The infamous Juan Cole, darling of the Left (and take note Democrats, this guy is a favorite of fast-growing sections of the Democratic party such as those about to bring down Lieberman), is a professor who is respected enough as a scholar to have recently headed the MESA, a prominent association of Mid-East scholars and to have almost received a position at Yale. He does have tenure and some seniority at a pretty good university anyway, and has given himself a high public profile by taking on a vocal role at his blog.
Reading his blog, one cannot escape the view that his sources are often biased, his observations no less biased and the suggestion that this man would be capable of writing an objective analysis of any given topic seems absurd.
In any case, after Yale said “no,” Cole let his supporters such as those at Daily Kos encourage the proposition that, uh, you know, the Jews did it. Of course, he was in a bit of a pickle there since he was clearly interested in this plum offer of a position and was probably quite upset that he wasn’t offered a position. The pickle results from the conspiracists who blame it on powerful Jews, a notion to which he seems to subscribe with his constant attack on the “Likudniks” in the US who supposedly control and have tremendous influence on US foreign policy, including, yup, the Iraq War. The “Likudniks” for Cole are a grab bag of any Israeli supporters who take a political position or active advocacy role for Israel. They also include…Neo-Cons. I presume he refers solely to the Jewish Neo-Cons when he speaks of Likudniks, but never bothered to analyze the issue closely but somehow I doubt that he would refer to Rumsfeld or Cheney as a Likudnik. He refers in large part to AIPAC when he speaks of Likudniks, but manages to let the epithet (that is how he uses the word) spill over to describe other Jews or advocates who don’t belong to AIPAC.
Sound familiar? Yup, you must be thinking of Walt & Mearsheimer’s mediocre paper, “The Israel Lobby.” Ironically, considering that those two lean to the Right and Cole is of the Left, he was a strong proponent of the paper and eager to lap up its impact even if a he would have had to grade it with a “C” had one of his students submitted such a shoddy piece of writing.
Anyhow, Juan Cole has been hysterical about the war in Lebanon since its beginning. While he pays mild lip service every once in a while to the fact that Hizbullah is doing wrong, he is unashamedly on the attack against Israel. For example, when Israel attacked the hospital that housed Hizbullah operatives – clearly legal under international law – his readers were and continue to be invited to assess this as a criminal and inexcusable act. No word about Hizbullah using the building for purposes of its own, their refusal to admit journalists to see the building or the fact that Israel did capture Hizbullah men there. On the other hand, when the Israeli hospital in Nahariya was severely damaged by a Hizbullah rocket, Cole simply didn’t address the atrocity involved. He also doesn’t address comments posted in his discussions if they don’t fit his views or if they skew the ratio of Lefty pro-Cole-analysis comments to those against. I know because I try sometimes to provide another viewpoint to the reflexive masturbatory Cole-objectifying commentary that he does publish. I have no idea whether my comment tonight will be published, but the last three weren’t and they were on topic and substantive (as well as short so he couldn’t claim that this was the problem).
Why all this info? Because Cole has now published the following incredible statement:
The difference between Ahmadinejad and Olmert is that the Iranian president is a blowhard. The one who had practical plans to wipe a country off the map was Olmert.
I have to think that upon reading that, many professors in the faculty and administration at Yale are breathing a sigh of relief. I have to also think that anybody who has quoted the academic work of this man in their own research and publications must be wondering whether they have given too much credence to his work.