Sunday, August 15, 2010

If This Isn't It, What Would Be?

Juan Cole is a professor at a respectable university (Michigan). His politics are a bit odd, but so what. Today, however, he launches a screed against Corporal Goldberg and also a gang of evil people he calls the Neocons. Its title is "An Israeli attack on Iran would reduce Barack Obama to a one-term president". You need to read the whole thing to see how truly weird it is, but the thesis is that the Rightwing-Zionist-inspired-Neocons need a war every five years, and an Israeli attack on Iran would give it to them:
The Neoconservative faction is in the political wilderness in the United States. Eager to play the role in Iran that the enormous floods have played in Pakistan, of paralyzing and destroying much of a thriving country, eager to reduce the shining city of Isfahan to rubble and displace its population into massive tent cities, they find their path blocked at every turn...

The Neocons’ life experience, then, is that aggressive warfare is never really off the table. Even a liberal internationalist like Obama can be pressured, and if he will not yield, be weakened and wounded and the way paved for a leader more pliable to their plans. A war that they pine for the way a teenager pines for a first love, a mass grave they dream of the way a retiree dreams of a Hawaiian resort, an orgy of destruction visited on ancient wonders that they dream of the way a world-class architect dreams of constructing a new city– all these things are really at most just 5 years away if the right political moves are made. They have more assets than is visible on the surface. They have perhaps half of America’s 400 billionaires on their side. They have the enormous military-industrial complex on their side. They have the Yahoo complex of besieged lower middle class White America on their side. They have the Israel lobbies on their side. They have important segments of the Oil and Gas lobbies on their side. They have the whole American tradition of permanent war on their side. They should not be underestimated.
And so on.

Let's postulate for a moment that Prof. Cole is not an antisemite, and that this screed isn't antisemitic. If that's the case, what would someone have to say in order to be one? If yearning for the destruction of cities and people isn't, what is?

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

me thinks Mr. Cole is a maybe even by himself unacknowledged poet

as Personal Interests he lists:
Human Rights, Science Fiction

maybe that combination explains it all???

-----

his profile also tells me he the Baha'i are one of his Academic Fields
-
how weird given their fate in Iran combined with their doing well in Israel

Silke

J said...

I actually don't see any anti-Semitism here. This is simply a ranting, raving screed against things generally considered conservative, to which Mr. Cole would probably include Israel.

It's insane to be sure, but I think Mr Cole lumps in Zionists and Jewish Israel supporters along with all the other "illiberal" things he hates.

It's not grounded in reality, but I don't think his motivation is specifically anti Jewish.

Anonymous said...

J
and what qualifies as specifically anti-Jewish?
why doesn't he include Taiwan in his rant the US' aricraft carrier right in front of the Chinese mainland? The situation there starts to simmer often enough to ask for some anti-imperialistic ranting or how about the US and her relation to Indian nukes?
or how about ...
or how about ...

If I look at his profile his range of expertise and/or interest is certainly wide enough to let one assume that he should care for giving a broader picture

why doesn't he?

Silke

Anonymous said...

His screed is more about the underlying belief of all Jew haters: Jews control Western governments and all 'right-thinking' people should unite to defend Iran, Palestine, et al because the Jews are gunning for them.

Continuous wars benefit the Jews.

Critics of the Jews screed about Jews/Zionists never seeing the other side of any argument because of our security. They never look at our "other side" either: The one thing that would benefit Jews the most is peace. This is what we Jews want. Peace and tranquility in our little tract of land.

We work to this end but are quite aware that this end is not necessarily in the interests of the Jews' enemies.

Juan Cole is one of our enemies and continuously finds new ways to exxagerate our supposed cosmic powers.

Asaf

Anonymous said...

Asaf
have a little pity on Juan Cole, to be blessed with such lovely curls and then go bald in front so visibly is terrible. Men have assured me again and again that they suffer terribly once it happens to them and that no talk that it is a symptom of an excess of the right hormons has ever consoled any of them.
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jrcole/graphics/juan1.jpg

Silke

Anonymous said...

If Obama is committed to defending the npt and avoiding war he still has options. The US could ban trade with any country that does any trade with Iran, virtually instantly transforming the world into 'with' and 'against'. It's extreme, but so is the situation it would address and, even more so, the outcomes it would prevent.

Cole's nutty opinions aside, all this talk of war seems premature.

NormanF said...

