- University of Michigan professor of Middle East and South Asian history
- Former President of the Middle East Studies Association
- Believes that a "pro-Likud" cabal controls the American government from a small number of key positions within the Executive Branch
- Decries the term "Islamo-fascist" as a "thoroughly abhorrent" form of bigotry, even as he routinely brands Zionism as "racist" and "fascist"
In his most recent blog, University of Michigan professor Juan Cole writes:
"It is a perfect time for the Israeli government to commit a war crime on the miserable civilians of the Gaza Strip. The US primary season has created a news blackout on US television about foreign news (apparently the public of the world's sole superpower is not estimated by corporate news executives to be able to handle more than one story). So most Americans will never even know that the Israelis have cut off fuel to Gaza's power plant, depriving tens of thousands of people of electricity…. Israeli deployment of excessive force in recent weeks has resulted in dozens of deaths in Gaza. Even if military action were justified, it is only legitimate for the Israelis to punish Hamas fighters doing the firing, and big bombs should not be dropped near civilian apartment buildings. Don't they, like, have SWAT teams?... The Israelis are going to have to live in the midst of the Palestinian people for the rest of the century. The Palestinians are not going away. The Israelis cannot wish them away or intimidate them into accepting statelessness, dire poverty, foreign domination and a condition analogous to slavery."
In addition to his professorship, Cole is the editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies and the author of a weblog focusing on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. He emerged in 2003 as a sought-after Middle East expert for the major media (including The New York Times, Washington Post, and National Public Radio), as well as for influential leftist bloggers such as Joshua Micah Marshall, Brad Delong, and Mark A. R. Kleinman.
Cole's views are shaped by his fundamental belief in a conspiracy of Jewish "neo-conservatives" who dictate U.S. policy toward the Middle East. His recurrent theme is that a nebulous "pro-Likud" cabal controls the American government from a small number of key positions in the Executive Branch. He never names the leaders or organizations behind this conspiracy, but vaguely associates it with AIPAC, MEMRI, and Jews in the Bush administration.
Here are some examples:
- "The Neocons wanted to knock down Saddam, Khamenei and al-Asad in hopes that those countries would be so weakened and preoccupied with internal power struggles that Sharon would have an unimpeded opportunity to pursue his dreams of Greater Israel."
- "It may be that the powerful Likudniks inside the U.S. government are deliberately engineering a diplomatic rift in NATO, so as to ensure that Paris and Moscow cannot position themselves to influence Washington's position (usually supine) toward Sharon's excesses."
- Paul Wolfowitz's attitude toward NATO allies is "so gratuitous and immature that one can only guess something else lay behind it."
When Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel sponsored by the political Left critical of U.S. policy in Iraq, analyzed the war aims of the Neocon network, Cole berated her for not pointing to a Jewish conspiracy. "I am surprised," said Cole, "she left out what surely was the Neocons' major concern, which is that Iraq, Iran and Syria stood in the way of Ariel Sharon's continued theft of Arab land in the Occupied Territories and potentially elsewhere."
Cole has also made such statements as, "[m]uch of the Arab world has a formal peace treaty with Israel," and "[c]hemical weapons are not weapons of mass destruction."
Cole contends that "Saddam Hussein never gave any real support to the Palestinian cause, and he did not pay suicide bombers to blow themselves up." In fact Saddam not only provided $25,000 per suicide bomber but $74 million directly to the terrorist organization Hamas. But even if Saddam did pay money to the families of these murderers, Cole insists, "Supporting orphans [of dead suicide bombers] is, in any case, not the same as funding terrorism."
"Are there Muslims who are fascists?" says Cole. "Sure. But there is no Islamic fascism, since 'Islam' has to do with the highest ideals of the religion." He decries the term "Islamo-fascist" as a "thoroughly abhorrent" form of bigotry, even as he routinely brands Zionism "racist" and "fascist."
In Cole's view, President Bush's "Draconian" post-9/11 domestic policies have "rampaged around the world alienating allies and ignoring vital conflicts." Dismissing the transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis as mere "public relations and manipulation of journalists," Cole charges that the Bush administration came into the White House "obsessed with Iraq," whereas President Bill Clinton "tried and tried hard" to capture Osama bin Laden.
This profile is adapted from the article "Juan Cole, Media -- and MESA -- Darling," written by Jonathan Calt Harris and published by CampusWatch.com on December 7, 2004.