Please allow me to introduce this analysis with some important background excerpts from a widely-published piece from a while back:
"...Decades ago, while engaged in undergraduate and graduate work in Middle Eastern Affairs and related studies, the only way I learned of the struggles of scores of millions of non-Arab peoples in the region occurred solely via my own initiative. Of all the hundreds of books in my library, hardly a jot or tittle on such subjects. And even when, on rare occasion, you might find mention of some of these folks in a book, a discussion on the subject never made it into the lectures or seminars.
In just one of many examples, only by becoming a member of the London-based Anti-Slavery Society did I learn of problems black Africans faced regarding genocidal and 20th century slave trading Arab tormentors. The struggles of the Anya Nya and other blacks in the south of the Sudan and elsewhere were in full bloom, yet one would never know anything at all about this stuff if the academic syllabus and classroom were the sources of information. If Israel was not the alleged villain, the problem was left untouched in far too many classrooms.
While I would frequently be exposed to such things as alleged Zionist fascism, racism, colonialism, imperialism, and dozens of other Hebrew sins, barely a word was ever spoken about the subjugation (largely by Arabs, but also by others such as Turks and Iranians as well) and plight of folks like Kurds, Imazighen ("Berbers"), Copts, Assyrians, native Jews, and so forth. And when mention of such non-Arab people was made, it was about such things as Berber rugs or musicians.
To learn of Kurds back then, the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme provided more information than academia...and those were the wrong curds. Keep in mind that this was especially odd because the sixties and seventies were very socially conscious eras in history. But, I was young and naïve and so gave the situation the benefit of the doubt.
I know better now.
The situation was indeed shameful and still remains so in far too many places where one set of lenses is routinely used in the scrutiny of an admittedly imperfect Israel in the classroom, assorted media, United Nations, State Department, and so forth, and a far different set–if any at all–is used when dealing with the so-called "Arab" world.
It turns out that while masses of students were being exposed to the real and imaginary flaws of Jewish nationalism–Zionism–in the attempt by Jews to finally cast off their perpetual victim and scapegoat existence in the resurrection of their sole, minuscule state, the far worse sins that such folks as Arabs and Turks were committing against scores of millions of other native peoples in the region were merely being swept under the rug. This was no accident, and (among other things) a check of foreign (and foreign related) sources of money funding such programs is indeed enlightening.
Worse still, while the cause of Arabs to acquire state # 22 was more often than not lionized, the suppression of such facts and issues regarding non-Arabs struggling for their own small semblance of justice in the region goes even deeper than what may already be suspected from above... It is very likely that, right from the get-go over six decades ago, there was a trade off with the Arabs to promote the region as solely their own in return for access to oil in those lands.
The Kurds had already lost their one best shot ever at independence after World War I in such petro-political games being played by the Brits in collusion with Arab nationalism. After 1925, the oil of the Kurdish north in the Mandate of Mesopotamia was tied to a unified Arab Iraq instead of Kurdistan. Now, follow some favorite excerpts on related subject matter below...
'In Algeria, Berbers were forbidden to use their own language, Tamazight...riots erupted, reported in France but ignored elsewhere in the West...America, of course, had been sufficiently subject to ARAMCO (the Arabian American Oil Company) propaganda, a payoff to the Saudis by Big Oil, to allow the latter to produce and market Arab oil. So, ARAMCO's message to America was that there is just an Arab world in this region in which there are no Copts, Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Turkmen... and, of course, no Berbers and no Jews–they all came to Israel, you see, from Europe for everyone in this region is just Arab ( New English Review, January 17, 2008).'
