New York Sun Columnist Weighs in on Creation of State of Israel

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," July 18, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Israel has a lot of enemies, but one columnist suggests its most formidable enemy is history itself.

In an op-ed in Tuesday's Washington Post Richard Cohen writes: "Israel itself is a mistake. The idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now."

My next guest says Israel has, in fact, made some mistakes. But first, let's ask him about that quote. New York Sun columnist Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum and author of "Miniatures," joins us now.

So Mr. Pipes, Richard Cohen's remarks sound very much like the president of Iran, who says if you wanted to create a place for Jews after the Holocaust you should have done it in Europe, not in Arab lands.

DANIEL PIPES, NEW YORK SUN COLUMNIST: There's a big difference, John. The president of Iran goes on to say that Israel must be eliminated. And from what I can tell from this rather odd column that you're referring to by Richard Cohen Tuesday, he says Israel was a mistake in its creation, but he's in no way calling for its elimination.

GIBSON: No, I know that.

PIPES: So it's like asking the question: Is the United States a mistake? Maybe it should have been Indian territory. It's academic.

GIBSON: What is the mistake that you think Israel made that led to the situation?

PIPES: Well, I don't think Israel itself is a mistake. But I think Israelis, since 1993, have had a wrong understanding of their situation. Namely that through compromise, retreat and so forth, they can win the good will or at least the acquiesce of their neighbors and the conflict.

My view is that the Israelis had it right before 1993 in their aspiration for victory. Wars end with one side winning and one side losing. If you don't win, you lose.

GIBSON: Daniel Pipes, I'm sorry we had a little technical difficulties, couldn't get you on earlier and our time is short. But thanks very much for joining us. Your point has been noted.

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