Ya'acov - no sane person wants war. But when it comes to stopping an evil person from realizing his plans, war may indeed be the most humane option. If Western leaders had acted to stop Hitler instead of appeasing him when they still had the strength and the means to do so, millions of lives would have been saved. The point here, which Juan Cole doesn't concede, is the harsh truth that sometimes war is the moral choice, the only choice, to stop someone whom reason can't deter from bringing a disaster upon his own people and upon the world.

Danny said...

Why can't the Jews just stop killing babies and taking other people's land? It's no wonder everybody hates you. Just stop!

Barry Meislin said...

Juan Cole is a very, very sick individual.

He's obviously not the only one.

One can feel sorry for them if one wishes (curls or not).

Cole himself is a pernicious liar and he does have influence.

Best, if possible, to try to ignore them and do one's best to live and when push come to shove, survive in the most dignified way possible.

If possible.

File under: You can try to please everyone (you can't of course), but it's preferable, at the end of the day, to be able to survive.

Laura Beck (Laura SF) said...

I actually waded into the filth and read (okay, scanned, I couldn't bear to read it) the whole article.

It's funny how his first paragrah is an attempt to deflect the "antisemite" label by pointing out that some of the Neocons are WASPSs - though most are "extremely wealthy" Jews who became "war hawks" because of "fascist"-derived "Rightwing Zionism". And anyway, most American Jews are good, peaceful liberals who voted for Obama.

So that makes it okay that he hits every antisemitic trope in the book - "militant and aggressive Likud," "Apartheid Israel," manipulating "pliable" US leaders into wars to feed their monstrous longings for "an orgy of destruction"...

He might almost get away with it, if he didn't go on to drag Jeffrey Goldberg ("Cpl. Jeffrey Goldberg of the Israeli army, where he was a prison camp guard") into it. While admitting the liberal Goldberg isn't ("exactly") a Neocon, he insists his recent article on Iran is part of a huge warmongering scheme. Never mind that he's a *huge* supporter of Obama - "Goldberg and his fellow conspirators" (!!) are secretly aiming to destory Obama's chances for re-election. So they can drive the US into another war.

Wow. This stuff would be right at home on Stormfront.

Solomon said...

Arthur C. Clarke's third law of prediction: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

A new law: How about... "Any political analysis sufficiently fringe and conspiracy-based is indistinguishable from antisemitism."

Needs a little work to get up to Clarke's elegance, but you get the point.

Anonymous said...

If Michigan State was a respectable university, it wouldn't have Juan Cole on it's staff. As I needn't remind you, the fact that he and others actually may believe this is truly frightening.

Anonymous said...

I agree with several of the above comments above so will take a different tact. One thing that struck me about Cole’s post was the structure of the argument. Cole spends more than half the post talking about neoconservatism and its alleged problems. Then he arrives at the big subject – Goldberg’s article – and informs the readers that Goldberg is “not exactly himself a Neocon.” Ok Professor, now what connects the first half of the post to the second?

Cole doesn’t bother explaining why the first part is relevant. We could say it is simply bad writing, but I suspect that would be too charitable. Ethnicity and ethnic ties are clearly on his mind. He includes all the hedging required for polite society, as is the fashion. In fact, he even gets these formalities out of the way in the first paragraph. Still, the entire effort remains odious. It eventually leaves us with this surreal exchange:


Fillmore Hagan says:
August 15, 2010 at 11:06 am
Juan

Jews do account for about half of America’s billionaires, but your implication that all of these support the neo-cons and a war with Iran goes too far IMHO. Although many of them undoubtedly are pushing for such a war, George Soros (and probably a number of others) do not support such an approach.

Juan says:
August 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm
I did not say anything about Jews. I said half of the 400 billionaires would support a war on Iran.



Both parties are living in the gutter. Yet neither Juan nor his interlocutor is comfortable with the other’s stench.

na

Barry Meislin said...

University of Michigan.

"The Harvard of the Midwest".

Heh...

"Neo-conservative" is a code word for Zionist. Has been for some time.

What Cole is saying is that Zionists (and the Queen Bee---the State of Israel, the Jewish State, and its inhabitants, or most of them) are...

Eager to play the role in Iran that the enormous floods have played in Pakistan, of paralyzing and destroying much of a thriving country, eager to reduce the shining city of Isfahan to rubble and displace its population into massive tent cities, etc., etc.

