KKK, I would not investigate groups that advocate peace between the races. OK?

I am not arguing that there are worse sins on the Muslim side. I am arguing that the Muslim side advocates genocide. That is not a comparative statement. It stands on its own. It is worthy of condemnation without regard to what anyone else advocates.

On the other hand, I am arguing that what the Israelis do on the captured lands is not causal in any primary sense. The same sort of objection was made by Palestinian Arabs before and after Israelis began the settlement program. So, I take the main issue to be something else, namely, Israel's existence.

And, I am arguing that the few Israelis who break Israeli law are a drop in the bucket. They have only the most minuscule impact on the dispute.

I do not, however, deny that Israelis who legally, under Israeli law, settle on the captured land have an impact of aggravating the situation. I think that is a fact.

But, as previously noted, what the legal settlers do is not the principle issue from the Arab side's point of view. Just ask our buddy Omar. The Arab position is that Israel is illegitimate, as my evidence and that of Professor Eckstein shows.

Find me the dates of the specific marches you attended. I shall look into who sponsored them. I shall find out, if I can, what signs appeared at such marches. Then, we can talk about that matter further.


N. Friedman - 2/19/2007

John,

That is not my point and you know it. My point is that your interpretation differs markedly from the interpretation given to the events by the Arab side. Their interpretation is that Israel is illegitimate on any land. Your position is that Israel should not settle people on land captured in 1967.

So, we have you advancing a position that is not the position of those you would help.

Do you see my point? Thus far, it appears either you do not see it or you consciously avoid even addressing the possibility that my understanding of what Palestinian Arabs seek could be correct.

Yet, there is overwhelming evidence that Palestinian Arabs en masse reject all of Israel as illegitimate. There is overwhelming evidence that Palestinian Arabs seek only an interim arrangement, as the evidence presented even by you seems to show - and see Professor Eckstein's comments about your data. He is correct, objectively speaking. You are just ignoring evidence that does not fit with what you would expect Palestinian Arabs to favor.

Again: I do not favor settling on land that Israel would cede. But, I recognize that it is not central to the dispute. The same objection to Israel would come from Palestinian Arabs. The same objection did come from Palestinian Arabs prior to any Israeli settling in the captured territories. My interpretation can explain that fact. Your interpretation simply cannot, since your explanation assumes, by definition, that problems began after, in fact, they began.

OK?


John Charles Crocker - 2/19/2007

Of course I forgot that no transgression by any Israeli matters as long as there are Muslims who commit worse crimes.


John Charles Crocker - 2/19/2007

I do not accept that most anti-Iraq war protests are sponsored by Islamists and I dare say you cannot show this to be the case. You certainly have not done so to this point.

"Again: the signs are symptom."
and if the protest is asymptomatic?
If the message delivered is only against this specific war it still doesn't matter to you because it is still all part of the Islamist strategy.

There were no signs or rhetoric of the type you mentioned at any of the protests I attended and you have no knowledge of the organizers, yet you condemn me as part of the Islamist strategy. At this point it seems that it doesn't really matter to you who sponsors any specific protest against the Iraq war as you think that all anti-Iraq war protests are part of the Islamist strategy.

No doubt we should not criticize the current US Middle East policy (or any other American or Israeli policy) because after all there are Muslims out there who are doing worse things and as long as that is going on it is not appropriate to criticize anything else.

Why can you not name any specific Muslim group that you do not find objectionable? Are there no specific Muslim groups that you do not find objectionable?

To restate this to avoid your earlier avoidance, are there any Muslim groups that you think do not support violent jihad?


N. Friedman - 2/19/2007

John,

Again: the signs are symptom.

You ask me to name groups among Muslims whom I support. I said my piece on that, and have said it repeatedly. Those who do not advocate violent Jihad are fine by me. Those who wish to make peace with Christians, Hindus, Jews, Israel, etc. - not to overcome them - are fine by me. I have no names other than what I have said.

I have nothing against Muslims attending marches. You are intentionally misstating my position. I have something against people sponsoring "peace" marches while supporting genocide.

And, as I said, most of the marches are supported by a coalition of Islamist groups that support genocide. So, you are part of their strategy. If that is fine by you, I cannot do anything about it. But, do not expect me to suggest that it is anything other than vile - which is the kind word for it.


N. Friedman - 2/19/2007

John,

The role of those who break Israeli law is minimal.

You confuse a small group with those who follow the law.

As for settlements having an impact - which I think you have conflated with the points you actually make -, I do not deny that such increases tensions.

However, I also recognize that the terror groups, with wide support so far as is known, among Arabs including Palestinian Arabs, were well established before Israel settled a single person on the lands captured in 1967. In fact, the PLO was formed in 1964!!!

So, the issue, as I understand it, is to understand what Palestinian Arabs want. You, rather than go with the evidence in its entirety, ignore the evidence which makes it fairly likely that most Palestinian Arabs seek Israel's destruction with the captured territories being part of the strategy, not the end goal.



John Charles Crocker - 2/19/2007

"In marches in which there is interest beyond Iraq, there will be signs for issues other than Iraq."
Given this, it is reasonable to infer that the prevalence of signs is a good indicator of the prevalence of the views intended to be expressed by the protest.

As I have said many times now, I have seen no signs of the type you describe and heard no rhetoric of the type you describe at any of the several protests I have attended in the US and Europe. What does that indicate to you about the message of the protests I attended?

The fact that this rhetoric and signage is not evident at all in a great majority of the protests I have seen coverage of indicate about the message of these protests?

What does the fact that signs and rhetoric such as those you describe makes a very small minority of the signs and rhetoric at the anti-war rallies as a whole indicate about the message of the rallies as a whole?

Can any Muslim group participate in an anti-Iraq war protest without it and the protest being condemned by you as pro-Islamist?

I restate my earlier question are their any specific Muslim groups that you do approve of?

How about approval of any Muslim group that is not Sufi?


N. Friedman - 2/19/2007

John,

I have made my views clear about the Arab war to destroy Israel. That includes Palestinian Arabs who participate in that war.

I would have no issue with Palestinian Arabs who may want make peace by setting up an independent state along side Israel, with that as the final objective. But, if you support the actually existing "Palestinian" Arab cause - which is a war of liberation to destroy Israel - I oppose that cause without reservation.

At present, the only Palestinian Arab cause that functions is one that aims at Israel's destruction. And, note: the version of that cause which officially governs the Palestinian areas in Israel openly advocates genocide.

Again, I have nothing against independence for Palestinian Arabs in an independent state in the manner above noted (and I would support such a movement were it to ever exist) or the merger of the Palestinian areas into or in confederation with Jordan (and I would support such a movement were were such a movement to ever emerge).

I do, however, have no use at all for the existing Palestinian Arab cause. That cause is not for independence from Israel. That cause aims at Israel's destruction. And, the dominant movement at present among Palestinian Arabs takes the matter even further. That movement advocates genocide.

Is that clear enough, John? So, where do you stand on this? And, do you stand with those who advocate genocide?


N. Friedman - 2/19/2007

John,

I have noted on multiple occasions about the sponsors. Read back.

In marches in which there is interest beyond Iraq, there will be signs for issues other than Iraq.

I do not know who sponsored the march you attended. However, if it was any of the big ones, it most likely involved Islamist groups. And, if the back of the signs about Iraq concerned an issue other than Iraq, such is also probably the case.

I told you my concerns about Islamist groups. So any Islamist group is an issue for me. If, however, the group were Sufi, that is a different matter.


John Charles Crocker - 2/19/2007

Is any message supporting Palestinian people anti-Semitic and pro-Islamist in your view?


John Charles Crocker - 2/19/2007

Yes, why would increasing tensions and conflict in the occupied territories be important?
The settlements aren't really a point of contention are they?
I forgot that nothing an Israeli or a Christian does could possibly make the situation worse or peace less likely.


John Charles Crocker - 2/19/2007

1) That is not the only time I have presented an argument based in referenced facts.

2) The article supported the argument I had been making to that point, namely that Khamenei was quite possibly open to negotiations counter to your earlier assertions. When you acknowledged this I felt no need to continue.


John Charles Crocker - 2/19/2007

1) I clearly read what you wrote and the signs and slogans were central to your argument that the message sent by the protests was one of support for Islamists. Let's not move the bar.


2) If there is no visible sign of the protest being for anything other than opposition to the war how does it deliver a message other than opposition to the war? or is that message inherently pro-Islamist in your view?

3) You have no knowledge of who sponsored the protests that I attended. You assume that they were sponsored by pro-Islamist groups just as you assume that most rather than few protests are sponsored or co-sponsored by such groups.

4) Is there any Muslim group that you do not think is pro-Islamist or is every Muslim group tainted in your view?


N. Friedman - 2/19/2007

John,

I would enjoy reading you making a factual presentation. The one time you have done that, we found agreement, namely, that the facts about the Iranian "offer" to the US, as recently revealed by the Washington Post, need to be considered. You dropped that topic as soon as I responded, rather than explained what you thought that article meant.


N. Friedman - 2/18/2007

CORRECTION:

Strike the sentence that reads: "That, in fact, is pretty much what you are doing - only Islamist groups are far more open in their calls advocate genocide."

Substitute:

That, in fact, is pretty much what you are doing - only Islamist groups are far more open in their advocacy of genocide.


N. Friedman - 2/18/2007

Carl,

The issue is to define what you mean. In that no system is kind to everyone and most systems define themselves as tolerant, even toward those whom they oppress, the issue is to understand what you have in mind.

Consider a case I have at least some familiarity with, the USSR. It defined itself as the pinnacle of a just society, oppressive toward none. No doubt committed Soviets believed that to be the case. But, the average person in the USSR lived a pretty difficult life and for those - and this is a large number of people - who had a remotely different agenda than that demanded by that system, it was terribly oppressive. So, how do we understand the matter? By what measure?



N. Friedman - 2/18/2007

John,

I do not think you are reading what I wrote. Let me get to the point: The issue is the sponsorship of the marches, more than who attends. The nasty signs are more a symptom than central to what is wrong with the marches.

Let us consider the matter with a more European touch to it. Would you attend a "peace" rally sponsored by a neo-Nazi group? That, in fact, is pretty much what you are doing - only Islamist groups are far more open in their calls advocate genocide. Again, the sponsors of the main marches have included such Islamist groups. Does my comment now make the matter clear enough for you?

Regarding acceptable Islamic groups, any Muslim group that opposes violent Jihad on principle has my blessing, at least to that extent. Any Muslim group that wants to bury the hatchet regarding Christians, Hindus, Jews and Israel has my support, at least to that extent. Any group, however, that advocates mass murder - AS THOSE YOU ASSOCIATE WITH WHEN YOU ATTEND A MARCH THEY SPONSOR - has my condemnation. It ought have yours as well.

A question for you. Are Islamist groups that espouse genocide ok with you? Is it really ok to attend a rally they sponsor?

As for the civil rights movement in the US, Dr. King was not the entire movement. That is certainly true. But, his movement was led in a moral manner and opposed violence.



The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community. The aftermath of nonviolence is redemption. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation. The aftermath of violence however, are emptiness and bitterness. This is the thing I’m concerned about. Let us fight passionately and unrelentingly for the goals of justice and peace, but let’s be sure that our hands are clean in this struggle. Let us never fight with falsehood and violence and hate and malice, but always fight with love, so that, when the day comes that the walls of segregation have completely crumbled in Montgomery. that we will be able to live with people as their brothers and sisters.

The Birth of a New Nation Sermon, delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, April 7, 1957. (Emphasis added).

And, again:

I cannot close without stressing the urgent need for strong, courageous and intelligent leadership from the Negro community. We need a leadership that is calm and yet positive. This is no day for the rabble-rouser, whether he be Negro or white. (All right) We must realize that we are grappling with the most weighty social problem of this nation, and in grappling with such a complex problem there is no place for misguided emotionalism. (All right, That’s right) We must work passionately and unrelentingly for the goal of freedom, but we must be sure that our hands are clean in the struggle. We must never struggle with falsehood, hate, or malice. We must never become bitter. I know how we feel sometime. There is the danger that those of us who have been forced so long to stand amid the tragic midnight of oppression—those of us who have been trampled over, those of us who have been kicked about—there is the danger that we will become bitter. But if we will become bitter and indulge in hate campaigns, the new order which is emerging will be nothing but a duplication of the old order. (Yeah, That's all right)

Give Us the Ballot Address at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington, D.C., May 17, 1957.

I know no truer words that express must disgust with the "peace" rallies that are led by advocates of genocide. And that is true whether you saw hate signs or not. And, frankly, the "liberate Palestine" signs are hate signs. They have nothing to do with Iraq. They have nothing to do other than with the Islamist agenda, an agenda which is openly genocidal.


John Charles Crocker - 2/18/2007

It appears that no ones opinion will be changed here. We can go round and round some more on this, but it is not likely to go anywhere.

I would be interested to see you and Art comment on some threads that do not deal with the Middle East. We might even agree.


John Charles Crocker - 2/18/2007

The anti-war protests were not against either all war or against US war, they were against the war in Iraq. I was not there to protest the existence of war, though I wish there were none. Most people that I encountered at these protests were opposed to the war in Iraq, but not the war in Afghanistan. Certainly the position of most of those in IVAW is against this specific war. I doubt you would claim that they are promoting an Islamist agenda. Would you?

You continue to denounce all protests against the Iraq war because at some few of those protests some few people have said things or held signs that said things you think indicate support for Islamists (Gas the Jews certainly horrific, Liberate Palestine not so much).

As I have told you several times now I have seen no signs or heard any rhetoric of the nature you describe at any of the several anti-war protests I have attended in the US and Europe, nor have I seen it in the coverage of the vast majority of the anti-war protests, yet you continue to characterize ALL protests based on evidence from a minority of participants at a minority of protests.

Dr. King was an important part of the civil rights movement but he was not the entire movement. Your position would be akin to denouncing all civil rights marches including those organized by Dr. King because of coverage you had seen of Black Panther rallies.

Just curious, are there any Muslim groups that you approve of?


Carl Becker - 2/18/2007

I should have said what I meant; I don't believe in a system of oppression toward any human being.


N. Friedman - 2/18/2007

John,

You write: but they and their supporters now that the outcome of their actions will be increased tensions and conflict.

Why is that important? The Arab Israeli conflict is not about a group of people who defy Israeli law. And, such people who break Israeli law are marginal, at best. So, you are making a mountain out of molehill. I cannot imagine what you are thinking.


N. Friedman - 2/18/2007

John,

You write: My criticism has been limited to one group of Christians and one particular group of people in Israel. Do you support the actions of the illegal settlers? Do you support Americans financing this illegal activity? Do you think the activities of the settlers improves the chances of peace? The Israeli government does not.

I have no brief for those you appear to have in mind. I do not have any interest in people settling anywhere on Earth as a religious project of any faith. So, I do not support people breaking Israeli law to advance such a religious project. However, I think that this is, morally speaking, a minor sin among the issues involved. As I said, it amounts to a blind man touching one spot of an elephant and thinking he knows all about elephants or even that elephant.

You write: Leaders of the movement approved of the assassination of Rabin as God's just punishment for the Oslo accords. (You would make a huge deal about a Muslim saying something similar. I guess it's OK if it's a Christian though). Falwell said that Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for ceding land. When Bush called for a withdrawal of tanks from Palestinian towns Falwell personally called him and organized emails from 100,000 evangelicals to oppose his position. Israel stayed, Bush said nothing further. These people use their political power to push for the most provocative actions by Israel, not because they think that this will bring peace, but because they think it will mean they are called to heaven sooner.

Well, a nut killed Rabin. That is true. And some religious nuts thought such was just punishment. That is also true. And, were a Palestinian Arab to have done that, I would say it is a problem, just like you say. But, I thought the same thing when assassin turned out to be a nut of Jewish background.

That, however, has nothing to do with Sharon and ceding land in Gaza. The settlement movement now is not the same as it was in Rabin's time. Such people have well seen at this point that the mass of Israel's Jews, not to mention world Jewry, is not with them or their program. As a result, such people weighed the situation and decided that their future was with the majority, not alone in confrontation with the rest of Israel. So, I think your point is nonsense that confuses events of more than a decade ago with the present.

Sharon advanced his program and no one did anything much to stop him. That is a fact. Talk is cheap. The Christian Zionists did nothing to stop it either. That is also a fact.