[By the way, that last tongue-in-cheek remark alludes to the more than half of Israel's Jews who are from refugee families who fled "Arab"/Muslim lands–GAH ]
So, until relatively recently–while countless volumes of print, classroom hours, United Nations sessions, State Department briefings, and so forth were devoted to the cause of the Arabs' proposed 22nd state (and second, not first, in the original April 25, 1920 Mandate of Palestine...Jordan sits on some 80% of it since 1922)–Kurds, the Kabyle/Amazigh/"Berbers," black Africans, Copts, and others were literally being massacred, enslaved, displaced, forcibly Arabized and such by the millions by Arabs...but with barely a word being spoken in protest by a vast assortment of practitioners of the double standard supreme."
With all the above as background, let's now proceed...
I was once again alerted by the Middle East Forum's Campus Watch in an article by A.J. Caschetta on August 20, 2019 to the travesty in Middle East Studies embraced and practiced by while not all–but still far too many–members of the select group (Middle East Studies Association–MESA) described in my opening paragraphs above.
This time, the author chose to focus on those duplicitous lacking luminaries' attempts to blame all the problems with the primary sponsor of terrorism in the world–the would-be atomic ayatollahs of Iran (determined executioners of the sole, resurrected, minuscule nation of the Jews)–on President Trump's policies. To think that such agenda-driven, truly carefully "chosen ones" have our children as captive audiences is alarming. The clique has had so much monopolistic, cartelish control that any alternative voices have been too often excluded, by their tenured selves, from admission to the ranks.
It took the formation of the breakaway academic organization of scholars, ASMEA, just several years back, by two now deceased preeminent scholars, Professors Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami, to finally attempt to restore some semblance of non-intimidating, balanced, and apolitical study of the region. where diversity of opinion is not grounds for not attaining tenure or even earning an advanced degree. Caschetta's important analysis dealing with the ongoing crisis with Iran and originally published in The Hill can also be found here in a slightly modified version: https://www.meforum.org/campus-watch/59202/middle-east-scholars-blame-trump-for-an-iran
The article starts off by quoting various "experts" and leads off with Juan Cole. Once again, here's a few excerpts...
"...When the new academic year convenes days from now, students attending American colleges will learn that there is a crisis in the Middl e East caused by a radical departure from traditional U.S.-Iran relations instigated, of course, by President Donald Trump.
At the University of Michigan, Juan Cole may tell them that "Trump created this crisis by breaching the 2015 Iran nuclear deal," as he wrote on his blog, "Informed Comment"...Georgetown's Iran specialist, Trita Parsi, may tell them that "this is a TOTALLY UNNECESSARY CRISIS" and "We're only here cuz Trump quit the deal and put (national security adviser John) Bolton in charge of Iran policy"–assuming his Twitter commentary and classroom conduct are not out-of-sync..
Sasan Fayazmanesh, director of the Middle East Studies program at California State University-Fresno, may tell his students "the immediate cause of the recent crisis is the current US administration's unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)...
How have so many Middle East studies scholars gotten it so wrong? The U.S. has been at war with Iran for almost 40 years. Trump's Iran policy is not the aberration that his critics claim but, rather, a return to the policy in place since Nov. 4, 1979, when Khomeini's men stormed our embassy in Tehran, took diplomats hostage and held them for 444 days.
All presidents from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush fought Iran in one way or another. And then something extraordinary happened when Barack Obama became president: We stopped fighting even as Iran continued its belligerence.
Will students learn this truth?..."
This same MESA choir, so uniform and rehearsed on Iran, is even more so when lionizing the cause of the Arab's 22nd state via the sacrifice of the reborn one the Jews have which requires a magnifying glass to locate on a world globe...and, as I opened this piece with, all the while ignoring the plight and aspirations of scores of millions of non-Arab, non-Turkish, non-Iranian folks in the region.
Juan Cole, is a specialist on Turkey and has very likely benefited nicely, in assorted ways, from Ankara for that–not to mention probable support from assorted Arab sources as well, as per the opening quotes regarding ARAMCO and such above. Try to find anything about the plight of Anatolia's pre-Turkish conquest "Mountain Turks"–Turkey's own 23 million renamed Kurds–on his blogs, on his course reading lists, and so forth. This is the same "objective scholar" who, like so many of his colleagues, is never shy about vilifying an admittedly imperfect Israel and Zionism at every chance he can get.
