Joel Mowbray

The flaws in the last point are devastatingly obvious. As even passive observers of the attacks know, 9/11 was “conceived” many years prior—long before Ariel Sharon was even elected Prime Minister in early 2001. And the “Israeli attack on the Jenin refugee camp” didn’t even occur until 2002, the year after 9/11.

When caught weaving fiction by highly regarded historian Martin Kramer, Mr. Cole corrected the gaffes. But in the process, he tried to pull a fast one. He acknowledged in a footnote that Ariel Sharon did not inspire the “conceiving” of 9/11—bloggers generally fess up when they make mistakes—but then he simply deleted the original reference to Jenin, a big no no in the blogosphere. (That action even raised the ire of his supporters at the liberal DailyKos web site.)

Mr. Cole’s attempt to hide his laughable blunder is quite revealing. He doesn’t take criticism well, and he almost always refuses to admit when he’s made any error of significance. But more disturbing was his slimy smear of Mr. Kramer. More on that in a moment, though.

The man who soon might be a tenured Yale professor recently engaged in a high-profile spat with famed author Christopher Hitchens. It qualified merely as a “spat” and not a “debate,” as only Mr. Hitchens offered a response consisting of facts and arguments.

The primary thrust of Mr. Cole’s rebuttal—he specifically refused to provide “a point by point reply”—was that Hitchens was either drunk or had utilized a ghostwriter from “some far Rightwing think tank.” In a subsequent post, on May 4, Mr. Cole insinuated that the writer famous for castigating Israel was being controlled by “his neocon puppeteers.”

Ah yes, the “neocons.” Mr. Cole has a particular paranoia about them. And the Zionists. And the Mossad. And, well, you get the idea.

It’s not just that Cole sees Israel lurking behind most major U.S. policy decisions; he actually believes Israel is pulling the strings of almost anyone who dares challenge him. He lashes out at his critics with startling frequency, labeling them “Zionists,” “neocons,” “Likudniks,” or pawns of “Israeli intelligence.” (He will no doubt respond to this column with invective about this journalist being a “neocon” who secretly takes orders from “Israeli intelligence.”)

After Mr. Kramer’s initial highlighting of his errors, Mr. Cole hurled tawdry barbs. He portrayed it as self-evident that his critic reported directly to the Mossad and was somehow involved in the “shadowy world of far-right Zionist think tanks and dummy organizations.”

What will Mr. Cole do when he is inevitably caught making a mistake in the classroom? Belittle the student as a stooge of the neocons? Accuse a teenager of being a Mossad agent? Prattle on about the Zionist campaign against him?

Does Yale—or its donors—really want to find out?

Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.

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