Juan R. I. Cole (born October 23, 1952) is a Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History in the History Department at the University of Michigan. Since 2002, he has become prominent as a pundit critical of U.S. and Israeli policy in the Middle East.
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- A group of Israeli rabbis has issued a call for the Sharon government to cease its policy of cavalierly allowing the killing innocent civilians in the [Palestinian] Occupied Territories in the course of its military operations against radical groups. They say such actions are inconsistent with the essence of the Jewish religion. Too right! Judaism has given us so much that is noble in ethical religion, and what the Likud is doing is an insult to that long and glorious tradition. Likud's real roots lie not in the Bible but in Zionist Revisionism of the Jabotinsky sort, which is frankly a kind of fascism.
- The state of Israel is a project of Jewish nationalism that is as legitimate as any other national project. But Israel as a state is not perfect and cannot be above criticism in democratic societies, including practical criticism.
- The precise reason for Hitchens’ theft and publication of my private mail is that I object to the characterization of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as having “threatened to wipe Israel off the map.” I object to this translation of what he said on two grounds. First, it gives the impression that he wants to play Hitler to Israel’s Poland, mobilizing an armored corps to move in and kill people. But the actual quote, which comes from an old speech of Khomeini, does not imply military action, or killing anyone at all. The second reason is that it is just an inexact translation. The phrase is almost metaphysical. He quoted Khomeini that “the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time.” It is in fact probably a reference to some phrase in a medieval Persian poem. It is not about tanks.
- One of his charges is that I am accusing the Neoconservatives in the Pentagon of "dual loyalties." That is true, but not in the way Lake imagines. I believe that Doug Feith, for instance, has dual loyalties to the Israeli Likud Party and to the U. S. Republican Party. He thinks that their interests are completely congruent. And I also think that if he has to choose, he will put the interests of the Likud above the interests of the Republican Party.
- In his response, Foreign Minister Jack Straw said that September 11 had not come in response to any Western attack, and was itself in part responsible for the Iraq War. Straw seems unaware that according to the September 11 Commission report, al-Qaeda conceived 9/11 in some large part as a punishment on the US for supporting Ariel Sharon's iron fist policies toward the Palestinians. Bin Laden had wanted to move the operation up in response to Sharon's threatening visit to the Temple Mount, and again in response to the Israeli attack on the Jenin refugee camp, which left 4,000 persons homeless. Khalid Shaikh Muhammad argued in each case that the operation just was not ready. As for Straw's contention that September 11 caused the Iraq war, he should be reminded that Paul O'Neil reported that the very first Bush cabinet meeting he attended, in late January 2001, was "all about Iraq" and that the 9/11 Commission found no evidence for operational cooperation between Saddam's Iraq and al-Qaeda.