Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Douglas Murray to partner with Dr. Daniel Pipes at Livingstone's "Clash of Civilisations" debate - News release from Mayor's office
Douglas Murray to partner with Dr. Daniel Pipes at Livingstone's "Clash of Civilisations" debate - News release from Mayor's office
January 10, 2007
Daniel Pipes Douglas K. Murray
Ken Livingstone Jonathan Freedland
Douglas Murray Partners with Dr. Daniel Pipes at Livingstone's "Clash of Civilizations" Debate
By Beila Rabinowitz
January 10, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - On January 20, Middle East scholar Dr. Daniel Pipes will engage London Mayor "Red Ken" Livingstone in a debate billed as "A World Civilization or Clash of Civilizations?"
Partnering with Dr. Pipes at the London intellectual slugfest, will be Douglas Murray a rising star in conservative British circles and author of the recent book, "Neo Conservatism, Why We Need It."
The London Mayor's debate partner will be Jonathan Freedland, newspaper columnist for the Guardian and the Evening Standard. Freedland is the author of the "Bring Home The Revolution" a 1999 political tract.
Judging from the media buzz, the day-long affair will draw a massive crowd.
Supporters of Dr. Pipes will be coming from both the United States and abroad while the leftists and Islamists who comprise the core of the London Mayor's supporters will most likely be in the majority.
Already seeking to manage expectations of Livingstone's chances of success in the debate, his supporters are posing the question, "Is Livingstone really the man for the job?" and answering it "I think not - not unless he has a formidable team of researchers on tap at the time of the debate…"
The conference will take place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster from 10am to 8pm and is free. BBC announcer Gavin Esler will chair the opening debate between the Mayor and Daniel Pipes.
A press release from Livingstone's office states:
"The conference will consider whether the much greater interaction of different backgrounds in a globalising world will create more common shared values in an increasingly global civilisation, or whether the alternative thesis is correct that a dynamic towards conflict and war is inevitable, created by the 'clash of civilisations'. It will consider how these issues relate to London as a diverse and multicultural city."
In a December 15 PipeLineNews article this writer referred to the event as a Clash Between The Civil And The Uncivilized Trepidations by Livingstone's supporters may be well founded in that he will be hard pressed to defend his fundamentally flawed arguments for multiculturalism and globalism against the reality of terrorism and the Islamist quest for world domination through the establishment of the Khalifate.
Dr. Pipes and Douglas Murray make a formidable team. The former's decades of scholarship, and measured reasoning combined with Murray's oratorical skills comprise a daunting force.
Not to be diminished, Livingstone's political skills - augmented by his grandstanding and bluster - are undeniable; having enabled him to emerge unscathed from several political scandals while maintaining high office.
Whether those abilities will carry the day in a debate remains to be seen.
MIM: The official news release for the Mayor's office.
Note: The list of conference participants has been changed and Tariq Ramadan's name is gone.
Mayor of London news release Office hours: 020 7983 4068 Out of hours and weekends: 020 7983 4000 www.london.gov.uk
The "Clash of Civilisations" and what it means to multicultural London
Daniel Pipes and Ken Livingstone will be speakers at A World Civilisation or a Clash of Civilisations' - a major conference taking place in London on Saturday 20 January. The conference will take place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster from 10am to 8pm. It is free and all are welcome. Gavin Esler will chair the opening debate between the Mayor and Daniel Pipes.
The conference will consider whether the much greater interaction of different backgrounds in a globalising world will create more common shared values in an increasingly global civilisation, or whether the alternative thesis is correct that a dynamic towards conflict and war is inevitable, created by the 'clash of civilisations'. It will consider how these issues relate to London as a diverse and multicultural city.
Hosted by the Mayor of London, the conference is being organised so that Londoners from different communities, faiths and political persuasions can come together to debate these views. Speakers will include writers, academics, religious figures and campaigners.
The Mayor said: 'London is the world's most international city and has among the most harmonious relations between its communities in the world. It has benefited greatly from globalisation and based its community relations on classic liberal principles - that you should be able to choose to do whatever you like, provided it does not interfere with other people. This is the policy of multiculturalism.
'An entirely opposite view has been put forward that the world is heading towards a clash of civilisations. If true, this would have huge practical consequences for London, which would have to reverse its liberal policies and prepare for such a clash. There would be serious implications for community relations and London's openness to globalisation.'
Daniel Pipes, who will debate with the Mayor, is Director of the Middle East Forum, an American think tank that advises US policymakers on the Middle East. Pipes has argued that 'there is not so much a clash of civilisations as a clash of civilisation versus barbarism'.
Other sessions will discuss issues, such as whether multicultural London works; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; whether Britain is becoming more segregated; whether there can be progressive colonialism; religious dress; and whether there is a justification for torture.
