President Bush has failed to take any action to renominate Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes to the board of the United States Institute of Peace.
Bush appointed Pipes, a conservative Middle East analyst and syndicated columnist who has drawn the ire of some Muslims, to the publicly funded institution on August 23, 2003, after a Senate hearing on the matter ended without the presence of a quorum necessary for a confirmation vote. The controversial recess appointment ended in early December with the closing of the previous Congress. The institute has removed Pipes's name from the list of board of directors posted on its Web site.
Pipes told the Forward that he has not asked to be renominated by the president and that he had not queried the White House about its intentions. [...] Pipes said that he "tried to be helpful to the USIP," but he acknowledged that "at certain times I was frustrated."
The nomination of Pipes, who has made a career out of identifying and denouncing what he sees as radical Muslim penetration of American institutions, was opposed by senators Edward Kennedy, Tom Harkin and Christopher Dodd, all Democrats; Arab and Muslim groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations as well as the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and Middle East analysts Judith Kipper of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and William Quandt of the University of Virginia. Many conservative-leaning newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and The New York Sun, supported it. Several Jewish communal agencies, including the American Jewish Committee and the Zionist Organization of America, supported Pipes.
Pipes did not have a peaceful tenure at the institute, which was created by Congress "to support the development, transmission, and use of knowledge to promote peace and curb violent international conflict," according to USIP's mission statement. Last March, he clashed with the organization, lambasting it in his column for hosting a conference with a group, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, that Pipes charged employs personnel who are Muslim "radicals."
The institute's director of congressional and public affairs, Kay King, responded to the criticism in a letter that Pipes posted to his Web site, danielpipes.org.
"The Institute was aware of and took seriously the accusations made against CSID and some of the speakers at the event," King wrote. "These allegations were investigated carefully with credible private individuals and U.S. government agencies and found to be without merit. The public criticism of CSID and the speakers was found to be based on quotes taken out of context, guilt by association, errors of fact, and innuendo."
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Kudos to President Bush for recognizing that Pipes was an affront to the stated goals of the USIP. The damage, however, has been done - notably with the denial of entry to Tariq Ramadan, against whom Pipes led a successful jihad to paint as an extremist, despite his moderate views of assimilation and unity of muslims with their adopted western homelands.
Note that The Forward paints the decision as "an apparent victory for radical Muslims and the left wing of the American foreign policy establishment," but that is of course their singular perspective from the extreme right Likud flank of Jewish politics. I would be interested to know if teh Forward shares Pipes' view of Tariq Ramadan as an extremist - if so, you can safely conclude that the Forward has more interest in opposing muslims in general rather than any promotion of a moderate muslim mainstream.