Given this, let's take a look a closer look at Professor Cole, while acknowledging that he's just another example of the plague of Col(e)itis infecting too many campuses today...
Back in 2010, in See No Evil, The Jerusalem Post's Caroline Glick mentioned Cole's March 23rd gem, "Ten reasons why East Jerusalem does not belong to Israel" https://www.juancole.com/2010/03/top-ten-reasons-east-jerusalem-does-not.html
Among his many assertions, Juan indulged in a familiar anti-Israel favorite, attacking the peoplehood of the Jews. While he also momentarily hinted that others' national identities might also be flawed, it was then–and is now–the Jews and Jews alone who always seem to have his and his ilk's attention on such issues. His reason, of course, is to do what all of such Israel-bashers do...deny the very right of the Jewish nation to even exist.
Cole claims that Jews are, by definition, simply "...adherents of the Jewish religion...founded between 3000 BCE and 2600 BCE by a West Semitic people or possibly the Canaanites, the common ancestors of Palestinians, Lebanese, many Syrians and Jordanians, and many Jews." While there are some elements of truth in that statement, it's what he constantly leaves out on such subjects which is revealing.Since the peoplehood issue is central to folks like Juan Cole's thinking and visceral attacks on Zionism, it's useful to explore what they conveniently and deliberately omit in their "scholarly" discussions...
While there are many other examples, back on July 3, 2003, the highly respected Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated an interview with Ahmed Qurei' ("Abu Alaa"), one of the late Egyptian ghoul, Yasser Arafat's, chief marionettes.
When asked about the Arab problem with having the word "Jewish" placed in front of the words "State of Israel," he replied..."What is the meaning of a Jewish state? Do we say...Sunni state...Shi'ite state.... Christian state? These are definitions that will bring...turmoil."
Cole and Abu Alaa are of the same mind, no doubt. The latter day Arafatian leader in a suit, the "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas–who pays butchers of Jewish children and their families handsome monthly salaries–has the same things to say, as well as numerous colleagues of Cole in the Ivory Tower.
Now, think about this subject for a minute...
Someone from England is said to be English, from Poland Polish, from Sweden Swedish, from Ireland Irish, and so forth.
While there are other ways of describing nationality or ethnicity, the addition of the suffix "-ish" certainly denotes such "peoplehood" as well. Indeed, that's how Webster's Collegiate Dictionary primarily defines it.
So, what's the Col(e)itis issue/problem here? Is it really about claims to Jerusalem, as his above article states?
You see, it's really very simple:
If the Israel-bashing crew admits that Jews are a nation or a people, it makes their rejection of the Jewish national liberation movement–Zionism–more difficult to defend; i.e., how can one demand the birth of the Arabs' 22nd state, and second–not first–in "Palestine," while denying Jews their sole, resurrected, one? Jordan was created on almost 80% of the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine in 1922 via British imperial machinations.
Funny, I never heard any of the MESA folks discuss this.They most often, if not always, start off the story with the 1947 partition plan (when the bulk of the land had already been turned over to Arab nationalism, in one of its many subspecies) and claim how those nasty Zionists stole most of the territory. Maybe they should have read the memoirs of King Abdullah I, who was the recipient of this "gift from Allah" as he described it. Or the account in London's East Bank (Transjordan, later Jordan) representative, Sir Alec Kirkbride, in his A Crackle of Thorns...... I–deliberately excluded from their private club–did.
Well, they still could reject Zionism–as they do with Imazighen ("Berbers"), Kurds, and everyone else living on what Arabs claim to be "purely Arab patrimony" and abetted by the silence on the matter from Cole and the Arabs' other assorted rah rah crews running the show in too many classrooms. Yet, it still makes the selling of the argument to knowledgeable and reasonable minds that much more difficult. In his own mind and to his students, Cole takes care of this problem by simply stating that the "Palestinians" today are simply yesterday's Jews who converted to Islam. On that point, there is an element of truth.