As for the view that such Christian Zionists want to hurry along Armageddon, I tend to doubt that such is something that can be done by human beings. So, that such people may want that is - if you are correct, and I think you are not - interesting. It is not, however, a very important point since, in my view - and I bet yours -, there is no such event as the Armageddon. So, their position makes Armageddon no more or less likely to occur.

You write: You seem to reflexively oppose anything European and reflexively defend anything associated with Israel.

At the cost of having Peter scream otherwise, I do not reflexively support or oppose anything, anywhere. However, I do advocate the position I believe to be supported by the mass of the evidence.

As I have stated repeatedly: I think European countries - including even, to some extent, Britain - see their interests aligned with Arabs. I think that perceive such to be a counterweight to American power. I think European countries, when push comes to shove, always side with the Arab position on the Arab Israeli conflict. I think that attitudes in Europe have been deeply influenced by this thinking. I also think that Professor Eckstein's point that much of the hostility to Israel - in Europe among left wing elites - is part of an agenda that treats Israel as an important component in their campaign to limit American power. That agenda includes tolerating and, to some extent, fomenting Antisemitism.

So, I think that something is rotten in Denmark, as the saying goes. It is an anti-liberal, Antisemitic agenda that has the upper hand in Europe, as I see and, evidently, as Professor Eckstein sees it.





N. Friedman - 2/18/2007

Peter,

I agree that this is outside of the topic of the page.

I also agree with your assessment of John's position.


N. Friedman - 2/18/2007

John,

You write: "So you think that the actions of the illegal settlers are either moral or morally neutral? you also think the financing of illegal activity is moral or morally neutral?"

No. I think it is a relatively trivial sin and, to the extent immoral, it is small potatoes - by world or even US standards.

It certainly does not compare to working toward the mass murder of a large group of people, whether those who hold signs to that effect are merely bit players in that cause. Those who sent them are not.

And the organizers of the rallies who allowed the themes of the rallies to include more than opposition to the Iraq war made that part of the message they intended. As Dr. Eckstein noted, in at least one rally, a Jewish rabbi against the war was forbidden from speaking for fear of upsetting the Islamist co-sponsors - who wanted the message to be about more than Iraq.

That tells you exactly what the priorities and, hence, the intentions of the organizers of such rallies were. They were not against war, just the US war.

And, so far as I know, since the same groups still organize many of these rallies, they still are not against war, only the US war and, moreover, they favor the Arab war to destroy Israel and, in some cases, the genocide agenda of the HAMAS government - the world's first, as Professor Eckstein notes, government to advocate genocide openly.

You write: "No, I speak about attending an anti-war rally in the same breath as a dispute over land. You have equated not pulling a sign out of someones hand with advocating murder."

It is what is on the signs. It is part of a campaign by a group advocating genocide.

You write: "Which papers? I have not seen them in regular news papers American or European. I have seen a few on web sites devoted to combating anti-Semitism and there only a few."

I recall seeing them in the New York Times and on the TV news. I could be mistaken. But, also on various websites. Similar signs were in the article, moreover, that I posted from Zeek.

Whether or not Western papers choose to cover the story, this is not a marginal issue. It goes to the very center of what the organizers of many such rallies advocate.

And, the message that the marches send to the Arab Muslim regions is the Islamist message - not your message. So, you are advancing their message, whether or not you intend such to be the case. So, this is not a marginal matter, as you believe.

You write: Here you have just implied that every anti-war protest is supported by advocates of mass murder. This is not only entirely untrue, but offensive. As I said this type of material has not been at any of the several protests I have attended.

Somehow in your mind my attendance at protests that did not involve any anti-Semitic rhetoric or signs, that offered no support for Islamists, apart from calling for an end to the war (if you believe that is support for Islamists) is somehow advocating mass murder. How can you justify this baseless allegation? Is supporting any position held by Islamists tacit support of their entire agenda?

The message delivered by the anti-war protests is a message against the war. When people try to make the message of the hundreds of thousands who march in protest to the war that of the Islamists, as you have done here, that is magnifying a message that would otherwise go unheard.


If the message of the Anti-War rallies were really against war, then signs such as "Liberate Palestine" and "Gas the Jews" and the like would not be part of the rally - in which case Islamist groups would probably not participate in organizing the rallies. Why? Because Islamists are not against war, just against the US war. And, in fact, Islamist groups are part of the organization. And, they intend that their genocidal message be seen.

Again: read the article I posted from Zeek. These rallies are the work of a coalition of forces that have different agendas. You only heard the agenda that interested you. But, all of the agendas are part and parcel of the rallies. All are intended to be such.

So, the rallies are not really against war - and your view is incorrect. You merely chose only to listen to one of the messages at these rallies - at least the one in which Islamists were among the organizers.

The point here is that your agenda was against war. The Islamist agenda was for Islamist pet causes, which include war but is against the US war. And that was part of the message sent by the rallies, which have a wider audience than just to Westerners.

You write: To use your civil rights movement analogy, you would have condemned the entire civil rights movement because of the Black Panthers. You would have refused to be a part of any march because the Black Panthers have marches too.

The analogy at the end is useful. Dr. King took up that issue and told such people not to show up at his rallies. He worked tirelessly on this point.

I agree with Dr. King. I would not join a "peace" march organized by people who favor war and hate and want to massacre Jews. I would not dishonor myself as I believe you have dishonored yourself. That is certainly correct.


John Charles Crocker - 2/18/2007

The issue of the tanks is separate from the issue of the settlers. The attribute they share is conservative American Christians pushing for provocative action in Israel to further their own agenda.

The majority of the settlers, from interviews I've heard, don't settle in the disputed territories for the express purpose of precipitating conflict, but they and their supporters now that the outcome of their actions will be increased tensions and conflict.

I remember hearing a settler say to an interviewer something to the effect of our fence is the range of an M-16.


E. Simon - 2/18/2007

John, did settlers move onto areas from which those tanks weren't immediately withdrawn? Do the settlers themselves feel their actions or presence will only help precipitate conflict? You're conflating your arguments.


N. Friedman - 2/18/2007

John,

Jews do not share common attributes or traits in the sense meant.


John Charles Crocker - 2/18/2007

Again from Webster.

class: a group, set, or kind sharing common attributes

kind: a group united by common traits or interests


John Charles Crocker - 2/18/2007

"Rather, such activity, if you had it all completely correct, would amount to such people being accomplices to what you perceive as a crime but which is a big nothing - morally speaking, that is."
So you think that the actions of the illegal settlers are either moral or morally neutral? you also think the financing of illegal activity is moral or morally neutral?

Again I have focussed in this instance on what one particular and rather small group of Israelis do and what their rather nutty Christian supporters do and why.

"My point is that your notions of morality - which speaks about mass murder in the same breadth as an ordinary dispute over land - is sickening."
No, I speak about attending an anti-war rally in the same breath as a dispute over land. You have equated not pulling a sign out of someones hand with advocating murder.

"No. I have seen the signs in the papers."
Which papers? I have not seen them in regular news papers American or European. I have seen a few on web sites devoted to combating anti-Semitism and there only a few.

"I do not attend rallies supported by advocates of mass murder. I would die first. I mean it."
Here you have just implied that every anti-war protest is supported by advocates of mass murder. This is not only entirely untrue, but offensive. As I said this type of material has not been at any of the several protests I have attended.

Somehow in your mind my attendance at protests that did not involve any anti-Semitic rhetoric or signs, that offered no support for Islamists, apart from calling for an end to the war (if you believe that is support for Islamists) is somehow advocating mass murder. How can you justify this baseless allegation? Is supporting any position held by Islamists tacit support of their entire agenda?

The message delivered by the anti-war protests is a message against the war. When people try to make the message of the hundreds of thousands who march in protest to the war that of the Islamists, as you have done here, that is magnifying a message that would otherwise go unheard.

To use your civil rights movement analogy, you would have condemned the entire civil rights movement because of the Black Panthers. You would have refused to be a part of any march because the Black Panthers have marches too.


John Charles Crocker - 2/18/2007

My criticism has been limited to one group of Christians and one particular group of people in Israel. Do you support the actions of the illegal settlers? Do you support Americans financing this illegal activity? Do you think the activities of the settlers improves the chances of peace? The Israeli government does not.

"That sounds good except... The Israelis ceded land and nobody said booh."
Leaders of the movement approved of the assassination of Rabin as God's just punishment for the Oslo accords. (You would make a huge deal about a Muslim saying something similar. I guess it's OK if it's a Christian though). Falwell said that Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for ceding land. When Bush called for a withdrawal of tanks from Palestinian towns Falwell personally called him and organized emails from 100,000 evangelicals to oppose his position. Israel stayed, Bush said nothing further. These people use their political power to push for the most provocative actions by Israel, not because they think that this will bring peace, but because they think it will mean they are called to heaven sooner.

I lived in the US far longer than I have lived in Europe. I continue to read American and listen to American news. I am streaming NPR as I write.

You seem to reflexively oppose anything European and reflexively defend anything associated with Israel.

As for opinions of people in Israel these have been documented in American papers and television. There was a CBS special on this topic four or five years ago. I remember watching it before I moved.


N. Friedman - 2/18/2007

John,

I did read the second definition. I even quoted from it. Jews are not a "class" of people or a "kind" of people. The definition does not pertain.


N. Friedman - 2/18/2007

John,

You write: Even if we say that they are only advocating and financing the theft of land (though I have read statements of theirs that would indicate otherwise), they are actively encouraging and financing this illegal activity.

None of this, even if what you write were entirely true - and it is not quite as correct as your comment suggests - turns Christians Zionists into Jew haters. It is completely irrelevant to that point. Rather, such activity, if you had it all completely correct, would amount to such people being accomplices to what you perceive as a crime but which is a big nothing - morally speaking, that is.

Again: the parties are in a war. They are playing for keeps. You focus on what Israelis do as if it were in a vacuum. Consider, however, this is a real war, not a one sided battle and the greater probability is that the Palestinian Arab side will win, as the numbers are on their side and, hence, the ability to play for the long term.

If the PArab side wins, the Jewish side would either be killed off en masse - as the HAMAS openly advocates - or the Jewish side would become refugees. In that reality, you are making much ado about nothing. Yours is the morality of the blind, who touch part of the elephant and make conclusions about the whole elephant.

People are not saints. That includes Israelis. Israelis owe no more to humanity than do other people. Our entire country - the US, that is - is built on other people's land. So is every country in North and South America. Palestinian Arabs are Arabs and, like many others, they came originally as conquerors. Arabs are, in reality, from Arabia. So, their claim to the land is by war - and such is celebrated in Arab history, as a great conquest.

My point is that your notions of morality - which speaks about mass murder in the same breadth as an ordinary dispute over land - is sickening.

You write: "I still don't see how you could find my hypothetical action of not actively opposing the holding of an offensive sign morally inferior to actively supporting and financing an illegal activity."

The people hold such signs to gather support for their political agenda, which is, in fact, mass murder. They support the HAMAS, a political party, the first in all of history, that openly advocates genocide. As Professor Eckstein notes, not even the Nazis advocated genocide publicly.

You write: "I have attended several anti-war protests in SoCal and Europe and have never seen or heard any of the pro-Islamist or anti-Semitic rhetoric or sign that you and Art both think are so common at these events. I'm sure it does exist at some protests, but from all I have seen it is the actions of a small minority. Have you actually attended any of these events or are you relying entirely on the accounts of others? If you have attended did you hear any of this rhetoric or see any of these signs?"

No. I have seen the signs in the papers. I do not attend rallies supported by advocates of mass murder. I would die first. I mean it.





N. Friedman - 2/18/2007

John,

You write: "The hard line settlers want all of the land that was once Israel to be Israel without Palestinians. How do you think this could happen short of war?"

Lest you noticed, Israel already has the land in question. War would be needed to take the land from Israel.

You write: "The belief that Israel needs to be made whole in preparation for the end of days (not for the benefit of Israel), is why it was called a sin to cede land. "

That sounds good except... The Israelis ceded land and nobody said booh. So, what you believe and the reality are different. Or, in simple terms, you are mistaken.

You write: I can't find it right now in the sea of Falwell quotes, but he has made it clear that his support for Israel is for purposes of helping to bring Armageddon.

There are quite a few people in Israel who are quite uneasy about the support they are receiving from the Armageddon seeking evangelicals.


The Christian Zionists hold a view that does not involve altering what they believe God has decreed. They are not trying to help things along. Note: they did nothing to stop Israel from ceding land.

I think you are living in dreamland, reading the nutty European papers that print smut about Israel.


John Charles Crocker - 2/18/2007

Even if we say that they are only advocating and financing the theft of land (though I have read statements of theirs that would indicate otherwise), they are actively encouraging and financing this illegal activity.

I still don't see how you could find my hypothetical action of not actively opposing the holding of an offensive sign morally inferior to actively supporting and financing an illegal activity.

I have attended several anti-war protests in SoCal and Europe and have never seen or heard any of the pro-Islamist or anti-Semitic rhetoric or sign that you and Art both think are so common at these events. I'm sure it does exist at some protests, but from all I have seen it is the actions of a small minority. Have you actually attended any of these events or are you relying entirely on the accounts of others? If you have attended did you hear any of this rhetoric or see any of these signs?


John Charles Crocker - 2/18/2007

The hard line settlers want all of the land that was once Israel to be Israel without Palestinians. How do you think this could happen short of war?

The belief that Israel needs to be made whole in preparation for the end of days (not for the benefit of Israel), is why it was called a sin to cede land.

I can't find it right now in the sea of Falwell quotes, but he has made it clear that his support for Israel is for purposes of helping to bring Armageddon.

There are quite a few people in Israel who are quite uneasy about the support they are receiving from the Armageddon seeking evangelicals.


John Charles Crocker - 2/17/2007

def'n 2b
b : a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics


N. Friedman - 2/17/2007

John,

I do not think any grouping of Israelis want any wars. I think there are different views about how to settle the dispute. I do not think the Christian groups seek any war either. I think they think Israel should not cede land. In the current circumstances, I can imagine that argument if not their reasoning for it.

Why give up land to people who will use it to make war?


N. Friedman - 2/17/2007

John,

Read the definition more carefully. Jews are not all of the same "stock" and are not of the same "class" or "kind."

I think Becker misspoke in general and I am sorry the entire topic came up.


N. Friedman - 2/17/2007

John,

Fair enough. But, consider that what you wrote is pretty similar to your view about marching with people who advocate mass murder.


John Charles Crocker - 2/17/2007

From Websters
race:
2 a : a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock b : a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics

The Jewish people clearly fit this definition and this was clearly Mr. Becker's intended definition in the above comment.


John Charles Crocker - 2/17/2007

Note the first sentence.
"A little fun TRIVIA from the Right wing anti-Semites."
Emphasis added, as you apparently missed it the first time.


John Charles Crocker - 2/17/2007

Your comment assumes two entirely untrue points. One that I am advocating the murder of anyone in the scenario I described and two that the other people I was referring to were intent only on property theft.

What part of they are trying to provoke an all encompassing war in the Middle East are you missing? This is their goal. They push hard right positions in Israel and finance illegal settlements to further that goal. How is it that you find this harmless?

How is not stopping someone from holding a sign, no matter how offensive, morally inferior to making a conscious effort to provoke a war that you sincerely hope will end the lives of the majority of the population of the earth?

Your position on this is truly mind boggling.


N. Friedman - 2/17/2007

John,

Compare these Antisemites. Those you march with advocate mass murder. Those you speak about peddle nonsense that has no political implications.

Do you not see the difference? Again, I think that you are morally obtuse. Mass murder is in its own class, John. Get it? It is not akin to peddling nonsense that no person in his or her right mind believes.


N. Friedman - 2/17/2007

John,

This is true. Jews are a people and Judaism is a religion.

But, Jews are obviously not a race given that there are Ethiopian Jews and Jews who look a lot like Indians from India. And Jews who look a lot like Arabs. Etc., etc.


N. Friedman - 2/17/2007

John,

The issue is whether it is Antisemitic. In that context, it is clearly harmless.

Whether or not it involves stealing land is another matter. One can favor stealing land and not be a Jew hater.

Your other comment: Again I have seen neither of these at any protest I have attended, but how would I, for not stopping this, be in an inferior moral position to someone who actively and financially supported illegal settlements in the hopes that they would bring a world destroying war nearer?

How harmful is it to allow someone to hold an offensive sign?


