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March 29, 2002
A Reply to Daniel Pipes

By Hussein Ibish


IN a heated exchange on MSNBC's Allan Keyes show recently, Daniel Pipes was so badly beaten on the merits of the argument that he was reduced to shouting at me to "shut up." Having failed to convince me to silence my advocacy on behalf of the Arab-American community voluntarily, Pipes now seeks to have me banned from the TV shows where I have repeatedly carried the day. In the pages of the New York Post he urges the media to "close their doors" to me.

Pipes accuses me of being "anti-American" because I have criticized some aspects of US foreign policy, something he does all the time. He calls me "anti-Semitic," but provides not a single piece of evidence of this because none exists.

Almost all his "evidence" that I should not be allowed to defeat him in television debates any more is quotes ripped out of their context and misrepresented, mainly from articles I wrote as a university student many years ago. It is truly touching to think of poor old Dan pouring over musty issues of the Massachusetts Daily Collegian in a futile search for means to discredit me.

This is not the first time that Pipes, who is a veritable geyser of falsehoods, has resorted to such fabrications. In August 2000, he labeled me a "fundamentalist Muslim," whose goal is "the Islamization of America." This nonsense fell completely flat, and has occasionally come back to haunt him, since I was then and remain an ardent secularist. It has now given way to equally absurd claims that I promote "a set of far left-wing views."

So, in Pipes' mind, I've suddenly gone, in the space of less than two years, from being a far right-wing fundamentalist to an extreme leftist.

Pipes gets everything wrong, including his idea that I am an "immigrant from Lebanon." In fact, though born in Beirut, I have been an American citizen all my life, and am the direct descendent of the founder of Brooklyn, Jan Schenck. His house, built in 1675, is, by the way, on display at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Perhaps the most pathetic element of Pipes' article is his attack on my "immoral lifestyle." The accusation, as I understand it, is that when I was in university, I enjoyed smoking cigars, drinking a beer or two and meeting girls. Guilty as charged!

[Pipes' falsehoods are part of a disturbing pattern. Last week David Horowitz was sent a fabricated email which preposterously claimed that I had secretly celebrated the 9/11 attacks on our country. Horowitz, who repeated the accusation in a column, immediately issued a full public retraction and apology, but whoever was behind the hoax was clearly prepared to stop at nothing to smear my reputation.]

I suppose I should take all of this as a compliment. After all, professional Arab-bashers would hardly go to this much trouble if the views of the Arab-American community were not reaching an ever- increasing audience with ever-increasing effectiveness.

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