The Lustick Files: A Guide to Intellectual Fools

He is no nutty professor, nor an absentminded one - Dr. Strangelove is more like it. Professor of Political Science Ian Lustick is a US intelligence strategist and Director of the University of Pennsylvania's Solomon Asch Center. And he possesses that rare kind of genius that could get us all killed.

Ellen W. Horowitz,

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"We must understand that even the views of the most intelligent people cannot be trusted when their personal desires block the truth. Not only does their intelligence not keep them from erring, but they use their intelligence to mislead others into accepting their foolish conclusions as if they were based on the most rigorous logic." (Rabbi Eliyahu E. Dessler, Strive for Truth, Parashat Korach)

He is no nutty professor, nor an absentminded one - Dr. Strangelove is more like it. Professor of Political Science Ian Lustick is a US intelligence strategist and Director of the University of Pennsylvania's Solomon Asch Center. And he possesses that rare kind of genius that could get us all killed.

I'll spare you excessive background info., but suffice to say that he's a product of Brandeis and Berkeley Universities and he's done those institutions proud.

His field of expertise is Israel-bashing, which is nothing unusual in and of itself (especially for a liberal Jew who sits on the board of Tikkun), but Lustick's opinions are lauded by the academic world, politicians and the intelligence community. He advises presidents and consults and lectures for the Department of State, NSC (National Security Counsel), NSA (National Security Agency), CIA and PLO.

He's received and continues to receive significant grants for research from dozens of institutions and foundations, including the United States Institute for Peace, the Ford Foundation, the Charles Revson Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

He's written several books and scores of published articles. Some of them have offbeat, irreverent titles like, "Yerushalayim, al-Quds, and the Wizard of Oz", "The Fetish of Jerusalem: A Hegemonic Analysis", "Not Exactly, Mr. President: Speaking Truth, Sort of, to Power Theory", "Negotiating Truth: The Holocaust and, Lehavdel, al-Nakba".

Guru that he is, Lustick comes up with some novel little ideas about big world problems, like:

"I supported the war [in Afghanistan] but I warned that we needed a Goldilocks outcome and we didn't get it." (1)

"I think about terrorism in terms of popcorn," he says. "You can't tell which kernels are popcorn and which are not, but you assume you'll always have some kernels that are going to pop." (2)

The above statements may be indicative of the problem. Lustick is so removed from reality that he reduces the concept of terrorism and war to something as innocuous as popcorn and fairy tales, yet the powers-that-be eat it up. They watch the show from their ivory towers and from behind computer simulators, while the rest of us bleed.

Lustick is currently developing computerized Terror Games based on the popular "Sims" model. Popular Science ran a large spread on the project and asked the question: "Can computer games be devised to model the thinking and predict the actions of allies, enemies and even terrorists? Some in the U.S. government think so. Are they playing God?" (3)

Okay, the professor can play with words and maneuver pixels, but he can also manipulate photographic images for his purposes.

For a visual overview on his worldview go to his personal online photo album from Israel at This is where his truly ominous personality and plans become apparent.

Lustick's photos are hardly Pulitzer Prize-winning material and they are a bit dull, but the captions that appear under the photos reveal a disturbed man with a definite agenda:

"Redemption Movement poster on lavatory pipe in Jerusalem"

"Viciarn satire of money-grubbing Haredim..."

"East Jerusalem 'slave market'"

"Palestinian women sewing clothes in West Bank sweatshop..."

So, if you're wondering how we got to this recent low point in Jewish history, take a look at the opinions of the venerated professor. When Ian speaks, people listen (but I still can't figure out why)...

On Yasser Arafat:

When asked in a Tikkun magazine interview if he trusted Arafat, this was Lustick¹s response:

"Do I trust Yasser Arafat? Of course not. Why should I? Why should anyone trust a politician, whether Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Benjamin Netanyahu, George W. Bush, or Yasser Arafat? Whether we agree with them or not, politicians aren't for trusting. They are for getting done what can be done to make really horrible problems into plain old lousy problems." (4)

Notice how Lustick completely disregards Arafat's history as a terrorist and neatly transforms him into not just another politician, but into a full-fledged head of state.

On Terrorism:

The following is taken from a book review by Joshua Sinai, Ph.D., which appears on

"Lustick dismisses the concept of terrorism as a valid conceptual term. Instead, he embraces what he terms an 'extensive', as opposed to an 'intensive', definition of terrorism that is not bound by any limiting 'conditions'. This, he claims, enables one to classify activities as 'terrorist' if they encompass any violent 'actions and threats' by governmental militaries and even 'tax collectors', as well as insurgents." (5)

The reviewer goes on to fault Lustick with "intellectual obfuscation".