Moreover (and this delicious tidbit merely shows how deranged Cole is):

A war that they pine for the way a teenager pines for a first love, a mass grave they dream of the way a retiree dreams of a Hawaiian resort, an orgy of destruction visited on ancient wonders that they dream of the way a world-class architect dreams of constructing a new city– all these things are really at most just 5 years away if the right political moves are made. They have more assets than is visible on the surface. They have perhaps half of America’s 400 billionaires on their side. They have the enormous military-industrial complex on their side. They have the Yahoo complex of besieged lower middle class White America on their side. They have the Israel lobbies on their side. They have important segments of the Oil and Gas lobbies on their side. They have the whole American tradition of permanent war on their side.

The Israel Lobby---in case, anyone wasn't paying attention, in cahoots with practically every villainous organization that Cole can conjure up.

But it's even more pernicious than that.

Obama, having failed at practically everything he's touched in the year and seven months that he's been president (and with his prior legislative and administrative experience---nil---that should have been no surprise) except instituting failed economic policies, blaming his predecessor, and ramming through health legislation that most of America doesn't want, and which I think it would be fair to say that most of the federal legislators have not even read in its totality, is now, according to this raving lunatic that passes as a tenured professor of history at what used to be one of America's premier institutions of learning, going to be "reduced...to a one-term presidency " because of an Israeli attack on Iran (the title of this particular screed).

Because of Israel.

The audacity(!) of dopes.

That's right folks. You heard it here (there) first: Obama's problems can be reduced to being all Israel's fault.

The fact is, for anyone who has been paying attention, that Obama has been "setting up" Israel since practically day 1. He has established Netanyahu as his nemesis and has treated him accordingly. He has made foolish and impractical demands on Israel that counter by any measure the concept of negotiations and good sense (even if one understands that negotiations, in the sense of "give and take" have not and will not work with the Palestinians). He has jettisoned any feeling that his administration is sensitive to Israel's security needs; and he has squandered the standing of his administration as, in any sense, an ally---and this is not only true of Israel, but of many other countries that once believed they could count on the US as an ally. The jig is up.

Barry Meislin said...

(Continued...)

As long as Israel will not accede to Obama's demands, Israel will be seen as obstructing not only peace in the Middle East, not only peace in the world, but Obama's entire foreign policy "project."

In fact, Israel will be (or rather, is) responsible for fatally weakening Obama's entire "liberal internationalist" agenda:

Even a liberal internationalist like Obama can be pressured, and if he will not yield, be weakened and wounded and the way paved for a leader more pliable to their plans.

Deranged Comment, indeed.

Likewise, Israel will be blamed for Obama's failed domestic policies---the whole package.

Cole, with the acute and exaggerrated sensitivities of the deeply emotionally disturbed, has sniffed this one out. Yep, he has put it all together; and he (and his equally disturbed acolytes) will play it for all it is worth.

Israel. Israel's supporters. The Israel Lobby. Jews.

Israel (along with her supporters) is being set up by a vindictive, amoral and utterly inept President.

This is essentially what is at stake here; and it will not be pretty.

Sérgio said...

He is an antisemite, that´s what motivates his obsession disguised as progressivism.

It is curions that antisemites now use the "preventive Livingstone formulation": even before anyone points out their standard tropes (double standards, "I have jewish friends", the nazi card, etc) they already say that they will be called antisemites, and that will be proof they are right and the evil je...er, zionists, are just trying to silence them. So, they assume the victim stance and its a no win situation.

It is so pathetic and the amazing thing is that people take that seriously and say one should "engage" in debate with these people! But there´s no debate here, just plain impervious ideology.

Anonymous said...

Sergio
here is the TRULY sophisticated way to do it, Cole's method is the crude clumsy old-fashioned one
- read this from Margret Atwood of Handmaid's Tale fame trying prophecy on Israel
- notice any difference worth noticing between No 1 and 2 ? (there are 7 altogether)
- but to object to something so subtle and "inadvertent" certainly is what we call KorinthenKackerei (sh..ting currants) isn't it?


In the first one, there’s no Israel: it’s been destroyed in war and all the Israelis have been killed. (Unlikely, but not impossible.) In the second, there’s no Palestine: it’s been merged with Israel, and the Palestinians either slaughtered or driven beyond its borders. Israel has become completely isolated; international opinion has been outraged, boycotts have been successful, financial aid from the US — both public and private — has evaporated, and the US Government has cooled towards Israel, and swung towards entente with the Muslim world. Israel has become like North Korea — an embattled military state — and civilian rights have suffered. Moderate Israelis have emigrated and live as exiles in a state of bitterness over wasted opportunities and blighted dreams.