Notice, however, that the spreaders of Col(e)itis never ask any of such questions about the truly fabricated "Palestinian" people–Arabs, mostly from elsewhere, who simply renamed themselves much later to deny the Jews the same rights on one tiny sliver of land which Arabs demand for themselves on over six million square miles of territory gained by waging centuries of imperialist, colonialist, murderous jihad against mostly non-Arab native peoples...and still going on in places like the Sudan as I write this very article.
The only "imperialism" and "colonialism" the Coles worry about is that which he refers to when he speaks of Jews building in Jerusalem. While his hypocritical clique moralize about the Arab quest for a twenty-second state via Israel's destruction (one way or another), note that mention is never made of MESA's now darling Ayatollah's eight million oppressed Ahwazi Arabs in Iran's own oil-rich province, Khuzestan/"Arabistan." Now, why might that be?
Unlike Cole's claims for a purely religious identity of Jews (he deliberately places "Jewish People" in quotations), the truth is something far different. As Caroline Glick, years ago, accurately observed in her response to him, Juan speaks in half truths and fabrications.
And as with his recent assertions regarding Trump and Iran, debunking Cole's "wisdom" regarding Jews and Zionism is also is a no brainer...
"Jew" comes from the name Judah, originally the Hebrew tribe named after one of Jacob's sons and later Judah/Judaea as the land was known in the times of the southern kingdom and the Greeks and Romans.
Judaean equals "Jew."
When Rome suppressed the first major revolt of the Jews for their freedom and independence after 70 C.E., it issued thousands of Judaea Capta (not Palaestina Capta) coins that can be seen in museums all over the world today. Judaea was the land, Judaeans were the people of that land.Open to the front cover of my book to see one of these Roman coins of conquest at the tophttp://q4j-middle-east.com
Check out this quote from Vol. II, Book V, The Works of Tacitus, one of the most important of the ancient Roman sources...
"It inflamed Vespasian's ire that the Jews were the only nation which had not submitted...Titus was appointed by his father to complete the subjugation of Judaea...he commanded three legions in Judaea itself...To these he added the twelfth from Syria and the third and twenty-second from Alexandria...amongst his allies were a band of Arabs, formidable in themselves and harboring towards the Jews the bitter animosity usually subsisting between neighboring nations."
Now, does the above sound like Tacitus was talking about a religion or a people? Look at the last word in the above quote if you need further assistance....Do you think Juan Cole discusses this or other similar, well-documented facts and corroboration in the classroom? Do you think that I'm Santa Claus? How about the next pope?
But, granting the Col(e)itis folks their just due, here's perhaps the confusing part...
That particular people–whom Cole & Co. deny are a people–also had a peculiar set of religious beliefs which they solely want to identify them by: Unlike all others around them, Jews worshiped a totally spiritual G_d, whom no man could see, without physical body, who demanded that man live by a strong moral code. The contemporary Roman historians–Tacitus, Dio Cassius, Pliny, and so forth– were amused and spoke of this peculiarity in their writings and had lots more to say about Jews as a people/nation as well. And no mention by them of "Palestinians" whatsoever...Hey, but what do they know? After all, the Coles of the Ivory Tower–whose programs are greased with millions upon millions of dollars of Arab and petroleum industry money–swear otherwise.
While it is true that the Hebrews were likely a Semitic group with similarities to others (though some Kurdish sources now claim an Aryan genetic identity linking Jews to Kurds via the Medes and Hurrians), Abraham and the Hebrew patriarchs lived centuries earlier. Jews emerged as a people/nation after the experience at Sinai, some twelve hundred years or so before Jesus, and twenty-seven centuries before Muhammad. They came to inhabit a distinct land, had their own culture, language, history–and, again, their own distinct set of religious beliefs.
