Why Daniel Pipes is a Wrong Choice for the U.S. Institute of Peace?


The White House has recently nominated Daniel Pipes to the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP www.usip.org).[1] Mr. Pipes is well-known to many of us as a columnist for the NY Post (known for its shoddy journalism) and through his appearances in Radio and (less frequently so in) TV as an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and pro-Israel propagandist who supports an extreme right-wing version of Zionism. Like his buddy, Steven Emerson, he has a long history of bigotry against Muslims. He is alleged to claim that 10 to 15 percent of Muslim Americans are militant Islamists (a new jargon, popularized by anti-Muslim bigots, to replace the now-forgotten or phased-out phrase ‘Muslim fundamentalists’), ready to blow up America like Mohammed Ata.[2] Given the fact that Muslim population in the US is now estimated at 6 to 8 million, his assertion would mean that there are approx. 600,000 to 1,200,000 potential ‘Mohammed Ata’ living in the States. Anyone has to be criminally insane like Goering or Goebbles to concoct an assertion like that.

Pipes first came to our attention, as far as I can recall, from his involvement in causing the sensation against Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses,” when the book was published. The organizations he is associated with (Middle East Forum and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy) serve as pro-Israel think tanks. His schizophrenic and xenophobic political agenda affecting the Muslim world are well documented in the website www.danielpipes.org that bears his name.

As can be verified from his website, Pipes has been in a tug-of war with CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) for the last couple of years. He complains that people like him are intimidated by CAIR and its sympathizers, whom he calls Islamists. How hypocritical that he should now complain about intimidation when it was he who in 1999 tried to intimidate the Palestinian Professor Hannan Ashrawi from speaking in a college in Fort Collins, Colorado. Pipes said,

“Simply put, the United States is engaged in a war on terror, and Mrs. Ashrawi is on the side of America’s enemies.. We should work so that this type of anti-American spokeswoman is not welcome on American campuses.” (Washington Times, 9/13/02)

As if that was not enough, Pipes recently started a Gestapo-styled Campus Watch Internet site http://www.campus-watch.org to monitor the thoughts of American professors and universities toward Islam and the Arab-Israeli conflict. This website maintains “dossiers” on professors and academic institutions and collects information from students concerning their teachers’ political views. The site began with an initial “blacklisting” of eight professors: M. Shahid Alam, Northeastern University; Juan Cole, University of Michigan; Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University; John Esposito, Georgetown University; Rashid Khalidi, University of Chicago; Joseph Massad, Columbia University; Ali Mazrui, State University of New York, Binghamton (formerly with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor); Snehal Shingavi, University of California, Berkeley.

The Campus Watch Site states that it is “dedicated to defending the interests of America” and yet, it is totally comfortable with its McCarthyite activities. I wonder if we are any longer in the land of the free or in Stalin’s Soviet Union!

A cursory glance at the http://www.danielpipes.org website provides one of Pipes’ latest diatribes against the persecuted Palestinians: “Polls, Palestinians and the Path to Peace,” New York Post, February 18, 2003. Pipes audaciously writes,

“Why are Palestinians so angry at Israel? There are two possible reasons.

Political: They accept the existence of a Jewish state but are angry with this or that Israeli policy.

Rejectionist: They abominate the very existence of Israel and want to destroy it.

Which is correct has many implications. If Palestinians only want changes in what Israel is doing (such as building towns on the West Bank), then it is reasonable to ask Israel to alter those actions – and the main burden of resolving the conflict falls on Israel.

But if Israel’s existence remains at issue, then it follows that the conflict will end only when the Palestinians finally and irrevocably accept the Jewish state. Seen this way, the main burden falls on the Palestinians.

If it’s a routine political dispute, diplomacy and compromise are the way to make progress. But if the Palestinians reject Israel’s very existence, diplomacy is useless, even counterproductive, and Israel needs to convince Palestinians to give up on their aggressive intentions. More bluntly, Israel would then need to defeat the Palestinians.”

What an analysis, which is nothing but a black and white fallacy! One has to be either deranged or depraved to cook up a bifurcation argument like that! It is a shame for this nation and a slap on the faces of its intelligentsia that disingenuous individuals are often considered as think-tanks or policy-makers and that their wicked advice is listened to by our government officials. This nation has literally been “hijacked” by these Zionist racketeers. What a shame! How immoral! Are these the only two alternatives for which Palestinians are ‘angry’ in the Occupied Territories? What about a third alternative, the JUST cause é they are angry because they are human beings with aspirations similar to any other freedom-loving human being that live in this planet? Most of them have known nothing but bondage – a denial of freedom. They have been wronged and violated by a state that terrorizes them relentlessly, that confiscates their land, that bulldozes their homes, that murders them without any provocation? Their anger is fueled by iron-fisted Israeli repression, daily humiliations, and the establishment of sharply increasing numbers of Israeli settlements. Not a week passes by when a dozen or two Palestinians are not murdered by Sharon’s forces. On March 6, ’03 Israeli Defense Force murdered another 11 unarmed civilians with its tank-shells.

On Sunday, March 16, ’03, a 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie (23) of Olympia, USA, was crushed to death by a bulldozer, paid for by US, as she tried to prevent the Israeli army destroying homes in the Gaza Strip. Greg Schnabel, 28, from Chicago, said the protesters were in the house of Dr. Samir Masri.

“Rachel was alone in front of the house as we were trying to get them to stop,”he said.

