Just someone whose hatred of Israel in general, and more hawkish elements in Israel in particular, have driven him close to the edge of Lyndon Larouche territory. Check out this dishonest and dishonorable hatchet job* on Douglas Feith, the outgoing (Jewish) high-level Pentagon official:
Having a Likudnik as the number three man in the Pentagon is a nightmare for American national security, since Feith could never be trusted to put US interests over those of Ariel Sharon.
Feith does seem to be sympathetic to the Likud's positions, so I won't object to this use of the term "Likudnik." But "could never be trusted to put US interests over those of Ariel Sharon?" On what basis does Cole make what is essentially a charge of treason?
One is tempted to think that it's simply because Feith is Jewish, and that Cole is an anti-Semite. But Cole explicitly disclaims anti-Semitism later in his rant, and I'm inclined to believe him, or at least give him the benefit of the doubt.
Instead, reading between the lines, it seems that Cole's problem is that he thinks Ariel Sharon and associated political elements in Israel so evil, and sympathy with them so transparently immoral and stupid, that the only plausible explanation for a bright man like Feith to sympathize with Likud is out of a misguided ethnic loyalty. The very idea that a reasonable person could think that the Likud had a more realistic and practical view of the Palestinian Authority under Arafat than did more dovish forces (as the vast majority of Israelis, who have had to live with the consequences of Oslo, do), gets Cole unhinged.
Thus, Cole concludes his piece:
It is also important to underline that only a small minority of American Jews support the Likud Party or its policies, and that a majority of Jewish Americans opposed the Iraq war.* In short, the problematic nature of Feith's tenure at the Department of Defense must not be made an excuse for any kind of bigotry.
In other words, it's not Jews, or even Jewish supporters of Israel (as Cole also makes clear) that are the problem, but Jewish supporters of Likud, because the only plausible explanation for a Jew's support of Likud policies is ethnic loyalty.
Not that there is much sense to Cole's position:
It is important to note that what is objectionable about Feith is a) his playing fast and loose with the truth, producing poor intelligence analysis that has been shown to be completely false and b) his doing so on behalf of not only American nationalist aspirations but also on behalf of a non-American political party, the Likud coalition of Israel, which desired to destroy the Oslo peace process initiated by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (and which was therefore on the same side of this issue as the fanatic who assassinated Rabin).
It's not at all clear to me how the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which was supported by all Jewish political parties in Israel (which all also would have much preferred the U.S. worry more about Iran's nuclear capacities and less about Iraq), has anything to do with helping the Likud per se. And think about this reasoning: Rabin's assassin was against Oslo; Likud was against Oslo; therefore, there is some sort of moral equivalency between Likud and Rabin's assassin!
To get a further idea of what unhinges Professor Cole, he states, again in reference to Feith:
There is no objection to Americans having multiple identities or love for more than one country. Someone of Serbian heritage would make a perfectly good Pentagon administrator. But you wouldn't want a vehement supporter of Slobodon Milosevic as the number three man in the Pentagon.
So, in Cole's mind, there is a direct analogy between the democratically elected leader of Israel, who, in possession of one of the mightiest armies in the world, has, at his worst, destroyed a few square blocks of Jenin while hunting down suicide murderers who were acting with impunity from that city, killing a grand total of 46 people, mostly armed gunmen, and Serbian dictator Milosevic, responsible for widescale ethnic cleansing and the deaths of hundreds of thousands.
What I'm sure gets Cole especially agitated is how successful Ariel Sharon has been. Suicide bombs in Israel are now a rarity; Yasser Arafat is gone, and his successor, who has far less political support than Arafat had, is cracking down on terrorism, belying the view expressed by the Coles of the world that Arafat was (a) not involved in promoting terrorism; and (b) couldn't stop it if he wanted to. And Israel has committed itself both to the notion of a Palestinian state, and to beginning a withdrawal from the territories.
My question: when will NPR and other outlets that treat Cole as a respected Middle Eastern commentators consign him to the lunatic fringe where he belongs?
I've enabled comments[they don't seem to be working]
*E.g., "Feith has been questioned by the FBI in relation to the passing by one of his employees of confidential Pentagon documents to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which in turn passed them to the Israeli embassy"; first, no one has claimed Feith was involved in, or even knew about, the incident in question; second, no one has been indicted or otherwise charged in the incident, which is still under investigation; third, the investigation strikes many, including me, as politically motivated and trumped up; and fourth, do you think uber-leftist Cole would have such faith in an FBI investigation if it was undertaken against, say, an Arab American or peacenik group?
**Cole adopts the loony-left view that Israel somehow pushed the U.S. into war with Iraq, apparently through a Likud/Jewish neocon conspiracy. Again, he seems to think that the policy was so stupid and evil that there must be a conspiracy behind it (neglecting the obvious fact that, even if one accepts his view of the Iraq war, governments around the world do stupid and evil things all the time without any provocation from "Likudniks" or other nefarious conspirators). The only evidence he cites to support this outlandish view is this article, which is not only a dubious source, but doesn't actually support his point.