Thursday, May 17, 2007

Daniel Pipes and Catholic Exchange?

What is Catholic Exchange? In its own words, "Catholic Exchange is a non-profit media organization that seeks to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ as proclaimed by the Catholic Church to the world through the modern tools of mass communication". Sounds good to me. And yet one of its listed columnists is a man called Daniel Pipes.

Who is Daniel Pipes? Broadly speaking, he can be defined as "an American historian and counter-terrorism analyst who specializes in the Middle East." In reality, Pipes is a rapid supporter of Israel, with a penchant for demonizing Arabs and Muslims. He has an apocalyptic vision in which radical Islam is engaged in a winner-takes-all war against the western world. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? He defended internment of Japanese-Americans during the second world war. And of course, he sees the parallels today, arguing that "There is no escaping the unfortunate fact that Muslim 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."

He is at his most extreme when discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and declared unequivocally that "There can be either an Israel or a Palestine, but not both.. to those who ask why the Palestinians must be deprived of a state, the answer is simple: grant them one and you set in motion a chain of events that will lead either to its extinction or the extinction of Israel." He even founded Campus Watch, designed to root out "anti-American and anti-Israel" biases. Of course, he will loosely throw around the "anti-semite" slur against anybody who disagrees with the policies of Israel.

Now, Pipes is entitled to his views, but what in the name of God is he doing writing for Catholic Exchange? How does his venom contribute to bringing the "Good News of Jesus Christ as proclaimed by the Catholic Church to the world"? As I noted yesterday, the support for Israel from the likes of Falwell and Dobson arises from their bizarre dispensationalist theology, not from anything in Catholic teaching. In recent times, the Vatican has never recognized the existence of the state de jure, only de facto. In other words, Israel is a secular state with the rights and responsibilities of every other secular state, with no God-given "land grant", and certainly not one that can be taken by force. In fact, the Catholic church is admirably even-handed in its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. I ask again: what is Pipes doing on Catholic Exchange?


Mike McG... said...

Beats me, Minion.

Pipes is well beyond the pale as far as I'm concerned. Which begs the question: just exactly where "is" the pale???

Is it an 'I'll know it when I see it' kind of place? Or is there some way to lay out rough boundaries for what is appropriate discourse within the Catholic community and what is so far beyond the pale as to be impermissable? I'd be interested in your ideas on this.

By the way, I was pleased to see you among the participants in the new Vox Nova venture. I yearn for communication rather than recrimination among Catholics who share a spirit of good will and mutual respect even as they hold to very different visions of both church and society.

Peace, Mike McG...

Morning's Minion said...

That's a good question. It's not a matter of personal disagreement. I think people like George Weigel, Michael Novak and Deal Hudson would make good columnists at Catholic Exchange-- even though I would disagree with them strongly about many issues. In fact, there's a lot be to said for good debate. One reason I like Mirror of Justice is that there are many diverse views.

But you have to draw the line with somebody like Pipes (is he even Catholic?) who does even pretend to argue from Catholic tradition and expresses opinions far removed from Church teachings.

Thanks for the kind comment on Vox Nova!

Martin said...

That post was unjust towards Daniel Pipes.

You'll find with a little more research that it is Pipes who is the amazingly reasonable and tolerant person, while his detractors slander him in attempts to shout him down.

Without context those quotes fit your caricature of the man. Manzanar was for the protection of the Japanese Americans. And don't forget how many times Israel has been attacked, how many times muslims have refused to recognise Israel, how they have voted for a party that seeks to annihilate it. How Israel within 50 yrs has produced the most democratic and prosperous country in the Middle East. With none of the oil and a tiny fraction of the land.

This puts muslim nations to shame. Something their religion doesn't teach them about. Their call to prayer is 'come to prayer - come to success'.

Their anti-semitism has reached plague proportions and it shows up in Islamist politics in Western countries and Daniel Pipes is almost a lone voice in standing up against Islamist aggression in pusillanimous PC Western countries.

For wisdom's sake you need to give Pipes a decent hearing.