Your question is, in my view, nuts. No offense but I mean that quite literally. I would take it a step further. Yours is a truly offensive remark that equates, by some crazy theory, property and human life.

In liberal thought, property is never as important as life. Stealing property, whether or not moral, does not kill anyone. Gassing people to death does.

Do you see the difference? Or, are you morally blind? I have to say, John, that your opinion is truly offensive to anyone who is really of the left.




John Charles Crocker - 2/17/2007

A little fun trivia from the Right wing anti-Semites. State legislators in Georgia and Texas distributed a memo stating among other things that the theory of evolution was part of a conspiracy by Pharisees whose mystic anti-Christian holy book is the Kabbala and that Jewish physicists are part of the force behind a centuries-old conspiracy to destroy the Christian teachings of Earth's origins.


John Charles Crocker - 2/17/2007

They support the hard line settlers who settle lands illegally (illegal by Israeli law) politically and financially. They financially and politically where possible support the extreme right within Israel. They do this because they want an all encompassing war in the region.
Why do you think that this is harmless?

How is this less harmful than standing in a crowd of anti-war protesters and not shouting down others in that crowd who say anti-Semitic slogans or hold anti-Semitic signs?

Again I have seen neither of these at any protest I have attended, but how would I, for not stopping this, be in an inferior moral position to someone who actively and financially supported illegal settlements in the hopes that they would bring a world destroying war nearer?

How harmful is it to allow someone to hold an offensive sign?


N. Friedman - 2/17/2007

John,

But all of what you write is harmless stuff. It does not incite hatred. It is not Antisemitic. It merely expresses an opinion.

By contrast, those who cast Jews into the role of history's villain are Antisemitic in any sense that matters.

As the article sited by Professor Eckstein notes, Antisemitism, in any sense that matters to the living, is not, at this time, an important feature of the right wing politics except on the extreme margins. It is an important feature of the Left - and has been pushing from the left toward the center left.

Surely, you see the difference for cursing someone for ceding land and interfering with a decision of the Israeli government or, as hateful people on the left do, attempting to undermine the Israeli state and Jewish people wherever they may be - as Professor Eckstein's noted article shows.


John Charles Crocker - 2/17/2007

Jews are both an ethnic group and a religion. I dare say the former outnumber the later.


John Charles Crocker - 2/17/2007

"Such people did not make a fuss when Sharon decided to cede Gaza."
Falwell claimed that Sharon's stroke was God's punishment for ceding land in Gaza.

They believe that every grain of sand between the Dead Sea, the Jordan River, and the Mediterranean Sea belongs to the Jews and to cede any of that land is a sin.

They support the hard line settlers politically and financially. They do this because they want an all encompassing war in the region. They push for this in whatever ways their leaders call them to. They love Jews only as potential Christians at the end of days and they are working to hurry that.

Falwell also said that Rabin's assassination was God's punishment for the Oslo accords.


N. Friedman - 2/17/2007

Correction:

Strike the sentence that reads: "Jews can be hated by a person who does not oppose their oppression."

Substitute:

Jews can be hated by a person who claims to oppose oppression.


N. Friedman - 2/17/2007

John,

I think I stated my views clearly. I said the specific elements of theology which are troubling. Those, however, who believe that Israel is the home of the Jews do not worry me much. I do not doubt that they may also have offensive views but they do not seem to dislike Jews, as is widely attested to. In fact, just the opposite.

Now, some of them hold to specifics on the size of Israel. That strikes me as unimportant. Such people did not make a fuss when Sharon decided to cede Gaza. So, I think you confuse the preferences of such group with their evident view that it is for the Israelis to decide the size of Israel. And, that means staying out of the way instead of being a mendacious meddler who makes believe that the HAMAS wants to settle while, in fact, that group is willing to let its people starve so as never to have to recognize Israel in any normal sense of the word.

In any event, as I said, I think that the main problem for Antisemitism with Christianity is that it posits Jews in the center of the Christian founding drama. That, however, is a fact, not something that will change. And, as I said, many Christian sects no longer take an Antisemitic theological message from that fact.

As for Catholicism, there may be splits in the Catholic Church. But, the Pope speaks for the Church and it is his view which is most important, not those who side with Mel Gibson. The Pope accepts Vatican II. So, that defines what the church, by and large, teaches. Or, are you saying that he has lost control?


N. Friedman - 2/17/2007

Carl,

Jews are not a race.

Jews can be hated by a person who does not oppose their oppression.


John Charles Crocker - 2/17/2007

As I understand it supersessionism in the Christian context means that: Christianity is the fulfillment of the Biblical covenant with the Jewish people, and therefore that Jews who deny that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah fail in their calling as God's Chosen people.

Some, including traditional Catholics (those that are opposed to Vatican 2), hold an even more extreme position that the Jews are no longer considered to be God's Chosen people in any sense.

The post Vatican 2 Catholic Church is split over its interpretation of the position of the Church regarding supersessionism. All traditional Catholics believe in supersessionism.
Most conservative Christians subscribe to one or the other of the above. I include most evangelicals and charismatic sects in this.

Look to what Falwell, Robertson and other leaders of the Christian Zionists' statements of their motives before you conclude that they are harmless in this particular view. Some of their actions are just rather silly such as trying to breed red heifers for export to Israel. Other actions are deliberately dangerous, they actively oppose a two state solution, since Israel needs to be whole for the end times, and they encourage and finance provocative actions by Jewish settlers in hopes that these will incite open war. They believe that this war will be Armageddon and they will be called to heaven along with the 1/3 of the Jews who realize the error of their ways and the rest of us will be left to deal with the consequences of what they have wrought. I do not see this as harmless.


Carl Becker - 2/17/2007

I don't believe in a system of oppression toward ANY race,


N. Friedman - 2/17/2007

John,

I refer to true believers only. Those who truly believe in neo-marcionism aka replacement theology aka (sometimes) Palestinianism take the view that the Hebrew Scriptures ought be removed from what Christians call the Bible. In the most extreme form of that notion, Jesus becomes a Palestinian, not a Jew. And, in that version, Jews are condemned forever to wander the Earth while Palestinians become the true people of Israel. Such is a fairly commonly held position in Great Britain. That version of theology is, I think, beyond doubt Antisemitic.

Some Christians believe in super-successionism, namely, that Jews chosen by God have been replaced by Christians. That, in its extreme version, leads to basically the same place as neo-marcionism, namely, that Jews are condemned forever to wander the Earth. Such version of Christian theology is, I think, clearly Antisemitic. Again, the extreme of that version of theology has some popularity in Great Britain.

Note that Catholicism, for example, has rejected neo-marcionism, etc. and has removed the condemnation on Jews and accepts the place of Jews in the world such that Jews are no longer condemned to wander the Earth. So, that version of theology is not Antisemitic.

Your notion about the views of Christians in the US is not quite correct. A great many - say about 70 million people - believe in Christian Zionism. In that version, Jews who do not convert to Christianity will, in the end of days, be condemned - but only then. Whether or not Antisemitic, Jews in such theology are not condemned to wander the Earth - hence the word Zionism. Unless such religious notions are true, it is rather harmless to the living. Rather, it is a wager about how the world ends.

Many Jews do think that Christian Zionists are Antisemitic. Such may, in fact, be the case. But, such is, as I noted, a rather harmless notion for the reasons I have stated.

In answer to your question more generally, it seems to me that if religion A places characters from religion B at center stage whereupon a tragedy occurs that involves those of religion B (i.e. believers in religion B kill the god no less of those who believe in religion A), that some forms of the theology of religion A will stir up hatred of those who believe in religion B. That is especially the case of those versions of religion A which condemn those of religion B eternally.

Consider it this way: it is best not to be part of someone else's religious drama. Being part of someone else's religious drama means being interpreted via that drama. Hence, Christian understanding of Jews is often more based on the drama of the Christian Testament than from any actual Jews. Such naturally leads to a lot of hatred, given the part that Jews play in the Christian Testament.


John Charles Crocker - 2/17/2007

In that case it is your view that most Catholics, including all traditional Catholics, and the vast majority of all Southern Baptists, conservative Christians, evangelical and charismatic Christians are anti-Semites.
Is this your stated opinion?


N. Friedman - 2/17/2007

Carl,

Maybe I am being too hasty with you. It does not automatically follow that you hate Jews for thinking that Christianity supersedes Judaism. However, if you believe in super-secessionism, neo-maricionism or replacement theology - including, most particularly, its Palestinian Arab variation, that is another story. Those theological innovations are probably only held by Antisemites.


N. Friedman - 2/17/2007

Carl,

You write: "I’ve been called many times an anti-Semitic for saying the same thing and if I say the religion that grew out of the desert has made the world miserable, those same people will get even angrier. But am I racist, well, in some eyes. "

Well, I would not say such a thing about Islam. What I say about Islam is akin to what someone might say about Roman virtues, namely, they are not all peaceful. And, I note that Islamic civilization has been of a high order, so there is something at the end of the tunnel.

If you really think Christianity does supersede Judaism - such that Jews are condemned for eternity -, that would make you an Antisemite, in the most real and traditional sense. That speaks to how you can watch a group, in this case Muslims, espouse eliminationist Antisemitism and think, let's not get them angry.

The end.


Carl Becker - 2/16/2007

N,

´´…, you require a lot from Dr. Pipes….”

A lot is expected from a public figure who’s decided to put himself out there. Strike the word ‘controversial’ above. You seem to be implying that I’m out and out calling Pipes a racist. You won’t find it in my posts here.

“I pose this thought experiment… your reaction.”

I not sure I want to give one since it leads me down more labyrinths for you to comment on. I’ll just say I think your thought experiment is based on something that could supposedly happen if such and such factors existed and therefore can safely be applied as a model for the subject we are talking about: Pipes. This is a lot of supposing. This is mental torture for someone who only constructs roads and bridges and I haven’t the faintest knowledge of the Armenians in the late days of the Ottoman Empire.

“Another example. In the case of Christianity - most branches, historically speaking -, among the central tenets is that the religion supercedes Judaism. That doctrine has led, I think it can be fairly said, to a lot of misery for Jews. Is it racist to say that? Is it bigotted? Or, is it fair comment? “


I’ve been called many times an anti-Semitic for saying the same thing and if I say the religion that grew out of the desert has made the world miserable, those same people will get even angrier. But am I racist, well, in some eyes.


“Turning back to what Pipes does, I think he is making observations that may or may not be correct. They may or may not be pleasant. The question is whether they are fair comment and whether or not there is some hatred that motivates what he says. So far, the evidence I have seen does not point to either unfair comment or to any hatred but rather fair observation - that may or may not be correct.”


Fair observation and fair comment? He´s f air in the sense that he’s allowed to say what he wants. But I know that´s not what you mean. But he’s free to do that just, as long as anyone is free to say he’s not correct, or could be wrong, or that he’s screwing things up royally for American foreign policy.



“There is lastly the point that you would have him have to explain what he means and does not mean whenever he talks or writes. I do not think that is a reasonable demand.”

I think it is a reasonable demand; as reasonable as it was for Pipes to say the Muslims bombed the Murrah Federal Building when they didn’t do it.


“ I think what you are doing is cowering in fear that he might insight a violent reaction.”

I’m trying to picture myself “cowering in fear that he might insight a violent reaction” but I can’t. It just doesn’t excite me enough. Maybe if he were a twenty foot tall infant about to unload on me.


“ I suggest that your approach sounds like that held by the British in the 1930's who feared that speaking up about the Nazis would only encourage them to violence.”

I suggest it isthe other way around. When I don’t like what I see as a dangerous idea, I like to speak up about it and not worry what someone will do to me.




“Note: the issue here is that these people do not use the language correctly. Islam is not a race. Muslims are not a race. Islam is a religion that has certain tenets which are fairly universally accepted and have been so for more than a millennium. Islamism, by contrast, is a more recent phenomena that hopes to revive Islam's political significance and that specifically implements the political language of the religion. “

The perception Muslims Arabs in Europe and Saudi Arabia got from reading the news of Pipes in the Arabic newspapers is the point. You don´t need to know English to read the bad news from America. You are constantly looking at Islam from a religious viewpoint instead of political. Maybe that´s why no one is doing anything right about it in the US. I know the basic history of the origins of Islam, and I know that it is dangerous. Said it before. You don´t have to repeat this history to me. The point is that Pipes is ratcheting up the tension with his rhetoric instead of being a peacemaker. Isn´t that what we´re arguing about?


“Yes, I think that Muslims who believe in Islamism are not looking for justice. I think they are looking for power.”

Power? Are you trying to start on another subject? What state on this planet, which believes in its own sovereignty and way of life, is not looking for power, abstract or energywise, for one reason or another? The US justified using nuclear weapons against civilians for power, cloaked in defending freedom, saving lives, expanding their hegemony, etc.,etc. Saddam defended his silly excursion into Kuwait for the most ridiculous reasons at which the bottom line was power. Islam wants it back, so does the former USSR, the Roman Catholic Church is managing to hang on to it, the list is endless. We´re supposed to be alarmed by people who want power? So then, it really isn´t about religion after all, Islam wants power? Which is what racism, genocide, holocausts, wars, and date rape are all about. But then considering the RCC, religion is about power too.


“Well, objectively, the US is the world's most dangerous government. Why? Because we have a large population and, in aggregate, are richer and more powerful than any other country. So that observation is obviously true. It is not, however, obviously important since the US is not trying to bring down civilization as a whole and replace the current order with a universal Islamic government that rules using the Shari'a law.
The rest of your comment is speculation.”

What part, where Europe underdeveloped Africa? Walter Rodney´s ´How Europe Underdeveloped Africa´ introduced me to that idea.

“ I might recommend an excellent book that might cut down much of the fervor behind your comment and thinking. The book is The Muslim Discovery of Europe, by Bernard Lewis.”

It´s on my top ten list.


“I note that the perception of the West in the Muslim regions is colored by religious ideology. There is, however, a considerable clash between ideology and reality. Muslims do not rule the world, as the ideology suggests ought to be. That leads many Muslims to point fingers of blame and to adopt a resentful, revengeful attitude - hence, Islamism. But, as Lewis shows rather well in the noted book, the biggest issues in the Islamic regions are internal and ideological, not external. Saying that is not racist. It is likely the truth.”

Well, it´s not only the perception of the East, but also the perception from a lot of our own inhabitants in the US “regions”, that Americans are also colored by religious ideology which seems to have a lot of influence in the nation´s corridors of power, you know the regular God squad stuff, Christian Embassy, for example, whose top military officers perform daily prayer rituals before, during, and after working hours, praying that God will help them in the war against terror. Their web site tells it all, I was almost as surprised as when I saw a video of the Reverend Moon, owner of the Washington Times and other important publications for our politicians, being crowned King of the World, robes, crown, scepter, in the United States Senate. Thought America was formed because to rid itself of kings. Moon has actually stated his intent to control the world. The US is a three-circus of religious ideology.



“You write: "Concerning the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City when Pipes blamed it on the Muslims. In this case being not hypercritical would be like a cover-up. You dismiss this error of judgment and character by Pipes as reasonable speculation. I can’t. Does your impression of his scholarship override everything he has done in the past or will do? Pipes didn’t even wait for the facts to come out before he publicly swift-boated the wrong people. What’s behind this?"

I do not dismiss anything. I said that his was reasonable speculation. And, as I said, there are real connections between right wing radicals and Islamists. These are very well documented.

Regarding what Pipes said at the time, please show me where his comment was more out on a limb than the rest of those who spoke in the immediate aftermath of the bombing. I doubt you can make the case you suggest was since nearly everyone who spoke at the time saw the matter that way. See, http://www.fair.org/extra/9507/jihad-that-wasnt.html. There is still speculation about a connection. http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110002217. The speculation, in some instances, comes from people who are not cranks. So, your comment is, to me, simply wrong. The speculation at the time turned toward Islamic extremist because such people were known to have hostility toward the US and because such people had already shown themselves capable of violence in the US (e.g. the first US WTC bombing).

So, what you are saying is that Pipes is blameworthy for holding views that were nearly universally held among those with knowledge in the field and that which had and still have arguable substance.”



