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Do I Not Criticize Israeli Policies?

In fact, I disagree often and volubly with Israeli policies.

August 31, 2004  6:36 PM

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Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

David C. Speedie, a senior fellow and director of U.S. Global Engagement Program at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, recently wrote how he follows me “quite closely” and that my work is of no value because I don’t “in any way question any aspect of Israel’s policy.”

He implied here that I am a lapdog of the Israeli government with no mind of my own, but a p.r. agent or lobbyist for whoever’s in charge in Jerusalem, so my views should have no weight. His portrayal undermines my role as an independent analyst and therefore calls for refutation.

In fact, I disagree often and volubly with Israeli policies, as the following partial list suggests:

  • The entire Oslo process, and especially the naïve notion that one can make peace with one’s enemies.
  • Unilateral withdrawals form territory (Lebanon, Gaza).
  • Nearly handing the Golan Heights to Syria in return for a piece of paper.
  • Toiling under the illusion that Mahmoud Abbas and other leaders of the Palestinian Authority want anything but the elimination of Israel.
  • Not having raised in the 1950s the issue of Jewish refugees from Arabic-speaking countries.
  • Wanting United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) monies to go to the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Freeing convicts, including murderers, and allowing them to go to the Palestinian territories.
  • Underestimating the importance of public opinion in contemporary warfare.
  • Not working to expand the 20 percent of Palestinians who accept the Jewish state into a majority.
  • The “strategic incompetence” of not fighting to win but only to reach a compromise.

In brief, I advocate an Israel that seeks victory.

My disapproval of Israeli policies is so severe that one Israeli academic took it upon himself to scold me publicly (in the Jerusalem Post) for the “patronizing and insulting” quality of my critique concerning Samir Kuntar, prompting an extended debate between him and me on this topic. The current prime minister of Israel once spent an hour dressing me down for my portrayal of his 1998 diplomacy with the Hafez al-Assad regime.

Obviously, someone who claims that I never criticize Israel does not follow me “quite closely.” Obviously too, he does not have the above list in mind. Rather, he would have me protesting checkpoints, the “occupation,” the “settlements,” the “apartheid wall,” the “Judaization of Jerusalem,” and Gaza’s being “an open air prison.” Well no, I complain from the other side. But that should no less effectively dispel the insinuation of agency. (September 29, 2013)

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About the Author: Daniel Pipes is a world-renowned Middle East and Islam expert. He is President of the Middle East Forum. His articles appear in many newspapers. He received his A.B. (1971) and Ph.D. (1978) from Harvard University and has taught at Harvard, Pepperdine, the U.S. Naval War College, and the University of Chicago. He is a board member of the U.S. Institute of Peace and other institutions. His website is DanielPipes.org.


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