Efraim Karsh Set to Take Over for Daniel Pipes

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After 17 years of leading the Mideast-focused think tank he founded, Daniel Pipes will be stepping aside as director. Efraim Karsh will take over the directorship of the Middle East Forum in June.

“Obviously it’s a big challenge to get into such big boots,” Karsh told me about taking over for Pipes. “And Daniel has made the forum, in my view, one of the foremost centers on the Middle East in the United States.”

Pipes, who will remain at the forum as president, has long been considered one of the most knowledgeable scholars on the Middle East and Islam. He established the forum in 1994, along with the Middle East Quarterly, the center’s journal of Mideast affairs, of which Karsh is currently editor. The forum has since added the Legal Project, to aid targets of Islamist “lawfare,” as well as campus programs.

Karsh is a research professor at King’s College London, and is the author of a bevy of books on the Middle East, including his most recent Palestine Betrayed, about the origins of Palestinian rejectionism of the two-state solution. Karsh spoke with me about the current state of affairs in the Middle East.

On the issue of the impending vote on the establishment or recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations General Assembly in September, Karsh said it is important to place this current bid for statehood in its proper context. “The story really begins in Oslo,” he said.

The Oslo agreements set the Palestinians on the path to statehood, which was the end goal of the process. “But then it turned out that Arafat was not interested in peace,” Karsh said, adding that the process continued on its course—negotiations with the Palestinians, despite the fact that Arafat never intended to put his name on a compromise.

That process has been derailed by the Obama administration, Karsh said, which has enabled the Palestinians to avoid negotiations entirely.

“Now since Obama came to power, and he began to put pressure on Israel, so he made life easier for the Palestinian leadership—which in the first instance was not interested in negotiations,” Karsh said. “And basically he allowed them to disengage. Since Obama came to power the Palestinians haven’t negotiated with the Israelis—something they continued to do over the past seventeen years even though they didn’t intend to reach a solution, but at least they were forced to negotiate. Now they are not.”

This is an important point, because the seeming futility of negotiations between the two parties often gives the impression that there are no benefits to the actual talks. As Karsh shows, there is something worse than circular and frustrating negotiations. “Why should they negotiate if they can get what they want without giving basically anything in return?” he said.

The Israeli strategy, then, should revolve around convincing the U.S. and much of the free world of the value of negotiations, that “the only way to peace is through negotiating between the two sides and agreeing on something, and then abiding by what they agreed.”

That’s on the diplomatic front. On the security front, Karsh expects Israel to continue to show restraint in the face of rocket attacks from Gaza, including the anti-tank missile that hit a school bus recently, killing a teenager. It’s one way the Palestinian threat of unilateral declaration ties Israel’s hands.

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  • noughsaid

    Mid East Wisdom of Solomon the U.S.A. and Israeli Way

    Dispossessed man takes grievances and Court Decisions of new neighbour's
    actions to Arbitrator. Arbitrator notes new neighbour's actions of forcing
    man's family and friends from their homes and farms along with the
    destruction of their crops and annexations of their land for the building
    of settlements have been ruled as being illegal, as has the action of
    building a wall on property other than its own. Arbitrator also notes that
    the dispossessed man's grievances include many cases of proven human
    rights abuses and has enacted discriminatory laws that are in breach of
    U.N Racial Discriminatory laws, and that the new neighbour has a track
    record of many such abuses over a period of sixty years or more including
    U.N res 267 when all members of Security Council including the Arbitrator
    reaffirmed the new neighbour had no right to acquire territory by force.
    Arbitrator sees he has a problem on his hands so to put matters right he
    suggests the dispossessed man agrees to let the new neighbour keep what he
    has taken from him so far and should also agree to allow the new neighbour
    to take whatever he wants whenever he wants. That way the outcome will be
    a win, win situation all round, the new neighbour's illegal actions past
    and present and future will be made legal, the Arbitrator will have solved
    the problem and the dispossessed man will have nothing left for him to
    lose or whinge about. The worth of International Law will be wiped out and the way paved for future land grabs destroying hundreds of years of mans efforts to ensure Justice and Equality for all

    • stern

      noughsaid, you're full of it. I don't think you've missed an anti-Zionist, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic canard in your useless screed. It's not even worth addressing your garbage point by point as most of the people on this site know the difference between the truth and your BS.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      You couldn’t be a more oblivious useful idiot.

      The worth of International Law will be wiped out and the way paved for future land grabs destroying hundreds of years of mans efforts to ensure Justice and Equality for all

      What Muhammadans recognize and adhere to International Law? The reality is Muhammadans regard International Law and all manmade laws, for that matter, as abominations, as Muhammadans only recognize and adhere to Sharia (Islamic law). Indeed, since Sharia emanates directly from Allah, it is divine and as such perfectly just and infallible, whereas manmade laws, on the other hand, emanate from mere mortal men and as such are unjust and fallible by default.

      Nevertheless, that never stops the Muhammadans from exploiting the ignorance of useful idiots by inciting hatred against Israel by falsely claiming Israel is in violation of International Law, even though Muhammadans themselves only recognize and adhere to Sharia and view International Law and all other manmade laws as abominations.

      Moreover, if you hadn’t been turned into an obsessed Israel hater maybe you would be able to notice that the same permanent jihad that targets Israel also targets all of Western civilization as well.

    • stern

      Just by the way, UN 267 is a General Assembly resolution, not a Security Council resolution. In other words, it was passed with the automatic, built-in anti-Israel majority of every other UN resolution you seem to consider to be "international law" – but coming from the GA, it has no force whatsoever. It also doesn't make any sense at all: according to you, an aggressor can attack a country, lose, and then insist that any land it has lost must be returned – no harm, no foul? So what's to stop any country attacking another? Then there's the whole issue of Jerusalem. For more than 3,000 years, Jews lived anywhere in the Holy City. In 1948, Jordan ethnically cleansed the Old City – including the Jewish Quarter – and East Jerusalem of every last Jew. In 1967, Israel liberated Jerusalem (and, incidentally, opened all holy sites to anyone who wants to pray there, something that was impossible under Jordanian rule. Incidentally, that's not quite true. The only religion still not allowed to pray wherever they want is Judaism. Jews are forbidden from worshipping on the Temple Mount in case it "upsets" our Arab brethren). But according to you, those 19 years of illegal Jordanian annexation trump more than 3,000 years of Jewish history. Not bloody likely, mate.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    With all due respect Mr. Karsh, the so-called Palestinians are the proxies of the Islamic world and the perpetual jihad being waged against Israel will never end no matter how many fake peace processes are used to weaken Israel and to dupe useful idiots. Just like the greater global jihad at large, of which the jihad being waged against Israel is a smaller component, will never end as long as there are unbelievers that haven’t been forced to submit to the authority of Islam.

    • Mohamed -cairo

      you, u r not an thru american, but i m sure you r a jewish

      • ObamaYoMoma

        Sorry to disappoint you Mohamed, but I’m not a Jew although you obviously hate Jews. I’m just someone who can see the world the way it really is.

      • stern

        Is there something wrong with being Jewish, Mohamed? Spell it out, in full.

  • neveragain

    noughsaid. Small penis?

  • NuritG

    Efraim Karsh is set to take over for Daniel Pipes as the director of Mideast-focused think tank. Pipes has been up front and center in denouncing the 'two state solution' and standing up for Israel. Much gatitude to Daniel Pipes and welcome Efraim Karsh