While Juan claims that there is no documentation of anyone like Hebrews in the Egyptian or other sources, the Amarna Letters are an amazing archaeological treasure from ancient Egypt which show repeated correspondence between Pharaoh and surrounding Hittite, Hurrian, Babylonian, Canaanite, Assyrian and other kingdoms filled with complaints about invasions by the Habiru"/ 'Apiru."
While there is on-going debate about the Habiru-Hebrew linkage, and the names seem to identify different groups of people at different times, many if not most scholars agree that the Hebrews emerged from at least one group of such folks. And the Amarna treasure trove dates back to just around the time scholars have dated the Biblical conquests of Joshua and the Hebrew people. Given the Col(e)itis academic agenda, the deliberate and total omission of such information by such biased academics is, no doubt, beyond mere coincidence.
While Cole's half-truth is correct in that one may join one's destiny to the peoplehood/nationhood of Israel via religious conversion to the faith of that people, faith itself–while a part of the picture–is still just that... one (very important) part of the greater picture. So, Ruth the Moabitess, became a convert when she told Naomi in the Hebrew Bible, "Whither thou goist I shall go, your people shall be my people, your G_d, my G_d."
Note, please, that even here, in the religious writings of the Jews, peoplehood is mentioned before religion–perhaps a coincidence, most likely, not. But the Colite ilk isn't interested in such things. They'd rather stake a claim on Jerusalem for Arabs around a winged horse with the head of a woman (Buraq) who allegedly flew Muhammad from Arabia to, of all places, the Temple Mount of the Jews. That Muhammad fled pagan Mecca to find refuge among the Jewish founders of the date palm oasis of Medina is just a coincidence...don't you know?
As I have written earlier, when Jews were repeatedly humiliated, massacred, ghettoized, demonized, and so forth throughout subsequent centuries (in the Muslim East as well as the Christian West), as soon as Napoleon released them from the mandatory ghettos and granted them citizen rights, many tried to redefine themselves so that their millennial distinct peoplehood identity would not cause them future problems. So, they became "Frenchmen of the Jewish persuasion," "Germans of the Jewish persuasion," and so forth–trying to blend in as best as possible by retaining only a religious identity–to one extent of another.
Regardless, Captain Alfred Dreyfus remained a dirty, "G_d-killing" Jew anyway to even much of the French elite, and Nazis laughed as German Jewish World War I veterans showed them their metals.
Thus, whether it's about Iran, Jerusalem, Arab-Israeli issues, or other related subjects, I have two words for the duplicitous Coles of academia...and they ain't Merry Christmas.
Indeed, it is far beyond ironic when Cole and other assorted Arab mouthpieces bring this Jewish peoplehood issue up. As usual, they rely on the innocent ignorance of most of their captive audiences on such matters.
Why, for example, do the Col(e)itis spreaders never discuss "Arab" identity?
Because of their own widespread imperial conquests and forced Arabization (still going in places like North Africa, where the once majority Berbers' language and culture have largely been outlawed; in the Sudan, where millions of Blacks have been killed, enslaved, turned into refugees, and so forth resisting this; the gassings, massacres, and such in Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan; etc.), the definition of "Arab" has come down to language spoken, paternal (so to claim the children of those conquered as their own) ancestry, and/or one's own actual or willingly adopted identity as such....Not exactly precise, if you get my drift. Doesn't faze the Coles, however.
As just one of many examples of this, closely observe the pictures the next time you see "Arabs" on television, in magazine articles, or wherever. Frequently, you'll see some very obvious "Arabs" of black African ancestry–many born of slave mothers, grandmothers, and so forth. Black slaves are still arriving into Arab lands via the Sudan, Mauritania, and elsewhere. Do you think Professor Cole discusses that in class?
Indeed, Juan constantly complains about such things as Israeli "racialists" while ignoring tens of millions of Amazigh parents in "Arab" North Africa (who pre-date conquering Arabs by millennia) who have been told that they must name their own children with Arab names, can't even speak their own language, and so forth. Ditto for Kurds in "purely Arab" Syria. Typically, the Colites also want to know nothing about such things as Ismet Cherif Vanly's book, The Syrian 'Mein Kampf ' Against The Kurds.