Whether Pipes is blameworthy, as you say, whether he is stirring up trouble with his “universal views” instead of clarifying the conflicts between Islamism and the problem the West has with it, is my issue. Is he supposed to be a peacemaker? His views are universal all right and he plays on that. You’re going to hear this over and over again: you find his blaming the Muslims for the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building reasonable and give site links to the popular views. He didn’t go “out on a limb”, remember, I’ve stricken my word controversial’; and I’m afraid we have a conflict with the meaning of words here. What does it mean when I’m supposed to ‘dismiss’ ‘reasonable’ ‘speculation’ ? Any power of logic here seems useless in the face of truth. In this case Pipes made the statement before the facts were out and you’re saying it’s okay to do this as long as it’s reasonable speculation. Is this like poetic license? That’s not how detectives strictly work. It was the real crime detectives who discovered who did the bombing and they didn’t rely on pundits’ reasonable speculations in the news and public perception but on old fashioned policework.


N. Friedman - 2/16/2007

Carl,

You write: Since Pipes’ position is complex, I expect this high profile public figure to footnote every word, if he has to, since he is the one making this controversial premise about the nature and the menace of Islamism. So he better explain himself. Why is it strange to ask where and how he got that insight? He has explained his “thesis” over and over again in his articles and his lectures, so I don’t understand where your going with that when you say why he has to explain himself continuously. Have I misunderstood his position? Probably. Maybe it’s because of the way he goes about it, and some facts that makes him look, to me, like the impeccable scholar and circus-master, expert at weaving arabesques of language and logic that discredits other scholars. Like I said in my last post, someone is going to come along and discredit him with a new thesis when the time is right.

Well, you require a lot from Dr. Pipes. That is your privilege. On the other hand, I do not think that his proposition about Islamism is all that controversial. I think it is merely not your position. Yet, you are correct that a better theory than his might come along. That is always possible. Better theories may already have come along. That, however, is for people to discuss without tarring each other with scare words like "racist." In fact, that does exactly what his opponents claim he does: chill speech.

I pose this thought experiment for you with reference to the demise of the Armenians in the late days of the Ottoman Empire. There were rather clear warning signs that the ideology underpinning that country's actions would lead to horrors being committed. And, there was substantial precedent in the late 19th Century showing a proclivity in the Ottoman Empire to turn violently on its non-Muslim citizenry including, in particular (but not only), on its Armenians. Would a scholar from that time who, perhaps somewhat like a Cassandra, warned about the dangerous ideology that underpinned the currents at play be a racist for noting that, in fact, underlying those currents was also the manner in which Islam understood the divide between Muslims and non-Muslims? In this regard, I note that the leading scholar of that horrid historical period, Vahakn Dadrian - a scholar looking back on that period, not forward - holds that Islam's tenets, in fact, created an overlord and subordinate relationship, by religion, which in turn created the nationality crisis that came to the fore in the 19th Century and led rather inexorably to what occurred to the Armenians.

I do not think that such a comment would, looking forward, have been racist. I also do not think such a comment would be considered racist looking backwards. Rather, it is a statement that is or is not the case. And, Dadrian's evidence makes such observation seem rather likely. But, of course, he could be wrong.

Now, if Dadrian said that Muslims are inherently inferior and condemned to that fate as, for example, punishment for rejecting Christ, that would be a bigoted comment and if the comments he actual has made were so motivated, then he would obviously hold bigoted views. Likewise, if he said that Muslims have racially inferior characteristics (or so believed such to be the case), that would be racist or something of that sort. But, the observation that a tenet of a religion causes division is not, in my view an unfair observation. Again, I am interested in your reaction.

Another example. In the case of Christianity - most branches, historically speaking -, among the central tenets is that the religion supercedes Judaism. That doctrine has led, I think it can be fairly said, to a lot of misery for Jews. Is it racist to say that? Is it bigotted? Or, is it fair comment?

Turning back to what Pipes does, I think he is making observations that may or may not be correct. They may or may not be pleasant. The question is whether they are fair comment and whether or not there is some hatred that motivates what he says. So far, the evidence I have seen does not point to either unfair comment or to any hatred but rather fair observation - that may or may not be correct.

There is lastly the point that you would have him have to explain what he means and does not mean whenever he talks or writes. I do not think that is a reasonable demand. I think what you are doing is cowering in fear that he might insight a violent reaction. I suggest that your approach sounds like that held by the British in the 1930's who feared that speaking up about the Nazis would only encourage them to violence.


You write: "This I base on conversations I’ve had with Arab acquaintances in Europe and Saudi Arabia. They know about Daniel Pipes and they were angry when he got appointed by our president. It was published in newspapers of their own language. And their understanding, of those who know English seems pretty good and since racist acts are universal , they know it when they see it. Of course, their opinions can be like the opinions of any Westerner. Full of bias."

Note: the issue here is that these people do not use the language correctly. Islam is not a race. Muslims are not a race. Islam is a religion that has certain tenets which are fairly universally accepted and have been so for more than a millennium. Islamism, by contrast, is a more recent phenomena that hopes to revive Islam's political significance and that specifically implements the political language of the religion.

So, Muslims may not like language which calls Islamism supremacist - which it clearly is - or violent - which it clearly is. They may not like that the President would appoint an advisor who would note what is rather obviously the case. Frankly, I would rather the president appoint someone who sees Islamism as it is than an advisor who see Islamism as a force for democracy, which is a nonsense view held mostly by people on the take.


You write: "Most of what you have said comes as no surprise but this did. No offence was intended. But you’re twisting it or seeing only as connected with Christian theology. You think Muslims are not looking for justice? How is this search, in this narrow context, any different then what happened in the fifties with Blacks and Jews? Ideology is ideology and racism is racism. No matter what the time-frame or the subject you still see the inherent violence in any ideology today. Although nothing to do with racism, look at what Republican congressman Don Young, said recently, that if you oppose the war, you should be arrested, exiled, or hanged in this country. Muslims aren’t the only ones with a disposition for inherent violence or extreme views. They come from the secular view as well. Have I taken Don Young out of context?"

Yes, I think that Muslims who believe in Islamism are not looking for justice. I think they are looking for power. One need only take a look at the places where Islamists have come to rule to see that justice has nothing to do with it. Sudan - 2 million deaths since 1983 and counting and the re-establishment of slavery (with the slavery defended on the basis of the Islamic theology); Afghanistan - forcing non-Muslims to wear badges of identification and blowing up symbols Buddhism; Iran - oppression and persecution of Christians, Jews and, most especially, Baha'i (who are counted as apostates and, as a result, have essentially no rights or protection under the country's laws).


I note that the fact that there are non-Muslims who hold racist views and that are Muslims who hold non-racist views does not mean that Islamism is immune from criticism. The critique I have is that Islamism is a supremacist, violent belief system. Anyone who believes in it is potentially dangerous. Thus far, the facts support that view, as you know full well.

You write: "Of course they do but in this administration there also seems to be a will to remake the world with American-style democracy."

Well, we agree on this point. I agree with your criticism of the current US administration as above expressed. But, the current US administration will be gone in less than 2 years. The Islamists will continue on and will continue to be very dangerous.

You continue: "In my opinion, it would be the least of all evils to the planet’s problems but unfortunately not all of the world sees it this way. We as Westerners see that Islamism arises out of Islam but many Muslims/Arabs/ other foreigners see from our form of culture as aggressive and exploitative (back again to old exploitations by the West, true or not)."

This is also correct. But, those who adopt Islamism believe that Muslims should rule the world. That belief is not premised on what Westerners believe but on the fact that Westerners mostly do not believe in Islam. Rather, we are, in their way of thinking, harbis - defined by their ideology as inherently at war with Muslims but without regard to whether we are actually at war with Muslims.


You write: "In the upcoming issue of Foreign Affairs it says that 14 percent of self-described US conservatives identified the United States as the world's most dangerous government. So, a few of our own people running the show have that view too. From early on we (Europe) have had a fine record of exploitation to back up their perception of us, whether it is fair or not; that is, Europe’s underdevelopment of the African continent beginning in the sixteenth century is something that Westerners will be tainted with forever. "

Well, objectively, the US is the world's most dangerous government. Why? Because we have a large population and, in aggregate, are richer and more powerful than any other country. So that observation is obviously true. It is not, however, obviously important since the US is not trying to bring down civilization as a whole and replace the current order with a universal Islamic government that rules using the Shari'a law.

The rest of your comment is speculation. I might recommend an excellent book that might cut down much of the fervor behind your comment and thinking. The book is The Muslim Discovery of Europe, by Bernard Lewis. It is, perhaps, the best book he has written and it addresses very closely how it was the Islamic countries fell behind the West to the point of being exploited. After you read the book, you will realize that the issue cuts two ways. Which is to say, Muslims concluded early on that there was nothing to learn from Western Europeans (which, at the time such way of thinking came to be, the observation was likely so) and, as a result, they did not recognize the revolution in thought that occurred in Europe and, even worse, the way of thinking that predominated among Muslims undermined efforts made to catch up.

I note that the perception of the West in the Muslim regions is colored by religious ideology. There is, however, a considerable clash between ideology and reality. Muslims do not rule the world, as the ideology suggests ought to be. That leads many Muslims to point fingers of blame and to adopt a resentful, revengeful attitude - hence, Islamism. But, as Lewis shows rather well in the noted book, the biggest issues in the Islamic regions are internal and ideological, not external. Saying that is not racist. It is likely the truth.


You write: "Concerning the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City when Pipes blamed it on the Muslims. In this case being not hypercritical would be like a cover-up. You dismiss this error of judgment and character by Pipes as reasonable speculation. I can’t. Does your impression of his scholarship override everything he has done in the past or will do? Pipes didn’t even wait for the facts to come out before he publicly swift-boated the wrong people. What’s behind this?"

I do not dismiss anything. I said that his was reasonable speculation. And, as I said, there are real connections between right wing radicals and Islamists. These are very well documented.

Regarding what Pipes said at the time, please show me where his comment was more out on a limb than the rest of those who spoke in the immediate aftermath of the bombing. I doubt you can make the case you suggest was since nearly everyone who spoke at the time saw the matter that way. See, http://www.fair.org/extra/9507/jihad-that-wasnt.html. There is still speculation about a connection. http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110002217. The speculation, in some instances, comes from people who are not cranks. So, your comment is, to me, simply wrong. The speculation at the time turned toward Islamic extremist because such people were known to have hostility toward the US and because such people had already shown themselves capable of violence in the US (e.g. the first US WTC bombing).

So, what you are saying is that Pipes is blameworthy for holding views that were nearly universally held among those with knowledge in the field and that which had and still have arguable substance.


Carl Becker - 2/16/2007

N, Think we have a lot of similar viewpoints on other subjects but some are worlds apart and I respect that. I’d like to argue on every point and go on indefinitely but for lack of time I’ll answer these:

“So, your position is that he is not a good guy because he does not say, in each instance, that not all Muslims think A or B or C or whatnot and because he does not always provide a detailed explanation.”

Not a good guy? I don’t know how you figured that; I didn’t imply it in that statement and it has nothing to do with anything here. (But now that you made me think about it, maybe he isn’t a good guy; like the German philosophers might have argued, abstract evil doesn’t choose the form in which it emerges. Or like when the Vichy government during WWII Nazi occupation told the French people you only have yourselves to blame for your misfortunes, be afraid yet don’t be afraid because we are here to help you.) Since Pipes’ position is complex, I expect this high profile public figure to footnote every word, if he has to, since he is the one making this controversial premise about the nature and the menace of Islamism. So he better explain himself. Why is it strange to ask where and how he got that insight? He has explained his “thesis” over and over again in his articles and his lectures, so I don’t understand where your going with that when you say why he has to explain himself continuously. Have I misunderstood his position? Probably. Maybe it’s because of the way he goes about it, and some facts that makes him look, to me, like the impeccable scholar and circus-master, expert at weaving arabesques of language and logic that discredits other scholars. Like I said in my last post, someone is going to come along and discredit him with a new thesis when the time is right.


“After that, you give credence to the notion that Muslims might consider something said about what the data say they believe is something they do not want to hear. You even suggest that they might find the views - basically an opinion which takes issue with what many of them say they believe, when they are asked - racist.”

This I base on conversations I’ve had with Arab acquaintances in Europe and Saudi Arabia. They know about Daniel Pipes and they were angry when he got appointed by our president. It was published in newspapers of their own language. And their understanding, of those who know English seems pretty good and since racist acts are universal , they know it when they see it. Of course, their opinions can be like the opinions of any Westerner. Full of bias.

“Then, you say something truly offensive, making a comparison with hatred of blacks and Jews with concern about an ideology which preaches violence. Blacks, in the US, were looking for justice within the US system, not its destruction. Jews wanted to live a normal life, not to wander the Earth forever as ascribed by classical Christian theology.”

Most of what you have said comes as no surprise but this did. No offence was intended. But you’re twisting it or seeing only as connected with Christian theology. You think Muslims are not looking for justice? How is this search, in this narrow context, any different then what happened in the fifties with Blacks and Jews? Ideology is ideology and racism is racism. No matter what the time-frame or the subject you still see the inherent violence in any ideology today. Although nothing to do with racism, look at what Republican congressman Don Young, said recently, that if you oppose the war, you should be arrested, exiled, or hanged in this country. Muslims aren’t the only ones with a disposition for inherent violence or extreme views. They come from the secular view as well. Have I taken Don Young out of context?




“Islamists - by their own words and not taken out of context - seek to remake the world so that they dominate it and have special privileges while non-Muslims would, as they say, live under the wings of Islam. In other words, those who espouse Islamism espouse a supremacist ideology.”

Of course they do but in this administration there also seems to be a will to remake the world with American-style democracy. In my opinion, it would be the least of all evils to the planet’s problems but unfortunately not all of the world sees it this way. We as Westerners see that Islamism arises out of Islam but many Muslims/Arabs/ other foreigners see from our form of culture as aggressive and exploitative (back again to old exploitations by the West, true or not). In the upcoming issue of Foreign Affairs it says that 14 percent of self-described US conservatives identified the United States as the world's most dangerous government. So, a few of our own people running the show have that view too. From early on we (Europe) have had a fine record of exploitation to back up their perception of us, whether it is fair or not; that is, Europe’s underdevelopment of the African continent beginning in the sixteenth century is something that Westerners will be tainted with forever.


“I do not, in short, see how he has shown any demonstrated hostility. I think you are being hypercritical, expecting people not to speculate about groups who hold grudges against the US, especially when the event is of the type which is often associated with Islamists.”

Concerning the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City when Pipes blamed it on the Muslims. In this case being not hypercritical would be like a cover-up. You dismiss this error of judgment and character by Pipes as reasonable speculation. I can’t. Does your impression of his scholarship override everything he has done in the past or will do? Pipes didn’t even wait for the facts to come out before he publicly swift-boated the wrong people. What’s behind this?


“I do not follow some of your next remarks. However, you write: There are many decent people who have connections with Bush but in the case of Pipes, his scholarship, as good as it may be, is only a thesis until some one else comes along and builds on that with a new truth. “

I mention what I mean about thesis at the top here.


N. Friedman - 2/16/2007

John,

The issue is the views that such Americans hold. These views have been closely tracked. They are alarming for anyone who believes in pluralism. That is not prejudice. That is a fair observation.

And, he was not suggesting that Palestinians deserve to be miserable in the sense that such would be his desire. He was saying, as I understood the comment, that such people caused their own problem, which I think is largely the case, as does Prince Bandar.


John Charles Crocker - 2/16/2007

Saying he thinks they brought misery upon themselves and saying that they deserve it (women and children included) is something different.

The other quote was specifically about increased prominence of American Muslims not Middle Eastern Muslims. These are two different populations.


E. Simon - 2/15/2007

Let it never be said that Peter Clarke is anything but a martyr for taking it the "hard way".


N. Friedman - 2/15/2007

John,

I have looked over the comments you have posted, including the article.

The latter quote before the former: Saying that someone is miserable is not an insult. It speaks to their condition. Saying that they deserve to be miserable means, as I understand him, that he is saying that Palestinian Arabs made their own bed which led to their misery. The same view, differently and more politely expressed, was made by Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, who noted that Arabs always said no to Israel, then yes, but only yes after it is too late. I think Bandar and Pipes are basically correct.

The first comment addresses a question of numbers. First, the evidence that Muslims in the Middle East are overwhelmingly Antisemitic is documented beyond need for citation. And, certainly the elites are. So, his point is that if enough Jew haters arrive, that is bad for Jews. Duh.

