DETROIT — On October 8th, Daniel Pipes, author and founder of the Middle East Forum and Campus Watch, spoke at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the threat from radical Islam.
Pipes, an advisor to Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani and a columnist for the New York Sun and Jerusalem Post, advocated a military response to terrorism and as a means of victory for Israel over the Palestinians. He has also gone on the record for supporting racial profiling against Muslims, citing the research of another right-wing author who said the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II was justified.
Right before the lecture was to begin, a rally sponsored by the WSU chapter of Anti-Racist Action (ARA) protesting Pipe’s presence drew approximately a dozen participants and several speakers, including a WSU professor. During the rally, a Jewish student was spotted videotaping the rally and he approached the speakers asking to give a pro-Israel speech but was turned away by ARA leader Michael Stauch.
“He’s accusing us of wanting to ethnically cleanse Israel of Jews,” Stauch said. “ARA supports equal rights for Jews, Arabs, Muslims, etc.”
One of the rally’s organizers, Eakta Khangura, asked during the rally, “Where’s the administration in all this?” Khangura said that by allowing the bigoted speaker to come to WSU, “they’ve done a great disservice to this school.”
Inside, approximately 90 attendees settled into Bernath Auditorium, located on the first floor of the undergraduate library, to hear Pipes excoriate the Palestinians and praise the Israelis while giving Washington policy prescriptions that can only be described as monstrous.
He described Israel as engaged in a war for its very existence against two types of opponents: crude and polite. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was his example of the crude, but the second category was much wider – those who call for the end of the Jewish state’s existence, jihad to liberate Jerusalem, or calling Israel’s establishment a mistake or a nakba – Arabic for catastrophe.
Other examples include calling for Israel to be a state of all its citizens and removing Israeli attributes, like the national anthem, policies that would grant a greater measure of equality between Israel’s Jewish and non-Jewish citizens. The people he accused in this endeavor included the mayor of London, England, French legislators and American professors, whom he didn’t name.
Such measures would normally be considered democratizing, but the irony of this didn’t seem to dawn on Pipes’ supporters, or his sponsors, which included the Zionist Organization of America, Stand With Us and the Wayne State group, Students For Israel.
Pipes went on to decry the Oslo accords during the 1990s as “fundamentally misconceived,” that peace treaties and concessions occur not with current enemies, but with former enemies.
“This is a war between Israel and its enemies,” he said. The war, as he described it, is to eliminate a sovereign Jewish state, with the Arab side on the offense and Israel on the defense.
Pipes ignored Israel’s history of the destruction of Palestine, the brutality of the occupation, the expansionist nature of the Jewish state and the ideological basis for it. Instead, he relied on the now discredited paradigm pitting a benign Israel that made mistakes versus an evil Arab world bent on destroying the Jewish state, which he described as a barbaric act.
His proposed solutions to the conflict were more barbaric, since the legitimization of Israel is the legitimization of the equally barbaric system of apartheid it currently maintains.
“My view is that Palestinians should be induced to give up their goals,” Pipes said, and the way towards that goal is, as he put it, to “crush their will.” He assured the audience that the Palestinians could be manipulated into accepting Israel and by extension, legitimizing their own dispossession.
However, the term “crush” has a violent meaning and connotation, and it’s his violent ideas that have condemned Pipes as an extremist, even by the likes of the pro-Iraq war British writer Christopher Hitchens.
“He employs the fears and insecurities created by Islamic extremism to slander or misrepresent those who disagree with him,” Hitchens wrote four years ago online in Slate magazine, denouncing the Bush administration’s nomination of Pipes to the U.S. Institute for Peace.
At around the same time, Michael Scherer wrote in Mother Jones that, “he has been endorsed by groups such as the Christian Coalition, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the Zionist Organization of America.”
Among those views that Pipes has put forward in the past are his support for profiling Arabs and Muslims, as well as violent measures to suppress the Palestinian resistance.
“For years, it has been my position that the threat of radical Islam implies an imperative to focus security measures on Muslims,” he wrote in an op-ed two years ago, praising Michelle Malkin’s book, “In Defense Of Internment.”
“I was encouraged by a just-released Cornell University opinion survey that finds … 44 percent of Americans believe that government authorities should direct special attention toward Muslims living in America,” he wrote. Ironically, during the Q & A that followed the lecture, Pipes denied he was a racist.
“I deal with politics, not race,”he said, adding, “all races are equal.”
In Dec. 2001, Pipes published an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post called “Israel’s Options,” where he made a few “novel” suggestions to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: One of them was to “bury suicide bombers in potter’s fields rather than delivering their bodies to relatives (who turn their funerals into frenzied demonstrations).”
He also proposed that the Israelis “Permit no transportation of people or goods beyond basic necessities,” that they “shut off utilities to the P.A.,” “Implement the death penalty against murderers,” “Raze the PA’s illegal offices in Jerusalem, its security infrastructure, and villages from which attacks are launched.”
“Send a strong deterrent signal: ‘Hit us and we will hit you back much harder,’ ” Pipes wrote on his blog this past Sept., detailing the logic behind his ideas. “Second, (they) impress Palestinians with the Israeli will to survive, and so bring closer their eventual acceptance of the Jewish state.”
Pipes concluded his talk at WSU saying that when the Arabs recognize Israel, the conflict will end.
During the Q & A, Michael Stauch denounced Pipes and was ejected from the room when he refused to stop interrupting the speaker.
A Lebanese student – who asked not to be named – said that his friends saw Pipes speak via TV at the American University in Beirut and what they heard was totally different from what he saw at WSU.
A volunteer for the Red Crescent during Israel’s attack on Lebanon last year, the student said his friends witnessed a different Pipes preach coexistence. He angrily denounced Pipes’ assertion that Israel didn’t target children during the war.
“I know for a fact that 52 percent of the people killed in the Lebanon war were under 14,” the student said, underscoring the extent of Israel’s own barbarism that Pipes defended at his talk. Another Lebanese student asserted, “The problem is not him, but the people who support him.”
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