Professor Juan Cole is slowly catching up to me in the 2008 Weblog Awards in the Best Middle East or Africa Blog category, and his simultaneous campaign against me and the state of Israel is hysterical.
Here is what he has to say about Israel:
Israeli atrocities in Gaza are endangering American security. If the Israeli operation were something other than a cynical power play that almost wholly disregards civilian welfare, then the US would be right to support it and damn the consequences. But it is a shame to place our land and even our democracy in danger on behalf of a barbaric military operation.
Southern Israel has been under indiscriminate rocket fire from Hamas for years. And Hamas' stated goal, as Cole knows very well, is the total destruction of Israel. No government on earth would sit idly by while tens of thousands of its citizens live under constant rocket attack, and Cole knows that, too. He also knows that the Israel Defense Forces adheres to the laws of war, goes out of its way to avoid harming civilians, and even warns terrorist leaders themselves that their homes are on the target list.
Victor Davis Hanson, on the other hand, nails it correctly. "Every terrorist Hamas rocket is aimed at a Democratic civilian; every Democratic IDF air -to -ground missile is aimed at a terrorist."
Cole knows all this, and yet he does not care. He insists on characterizing Israel's defensive war as "barbaric" and "a cynical power play."
Here is what he has to say about me in the same piece:
Michael J. Totten has surged way ahead in the voting online for the best Middle East weblog. The way he has done this is very instructive and tells us something about how the Neoconservatives always run rings around the American left and leave them with nothing to do but complain about Neoconservative power. First, Totten demonized me and mobilized rightwingers in general and right-Zionists in particular to vote for him as a way of voting against Informed Comment.
Cole is free to characterize me as some kind of right-wing Zionist lunatic all he wants. But he also knows very well that the American public and the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly back Israel's war against Hamas. And if he thinks only neoconservatives, right-wingers in general, and right-Zionists in particular have my back in the voting, he's wrong.
Uber Pig at Blackfive posted the following yesterday:
I'm the token liberal here at Blackfive. Some of you have issues with that. I respect that. And so when I say that it's really important that Juan Cole not win the 2008 Weblog Awards for Best Middle East or Africa Blog, you should understand that it is really important. It's not that he hates America, or that he hates Israel. It's that he's dumb. That may have qualified him for a tenured professorship at the University of Michigan, but the blogosphere should hold itself to a higher standard.
My advice? Vote for Michael Totten.
Few, if any, of our elected representatives in Congress have heard about our competition in the 2008 Weblog Awards, but 99 percent of them voted in favor of my position on Israel and against that of Juan Cole. The professor is way outside the mainstream, and I'm right in the middle of it. Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell aren't likely to vote for me in this contest, but you can. So please do so, and do so every day until Tuesday while the polls remain open.