But one quote - just to give the matter some flavor. And this goes back to the 1980's. It comes from a rather brilliant book by famed historian Bernard Lewis. His comment, you will note, long precedes the outbreak of Antisemitism that pervades the Muslim regions:

The volume of anti-Semitic books and articles published, the size and number of editions and impressions, the eminence and authority of those who write, publish and sponsor them, their place in school and college curricula, their role in the mass media, would all seem to suggest that classical anti-Semitism is an essential part of Arab intellectual life at the present time-almost as much as happened in Nazi Germany, and considerably more than in late nineteenth and early twentieth century France.

Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites, at page 286. Again, this was all before the current round of Jew hatred among Muslims reached its current depth. And, frankly, Lewis is certainly correct about this.

Your point that not all Muslims should be included in his concern is, it seems to me, beside the point. This is a question of politics and self-preservation. And, Pipes is quite correct that if Muslims have more prominence in the US, that will cause a substantial uptick in Antisemitism and violence against Jews. I think that is an unremarkable observation that is quite obviously true. And, it is true notwithstanding those among Muslims who hold more polite views about Jews. And that is true even if the majority of Muslims hold more polite views.



N. Friedman - 2/15/2007

Carl,

You write: "Right, but Pipes doesn’t make this distinction every time; there are many cases that could be commented on. As in cartoon incident in Denmark but Rushdie, also a high profile case, was another, each were different. As for the Rushdie case, Pipes didn’t explain how he got that “closer look” or if the complexity he’s talking about was any different from other cases between Muslims and Westerners because there are always Muslims who side with the West, and Westerners who side with Muslims in any hyped-up media event."

So, your position is that he is not a good guy because he does not say, in each instance, that not all Muslims think A or B or C or whatnot and because he does not always provide a detailed explanation.

Why should he have to explain something again and again? I think yours is an excuse since, quite obviously, you have misunderstood his long held position. And, now, since you see that his position is not simple, but complex, you complain that he does not always explain himself. Well, if we have to reinvent the wheel over and over again, we can make no progress. Think about it.

Also consider that Pipes has earned enemies because he has exposed the views of some scholars and pseudo-scholars. A writer who takes his approach - and his is not my way, for what it is worth - will be accused of hideous things, especially by those he "outs." So, that sort of issue goes with the territory he has charted for himself. And, many feel slighted - which explains 99% of the material you have cited. notwithstanding, such does not make Pipes a racist, Muslim hater or whatnot. It perhaps makes him impolitic and insensitive and the like.

You write: "As for polls, they are supposed to be infallible to some but I don’t always trust these fact-finding missions designed by people who can get it wrong or explaining issues between cultures solely with arithmetic."

I was not suggesting that the polling is infallible. And, if you have read me here before, you would know that I have some serious doubts about polling from the Arab regions. But, the polling is of some value. In any event, I do not have that sort of doubt about polling from Britain. I expect that, within a certain margin of error, that what was found in Britain is basically accurate. And, I strongly suspect that the polling from the Middle East is not that far off either.

I do also agree with you that math is not the end of the matter. But, the polling is still worthwhile considering and the data obtained are rather overwhelming, which is why I think it is likely pretty accurate.

You write: It may seem that I’m arguing against myself when I say that you are right, that a substantial portion do have the potential to go to extremes because that’s what the numbers say. But that doesn’t mean anything because all of us, if put in the right situation, are capable of anything. But it seems to be the view that Muslims are even more capable, according to our Western point of view, that, as you say, “not all Muslims subscribe to lunacy but a great many obviously do”. This tightens a Muslim’s jaws when he hears this and sees it as racist. The same sort of subtle and not-too-subtle racism that was practiced against the Jews and Blacks in American in the 1950’s, the era the Conservatives still believe were the good old days.

That is nonsense. What I said comes from the available data. It is not even remotely a stretch from that data to what I wrote. The only imaginable question - when the percentages are so overwhelming - is whether the data are correct. If the data are correct, it would be difficult to imagine that what I said could be wrong.

After that, you give credence to the notion that Muslims might consider something said about what the data say they believe is something they do not want to hear. You even suggest that they might find the views - basically an opinion which takes issue with what many of them say they believe, when they are asked - racist.

I would say this. No matter how that one is considered, in the English language, such people are mistaken. Racism concerns inherited, ascribed characteristics, not views that people are free to accept or reject. I cannot help it if some people do not understand the meaning of the word "racism."

Perhaps, you mean that some Muslims do not want me to characterize Islamism as lunacy. That may be the case. Frankly, I think that we are best to be honest. In this case, we both appear to agree about the nature of Islamism (Your words: "It may seem that I’m arguing against myself when I say that you are right, that a substantial portion do have the potential to go to extremes") but you prefer that we say nothing, as if our speaking out will make people turn to violence.

Then, you say something truly offensive, making a comparison with hatred of blacks and Jews with concern about an ideology which preaches violence. Blacks, in the US, were looking for justice within the US system, not its destruction. Jews wanted to live a normal life, not to wander the Earth forever as ascribed by classical Christian theology.

Islamists - by their own words and not taken out of context - seek to remake the world so that they dominate it and have special privileges while non-Muslims would, as they say, live under the wings of Islam. In other words, those who espouse Islamism espouse a supremacist ideology.

Now, you also suggest that all of this is circumstantial, as in, it is our doing which has driven Muslims to violence. That, to me, is something to be proved. I do not think it can be so, but that is my view.

I think, instead, that the evidence is overwhelming that Islamism arises out of Islam, not primarily out of the West. And, it is not the viewpoint of the desperate. It is the viewpoint of educated Muslims who have privileges. Hence, we have the very rich bin Laden and the highly privileged Dr. Zawahiri. Those who flew on 9/11 held college degrees or higher (including, even, some with advanced degrees). The man who killed the reporter Daniel Pearl attended the London School of Economics and came from a reasonably well to do family. What did Pearl do to make Omar Shiek behead him? The same for those who blew up the London subway and bus. Zacharias Moussauoi also went to college.

In short, the notion that this is about desperation is nonsense. It is about, as those involved state repeatedly, their view that they should dominate the world.

You write: Yes THAT example does, it may not be dramatic but the man speaks with forked tongue. When he speaks of other related issues, there is a contradiction to the distinctions he makes in an example that goes back to 1995 when he rushed to judgment and blamed the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on the Muslims, that it was “just the beginning” of an offensive by Islamic fundamentalists. I call this a demonstrated hostility is there ever was one.He has always believed that force is the most appropriate solution to the problems in the Middle East and the Muslim world despite his duel strategy.

Well, it was reasonable speculation that Muslims were involved in the bombing. In fact, there is clear evidence connecting the sort of groups that hold the views of the actual bombers with Islamist radicals. So, it was not wild speculation but a reasonable position - that may or may not have been correct.

I do not, in short, see how he has shown any demonstrated hostility. I think you are being hypercritical, expecting people not to speculate about groups who hold grudges against the US, especially when the event is of the type which is often associated with Islamists.

You write: Speculation. How sure of this are you? I live in Europe and have traveled to several Muslim countries recently and they are more savvy than the American public gives them credit for. And US citizens certainly do have a reason to know the how and why of these associations. More light should be shed on the who and why of Bush administration appointments because it DOES have significance on who an Administration associate with. This is not trivial. In the current one, they mostly seem to pick the people for peace missions who are belligerent and divisive.

Obviously, like any other group, there are many, many savvy Muslims. That is not the issue here.

The issue is whether he is known, not whether people are clever and sophisticated, etc., etc. Until you have some evidence that he is well known among Muslims, I think the reasonable supposition - given that Pipes writes in English while most people, for example, in the Arab regions are not fluent in English - is that most such people have never heard of him. And, if they have, they may not, in any even, be accurately informed.

I do not follow some of your next remarks. However, you write: There are many decent people who have connections with Bush but in the case of Pipes, his scholarship, as good as it may be, is only a thesis until some one else comes along and builds on that with a new truth.

Note: on the point we are debating, Professor Lewis, so far as I know, agrees with Dr. Pipes. In fact, Professor Lewis believes that Islamism, most especially the Iranian variety, is a profound threat to the world.




Carl Becker - 2/15/2007

N,

“But a closer look showed that in fact it was quite something different, that it was far more complex, and that there were plenty of Westerners hostile to Rushdie and plenty of Muslims who supported him."

Right, but Pipes doesn’t make this distinction every time; there are many cases that could be commented on. As in cartoon incident in Denmark but Rushdie, also a high profile case, was another, each were different. As for the Rushdie case, Pipes didn’t explain how he got that “closer look” or if the complexity he’s talking about was any different from other cases between Muslims and Westerners because there are always Muslims who side with the West, and Westerners who side with Muslims in any hyped-up media event. As for polls, they are supposed to be infallible to some but I don’t always trust these fact-finding missions designed by people who can get it wrong or explaining issues between cultures solely with arithmetic.


“As for the second part of your sentence, I think that factually speaking, a substantial portion of Muslims do have the potential of being recruited to Jihadist views.”

It may seem that I’m arguing against myself when I say that you are right, that a substantial portion do have the potential to go to extremes because that’s what the numbers say. But that doesn’t mean anything because all of us, if put in the right situation, are capable of anything. But it seems to be the view that Muslims are even more capable, according to our Western point of view, that, as you say, “not all Muslims subscribe to lunacy but a great many obviously do”. This tightens a Muslim’s jaws when he hears this and sees it as racist. The same sort of subtle and not-too-subtle racism that was practiced against the Jews and Blacks in American in the 1950’s, the era the Conservatives still believe were the good old days.


“But, in fact, he makes the distinction loud and clear. In fact, he may well make a greater distinction than really exists. For example, at the London debate, he stated…”

But today it's a third, a third totalitarian movement, a third barbarian movement, namely that of radical Islam. It is an extremist utopian version of Islam. I am not speaking of Islam the religion, I am speaking of a very unusual and modern reading of Islam. It has inflicted misery (as I mentioned Algeria and Darfur, before), there is suicide terrorism, tyrannical and brutal governments, there is the oppression of women, and non-Muslims.” That sounds like he is drawing a distinction

Yes THAT example does, it may not be dramatic but the man speaks with forked tongue. When he speaks of other related issues, there is a contradiction to the distinctions he makes in an example that goes back to 1995 when he rushed to judgment and blamed the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on the Muslims, that it was “just the beginning” of an offensive by Islamic fundamentalists. I call this a demonstrated hostility is there ever was one.He has always believed that force is the most appropriate solution to the problems in the Middle East and the Muslim world despite his duel strategy.

I kind of doubt that all that many Muslims, outside of the US that is, have ever heard of Daniel Pipes. Maybe, he is known among Muslim intellectuals. But, average Muslims would have no reason to have heard of him all that much.

Speculation. How sure of this are you? I live in Europe and have traveled to several Muslim countries recently and they are more savvy than the American public gives them credit for. And US citizens certainly do have a reason to know the how and why of these associations. More light should be shed on the who and why of Bush administration appointments because it DOES have significance on who an Administration associate with. This is not trivial. In the current one, they mostly seem to pick the people for peace missions who are belligerent and divisive.



“But, the fact that he has had some connection with the US government during the Bush time is, to me, rather trivial. I note that a hefty percentage of Americans voted for Bush - evidently twice in many cases. So, should I reject the scholarship of anyone associated with Bush? That, to me, is nonsense”

There are too many variables here to get into: the “why” of those who voted for Bush when they did, the way issues are debated in America when electing a President, the way the media projects it, the question-marks on the legitimacy of the elections process, both times, and the facts we will never know about that could tell us the truth. Logic here just has no power to a truth that hasn’t been discovered yet. Let me just say that who you hang around with on the street corner does matter.

I note: the greatest living scholar of Islam, Bernard Lewis, has also had some minor connection with the Bush administration. Should I stop reading Lewis because of that? If I did, I suspect that the very large number of Turkish scholars who adore Lewis would think me crazy. Do you see my point? Others, but not this particular one. Even you must know that there are always exceptions to the rule. There are many decent people who have connections with Bush but in the case of Pipes, his scholarship, as good as it may be, is only a thesis until some one else comes along and builds on that with a new truth.


N. Friedman - 2/15/2007

Carl,

You write: "but all Muslims are being corralled into the same category, as Anti-Semites, or as having the potential to be recruited as hard core believers ..."

I do not think that Dr. Pipes corrals all Muslims into the same category. In fact, he does exactly the opposite. Note his words at his speech in London - the very topic of the article we are supposedly addressing. For example, he said: "Second, it ignores the agreement across civilizations. I'd like to take a UK-based example of that, namely the edict of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 against Salman Rushdie, who at that time was living in London. It appeared, at first glance, to be a question of Muslims on one side and Westerners on the other. Muslims were burning The Satanic Verses novel, there was violence in India, etc. But a closer look showed that in fact it was quite something different, that it was far more complex, and that there were plenty of Westerners hostile to Rushdie and plenty of Muslims who supported him."

From Transcript of opening remarks in London debate.

As for the second part of your sentence, I think that factually speaking, a substantial portion of Muslims do have the potential of being recruited to Jihadist views. That, I think, is factually correct. I say this because there are statistics available. For example:

In a poll conducted five months ago, and broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 TV, nearly 25% of British Muslims said the July 7, 2005, terror bombings in London, which killed 52 innocent commuters, were justified. Another 30% said they would prefer to live under strict Islamic Sharia law rather than England's democratic system.

****************

In the Middle East:

On the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a survey conducted by Al-Jazeera asked respondents, "Do you support Osama Bin-Laden?" A whopping 49.9% answered: yes.

And the July 2006 global Pew survey found that among Muslims, a quarter of Jordanians, a third of Indonesians, 38% of Pakistanis and 61% of Nigerians all expressed confidence in the mass murderer who founded al-Qaida.


Source: Right On: The straightforward arithmetic of jihad, by Michael Freund. One does not have to sign onto Mr. Freund's theory to understand that we are not dealing with a marginal issue among Muslims. So, not all Muslims subscribe to lunacy but a great many obviously do.

You write: "Many things Pipes says about Islam don’t always seem to make that distinction between Islam and Islamism or they come across as a sound-byte that sounds racist to the Arab world."

Well, the reality is that the distinction is subtle, not dramatic, as Islamism is well within the ambit of traditional Islam. So, it may, indeed, sound to you as if he is not making any distinction. But, in fact, he makes the distinction loud and clear. In fact, he may well make a greater distinction than really exists. For example, at the London debate, he stated:

But today it's a third, a third totalitarian movement, a third barbarian movement, namely that of radical Islam. It is an extremist utopian version of Islam. I am not speaking of Islam the religion, I am speaking of a very unusual and modern reading of Islam. It has inflicted misery (as I mentioned Algeria and Darfur, before), there is suicide terrorism, tyrannical and brutal governments, there is the oppression of women, and non-Muslims.

That sounds like he is drawing a distinction.

You write: "On top of that, his association with the Bush administration especially makes the perception worse, suspect. Because Bush is government and the major part of the government’s business historically is usually war. This is a perception Arabs have as well as many US citizens who are fed up with slight of hand tricks by radical conservatives."

I kind of doubt that all that many Muslims, outside of the US that is, have ever heard of Daniel Pipes. Maybe, he is known among Muslim intellectuals. But, average Muslims would have no reason to have heard of him all that much.

Now, you object to the fact that he has some association with the Bush administration. My view on that is, while I do not favor the Bush administration, I do not reject good scholarship. If Pipes' scholarship is good, that, to me, is the end of the matter. And, if his scholarship is not good, then he deserves criticism. But, the fact that he has had some connection with the US government during the Bush time is, to me, rather trivial. I note that a hefty percentage of Americans voted for Bush - evidently twice in many cases. So, should I reject the scholarship of anyone associated with Bush? That, to me, is nonsense.

I note: the greatest living scholar of Islam, Bernard Lewis, has also had some minor connection with the Bush administration. Should I stop reading Lewis because of that? If I did, I suspect that the very large number of Turkish scholars who adore Lewis would think me crazy. Do you see my point?


N. Friedman - 2/15/2007

Peter,

That is false. I do not lump all Muslims together. Obviously, you do not understand my position. In that I just had a long debate with Professor Art Eckstein regarding our views about Islam and Muslims, I below reprint some of it so that, just maybe, you will bug off!!!

Excerpted from Re: reply to N.F. and LOL! (#105205)
by N. Friedman on February 8, 2007 at 7:09 PM
Professor,


To return to what you write. You mention the rising of a reform version of Islam in the 19th Century. The historian in you no doubt says that Islam thus is what its followers say it means. I, in fact, agree with that sentiment. The problem I have is that the 19th Century version, ala, for example, Sayyid Ahmad Khan did not catch hold.