Silke

Anonymous said...

it was always these meek, mild, timid-looking people who yearned for revolution and bloodshed
Dorothy L. Sayers Have a Carcase page 322,
Copyright 1932

Silke

Gavin said...

I'm not sure I could label Cole an anti-semite, not in the classic sense anyway. Cole has gone from the lecture hall to a wider audience and he really doesn't like his 'students' arguing back at him. He is the foremost authority on the Middle East and how dare anyone defy or contradict him. He's got a Napoleon complex. His comments about Goldberg are sheer spite. "I'm a renowned professor & this man is just a former prison guard, what would a lowly corporal know about the ME...." His opponents on the ME are those who support the Israel perspective so naturally he turns against everything Israeli (aka Jewish) He trots out all the anti-Jewish tropes because it's basically all he has... he's a little man well out of his intellectual depth.

Cole is a man who can be baited, goaded into outbursts of spite & malice. They've probably fitted bigger doors at his university so he can get his head through them. A multi-front attack of utter scorn and contempt would really hit him where it hurts and he'd start getting more & more irrational in his outbursts. That wouldn't stop him but it would make those in authority who listen to him think twice about taking his advice on the ME.

Gavin

Hawkeye said...

I tried posting the following at his pre-moderated site -

Great job Professor Cole. Your post reminds me of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Praemonitus_Praemunitus_-_The_Protocols_of_the_Wise_Men_of_Zion_-_The_Beckwith_Company_%281920%29.jpg

It never appeared.

Anonymous said...

Hawkeye
you don't expect Cole to let somebody with your "reputation" comment on his posts?
-
free speech by their book is for the others not for them
They are way too holy to have to abide by their own rules
-
or to put it differently they are way too weak/dumb/unimaginative to deal with deviating opinions.

My guess as to Cole is that as a kid all aunties were always all over him cooing at his cute curls and now he has a blog where he expects commenters to replicate that experience for him.

Silke

Anonymous said...

This is just the ongoing collapse of Middle East Studies that has been going on since the 80s. The fact is these people push out anyone actually doing any research because they simply lie and fabricate and exhaust anyone trying to argue facts - not that they accept there are any facts...

Danny

Sylvia said...

Juan Cole politics are exclusively personal identity politics, which is why he so often sounds so irrational. Juan Cole is a Baha'i -even though he has been kind of excommunicated from the faith and stripped of his rights some 10-15 years ago. These two aspects of his Bahai standing explain a lot of his politics - yes - toward Israel. Of course, there is the fact that the Baha'i Supreme administrative body is in Haifa, Israel.
His problem however, relates to Baha'i doctrine.
One example: The founder of Baha'ism predicted international peace in the previous century. When, by the late 1990s, it still didn't happen, Cole with a few others started emitting sounds of dissent which were suppressed. He later held back and forth discussions about it - and the administration of the world faith - with his Bahai "minister" at the term of which he disavowed the founder of Bahaism. He expected to be begged to stay but instead came these six words which I am sure were felt like six knives through his heart: "I thank you for your consistency".

Where is Israel in all this? Cole is still a committed Bahai who didn't mean to cause division but rather wants to help cement the doctrine. But he is going about it like other religions at their inception, Christianity, Islam, have gone before: blame the Jews: The only onstacle to the fulfillement of the prophecy is - you guessed it - Israel - for this warmonger needs its wars to survive.

His is the most poisonous antisemitism there is. It is the pre-Vatican II old Catholic antisemitism which he seeks to import and incorporate into a religious doctrine. I think the Baha'is saw through him, they who have stripped their religion of its violence and hatred.

Other personal references:
Reference to Iran: Iran has the largest Baha'i community, so he is understandably worried.
Reference to Pakistan: Cole's wife is Pakistani

Sérgio said...

It seems these days one can accuse someone of being an antisemite when he kill millons of jews, and even then someone will raise some scholarly doubts. It´s a parody of what happened in Germany in the 50´s, when the only perpetrators were Hitler, Himmler and Heydrich (conveniently dead) and the others were "just" accomplices...

Sérgio said...

I meant "one can *only*..."

Anonymous said...

Sergio

"hatten Befehlen gehorcht"
= had obeyed commands

Silke