Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Juan Cole and the Map of Lies
(Learn the Truth about the "Apartheid Maps" being spread by the Axis
of Evil – please pass on to activists fighting the BDS and Israel
Apartheid Week Klans)
Juan Cole's Map of Lies
Posted By Steven Plaut On March 23, 2011
Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History. He claims
to be a Middle East historian and expert. He has served as the
president of the "Middle East Studies Association." At least one
scholar has accused him of being personally responsible for the
intellectual bankruptcy plaguing Middle East studies. Cole is an
anti-Israel and anti-American extremist, and his extremism prevented
him from getting a job offer from Yale a few years back. He is
probably best known for his professing beliefs in grand Jewish
conspiracies. He tosses around the term "Zionofascists" when he means
"Jews." He led the pro-Saddam lobby and is a Hamas apologist. He
loves to spread anti-Jewish blood libels. He is bosom buddies with
Neo-Nazi anti-Semitic conspiracist nuts, like Justin Raimondo (who
claims the Jews and not al-Qaeda were behind the 9-11 attacks on the
For those who think that the fascist method of The Big Lie must be
restricted to slogans or phrases, you should never underestimate the
value of a false map. Perhaps the world title for telling a Big Lie by
means of a map, or rather a pseudo-map, now belongs to the
pseudo-academic Cole, regarding "Palestinian lands." He has decided
that lands owned by the British imperial mandatory governing in
control of "Palestine" between the world wars were "Palestinian land."
Those are the "Palestinian lands" he claims were stolen by Israel.
Now, as it turns out, those were "Palestinian lands" only in the sense
that they were state land owned by the British "Palestine" mandatory
government. They were by and large not lands owned by "Palestinian"
Arabs. And they were by and large completely empty.
Those were the lands taken over by Israel when it became independent
that Cole maps as "Palestinian lands." Today Juan Cole is the daddy
of the world's most absurd propaganda pseudo-map, which purports to
tell the history of "Palestine." The map can be viewed here and is
entitled "Palestinian Loss of Land 1946 to 2000." It consists of four
The first frame is labeled "Palestinian and Jewish Land 1946." It
shows "Palestinian land" in green comprising more than 90% of
"Palestine" (defined as the area later forming Israel, the West Bank
and Gaza). Most of this "Palestinian" land was "Palestinian" only in
the sense that it was public land owned by the British mandatory
government of "Palestine."
The second frame shows the UN partition plan 1947, under which roughly
equal slices of land in Mandatory Palestine were assigned to a
proposed Jewish state and a proposed Palestinian Arab state.
Unwittingly, the map prepared by Cole makes the Israeli case. Readers
might want to ask of Cole and his friends embarrassing questions, such
as why that Arab Palestinian state never arose. After all, the Jews
accepted the compromise proposal. The answer that Cole does not want
you to know is that the Arab states invaded the territory militarily
and gobbled up most of the what had been earmarked for a Palestinian
state. Readers might also wonder how come half the segment of Western
Palestine that had been reserved for the Jews after Transjordan had
been truncated from Palestine was being offered to the Arabs.
In the same map, what are shown in Cole's second frame as "Palestinian
lands" were also by and large public lands controlled by the British
Mandatory government and not lands owned by "Palestinian" Arabs. The
third frame shows Israel's borders after Independence and the last
frame shows Israel's borders today together, again with lands in the
West Bank and Gaza defined by Cole as "Palestinian lands."
The Big Lie is most visibly and viciously concentrated in Cole's first
frame. After World War I, all of Western Palestine was governed by
Britain under a Mandate granted to it by the League of Nations. Its
mandate was to develop the area as a Jewish homeland. The eastern
part of Palestine was truncated and illegally turned by Britain into
the independent Arab kingdom of Transjordan. The rump segment of
Palestine was reserved for the Jews. None of this was earmarked for
creation of yet another Arab state. The bulk of land within the
Palestinian Mandate was state-owned land, governed by the British
Mandatory government. It had also been state-owned land previously
under the Ottoman imperial government, before Britain liberated
"Palestine" from the Turks. [Before World War I, land in Palestine
was owned by the Ottoman state and a feudalistic class of absentee
landlords. The few "Palestinian" Arabs who lived in the country at
the time seldom owned any land. They farmed it as sharecroppers.]