So, we have, with minor exceptions, the Islam that might be and the Islam that is. And the Islam that is derives more from the Islam that was, basically from the beginning, than from the Islam that might be. And, perhaps, the Islam that might have been was, to do a bit of historical contextualizing, something that fit in with occupied India where there seemed no hope of overcoming the West.

Now, I reiterate my view: that which makes a society great is rarely sweetness or necessarily peace loving. That which made Islam great occurred, as the famed Hadith goes, under the shade of swords - more completely: Paradise is under the shade of swords -. And, perhaps even more to the point, the Hadith which Goldhizer focused upon: "The asceticism of Islam is the Jihad." Think about these rather significant ahadith, Art? They do not suggest a civilization formed about peaceful notions. In fact, exactly the opposite. In this regard and with special reference to the latter hadith, read David Cook's Understanding Jihad. It is worth the time.

I wish you would address yourself to this point rather than to what Islam might be read as -, if Islam espouses a more militant way of life than, say, Christianity, why is that bad to acknowledge? After all, there does appear to be something valuable at the end of the Islamic tunnel, namely, high civilization. It seems to me that the most we can say is that (a) Islam does not offer a life that a modern person might want and (b) that Islam's glory is, notwithstanding the efforts of the Jihadists to recapture the past, has been passed by so that Muslims should reform their faith.

One last point: where Islamist Jihadism differs from traditional Islam turns, I think, largely on the fact that Muslims are turning not to the leaders of their countries for the call to Jihad but, instead, considering such leaders illegitimate so that the calls from comparable lunatics are taken seriously. At least that is the case for Sunni radicals. So, we have an undirected Jihad, so that Jihad itself becomes an almost an end in itself rather than a means to extend Muslim rule. That is my take.


Re: reply to N.F. and LOL! (#105206)
by N. Friedman on February 8, 2007 at 7:57 PM
Art,

A slight corrective on second consideration. Strike my sentence that reads: "So, we have an undirected Jihad, so that Jihad itself becomes an almost an end in itself rather than a means to extend Muslim rule."

That sentence suggests that there is no method or aim at all to the madness. On more careful consideration, I think it more accurate to state that there is but, as David Cook argues, the Jihad also has an ascetic character that carries it forward and, I might add, most especially in the current situation. But, there is an aim, at the very least for the leaders, in the madness although, to those who carry it out, we have Jihad as a way of life and, perhaps to some extent and for some, with more specific aims.

Excerpts from Re: reply to N.F. and LOL! (#105211)
by N. Friedman on February 9, 2007 at 12:45 AM




On the other hand, where we disagree is the way you understand religion. I think religion is a force in its own right. So Islam, like the faith you and I were born into was before the 18th Century, is not, as I see it, flexible quite in a manner that would readily give life to a Koranic verse such as there is no compulsion in religion. Rather, such verse, for example, must be read in the context supplied by the Islamic tradition, something as deeply important to a Muslim as the Jewish tradition is to a devout Orthodox Jew.

And the Muslim tradition developed in the wake of the conquests of the early Muslims, with the view coming quickly to be that Mohammed's revelation was a rolling revelation with the later revelation, to the extent there is a contradiction, being a clarification to or, in Islamic jurisprudential language, abrogation, in whole or in part, of the earlier revelation.

In other words, a Muslim schooled in his faith could never properly read alone the command that there is no compulsion in religion. Instead, that command would have to be read in conjunction with not only other revelations but ones that significantly modify what seems, in the abstract, to be fairly progressive.

For example - and, for the permitted infidel monotheistic religions critically significant -, your noted revelation must be read and reconciled with the Koranic revelation "Fight against them who do not follow the religion of truth until they pay tribute [i.e. the jizyah] by right of subjection, and they be reduced low." And even, for pagan infidel, the pertinent revelation calls for more extreme measures, namely, that they be offered Islam or the sword. But, the revelation that there is no compulsion in religion does not disappear. Its merely has to be read in light of later revelations.

Further, the model of Mohammed's life - the teachings/traditions (i.e. Sunnah) derived from his life, including his conquests - is centrally pertinent to Islamic thinking. These teachings or traditions are the ahaditha. A system for interpreting them and determining which are authentic involves tremendous scholarship and, like the weaving of doctrine with respect to reading the Koran, involves resolving conflicts. Again, these traditions are part and parcel of what makes Islam Islam.

I mention our forefathers' religion because, like Judaism, the Koranic revelations and ahaditha are also the language that determines the law, that is, the Shari'a. And, like Judaism, because Islam is law based, it is a religion dedicated to people's good works. This is all as intricate as is Jewish law, with reference to Torah, Talmud, etc., etc..

Now, as Cook shows in his book (and I read this quite a while back so my number may be off by a percentage point or so), nearly or more than 20% of all haditha are dedicated to Jihad in the nature of war. That, no doubt, is due to the fact that such were mostly written when Islamic armies were conquering.

But that fact, the fact that Mohamed was a military leader as well as religious leader, the fact that the exhortations to make war in the Koran and, also in the ahaditha are not written so as to suggest a contextual limitation but in an open ended manner - as in "Fight against them who do not follow the religion of truth until they pay tribute by right of subjection, and they be reduced low." - make it not only a question of scholars thinking their way to a better understanding. Rather, the actual texts are not readily flexible as your comment about no compulsion in religion suggests. So, the shape of the religion, as with any other brilliant religion, is not flexible to meet the picking out of this or that phrase.

Note, however, that the texts do not have to be read so as to support terrorism. And, I have never so suggested. And, from early - and, perhaps, because there was, from the beginning, the problem that individuals, after reading the texts as they naturally read, would advance their own Jihads against those insufficiently doctrinaire (e.g. the Kharajites) and against infidels -, the scholars saw the texts as supporting a communal struggle, not an individual struggle.

I might add that, in fact, the idea of individual struggle against the infidel was a profound problem for the early Muslims, as described in some general detail in Patricia Crone's brilliant book, No god but God. Jihadis would move to the frontier of Muslim territory and raid, often against the will of the Caliph, into infidel territory. Such is also noted, out of Andalusia into Christian Spain and France, by Bat Ye'or in her brilliant book The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam.

My point is that the texts naturally point toward individual Jihadic activity, most especially where there is no competent person to lead the struggle. So, the texts themselves are a real issue and the problem is not limited to context. In fact, a reform that follows the Christian model of literalism might support a very militant religion, with individuals advancing their own violent agenda.

Now, my prior point about what can be said about Islam is intended not to address those who take Jihad into their own hands. Rather, I speak primarily of traditional views - under which Islam helped form a brilliant civilization - while noting that the private Jihadis are clearly within the Islamic tradition. So, that brilliant civilization is not something to be sneezed off. At least not in my view. But, like Roman military virtues, the more militant aspects of Islam exist and are not tangential, are not the views only of the few misunderstanders but, in fact, are part and parcel of the faith as it has always been.

And, of course, if one is a believer, such as Professor Furnish, one can advance additional arguments that certainly have weight. But, I was speaking from the perspective of a non-believer. And, my view is that, among belief systems, only a few bad things can really be said about Islam. The rest is description, with Islam, in some ways, fairing rather well against other faiths.

Excerpts from Re: reply to N.F. and LOL! (#105225)
by N. Friedman on February 9, 2007 at 12:23 PM
Hi Professor,

I was not attacking Islam. I do not think that one needs to write an apologia for the religion, at least not for anything I wrote. Again, my point is that the basic character of the faith will not change in short order or because, to you and me, the Jihad thing seems rather barbaric and Medieval.

[omitted]

There are two issues raised by your point.

The first and, I think, more important reason is: what imaginable reason, from the point of view of a devout Muslim, is there to make the sort of changes you might propose? Note: there were actual discernable reasons behind the changes that affected both Christianity and Judaism. Judaism is the more readily familiar to me and, likely, to you. Note: there were at least two periods of substantial change for Judaism. The first obvious change came with the scattering of the Jewish people from Zion. That change is most readily discernable in the Passover ritual with its language "Next year in Jerusalem." But, the change was deeper than that. An entire rethinking of the religion was involved, with the creation of its own literature. And, it certainly did not occur overnight. It occurred because the other path could not be continued. The other substantial change of note concerned the various important divisions such as the reform and conservative movements. Again: these changes arose because the classical rabbinic path was seen, by large numbers of Jews, as a dead end. One could not, as Jews wanted, assimilate into European society, when the opportunity arrived, while maintaining the tradition in tact. And even that was not enough because such people were still believers. That meant that one could simply not discard portions of the faith that were not convenient but, instead, one needed to rethink the matter through radically. For example, the reform movement decided that the entire law based manner of religious thinking would be rejected, seeing the laws instead as moral guides. Etc., etc.

My point is that this is not simply a case where Muslims wake up one day and say, let's ignore this nasty passage. Jihad is a central tenet of the faith that is simply not going to go away. Whatever might happen - and this is my second point - will take a long time, likely long beyond the deaths of our grandchildren. The simple reason is that there is no imaginable reason why Muslims would want to reject a central tenet of the faith that, over the centuries, has been remarkably successful, notwithstanding its seeming radical break with what is moral. Considering that moral point in a religious context - as a fundamental article of faith - we have, in effect, God telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac after God's promise to Abraham that through Isaac a great people would spring, with all that entails including the abhorrence of being asked to kill one's own son. Jihad is no less important to Islam and no more readily written out.

What would drive the doctrine out of the faith is the utter defeat of Islam due to that doctrine. Which is to say, those Muslims who remain true believers would have to see that there is no path forward for them as a people if they believe in Jihad. That, so far, is not happening. And, in Europe, large groups, rather than adjusting to modernity, are attempting to force modernity to adjust to Islamic tenets. And, thus far, they are getting their way.

You write: Even Ibn Warraq (no friend of Islam, as you know) acknowledges that many passages in the Koran are simply ignored by many Muslims, including the most offensive and aggressive passages: he cites the example of doctors in Pakistan who refused to amputate the limbs of thieves. But this act by the doctors in itself changes "really-existing Islam."

The issue is not one of this or that believer. The issue is what a faith based community - to use that trite phrase - does.

You write: Even more pertinent, some Muslims, including prominent ones, interpret Sura 9.5 to mean that Muslims have the right to abrogate at will any peace treaty made with non-Muslims, whereas others say that 9.5 deals with a very specific case, and point to verse 48.26 which says one must keep the terms of treaties with those who have kept their terms with you. The Koran is a complex and often self-contradictory text, and some verses will be more influential than others of a contrary trend, depending on the historical context and the influence of certain thinkers.

I think you misread this point. The doctrines in dispute here came into dispute, as with all doctrines in any religion that come into dispute, when Muslims faced an existential problem. The problem with the old view is that breaking interstate relations led to the mass slaughter of Muslims by Christians. It did not arise due to different notions about Jihad or, for that matter, about the meaning of the texts or, for that matter, out of a desire to get along with infidels. Rather, it arose in the context that the Sultan-Caliph - as it is a doctrine which is directed at the political leadership - needed justification for his political agenda when his empire was under serious threat. And note: the doctrine - which is the basis for a Dar al-Suhl (House of Covenant) - did not ever have complete acceptance although it has been raised by some Islamic scholars with reference to places such as the United Kingdom and the various parts of Europe where large numbers of Muslims live.

I might note that your understanding has the further problem that the actual conflicting Muslim doctrines are not about breaking peace treaties. The traditional view is that peace treaties are not possible; only truces and, with the truces, for not longer than 10 years (albeit renewable) and breakable with fighting to resume after notifying the other party of the decision to break the truce. So, we actually have two versions of what a truce (and understanding that we are talking about a truce is critical to understanding the matter) might be: one being the classical hudna and the other creating an intermediary category within the truce framework, namely, the House of Covenant. So the system kept the change within the classical understanding and did not make a leap into a whole new way of thinking about International relations. Such was not possible for those raised devoutly.

I might lastly note that the House of Covenant notion is, since it arises within the classical theory, not so easy a fit, which is why it has not had the sort of primary acceptance that the more classical view has. What I am saying, in other words, is that the devout Muslim is more likely to recognize the doctrine as makeshift, tentative - not the sort of alternative thinking you seem to think it is, with - and, even then, with covenants that are still not comtemplated to be permanent .


You write: Of course, we should not be worried about those Muslims who go with 48:26 but about those who DO believe in the above interpretation of Sura 9:5. And if they are the vast majority of Muslims now, we should be very worried indeed, because it means effective diplomacy between such Muslims and non-Muslims is impossible because such Muslims are totally untrustworthy.

This doctrine should not much concern us at all when dealing with ordinary Muslims. We have no personal hudnas with any Muslims. The doctrine should, however, concern countries that border Muslim states, such as Israel, where, for example, the Muslim Brotherhood, were it to come to power, would likely reject any treaty with Israel and would more likely only offer, if ever, a hudna - however conceived by that group.

I note that before the subway and bus bombings in London, the lunatics sent notice to people in the UK that their house of covenant relationship had come to an end. So, in that sense, the doctrine should concern all of us. That suggests that even the lunatics see the matter in a framework including some of the traditional "innovations" which they, allegedly, reject. But note: the House of Covenant notion was not conceived as permanent and has an easy out, which the lunatics cited to, namely, that the British were not keeping their end of what was, in fact, an imaginary bargain.


You write: But even if this latter bad situatiion were the case, that does not mean that such a situation is "the real and only Islam," past, present, future, forever. Historical change over time is the primary perception and focus of historians. (Of course, the changes need NOT be in what we would call a positive direction! That's what I've said is the difference between trends in 19th c Islam, as far as I understand them, and trends today.)

I, again, do not see your point. I am not compelling Muslims to see their religion this or that way. I am not even imploring them to see it differently. I am making a comment akin to one that might be made about ancient Roman martial virtues. Mine is an observation, not a statement of proscription. I suggest you make believe you were looking at the Roman Empire. You simply would not write that Roman virtues were for non-martial, whether or not the details change from time to time, as they also do in Islam. This is really a critical point, Art, because I think you are projecting your moral choices onto Muslims instead of just seeing what they say.

You write: The jihadists have a strong, indeed, unanswerable case for being AN authentic and indeed A major Muslim tradition. And as you say, N.F., you and I are in strong agreement on the nature of the current crisis, and on much else, including how to help Muslim "moderates" by treating the jihadists as the barbarians they are, and treating ignorant fools and liars such as Omar as one should treat such people; and we're in agreement on much else too. I am not optimistic nor naive about Islam. But I do not see a picture of total bleakness either. The current situation is a historical situation caused by specific historical forces, and we are in agreement again that mostly those destructive forces come from within Islam itself. Where we differ is in our understanding of whether those terribly destructive and aggressive forces MUST go unanswered in Islam on THEOLOGICAL grounds.

I think we agree here as well. I think the most important point to note is that whatever change will come among Muslims, it is not going to happen in our lifetime. Jihad works. It has a long and successful track record. It give, as David Cook brilliantly argues, substantial ascetic life meaning - as a warrior doctrine - to Muslims. And, it is deeply irrational in the same way that the sacrifice story regarding Abraham and Isaac is deeply irrational, that goes to the very heart of what it means to be a Muslim. That tells me that this doctrine will not go away easily or, perhaps, at all.

****************

I really do not see a successful doctrine such as Jihad changing anytime soon, if at all. If and when Jihad comes to be seen as an existential danger to Islam, then we shall have real change. On the other hand, the notion of personal Jihad - while it has its own history and is not, as I have argued repeatedly entirely novel - is more likely to run its course as it clearly leads to horrors that will come home to. But, given the absence of a Caliph to say no, it will likely take a good long time, maybe more than a century.


Carl Becker - 2/15/2007

You don’t have to prove to me Islamism means totalitarian fundamentalism, this is common knowledge, but all Muslims are being corralled into the same category, as Anti-Semites, or as having the potential to be recruited as hard core believers (American Christian fundamentalists, whose religion runs antagonistic to Judaism, who have their own prophet of doom, also want to put their values into the political system – if they got their way with the Constitution, Jews and Muslims would have a problem). Many things Pipes says about Islam don’t always seem to make that distinction between Islam and Islamism or they come across as a sound-byte that sounds racist to the Arab world. On top of that, his association with the Bush administration especially makes the perception worse, suspect. Because Bush is government and the major part of the government’s business historically is usually war. This is a perception Arabs have as well as many US citizens who are fed up with slight of hand tricks by radical conservatives.


