Daniel Pipes is a rhetorical bomb-maker, and last weekend he struck in
Melbourne. Combining his audience’s horrific memories of the Holocaust with
present fears of Iranian weapons programs, he stood back and waited for a
At Monash University’s conference on anti-Semitism, the American academic
and commentator warned that preparations were under way for a “second
Holocaust”. The Muslim world had Israel in its sights, and to prove it
Pipes picked a 2001 remark by a former Iranian president. But it is worth
providing the former president’s quote in full:
“If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms
Israel has in its possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a
stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in
Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.”
Does this sound like a man threatening a second Holocaust, or one pointing
out the obvious, which is that Muslim acquisition of nuclear weapons would
change the strategic balance in the region? Is “stalemate” really another
word for “mass murder”?
Anti-Semitism is a serious and enduring problem, which must be tackled
through education and exchange at every level of society. It may be that
Pipes has something to teach us about its range and character today. But I
wonder about placing him front and centre at an anti-Semitism conference,
for a number of reasons.
That he still commands audiences might surprise those who remember that in
1987 he urged the United States to supply Saddam Hussein with better
weapons and intelligence, on the basis that the Baathist leadership was an
important force for moderation and US security in the region. That Saddam
was the aggressor did not seem to matter; what was important was that Iran
should be utterly defeated.
In 1987 he urged the United States to supply Saddam Hussein with better
weapons and intelligence. Pipes’ stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
also hinges on the need for a complete military defeat of one side.
Believing that “what war had achieved for Israel, diplomacy has undone”, he
has long opposed a two-state solution of the kind proposed by George Bush
and the international community and to which even Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon now pays lip service”¦
Maher Mughrabi is an Age journalist.
DANIEL PIPES: “Yes, I do support the internment of Japanese Americans in
World War II.” (From his website, 12/28/04