The Cole map of "Palestinian lands" gives the impression that before
Israel's creation 90% of the land of Palestinian was owned by
"Palestinian" Arabs. In reality, almost none of it was. It was
mainly land owned by feudal aristocrats and by the imperial
government. Most of it was empty. When the Zionist migrations began,
the Jews started buying up lands from their feudal landlords, who were
happy to turn a quick profit. Almost no "Palestinian" Arabs were
forced off those lands as the ownership changed and the Jewish
immigrants arrived. The anti-Israel Lobby, which loves to accuse the
Zionists of "colonialism," is invited to find any other case in human
history in which the "colonialists" came and paid in full at (and
often well above) market prices for the lands they were "colonizing."
As Jewish capital flowed into the country, bringing with it rising
wages, health and educational standards, Arabs from neighboring
countries, mainly from Lebanon and Syria, flowed in to "Palestine" to
take advantage of the progress. Those Arabs never saw themselves as
"Palestinians" until the fabrication of a mythical "Palestinian
people" became the Arab propaganda line after 1967. The
"Palestinians" were then assigned the same role of the German Sudetens
in the late 1930s, pretending to be oppressed "victims" whose
liberation required annihilation of their democratic "oppressors," or
so their genocidal totalitarian patrons insisted.
The large increase in Jewish land ownership between the late 1800s and
1948 was due to this process of land acquisition by means of Zionist
purchases. Swaths of lands were also purchased by Jews in Syria and
Transjordan. They were later stolen by the respective Arab
governments, a little matter about which the "anti-apartheid" poseurs
and Hillary Clinton have never had much to say. The bulk of the land
in Western "Palestine," including almost the entire Negev in Israel's
south, was state-owned during the British mandatory period. If Cole
and Sullivan had an ounce of integrity, they would have identified
public lands as precisely that.
Then to make matters worse, the pseudo-map and its sponsors paint all
of Israel and large swaths of the West Bank and Gaza as "Jewish
lands." Even when they are owned by Arabs.
Let us note that what Cole and Sullivan call "Jewish lands" or
"Israeli lands" include not only private lands owned by Arabs but also
public lands serving Israeli Jews and Arabs in common. Are highways
and parks used by all Israelis "Jewish lands?" Evidently Cole thinks
so. Are lands upon which Arab schools, mosques, libraries and sports
stadiums sit "Israeli lands?" Maybe Cole has never met an Arab who
uses a park.
In addition, the bulk of land in Israel is publicly owned even today.
As an economist I oppose this anachronistic "socialist ownership."
These holdings include public lands that are used by all Israelis,
Arabs and Jews. Of privately-owned land, Israeli Arabs own more of it
than their share in the Israeli population!
Then we have parts of the Gaza Strip being shown on the Cole map as
"Israeli land." Never mind that there is not a single Israeli
anywhere in the Gaza Strip, ever since Israel – somewhat foolishly –
turned the entire area over to the Hamas years ago. In the West Bank,
Cole shows large swaths of "Palestinian land." What he means of
course is land on which Arabs live today. There are also swaths of
land there on which Jews live. If the very fact of Arabs living on
those lands turns them into "Palestinian lands," then most of the
American Southwest is Mexico.
Let me put this a little differently. If we apply Cole's "logic,"
then we need to note that a hundred years ago there were no properties
at all owned by Juan Cole in Ann Arbor. In contrast, today there are
no properties in Ann Arbor owned by me. Therefore, Cole's house there
must belong to me!
Cole actually took the pseudo-map – as is – from a Bash-the-Jews web
site operating out of Leeds, English. This "borrowing" shows the
reliability of Cole's academic sources and scholarship. A student of
mine who did the same would be brought up on disciplinary charges.
The "Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign" is a pro-jihad pro-terrorist
tiny group promoting boycotts of Israel. It reprints the usual
Islamofascist propaganda and it links itself to Aljazeera, Osama bin
Laden's favorite news outlet. In its statement of purpose it lists
battling the "Zionist nature" of Israel as one of its goals. It is
not clear who prepared the map for the Leeds bigots, but it was
obviously not anyone with any interest in facts. This is evidently
why it appealed to Juan Cole.