A glimpse of Palestinian life inside the Occupied Territories can be obtained from Rachel’s letters to friends and family members, now made available by the Guardian, UK (see, the March 18, ’03 issue). On Feb. 7, she wrote,

“I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see. It is most difficult for me to think about what’s going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States. Something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don’t know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I’m not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, é Nevertheless, no amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can’t imagine it unless you see it – and even then you are always well aware that your experience of it is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli army would face if they shot an unarmed US citizen, and with the fact that I have money to buy water when the army destroys wells, and the fact, of course, that I have the option of leaving. Nobody in my family has been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower[4] at the end of a major street in my hometown.”

In another letter to her mother, on Feb. 27, Rachel wrote,

“I have bad nightmares about tanks and bulldozers outside our house and you and me inside. Sometimes the adrenaline acts as an anesthetic for weeks and then in the evening or at night it just hits me again – a little bit of the reality of the situation. I am really scared for the people here. Yesterday, I watched a father lead his two tiny children, holding his hands, out into the sight of tanks and a sniper tower and bulldozers and Jeeps because he thought his house was going to be exploded. .. Sunday about 150 men were rounded up and contained outside the settlement with gunfire over their heads and around them, while tanks and bulldozers destroyed 25 greenhouses – the livelihoods for 300 people. é If any of us had our lives and welfare completely strangled, lived with children in a shrinking place where we knew, because of previous experience, that soldiers and tanks and bulldozers could come for us at any moment and destroy all the greenhouses that we had been cultivating for however long, and did this while some of us were beaten and held captive with 149 other people for several hours – do you think we might try to use somewhat violent means to protect whatever fragments remained? I think about this especially when I see orchards and greenhouses and fruit trees destroyed – just years of care and cultivation. é Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I’m witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature.”[5]

Germany provides Israel with night-goggles so that its army could see better at night, but that does not prevent those blood-thirsty state-terrorists from aiming and maiming innocent Palestinian civilians. But we won’t hear any of these causes for Palestinian fury from Dr. Pipes. Truly, to expect a factual and honest analysis from a prejudiced individual whose loyalty is more to the war-criminals is an oxymoron, something like a wishful dream!

Israel is the only state that uses machine guns and tanks, and fires missiles and rockets against stone-throwing children. As to the Second Intifadah, the Amnesty International (AI)  commented that Israel “is guilty of human rights violations and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions which, over the past 18 months, have been committed daily, hourly, even every minute, against Palestinians. Israeli forces have consistently carried out killings when no lives were in danger.” Medical personnel have been attacked and ambulances, including those of the Red Cross, “have been consistently shot at.” [6] Wounded people have been denied medical treatment. Israel has carried out targeted assassinations. Is it too difficult to understand the causes of Palestinian rage or fury? For the last 53 years, these people have been living through one of the most despicable apartheid systems that the world has ever known (and has no parallel now in this century).

Palestinians are even denied access to water, vital to their mere survival. To give a specific example, in Hebron, 85% of water is diverted to 600 Uzi-totting Zionist settlers, while the 240,000 Palestinians are allotted the remainder 15% of water. That is equivalent to providing the share of 2267 Palestinians to a single Israeli illegal settler. To add insult to injury, Pipes said,

“The Palestinians are a miserable people…and they deserve to be.” (Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 2001)

His schizophrenia and intolerance neither begin nor end with Palestinians. In 1990, he said:

“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.” (National Review, 11/19/90)

In the Jerusalem Post, this year (2003), he wrote,

“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 childrené” (The War’s Most Agonizing Issue, Jerusalem Post, 1/23/03)

It is clear from these statements that Pipes likes to deny fundamental rights to Muslims. Why not monitor every Christian, Jewish and Hindu religious institutions? After all, Timothy McVeigh, a Gulf War veteran, responsible for blowing up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City was a Christian; Meir Kahane and Dr. Goldstein, responsible for massacre of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories of Palestine came from Brooklyn, NY, were Jews; Tamil Liberation Tigers and RSS/Bajrang Dal/Vishwa Hindu Parishad, all Hindu organizations, are responsible for massacre of non-Hindus (including Christians) in Sri Lanka and India, respectively, and these organizations are financed (to a great extent) by immigrant Indian community living here in the States.

Need I proceed any further to expose Mr. Pipes’s xenophobia? Pipes has proven that he lacks the nobility to respect the truth and to be as objective as possible in evaluation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He epitomizes intellectual dishonesty. His writings and speeches provide a philosophy of bigotry and anti-Muslim/Palestinian paranoia. He sows prejudice and harvests hatred. His pro-Zionist views have rendered him as a theoretician and ideologue for neocons and anti-Muslim bigots. His writings and views are partly responsible for the failure of this country’s Middle East policy. He will not be just and even-handed in resolving global conflicts nor will he contribute to finding peace in the Middle East. His bigoted and xenophobic views are simply incompatible with the mission of the Institute (where all board members are required by law to have appropriate practical or academic experience in peace and conflict resolution). His views promote unending conflict, not peace.

Simply put: Pipes’ appointment is like appointing Dracula to police blood bank. But will Mr. Bush listen and rescind his nomination? Pipes’ nomination simply shows that either our President is unaware of Pipes’ notoriety or that he is not serious about peace.


[1] Philadelphia Inquirer, Section B, page B6, April 4, 2003

[2] ibid. (the allegation against Pipes come from CAIR and other Muslim organizations).

[3] http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/jamieson/113128_robert19xx.shtml

[4] These sniper towers are managed by IDF, and are used to shoot at Palestinians.

[5] http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,916246,00.html

[6] AI statement before Commission on Human Rights, March 26, 2002, MDE 15/027/2002.