John Charles Crocker - 2/15/2007

"I worry very much from the Jewish point of view that the presence, and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims...will present true dangers to American Jews."
He did not specify that it was a subset of the Muslim population he was worried about here, rather the increase in Muslim influence in general that presents a clear danger to Jewish people. This is tantamount to saying that any gain by Muslims in American society amounts to not only a loss for Jewish people but a clear danger to them.
I have not been able to find the original quote, so I do not know what is missing in the ellipsis, but if it does not contain some exculpatory material this seems to me to be a bigoted statement.

“The Palestinians are a miserable people, and they deserve to be.”
Available here http://www.wrmea.com/archives/july01/0107057.html
This also seems to me to be a bigoted statement.

This brand of rhetoric is not helpful to constructive debate. Do you think that these statements are justified?


N. Friedman - 2/15/2007

No Peter,

I am not nitpicking. I am making you do what you demand of me.

Now, I do not think you have made your case. I do not think Pipes is a demagogue. I do not know the depth of his scholarship, having not read any of his books, but he clearly has considerable knowledge.

I note that people who live in the see no evil, hear no evil mentality see people like Pipes as alarmist or demagogic. By contrast, I think the evidence itself largely supports the view that the Islamists are very much more dangerous than is conventional wisdom.

Note: you use to argue with me when I said there was a large group that supported the Jihadists. The scholarship, subsequent to our original discussions, shows that, in fact, a hefty percentage of Western Muslims support violence while, in the Muslim regions, the level of support is no doubt a lot higher.

I think you should sit down with the scholarship on this issue with open eyes. The scholarship that says the problem is really, really serious and not the work of isolated people is overwhelming.


John Charles Crocker - 2/15/2007

"I also contend that the domination and subjugation of a people enabled by the same superiority of destructive power and lethality of weapons is equally and as quintessentially an 'act of terror'!"

Given this broad definition you have constructed for acts of terror, which countries in the Middle East do you think are not engaged in continuous "acts of terror"?


N. Friedman - 2/14/2007

Peter,

I know you understand that you are being disingenuous. But I repeat: I would like his words to be quoted, not some political hack who has an in for Dr. Pipes. Then, I might be satisfied. But, quoting the likes of Hitchens does not impress me, not one little bit. Why? Because he and the other people you are citing are giving opinions, not stating facts and certainly none of the facts support the view that he hates Muslims.

As you have said to me repeatedly, I want facts - first hand facts, because you are making an outrageous accusation. That others make similar accusations does not mean any of them are on target. What matters to me are facts. So, give them to me or drop it.


N. Friedman - 2/14/2007

Carl,

Again, I agree that Islamophobia is another word like racism. But, I think both of those words are inappropriate with respect to anything I have ever heard from or read by Dr. Pipes.

Islamism is, in my mind, a dangerous, Utopian ideology that posits, among other outrageous and dangerously wrongheaded ideas, a conspiracy by Jews - who have supposed duped Christians in order to help Jews - to conquer the world. I think that is a fact. So, if Pipes has ideas for countering that nasty, Utopian agenda, such ideas should be considered.

Note: Dr. Pipes does not say we should destroy Islam, only Islamism. Do you see the difference in his terminology?

As for Israel, denying Israel's right to exist is the discourse, in 95% of the cases, of Antisemites. And, for the others, my question is what would they propose, as the dismantling of Israel would effectively place the lives of the Israelis at substantial risk, with no moral basis that I can imagine. As the rather famous Michael Walzer notes:

So what is the alternative? It seems obvious to me: two anachronistic states are better than one. Judt says that this was "once a possible and just solution." He can't really believe this, given his view of nation-states, but it is kind of him to tell us that the solution preferred by most Israelis and most Palestinians would once have been all right with him. In fact this solution is still both possible and just: two states divided by the 1967 lines, with two privileged peoples, two privileged languages, two privileged histories, two laws of return—the whole anachronistic thing.

I note: I can prove - with quotes, including quotes by the fathers of Islamism, such as Qutb - everything I have said here. The alternative: you could do your homework and realize that the Islamist movement is a vile cancerous movement that deserves to be defeated.


Carl Becker - 2/14/2007

You can have a policy on terror without having an actual war. (paraphrasing Pipes)


Carl Becker - 2/14/2007

N., To me the word Islamophobic is just another word for racism. The evidence you’re asking for will never be found because of his scholarship and his velvety cleverness. When he walks into a room to give his lecture, it’s like he wants to be interrupted, like a ringmaster, because it helps him. It’s a waste of time to ask someone for evidence on this. Difficult to explain.

Yeah, Jews have a lot to fear for but so do Muslims because they’re being defined by elevated discourses of people like Pipes. Moving on. Too me, the Jewish-Hamas- Hezbollah, etc issue is simple and it goes back to what Jews have been saying a long time, that if Israel doesn’t have the right to exist, then how do we as Jews have the right to exist? This is a line Hillel throws at Muslims all the time, and it’s hurtful to them – this right to exist premise. It over-simplifies because Jews existed prior to the state of Israel’s existence and even if Israel didn’t exist, they still would. Because I believe Pipes is Jewish and because of his father’s influences, he has an agenda with Islam in general.

How do you explain a statement like this from the financial show: "Pipes told Dobbs, "Our first goal must be to destroy this radical utopian ideology ("Islamism"), as we did fascism in World War II, communism in the Cold War. We must now in this war destroy Islamism." I’m sure he later back-tracked saying he meant something else but I didn’t believe it.


N. Friedman - 2/14/2007

Carl,

None of what you write makes Pipes Islamophobic. The issue is whether his scholarship is correct and legitimate. If it is, then his suggestions of concern are not Islamophobic. They may even be well considered.

For example, take his concern for the US Jewish community in view of what Islamic radicals assert. I do not see how his is even really a conservative position. It is, rather, common sense - unless you think that Jews have nothing at all to fear from Muslims who openly espouse the elimination variety of Antisemitism, as supporters of the HAMAS and of Hezbollah rather often do.



Carl Becker - 2/14/2007

PIPES SAYS ENFRANCHISEMENT OF U.S. MUSLIMS THREATENS JEWS

"I worry very much from the Jewish point of view that the presence, and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims...will present true dangers to American Jews."

Daniel Pipes speaking before the convention of the American Jewish Congress, 10/21/2001

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DANIEL PIPES SAYS ALL MUSLIMS MUST BE WATCHED

THE WAR'S MOST AGONIZING ISSUE
Daniel Pipes, Jerusalem Post, 1/22/03

There is no escaping the unfortunate fact that Muslim government employees
in law enforcement, the military, and the diplomatic corps need to be
watched for connections to terrorism, as do Muslim chaplains in prisons and
the armed forces.

Muslim visitors and immigrants must undergo additional background checks.
Mosques require a scrutiny beyond that applied to churches, synagogues and
temples. Muslim schools require increased oversight to ascertain what is
being taught to children…


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DANIEL PIPES: WAR OF THE DIATRIBES
Peter Rodgers, Weekend Australian, 11/16/02
Peter Rodgers is a former Australian ambassador to Israel.

Militant Islam Reaches America
By Daniel Pipes, Norton, 296pp, $49.95

READING Daniel Pipes's latest book, brimming with dire warnings of Islamic threats, made me deeply envious. I so wish I could be a polemicist, then I'd never have to worry about accuracy and balance, about passing off egregious nonsense as alarming statement of fact, about repetition and self-contradiction. I, too, could trumpet mediocre fictions as insightful prophecies…

Pipes's solution to the problem of militant Islam amounts to supporting its enemies, whoever they are and no matter what they do, just as it earlier made sense to stick by Saigon or Augusto Pinochet in Chile. It was, of course, the US's later determination to stick by those fighting the Russian communists in Afghanistan that led the CIA into bed with Osama bin Laden. How little we learn...

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BALTIMORE SUN SLAMS DANIEL PIPES' BOOK

'MILITANT ISLAM' -- IGNORING HISTORY AND CURRENT REALITY
Robert Ruby, Baltimore Sun, 9/29/02

A polemic has license for exaggeration, but Militant Islam makes indefensible claims. Citing Iran's eight-year war against Iraq, Pipes suggests that Islamic states are inherently war-like, ignoring the fact that the war was started by secular Iraq. Afghanistan's civil wars are blamed on militant Islam, a gross simplification ignoring the venality and murderousness of the warlords who opened the way for the Taliban…

A chapter devoted to the unmasking of Islamic sleeper cells could be mistaken for self-parody. Clues to search for include, "Sending or receiving large amounts of money; criminal activity, especially reliance on counterfeited money and smuggling; a promising career that failed, descent into drugs and alcohol, then redemption through Islam; an offer to work for the enemy's intelligence service…"

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DANIEL PIPES LAUNCHES "ENEMIES LIST" WEB SITE

Pro-Israel Web Site To Monitor Views Of US Academia
Daniel Golden, Dow Jones News Service, 9/17/02

NEW YORK - (Dow Jones) - A pro-Israel think tank plans to start an Internet site Wednesday to monitor the attitudes of American professors and universities toward Islamic fundamentalism and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

To be launched by the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, www.campus-watch.org will maintain what it calls "dossiers" on professors and academic institutions and collect information from students regarding their teachers' political opinions…

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DANIEL PIPES AND "THE WAR ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM"
Kristine McNeil, The Nation, 11/11/02

The year since Congress passed the USA Patriot Act has brought an ever-growing enemies list from our nation's thought police…

Based in Philadelphia and headed by anti-Arab propagandist Daniel Pipes, Campus Watch unleashed an Internet firestorm in late September, when it posted "dossiers" on eight scholars who have had the audacity to criticize US foreign policy and the Israeli occupation. As a gesture of solidarity, more than 100 academics subsequently contacted the Middle East Forum asking to be added to the list…

As with redbaiting during the 1950s, the leaders of these current attacks are exploiting the fear and anxiety the American public feels about enemies abroad in order to advance their own political agenda. Now with access to
the Internet, Pipes and his supporters have been able to expand their attacks into a virtually limitless campaign of harassment and intimidation…

The Campus Watch site is a showcase for the signature distortions on which Pipes has built his twenty-five-year career. He twists words, quotes people out of context and stretches the truth to suit his purpose…

Pipes is notorious in the academy for calling Muslims "barbarians" and "potential killers" in a 2001 National Review article and accusing them of scheming to "replace the [US] Constitution with the Koran," in a similar piece in Insight on the News. Along these lines, a 1990 National Review article insisted that "Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene....All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most."



In addition to running the Middle East Forum, serving on a Defense Department antiterrorism task force and writing columns for the Jerusalem and New York Post, Pipes is also a regular contributor to the website of
Gamla, an organization founded by former Israeli military officers and settlers that endorses the ethnic cleansing of every Palestinian as "the only possible solution" to the Arab-Israeli conflict…

---

DANIEL PIPES: BRANDED A BIGOT
DOUGLAS CARD, Oregonian, 11/17/02

Last summer I suffered collateral damage as the protagonists in the Middle East conflict brought the verbal war home to Oregon. In his column in the New York Post, controversial columnist Daniel Pipes listed me as one of
several leftist anti-Semites at U.S. universities whose extremist rhetoric encouraged attacks on Jewish students.

Based on the false claims of a disgruntled student, Pipes charged that I had called Israelis "baby-killers" and "bashed Israelis and Jews at every opportunity" in my University of Oregon sociology class last fall.

This accusation of racism cut to the root of who I am and what I do as a sociologist. It has been one of the most painful experiences of my life. From here to Jerusalem, where it also was published, it libeled my name
and the university's…

I've learned many things from this terrible ordeal. Although I value both freedom of the press and academic freedom, this case is a reminder that these freedoms must be accompanied by the thoughtful exercise of civility
and professional responsibility. Never should we impugn the character of another without first carefully checking the facts.

Once the accusations are out there, they are hard to dispel. In fact, with Pipes' column still on his Web site, I and others he attacked have received hundreds of incredibly vicious spam e-mails in the past few weeks, some of
which were responses to forged messages from my "hijacked" e-mail identification…

We must not allow intimidation to replace thoughtful, open-minded discourse in our communities and on our campuses during this time of ethnic conflicts and increasing nationalism…

---

THOUGHT CRIME ON CAMPUS
John Sugg, Creative Loafing, 10/2/02

Last month, the blitzkrieg (and that word was chosen precisely for its Nazi allusion) against academia roared into high gear. Daniel Pipes, one of America's most notorious Arab-haters and Islamophobes (qualities held in
high esteem in Washington these days), launched a website, www.campus-watch.org, that solicits students to spy on their teachers…

Pipes is best known for his strident and often racist denunciations of Arabs and Islam. In an effort to divide Americans -- one that if you inserted "blacks" for "Muslims" and "whites" for "Jews," would be vigorously damned as KKK-speech -- he told the American Jewish Congress a year ago that he worries "the presence and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims...will present true dangers to American Jews."

I contacted Pipes, and he not only confirmed his quote but, incredibly, added: "It is accurate in itself but you must note that this was spoken to a Jewish audience. I make the same point respectively to audiences of
women, gays, civil libertarians, Hindus, Evangelical Christians, atheists, and scholars of Islam, among others, all of whom face 'true dangers' as the number of Muslims increases..."

---

PIPES SEEKS TO BLOCK ASHRAWI SPEECH
WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/13/02

COLORADO SPRINGS - Hundreds of protesters brought some of the furor of the Middle East conflict to Colorado yesterday as Hanan Ashrawi delivered the keynote address at a symposium on the September 11 terrorist attacks…

College President Richard Celeste, the former Democratic governor of Ohio and U.S. ambassador to India, defended the college's right to invite provocative speakers and said that pro-Israeli scholar Gideon Doron would
respond to Mrs. Ashrawi's talk with a keynote address today.

That didn't satisfy protesters, who came armed with their own keynote speaker, Middle East scholar and author Daniel Pipes. Speaking to demonstrators outside after Mrs. Ashrawi's address, Mr. Pipes called her appearance at the event "a grievous error."

"Simply put, the United States is engaged in a war on terror, and Mrs. Ashrawi is on the side of America's enemies," said Mr. Pipes, who was escorted to the college by state Attorney General Ken Salazar.

"We should work so that this type of anti-American spokeswoman is not welcome on American campuses," Mr. Pipes said…

---

PIPES AND DERSHOWITZ: AUTHORS WITH A BIAS
Gary D. Keenan, Vancouver Sun, 9/14/02

Kudos to Tim Carter for his perceptive reviews of Militant Islam Reaches America by Daniel Pipes and Why Terrorism Works by Alan Dershowitz ("Two analysts come up empty," Sept. 7).

Those familiar with their track records understand that, in writing these books, Pipes and Dershowitz are promoting a point of view that is pro-Israel and anti-Arab/Muslim. As an "associate" of the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which is connected to like-minded organizations such as the Middle East Forum, the Middle East Research Institute and superhawk Richard Perle's American Enterprise Institute, Pipes has made a career of Arab- and Muslim-bashing...

---

DANIEL PIPES: GREAT LEAPS OF UTTER NONSENSE
Don Wycliff, Chicago Tribune, 10/31/02

Last Friday, while all the talking heads who had filled the airwaves with their expert opinions during the D.C.-area sniper crisis were wiping egg from their faces, Pipes was declaring in his column that the outcome was
really quite unsurprising and elementary. "It came as no surprise," he wrote, "to learn that the lead suspect as the Washington, D.C.-area sniper is John Allen Muhammad, an African-American who converted to Islam about 17
years ago. Nor did it surprise that seven years ago he provided security for Louis Farrakhan's 'Million Man March.' Even less does it amaze that he reportedly sympathized with the Sept. 11 attacks carried out by militant
Islamic elements."

And why was what so many others found remarkable "no surprise" to Pipes?

Because, he said, "it fits into a well-established tradition of American blacks who convert to Islam turning against their country."

Huh? "Well-established tradition"? "Turning against their country"…?

In speaking of an alienation that "goes back decades," Pipes is being either disingenuous or willfully ignorant. Only in very recent decades has America ceased to impose alienation on its black citizens. The wonder is not that an Elijah Muhammad defied the draft during World War II; the wonder is that many more African-Americans did not.

Finally, to suggest that John Allen Muhammad undertook his alleged homicidal odyssey out of some ideological motivation is not only to pop off without so much as a shred of evidence, it is to go against the evidence
that does exist and that suggests this was a man with a terribly diseased mind.