Cole took the map from the Leeds jihadists and ran it with no editing
at all on his own web site here. It was posted as part of a broader
Bash-Israel posting. That posting is so filled with
pseudo-scholarship and disinformation that, in and of itself, it
raises enormous doubts about Cole's qualifications to serve on the
faculty of any bona fide institution of higher learning. Among other
things, Cole writes there:
"Israelis claim a 'birthright' to do things like colonize Palestinian
territory, based on romantic-nationalist reworkings of biblical
narratives. But Canaan was populated for millenia before some
Canaanite tribes adopted the new religion of Judaism, and it was also
ruled, as Palestine, for centuries by Romans and Greeks, and for 1400
years by Muslims. The Palestinian Jews converted to Christianity and
then to Islam, so they are cousins of the European Jews (who appear to
have gone to Europe voluntarily as male merchants around 800 CE,,
where they took local wives). European Jews are about half European by
parentage and all European by cultural heritage, and it is no more
natural that they be in geographical Palestine than that they be in
Europe (where nearly two-thirds of their mothers were from and about a
third of their fathers). From a Middle Eastern point of view, European
Jews planted in British Mandate Palestine by the British Empire were
no different from the million colons or European colonists brought to
Algeria while it was under French rule from 1830-1962."
Cole's attempt to claim that "Palestinian Arabs" have roots among
Canaanite tribes is laughable charlatanism. His pseudo-history of
Jews resembles those to be found on many Neo-Nazi web sites.
Palestinian Jews did not become Christians and Moslems. Those who did
go to Europe did not do so "voluntarily" but to escape persecution, in
contrast with the Syrian and Lebanese Arabs who migrated into
"Palestine" in the late 19th and early 20th century to morph into
up-and-coming "Palestinians." Jews were hardly "planted" in Palestine
by the British Empire. Jews lived there thousands of years before
London was established. If anything, the British Empire did its best
to mollycoddle Arab fascism during the 1920s and 1930s by preventing
Jewish refugees escaping growing persecution in Europe and immigrating
Cole's publication of the "maps" of "Palestinian Lands" was quickly
picked up by Andrew Sullivan, writing in the Atlantic. While in the
past Sullivan was capable of expressing the occasional approving
sentiment about Israel and Jews, he suddenly became a vicious Israel
basher during Israel's "Cast Lead" military campaign against Hamas
terrorism in the Gaza Strip. Israel had patiently sat back during
years of being bombarded by thousands of Palestinian rockets, mortars,
and sniper attacks. When it at long last retaliated, Sullivan went on
a series of rage rants. In several of these he ran Cole's pseudo-map.
Sullivan was called to task on that by Leon Wieseltier, writing in the
New Republic: 'Sullivan is hunting for motives, not reasons; for
conspiracies, which is the surest sign of a mind's bankruptcy.. These
days the self-congratulatory motto above his blog is "Of No Party or
Clique," but in fact Sullivan belongs to the party of Mearsheimer and
the clique of Walt (whom he cites frequently and deferentially), to
the herd of fearless dissidents who proclaim in all seriousness,
without in any way being haunted by the history of such an idea, that
Jews control Washington.' More than one blogger saw the exchange
between Sullivan and Wieseltier as the bubbling out of Sullivan's
When Sullivan ran the Cole pseudo-map, he accompanied it with the
caption: 'Joe Biden was kicked in the balls as he came to Israel with
a simultaneous "f**k you" by the Israeli government announcing new
settlements – 1600 houses – in East Jerusalem." Why Israel's
building housing in its capital is an obscenity, while the United
States building housing in Washington, DC is not – is just one more
mystery unexplained by Sullivan.
The Cole pseudo-map would not die, and continues to metastasize.
Jeffrey Goldberg made a valiant attempt at debunking it in the
Atlantic, but missed the most important points. Sullivan then
defended his use of it, out-Cole-ing even Juan Cole.
Since the Cole-Sullivan tag team started promoting the map as
reflecting some sort of historic record, it has been picked up by
countless anti-Semitic and anti-Israel web sites, blogs and magazines
around the world. I found reprints in thousands of web pages. It has
also been debunked by others, such as this web site. But it is now
indelibly part of the anti-Israel canon of the Bash-Israel Left and
the Islamofascists, both beloved by the pseudo-academic, Juan Cole.
