Prof hopes Trump will send mes­sage to Pales­tini­ans

The Canadian Jewish News (Toronto) - - News - PAUL LUNGEN plun­gen@thecjn.ca

Daniel Pipes has been a keen ob­server of the Mid­dle East for quite some time, but like oth­ers prog­nos­ti­cat­ing fu­ture Amer­i­can pol­icy in the re­gion under Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, he does not know what to ex­pect. No­body does, he says, but he does know what he’d like the Don­ald to do, when he as­sumes the man­tle of com­man­der-in-chief.

He’d like the in­com­ing pres­i­dent to give Is­rael the green light to do what it has to do to make it clear to the Pales­tini­ans that their dream of erad­i­cat­ing the State of Is­rael will fail. In short, he says, he’d like the United States to al­low Is­rael to win the con­flict and en­sure that the Pales­tini­ans know they’ve lost. Only that way – once the Pales­tini­ans are sure of the out­come – can there be a deal that will end in peace.

Pipes, pres­i­dent of the Mid­dle East Fo­rum, pre­sented that per­spec­tive on the Pales­tinian-is­raeli con­flict at a lunchtime brief­ing for a small group of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s sup­port­ers and donors in Toronto Nov. 15. He also ad­dressed the Iran nu­clear deal, say­ing he’d like to see a rev­o­lu­tion top­ple the un­pop­u­lar regime, and spoke about the on­go­ing con­flict in Syria. Re­fer­ring to the fu­ture of ISIS, he said the group will soon be de­feated, and he men­tioned other ar­eas of hos­til­ity in the broader Mid­dle East.

As for the idea of win­ners and losers in the Is­raeli-pales­tinian con­flict, Pipes said a ne­go­ti­ated set­tle­ment has failed and there are very dim prospects of it suc­ceed­ing in the near fu­ture. Con­flicts go on and lead to war when there is no clear win­ner, he said, point­ing to the af­ter­math of World War I, in which Ger­many be­lieved it had not been de­feated, a sit­u­a­tion that led to World War II.

“The only way war­fare ends is when one side gives up,” he said.

Strong Is­raeli de­ter­rence would en­sure the Pales­tini­ans pay a stiff price when they at­tack Is­rael. That will pro­vide the best chance for an end of the con­flict. Pipes pointed to the cam­paign led by Ariel Sharon in the 1950s of re­tal­i­at­ing se­verely when Pales­tini­ans launched ter­ror­ist at­tacks against Is­rael.

Re­fer­ring to the cam­paign prom­ise by Trump that he would move the Amer­i­can em­bassy to Jerusalem, Pipes said, “I’m very skep­ti­cal.”

Didn’t for­mer Cana­dian prime min­is­ter Joe Clark make the same prom­ise? he asked.

Such a move en­tails “lots of con­se­quences. U.S. in­ter­ests would take a hit,” he said.

Pipes sug­gested, how­ever, that an em­bassy move might oc­cur as part of a larger deal.

Turn­ing to that broader stage, Pipes said Is­rael’s prospects are good. It main­tains diplo­matic re­la­tions with more than 100 coun­tries, and it is an eco­nomic pow­er­house, sur­viv­ing the last re­ces­sion with barely a blip. “They are the su­per­power of wa­ter tech­nol­ogy.”

The boy­cott, di­vest­ment and sanc­tions move­ment has had some ef­fect, par­tic­u­larly in Europe, but 95 per cent of Is­raeli ex­ports are on a busi­ness to busi­ness ba­sis, and are largely “in­vis­i­ble” to wouldbe boy­cotters, he said.

Is­rael does face plenty of hos­til­ity, he con­tin­ued, most of it from the po­lit­i­cal left, even at a time when the Mus­lim world is be­com­ing less hos­tile.

You can see that in the U.S. do­mes­tic scene, where the level of hos­til­ity in­creases as you go to the po­lit­i­cal left, while favourable at­ti­tudes in­crease as you move to the right, he said.

Turn­ing to Europe, Pipes said the in­flux of one mil­lion Mus­lims into Ger­many is seen quite dif­fer­ently by the elite – the politi­cians, pro­fes­sors and press – than by the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. The elite doesn’t see a prob­lem, but the broader pop­u­la­tion sees the in­flux as “alarm­ing.”

The ter­ror­ist at­tacks in France have led to more of a will­ing­ness to dis­cuss the is­sue – “vi­o­lence trumps pol­i­tics” – while in coun­tries like Swe­den, where there have been no at­tacks, the views of the elite pre­vail.

Pipes pre­dicted that “the anti-im­mi­grant and anti-is­lamist elec­torate is go­ing to grow and grow” across Europe.

As for Canada, Pipes said Toronto is unique on the world stage in boast­ing a strong Mus­lim op­po­si­tion to Is­lamist in­flu­ence. He cited Tarek Fatah and Ir­shad Manji, among oth­ers, as lead­ing voices in fight­ing po­lit­i­cal Is­lam.

Daniel Pipes

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