A wide range of speakers will include:
· Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London · Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum · Jonathan Freedland, newspaper columnist (Guardian, Evening Standard) and author · Douglas Murray, writer · Doudou Diene, UN Special Rapporteur on Racism and Xenophobia · David Aaronovitch, journalist (The Times) and broadcaster · Professor Danny Dorling, Academic Specialist in Human Geography · Cristina Odone, columnist with the Observer and Daily Telegraph · Alistair Crooke, Director, Conflicts Forum · Maleiha Malik, Kings College London · Oliver Kamm, columnist (The Times) and author · Tariq Ali, writer · Antony Lerman, Executive Director Institute for Jewish Policy Research · Bruce Kent, Peace Campaigner · Dr Abdul Bari, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain · Soumaya Ghannoushi, Research Director, IslamExpo · Martin Bright, Political Editor, New Statesman
PUBLIC REGISTRATION · Members of the public wishing to attend the free event, should register by 18 January, by emailing email@example.com, or calling 020 79893 4838. People can also find out more and register online at www.london.gov.uk.
MEDIA ACCREDITATION · Media wishing to apply for accreditation should email firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information, members of the media can also contact: 020 7983 4071.
MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Press information is available from Ben McKnight on 020 7983 4071 / 07881 501 920 (press only - numbers not for publication).
GENERAL PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100 DUTY PRESS OFFICER: For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call 020 7983 4000
Douglas Murray isn't a man you'd immediately peg as being a self-described neoconservative and Zionist. Eton and Oxford educated, an Anglican — sorry, a "practicing Anglican," as he corrects me — and complete with the chiseled features and upper-class accent one associates with the British aristocracy, Mr. Murray almost seems out of place declaring his admiration for the Jewish State, Leo Strauss, and everything else the left sneeringly associates with neoconservativism. But the man who tells me with complete certainty over a dinner on Manhattan's Upper West Side that "any sensible person is a Zionist," who when in Holland needs police protection and stays under an alias, can hardly be described as an ordinary individual.
Already before he started Oxford Mr. Murray had finished a biography of Oscar Wilde's lover, Alfred "Bosie" Douglas. It won applause on both sides of the Atlantic. At Oxford he wrote reviews for Britain's Spectator. Upon finishing Oxford he wrote a play, "Nightfall," about the Swedish anti-Nazi hero Raoul Wallenberg. Now, at 27 years old, he's touring America publicizing his latest book, "Neoconservativism: Why We Need It." Mr. Murray lectures and debates across Europe in support of what he describes as neoconservative foreign policy. He also writes for, and is profiled in, numerous publications, and is known on the British television chat show circuit as "Britain's only neoconservative." With such a resume it's hardly surprising that Mr. Murray has been described as a "prodigy" and a "great hope" in Europe.
As his earlier writing interests indicate, Mr. Murray wasn't always a neocon. That doesn't mean that he fits Irving Kristol's famous definition of a neoconservative being a "liberal mugged by reality." If he spent any time on the left, he tells me, it "was a matter of hours." Rather his early interests lay in literature and the arts, and not in practical government policy. Mr. Murray was, however, "repeatedly mugged by reality" by three pivotal events — Kosovo, the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the reaction to those attacks on America.
Kosovo was his "defining conflict." It shocked him that the governments of Europe were prepared to allow another genocide take place on European soil. The September 11, 2001, attacks provided the second jolt, and the third came with the "reaction to 9/11." He witnessed a large swathe of people in Europe and in America who still "didn't get it" and whose reaction was self-blame rather than seeking to defeat the terrorists. Realizing that the world he loved faced real danger, he turned to the practical world of policy and became a neocon.
Mr. Murray readily admits that neocon is a confusing label. He says that it's "not a cabal, a group, a party," but rather comprises people from both the left and right "united only by their broadest beliefs." It's an "instinct, a way of looking at world." Neoconservatives, he says, "see the world as it is, but try to make it as we would like it to be." Other ideologies fail, according to Mr. Murray, as liberalism fails to see the world as it is, while old-school conservativism sees the world as it is but believes the best we can hope for is containment.
We pick Iran as a test case for his neoconservativism. First, basic realism is applied: When someone threatens to wipe out an ally, as Tehran's theocrats have repeatedly done toward Israel, you don't just say "that's interesting" or say that they "don't really mean it," he tells me. You take it as a real threat. Then you imagine how you'd ideally like Iran to be, which is as a non-threatening democratic government. Therefore what America and her allies should have been doing during the past few years is fostering democratic movements in Iran.
Instead little was done, and now the mullahs are emboldened, openly aid Hezbollah, and are pursing a nuclear program. Western governments need to "stop being weak" and "make it clear that this period in history will be run on our terms and not theirs." We need to make clear in no uncertain terms that "we hold all the cards" and if they fail to comply either strikes or regime change will soon follow.
Support for Israel is another solidly neoconservative policy, according to Mr. Murray. Neoconservatives support Israel as it's a fellow democracy surrounded by tyrannical regimes. Moreover, he says, one can't but help admire how the country was turned into "something from nothing." After being interviewed by the BBC during a recent visit to Jerusalem, a friend pointed out to him that he referred to Israel as "we." This, Mr. Murray tells me, was an "instinctive" unconscious reaction, as "Israel is up against the same things" as we are and "has the same ends." He says that he's always believed that Israel is the front-line in the war on Islamist terrorism and that "9/11, 7/7, and every other attack has vindicated" that view.
As we finish the meal I ask him what his next project will be. A career in politics perhaps, I suggest. He laughs and says he's not sure they'll have him. For the moment he's working on a book on Europe, which, he is at pains to stress, isn't lost just yet. If Europe can produce the likes of Mr. Murray, he may be right.