Israel's immoral novelists
Op-ed: Italy journalist says likes of Grossman, Oz promote vicious
distortions about Israel
Israeli authors have never been shy. They have always commented on
their governments and always speak about politics in their novels. But
the best-selling Israeli writers are now captives of a dangerous
syndrome. One can legitimately criticize Israeli governments, their
errors and deafness. But a dark malaise is now driving these authors
to toe the line with the worst emotions of global public opinion.
This is the same public opinion that in essence boycotted the tragic
news about a large, beautiful and caring Jewish family destroyed in a
minute, when terrorists burst into their home in Itamar with one aim
in mind: To murder as many Israelis as possible.
There is now a deep chasm between the pretension of the "good
conscience" of these writers and the crude realism of history. This is
even sander and more significant because we are not talking about
writers who hate Israel or novelists who pontificate against the
Jewish State from abroad, but rather, about locals.
Amos Oz and David Grossman, Israel's most popular authors, have a
track record of genuine Zionist endeavor. But Oz just got in touch
with Marwan Barghouti, the Palestinian terrorist leader convicted of
murdering five Israelis and planning several terrorist attacks. The
Israel Prize recipient sent the Palestinian prisoner one of his books
with a personal inscription wishing him a speedy release from prison:
"This story is our story. I hope you read it and understand us better,
as we attempt to understand you. Hoping to meet soon in peace and
Indeed, the gap between these authors and the guillotine threatening
Israel grows larger every day. David Grossman, whose son Uri was
killed in the Second Lebanon War, was the first Israeli writer to
explore the psychology of the Israeli occupation after 1967. Since
then, Grossman's paradigm, simply put, was always the same: Israel
must end its role of occupier and oppressor if the horror of terrorism
is to end.
Israel deserves better
It seems as though Grossman's conscience as an intellectual hasn't
been shaken by the Twin Towers attack, by the 1,600 Israeli civilians
killed in terror attacks, by a decade of rockets on southern Israeli
cities or by Iran's atomic death cult.
Shortly after the Gaza war, Grossman called for an independent inquiry
into the conduct of the IDF, paving the way for the biased Goldstone's
report. He also urged dialogue with Hamas. When Grossman went to
collect a cash prize funded by the Israeli state, he refused to shake
hands with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
After the flotilla incident, Grossman charged that Israel behaves like
"a band of pirates." He said the blockade on Gaza was "despicable,"
attacking the Israeli government "which is prepared to embitter the
lives of a million innocent people in the Gaza Strip, in order to
obtain the release of one imprisoned soldier."
Indeed, the morality of Israeli writers is not longer in tune with
reality and its contradictions, Israel's security, very existence,
identity and memory. These authors' publications attract so much
attention abroad because of the baleful influence they have on
Israel's reputation, as they promulgate the most vicious distortions
When Ariel Sharon sent forces into the West Bank to defeat the
terrorists, both Grossman and Oz went to help the Palestinians with
their olive harvest. Their noble generosity didn't stop Hamas from
slaughtering two Jewish girls in a nearby settlement, Linoy Sarussi
and Hadas Turgeman. Now, again, after a new Jewish family was
destroyed in Itamar, the writers chose to send postcards and books to
the terrorists. Israel deserves better bards.
Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of A New
Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism
3. Fight the Self-Destruction of American Jews:
4. Much too little and much too late:
5. Richard the Uber-Loon Falk:
6. Glenn Beck's broadcast on Itamar Massacre:
7. My solution for Libya – put Khaddafi and his sons on a Pan Am jet
with a Libyan air force colonel as pilot and fly them over Scotland.
What's that you say? Pan Am no longer flies?
8. Tel Aviv University's Stalinist of the Day:
9. More fine Israeli academics:
10. Rubbing Rivka Carmi's nose in it? Professor Geoffrey Alderman,
Michael Gross Professor of Politics & Contemporary History at the
University of Buckingham(UK) and Patron of the UK Council on Academic
Freedom, will address a seminar on "Intellectual Freedom and Academic
Obligation" at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, on Monday
28 March 2011 at 2.00 pm.Prof. Alderman will lecture on "The limits of
Blackmail, Deligitimisation and Slander (BDS) as Instruments of
Scholarly Discourse" at Ariel University Center, Israel, on Wednesday
March at 1.00 pm.