Daniel Pipes has done well over the last few years, hammering away at the dangers of militant Islam. But his column on the sniper suspect just demonstrates the wisdom of an old expression: When the only tool you've got
is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

---

DANISH POLITICIANS REFUTE DANIEL PIPES' "FACTS"
Elisabeth Arnold and Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, National Post, 9/6/02

As Danish politicians, we are offended by the way integration problems in Denmark were portrayed by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard and we wish to set the record straight (Muslim Extremism: Denmark's had Enough, Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard, Aug. 27).

The authors claim that 40% of Danish welfare expenses are consumed by Muslim immigrants…Muslim immigrants do not receive 40% of those allocations even though they represent a substantial part of the clients. The main
reason being: It is hard to compete on a job market not interested in employing immigrants.

The further assumption that more than half of all rapists in Denmark are Muslims is without any basis in fact, as criminal registers do not record religion.

NOTE: In the article referenced above, Daniel Pipes smears the Muslim community in Denmark with several accusations eerily similar to those leveled against the Jewish community in Europe by anti-Semitic propagandists prior to World War II.

These include: 1) being parasites on the society, 2) being disproportionately engaged in criminal behavior, 3) having "unacceptable" customs, 4) seeking to take over the country, and 5) sexual aggression
against women in the dominant culture.

---

THE REAL `DANGER WITHIN' IS RELIGIOUS HATRED
H.D.S. GREENWAY, The Boston Globe, 12/24/2001

It was with sadness, then, that I picked up a copy of Commentary last month to find that professor Daniel Pipes…had written an article entitled: "The Danger Within: Militant Islam in America."

After mocking editorial writers, politicians, and the president of the United States for having "tripped over themselves" to describe American Muslims as just ordinary people who "love their country," Pipes warned that
the "Muslim population in this country is not like any other group, for it includes within it a substantial body of people…who share with the suicide hijackers a hatred of the United States…"

Thus having set the stage for the entire Muslim population in this country to be considered "not like any other group," Pipes goes on to cherry-pick statements from Muslims, not all of them Americans, that would indicate their evil intentions…

This kind of rhetoric is the real face of the danger within.

---

DANIEL PIPES' WEB SITE MAINTAINED BY ISRAELI SETTLER

Daniel Pipes' web site, www.danielpipes.org, is maintained by an Israeli settler, http://grayson.org.il/, who is also webmaster for a settler news service, http://www.yeshanews.org/.

Pipes' webmaster describes his reasons for creating YeshaNews:

"My name is Grayson Levy, and YeshaNews is my personal project - one of the ways I try to make the world a better place. I am committed to reporting, in real time, all that's newsworthy from Yesha. Whether it's bad tidings, such as the incessant stonings, drive-by shootings, or road-side bombs, or good news, such as a community activity, a new housing project in a Jewish community, or a new bypass road opening, YeshaNews will have it first, and in some cases, exclusively."

Editorials published by YeshaNews go so far as to deny the existence of the Palestinian people:

"The time has come to formally recognize that there is no palestinian people, they have never existed, they are a figment of our imagination, the fruit of years of Arafat deceit. The so-called palestinians are Arabs, who
have nothing more in common than their language and religion. They have never had a homeland, and certainly not in Eretz Yisrael. Search in history books from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, even 70s and find references to the
palestinian people. They will not be found, because they do not exist."

---

DANIEL PIPES AND THE NEW INQUISITION
By Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com, 11/14/2001
http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j111401.html

A whole mini-industry has grown up in the wake of the 9/11 atrocity dedicated to the proposition that Islam is the root of all evil in the world. Just as anti-Communism employed and otherwise elevated a whole cadre
of professional witch-hunters - and witch-doctors - so the rise of anti-Islamism opens up a whole new frontier for those thrown out of work by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war. With untold
billions of tax dollars being thrown into the "war on terrorism," the market for anti-Islamists, once severely restricted, has expanded exponentially, and this field of expertise is no longer quite so rarefied.
The war has made formerly obscure figures, such as New York Post columnist and author Daniel Pipes, familiar to news junkies, and it is in Pipes that the anti-Islamist ideology takes on its purest, most extreme form...

Pipes believes that the international Islamist conspiracy - there is no other way to phrase it - is out not to destroy America but to subjugate it. Asked by Salon whether the goal of the Islamists is to create a Muslim
state in America, his answer was "without a doubt." One can only wonder if he said this with a straight face. Pipes went on to explain that this meant a state prohibition on converting out of Islam, as well as the banning of
pork, criminalizing adultery, and "doing away with the equality of the sexes." How does he know this? Well, you see, he kind of divines it...

He can "sense" it! US intelligence agencies are employing the services of psychics in the search for Osama bin Laden, according to reports, but Pipes' extrasensory powers are even more valuable to the war on the home
front. For Pipes and his ilk are the attack dogs of the New Inquisition, whose job it is to sniff out "intimations" of treason…

The view of the anti-Islamists coincides perfectly with the perspective of the Israeli foreign ministry. What they want is the sort of "war on terrorism" the Bush administration is laboring mightily to deny: a war on
Islam. A war in which the US and its faithful ally, Israel, take on the entire Muslim world - and US military power is utilized, albeit indirectly, to further the dream of a Greater Israel...

---

DANIEL PIPES SAYS "RAZE" PALESTINIAN VILLAGES
The National Post, 7/18/01

Israel needs to take more active steps...Bury suicide bombers in potter's fields rather than deliver their bodies to relatives (who turn their funerals into frenzied demonstrations)…Permit no transportation of people
or goods beyond basic necessities. Shut off utilities to the PA...Raze the PA's illegal offices in Jerusalem, its security infrastructure and villages from which attacks are launched.

---

DANIEL PIPES HIRES PR FIRM FOR STEVEN EMERSON

A Little PR Help Never Hurts
National Journal, 12/01/2001

Prominent anti-terrorism expert Steven Emerson has received a lot of attention recently, thanks in part to help from the PR and lobbying firm BKSH & Associates. The Middle East Forum [headed by Daniel Pipes], which
helps finance Emerson's research on terrorism, hired BKSH after September 11. BKSH played a role in arranging airtime recently for Jihad in America, a 1994 video that Emerson made about terrorist cells in the United States.
The video was aired at a congressional hearing in October at which Emerson testified.

SEE: STEVEN EMERSON'S CRUSADE - "Why is a journalist pushing questionable stories from behind the scenes?" By John F. Sugg - http://www.fair.org/extra/9901/emerson.html

---

PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF MECCA?

WEB PROVIDES EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR HATRED
Vlae Kershner, The San Francisco Chronicle, 8/17/00

"There's plenty of narrow-mindedness against a wide variety of groups on the Web. Consider this on www.jewishworldreview.com, a well-designed webzine for politically conservative Jews.

"In a column on the mixed reaction to Lieberman among Muslims, columnist Daniel Pipes baldly states that Muslim claims that they face discrimination and harassment in the United States are 'false.' He gives no supporting
evidence.

"Pipes goes on to write: 'all Islamists (fundamentalist Muslims) have the same ambition, which is what they call 'the Islamization of America.' By this, they mean no less than saving the US through transforming it into a
Muslim country.'

"Where'd he find that, some pseudo-document called the Protocols of the Elders of Mecca?"

---

PIPES SAYS PALESTINIANS ARE "A MISERABLE PEOPLE"

"The Palestinians are a miserable people...and they deserve to be."
Daniel Pipes, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 2001


N. Friedman - 2/14/2007

Peter,

None of what you cite addresses my charges. What your cites show is that those involved could be called conservative, not Muslim haters and not people who fear Muslims.

Again: some actual evidence for your position, if you want to be taken seriously.


Peter Kovachev - 2/14/2007

...I'm in the midst of a project with people buzzing around me and I can't join in to at least numerically even things out a little as you battle the insipid (Omar), the rabid (Clarke) and the doddering (Chapman). At the same time, you're doing a splendid job and one could hardly say you need any help. With facts and logic as ammo against their slogans, obfuscations and befuddlement, you're essentially shooting fish in a barrel. Reload and enjoy!


N. Friedman - 2/14/2007

Peter,

Your evidence does not address Omar's position. His position - to the extent it is intelligible - is that there is a coalition of forces that have Israel aligned with the West. I think that is certainly true.

The distinction among Afghanistan - which people generally applaud - and Iraq - where most, but certainly far from all, object - and Israel - which even more oppose, at least publicly, while some support - is not ideological. The differences are tactical. In the case, for example, of Israel - which has been a lot gentler, by a thousand times, in dealing with Palestinian Arabs than the US and the UK have been in Iraq (and just count the numbers dead and the widespread destruction in Iraq [including the destruction, effectively, of Fallujah], to see my point) -, many, especially in Europe, think it possible to assuage Muslim and Arab feelings by taking a hard stand against Israel. Many, in addition, have made Palestinian Arabs into a fetish cause (as if that group, when they were not in revolt, were among the worst treated on Earth rather than, in fact as was the case, far better treated and with more rights than the mass of Arabs in Arab countries and, in fact, with more rights than many Muslims in Europe) and many think it necessary to oppose Israel because Arabs have oil power. This - and similar such factors -, not Israel's behavior - which is not always very good -, accounts for the disproportionate amount of criticism of Israel (but, evidently, not the far more brutal India and Pakistan with respect to Kashmir or Russia with respect to Chechnya). The point here is that the distinctions are not ideological but pragmatic.

So, in that sense, Omar, not you, is correct.


N. Friedman - 2/14/2007

Peter,

I forgot to note that citing third party articles on the remainder of the topic does not support your position.

Now, if you want to say that The Weekly Standard and Dr. Pipes are on politically conservative, I think that is a fact. But, of course, that was not your charge. You charged them with being, in simple English, hate mongers (i.e. Islamophobes). That is an extreme charge that, so far as I know, is untrue.

If you have evidence - i.e. something that the noted parties stated - that supports your contention, let me know. Otherwise, you have effectively posted a smear.

And, while a few people here enjoy reading smears, my bet is that most people do not enjoy your smears or your refusal to cite actual evidence.


N. Friedman - 2/14/2007

Peter,

None of what you write makes Dr. Pipes an Islamophobe. Even taken as if the posted opinions and facts were all correct - and note, Wikipedia is not always accurate -, none of what appears turns him into a person who hates or fears Muslims - which is what you charged.

I would like to see quotes from him that are hateful, but untrue, with respect to Muslims. Until then, I stand by what I said.

And note: being a right or a left winger does not mean one hates or love or fears Muslims or Islam. Consider that there were alliances between Nazis and Islamists - and are, to this day, between neo-Nazi types and Islamists. So, give me evidence - something you are fond of demanding of others (i.e. quotes from Pipes).


N. Friedman - 2/14/2007

Peter,

Note, that I have argued against use of Islamic fascism as well. I think the correct term for the radicals is "Jihadist" and they believe in "Jihadism."

The point I had about your use of Islamophobia is that there is no evidence that Dr. Pipes hates Muslims or fears them.


John Chapman - 2/14/2007

There is a major problem with Pipe’s challenge of militant Islam to the West. In his dual-track strategy toward it he believes in using all necessary military means to defeat the Islamists, in other words, more of the same neoconservative strategies that have put the US into a situation where it has lost credibility and as well as becoming a laughing stock of the Arabs. With his other original brainstorm, he is he’s hoping to get support from the moderate Muslims. This is the problem. He probably has no idea who they are or how they are defined. Pipes will have to either has to identify them (which he says he's working on) or create them. Moderate Muslims number in the majority in this troubled world, not the radical Muslim fundamentalists so the emphasis on the Islamic fundamentalist menace or the Green Peril is probably exaggerated to a degree. This exaggeration, I think, comes from a bias that reminds me of the Cold War when a sort of cultural arrogance existed between Russia and America. From Western dominance in regard to economic and military power often a cultural superiority of the West was concluded. Another was the West’s use of the double standard; things the West considered legitimate for itself were being perceived as off-limits to anyone but the USA (today it’s qualities in Muslim societies), e.g. weapons of mass destruction, which are supposedly useful for peace and stability when in Western hands, but dangerous otherwise. I think recent events are not being analyzed in their historic context, since they supposedly are of “religious” character and therefore can be explained from the Koran and the Sunnah. The historical conditions and developments of current phenomena are being substituted by referring to holy texts. This kind of bias by the West is getting us nowhere and leaves us only with the military option.

And by the way, Friedman should note that not all “Readers of this website” are tiring” of Clarkes comments.


N. Friedman - 2/13/2007

Come now Peter,

You made an accusation of bigotry. Prove your accusation or do not make one.

As for Dr. Pipes, you, as always, speak with the authority of a person who has not read any books. So, how do you know when he is on or off base? Is it common sense? And, why should I take your word, since you refuse to site chapter and verse?

As I said, Pipes collected a wide variety of views. He posted them on his website. That is the opposite of what you noted. So, as before, you are changing the topic.

Readers of this website are tiring of your condescension and refusal to prove your more outrageous statements. Again: you claimed that The Weekly Standard is Islamophobic. You have provided not one stitch of evidence. Yet, that is an extraordinary accusation that ought only be made with supporting evidence. Then you maliciously lumped Dr. Pipes into your tirade. Again: no evidence on your part. None at all.

It is true that Pipes appears often on HNN. But, nowhere do you show that he speaks malicious lies about Muslims. Nowhere do you show evidence that undermines his point of view. And, you are no authority on the topic - meaning, what you say is nonsense until you cite facts. And note, Peter, you are the most demanding when it comes to other people providing evidence for you. So, this time, put up or shut up.


N. Friedman - 2/13/2007

Peter,

You originally wrote: "The Weekly Standard is notorious for pandering to his brand of demagogic Islamophobia."

Note the word "Islamophobia" in your sentence. That is an extremely serious charge. I doubt it applies to The Weekly Standard but, presumably, you can prove your assertion with facts - i.e. the thing you expect everyone else to do for you.

Now, you make clear that "When it comes to the Mideast, Israel-Palestine and Islamic extremism, Pipes and the Weekly Standard are scarcely distinguishable." So, you entwine Dr. Pipes with your unsubstantiated charge.

I am not a reader of The Weekly Standard. But, I have read Pipes on this website and, on occasion, on his own website. To the extent that you tar him with such a charge, that is an outrageous and rather clearly false charge.

I reiterate: there is information available on the web regarding the London conference. It was the subject of comment on numerous blogs. And, Dr. Pipes provided the web addresses of commentary from people who hold a variety of different viewpoints. Of course, you assumed, without investigating, that he would only post the views of people who agree entirely with him. That, frankly, is typical of you.

From what I read, Dr. Pipes made a dignified presentation. In fact, I read his presentation, something you evidently have not read. In fact, you could even watch his presentation, if you do not trust his transcript.

From the transcript, it appears that his presentation was among the best made at the conference - at least of those I read. By contrast, the mayor - a man who might politely be called a demagogue and who has previously had kind words for Islamist cleric Yusuf al-Quaradawi, who, in turn, has kind words for kamikaze human bombers (i.e. terrorists) - spoke as if he were a fairly uniformed layperson, way outside of his depth, sitting next to two, by comparison, experts on the Islamist phenomena as well as next to a person who had kinder words for the Islamists.

I shall not do your homework for you. I suggest, instead, that you learn how to use Google.

But, more than that, Peter. The fact is that you, not Dr. Pipes, demonstrates prejudices. You, after all, assume you know his position. Yet, you, from what I can tell, know nothing about his position, about Islam, about Islamism, about Islamic history or about any other topic, apart from certain periods in European history. So, perhaps, you might learn something from Dr. Pipes, rather than accuse him of things that you lack the learning to state.


N. Friedman - 2/13/2007

Peter,

Excuse me. You make a nasty accusation about someone. Then you tell me that I should do research for you. You must be kidding.

Let us get to the point. You are either the laziest person on the Internet or you are an idiot. Here is a suggestion: do your own research, bozo!


N. Friedman - 2/12/2007

Peter,

You might take a look at what other people are saying about the conference. Not only does Pipes have such information on his website but others do as well.

Of course, that would require you to investigate.

By the way, Pipes is not a Muslim hater. That is in your head.



David Moshe Zohar - 2/12/2007

So the British Foreign Office wishes to pretend that there is no terror and consequently no need for a war on terror. (The British police at least seem to think differently.)

Britain indeed seems to be going to the dogs, or to put it more politely:
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

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