Thursday, February 03, 2011

Juan Cole speaks against patently false Western myths regarding Israel

Juan Cole is very hostile to Iran's government. His endorsement of the idea that Mousavi won more votes than Ahmadinejad was important in that becoming the US consensus belief and his refusal to acknowledge, as far as I know to this day, that no evidence has emerged to support that belief slowed the process of the US consensus view correcting itself, which has still taken place thanks instead to people like Flynt and Hillary Leverett and Eric Brill.

But Cole is not a Zionist. He has consistently opposed the views and actions of the right-wing of Israel's political community and of those in the US, including US presidential administrations, that advance an Israeli agenda. He would call it a right-wing Israeli agenda, but would describe positions and policies that have broad support from every Israeli person or group with a plausible chance of assuming power.

Cole has also in the past spoken against the historical mythology of Zionism.

But for the first time I've recently seen Juan Cole speak against the modern mythology of Zionism, and I find it very striking:
And then there is the set of myths around Israel, that it is necessary for the well-being of the world’s Jews, that it is an asset to US security, that it is a great ethical enterprise– all of which are patently false.
I am very struck by this because I have never seen any mainstream US commentator even suggest that any of these myths are subject to questioning, much less that they are "patently false".

Cole is right. All three myths, that Israel is necessary for the safety of Jews, that it helps the US strategically and that it is consistent with US moral values are false. Each of these myths deserves closer examination, both of the reasons they are false and of how they have become unassailable parts of the US perception of the world view.

Questioning or challenging any one of these three myths exposes Cole to charges of anti-Semitism and would certainly reduce his professional or career opportunities in the United States. Calling all three "patently false" is a tremendous act of courage for someone in his position.


lidia said...

I do not like Cole at all, but I have to admit - he HAS sacrificed some of his opportunities - he lost a possibility of a position in some very prestigious uni not long ago. It is a pity that a personal courage in him still could not overcome an "inner imperialist", but one could not ask for too much :(

Greenboy said...

Yeah when I'd post anti-West Bank Occupation bits on my blog Needlenose, I'd get all kinds of flak from folks calling me anti-Semitic. But in my brief stint in Israel, I found you get better discussion in their newspapers about the Occupation then you do in US Media! Go figure.