Israeli plot against Juan Cole!

Juan Cole, who doesn’t get the television time that he used to, has been reduced to appearing on webcasts from makeshift studios. It’s a completely apt setting for his nutty theories.

See, for example, the first segment of a homespun interview Cole gave to a Daily Kos blogger named Markinsanfran, a.k.a. Dio. (You’ll need Quicktime to view it.) Here Cole offers an account of Daniel Pipes’ Campus Watch that goes way beyond claims he’s made in the past. It turns out that Campus Watch, which began by putting up “dossiers” of links on Cole (and others), wasn’t acting alone! “If you followed Pipes around, I think you would probably find that he did have some kind of consultation with Israeli officials at some point about all this. I couldn’t prove that but I wouldn’t be surprised at it.” Of course! It’s the Mossad! Yes, it’s hard to imagine mild-mannered Pipes going after Cole without prodding from Tel Aviv. And those email spammers who hit Cole’s mailbox and sent out spoofs? Another revelation! “I’m quite convinced that the individuals behind this cyberspace harassment were right-wing Zionists and very possibly settlers on the West Bank.” Of course! Settlers! They’re the only ones mad enough at Cole to spam him, and they’ve got nothing better to do!

I don’t know whether Cole really imagines that Israeli agents and settlers targeted him, or whether he just puts out these accusations so that more bats will flock to his tree. But if a history professor in Ann Arbor believes that plots are being hatched against him in secret offices and hilltop redoubts thousands of miles away, he’s got a problem. Counseling might help.

Oh, and you have to chuckle at Cole’s answer to a question put to him on something called Evolvetv. The interviewer asked Cole how many languages the professor speaks. Cole: “Well, I think it’s more relevant how many languages I read. But, and it’s hard to to count because you know, knowing a language is always an imperfect thing and I know more of some languages than others and so forth. But I’ve studied eight or nine.” Studied? Is that a degree of proficiency? Would you ever list how many languages you’ve studied as a credential? Why Cole obscures his foreign language abilities is a mystery to me, since he has what he needs for what he does, and he’s been called on one exaggeration already. I’ll leave that one to the mind doctors too.