As just one of far too many other examples of this hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil hypocritical attitude of the Coles regarding Arabs and Turks when it comes the same issues they readily attack Israel for, perhaps Egypt's Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, President Sadat's Foreign Minister, perhaps exemplified the conquering Arab supremacist problem best when he warned Israeli author Amos Elon that Israel must consent to be Arabized if ever wanted to gain "acceptance" in the regionhttps://ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2011/10/article112.htm.
As one of about thirteen million remaining pre-Arab native people, the Copts (from the same Greek root as Egypt), it was largely believed that Boutros-Ghali was selected for this important post precisely because of his unquestioned, assured loyalty. Centuries of subjugating and intimidating dhimmitude could be expected to have done its thing...and it did. The best approach for Copts since the Arab imperial conquest and colonization of Egypt in the 7th century C.E. has been to keep a low profile, pay the obligatory special jizyah tax, prove usefulness, quietly accept perpetual, subservient status, and find ways to ingratiate themselves and prove loyalty to the Arab Muslim majority and its rulers.
Still, that didn't stop the periodic slaughters, rapes, burned down churches, and so forth that these people endure to this very day. Indeed, the Coptic diaspora gross by leaps and bounds each year.
Back in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe authored a famous antislavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, in which she wrote of the blacks' expected servile behavior towards white masters...Unfortunately, as we've seen above in the words of Sadat's Foreign Minister, this is also the Arabs' predominant idea of "tolerance"...creating scores of millions of Uncle Boutroses instead of Uncle Toms–be they Copts, Kurds, black Africans, "Berbers," native kilab yahud (Jew dogs), pre-Arab conquest Lebanese, etc. and so forth.
The examples of Arab and other Muslim murderous abuse and oppression in the region are mind boggling...scores of millions–if not hundreds of millions–of "Infidels" and even fellow Muslims slaughtered in the name of the Dar ul-Islam since Arab armies burst out of the Arabian Peninsula some fourteen centuries ago and spread in all directions. Berbers, Kurds, black Africans of Darfur in the Sudan, and some other victims of Arab genocidal actions were/are mostly Muslims–but not Arabs. Get the picture?
Racism–pure and simple... And this doesn't include Arab-on-Arab violence. That's a whole other chapter in the story of "The Religion of Peace.".
Yet, given all the above, the only problems the duplicitous Juan Coles of higher indoctrination, instead of education, can pontificate and rant over are those which can allegedly be placed at the doorstep of Jews.
The stench of Col(e)itis in Middle East-related studies is nauseating to anyone with actual knowledge of what the reality is and who possesses a sense of at least relative justice, objectivity, and fair play. Have you ever heard the Col(e)itis Crew demand a state for 38 million truly stateless people in the region–the Kurds–while they demand and promote in class yet an additional one for Arabs?
Finally, for comparison's sake, some useful advice...The treatment of colitis varies. Depending upon the cause, medication may control or cure it. Antibiotics may be helpful in colitis caused by infections, and anti-inflammatory and immune suppression drugs can be used to control symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. That's the good news.
The bad news is that the treatment of academic Col(e)itis is much more difficult since it involves embracing and utilizing true scholarly objectivity and openness in dealing with the admitted imperfections of all players in the Middle East–not just alleged Hebraic ones.
The shameful reality, of course, is that whether the Juan Coles of now too often tainted Ivory Towers are discussing such issues as Iran, Jewish peoplehood, Jerusalem, or whatever, their biased approach and agenda constantly has the same objectives in mind...regardless of the specific issues they are allegedly dealing with.
As always, the name of the game is denying Jews their one, minuscule, resurrected nation–the de-legitimization of Israel...what the current fuss over the BDS movement is really all about.