Lustick's obscuring of the term terrorism back in 1995 may shed some light on the international media's reluctance to use the "T" word and their opting for terms like militants, gunmen, insurgents, etc.

According to the professor's logic, Hamas is to terrorism as the Internal Revenue Service is to Hamas.

On Moral Equivalency:

Lustick's brand of moral equivalency has spread like the plague. In a 1995 interview, he said, "....There must be elections including Hamas if Hamas will participate, just as Tsomet and Likud are allowed to participate in Israeli elections, although they do not endorse the peace process." (6)

One wonders if the late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was influenced by the professor's logic when he lumped right-wing protesters opposing Oslo together with Hamas and referred to them as "enemies of peace".

Lustick manages to blur the lines in a fairly recent interview when he addressed the issue of the Iraq War: "This is not a war on fanatics. This is a war of fanatics - our fanatics." (7)

Ever wonder where those accusations about Jews, like Wolfowitz, Abrams and Perle, being the cause of America's involvement in Iraq come from?

On the Peace Process:

In 1995, Lustick said, "Rabin has got to do things that will create the kind of political capital Arafat needs... The most obvious thing that Rabin could do is to say that there will be a Palestinian state... There must be an end to closure of Jerusalem and an end to the thickening as well as the expansion of settlements. There must be an end to subsidization of settlements..." (8)

On Settlers:

"Only if they [Israeli governments] are ready for a showdown with the settlers can real progress toward peace with the Palestinians be made." (9)

The liberal prophet of peace clearly relishes, encourages and perhaps even incites civil strife (war?) between Jews in Israel.

On Jerusalem:

The idea of "united Jerusalem" is in fact a "carefully cultivated fetish." (10) (You don¹t think Ehud Olmert's been reading this stuff, do you?)

On Daniel Pipes:

"[Pipes] takes views that no responsible academic would ever articulate. He's so far outside the pale of mainstream scholarship, yet the networks need people to give this view because it's a popular view. A reasonable position they can get anywhere. What they're looking for is an unreasonable position." (11)

Very few representing a "right-wing point of view are willing to debate someone as knowledgeable as I am." (12)

Daniel Pipes sits on the Board of the U.S. Institute for Peace, which funds and promotes a good portion of Lustick's work.

On Oslo:

"And in 1989, I was called by the first President Bush to the White House for a closed discussion, 'What should we do about this?' And for an hour and a half I got to talk to the president and his top advisors, and helped, I think, to convince them to give the kind of speech that James Baker gave to AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee], which led to the loan guarantees suspension, which led to the victory of the Rabin government, I believe -- Rabin over Shamir in the 1992 elections, and then led to Oslo." (13)

Lustick credits himself with having had a part in the downfall of the Shamir government, which led to the creation of the Oslo Accords with the PLO. At this dire hour, any individual with the audacity to pat himself on the back for promoting an American intrusion into an allied sovereign country's democratic process and for initiating the Oslo catastrophe is either out of touch with reality or a bit "touched".

And what about Academic integrity and ethical research? Lustick recently remarked that, "you cannot make a contribution to policy and to a moral commitment without systematic, scientific, organized investigation of history and politics." (14) Impressive comment, but Professor Lustick has been promoting the same loaded agenda since 1969. He's so bent on proving himself the prophet that he's incapable of conducting research with integrity.

Which leaves us with the question: Can a world-renowned expert and professor of an outstanding American University represent history or the institutions he's affiliated with when he is so obsessed and narrowly focused?

He has by-passed a cardinal rule of academic research. After exhaustive investigation into an issue, if one proves themselves wrong it is commendable. Professor Francisco Gil-White (a former colleague of Lustick's) and Joan Peters (bestselling author of From Time Immemorial) are two examples of academics who had the honesty and integrity to correct their positions - the mark of true scholarship.

How dangerous is Ian Lustick? Well, this is purely speculative, but....

A well-documented article that appeared on Arutz-7 by Lori Lowenthal Marcus, a lawyer and the President of the Zionist Organization of America, Greater Philadelphia District, reported the following:

"The Jewish Telegraphic Agency exposed the Ford Foundation as the source of multi-millions of dollars provided to non-governmental organizations that launched the foulest attacks on Israel and Jewry in recent history. Those NGOs relentlessly excoriated Israel as an apartheid, genocidal, colonialist monster during the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa."

Between 1996-1998 Ian Lustick was the Director of Ford Foundation Workshops on the Problematics of States and Identities. One has to wonder...


(5) journal/BookReviews/NewTerror.htm