You'd think that after the public rebuke by The Economist, Juan Cole would tread carefully for a while. You'd be wrong. Yesterday he explained to his readership that the Jews' connection to Jerusalem is largely myth (and of course, that Israel's politics on the matter are illegal, harmful and so on).
Bill Clinton apparently once told Yasser Arafat that in his insistence on denying a Jewish connection to Jerusalem he was offending Clinton's sensibilities as a Christian. To which one might add that when revisionist history goes so far as simply to deny inconvenient chapters of the past while trampling on the entire methodology of knowing about it, they offend anyone invested in the attempt to think rationally about what cannot be known through immediate experience. Once you're ready to do that you're in Orwell's 1984: you can't prove the French Revolution ever happened; George Washington never lived; Martin Luther was a fable; Thermopylae was invented by the sports equipment companies, and of course Alexander the Great is the brain-child of cynical Greek politicians unhappy with the disintegration of Yugoslavia. (Need I mention that the Nazis never killed Jews?)
I'm not going to fisk Cole's silliness. He's not important enough, and if his followers accept nonsense such as this that mostly tells us about them. I will however briefly note that his entire edifice is based on two hugely controversial books. One by Shlomo Sand, and the other a collection of articles from the Copenhagen School of Thought. Like Cole, this is not my specialty, so I won't go so far as to say that the Copenhagen scholars are truly as unprofessional as the Holocaust deniers; I will however say that they are at the extreme edge of what the scholarly community has to offer. Ah, and they first appeared a year or so after the Six Day War.
Propounding a historical thesis based on these folks alone, as if their argumentation is accepted knowledge and given truth is, how to put it, not serious.
PS: Remember this?