John Fund on Juan Cole on Israel: "He calls Israel 'the most dangerous regime in the Middle East.'"
Juan Cole on Israel, written in 2004, when Ariel Sharon was prime minister: "The most dangerous regime to United States interests in the Middle East is that of Ariel Sharon."
Juan Cole on John Fund on Juan Cole: John Fund of the Wall Street Journal editorial page has published a large number of falsehoods about me. The most egregious is this:'He calls Israel "the most dangerous regime in the Middle East."' This a lie. I never said that.... I did not say it, or say or imply anything like it."
John Fund of the Wall Street Journal attacked me in a column on Monday in which he alleged that I had called Israel the "most dangerous regime in the Middle East."
This quote is a sheer fabrication. Mr. Fund put it forward as a reason for which I should not have a professorship. Yet I never said it. He knows that I never said it. He has still not retracted it or apologized for this and other falsehoods he spewed about me in his column.
What kind of journalist just makes falsehoods up and puts them in someone's mouth? What kind of newspaper allows that? And in order to damage someone's career? Isn't that a tort?
Conclusion: The Fund quotation is inaccurate because either an ellipsis should have replaced the "to U.S. interests," or Fund should not have used quotes, but "sheer fabrication" doesn't seem right. And I'll leave it to readers to judge whether Cole did not "say or imply anything like it."
Suggestion: Fund publish a correction in which he acknowledges that Cole did not say that Israel "is the most dangerous regime in the Middle East," but that Israel "is the most dangerous regime to United States interests in the Middle East." Then readers can decide whether this is an important distinction.
UPDATE: Several commentors argue that the correction would still be inaccurate, because Cole wasn't talking about "Israel" as a dangerous regime, but Ariel Sharon's Israel as a dangerous regime. I think this is semantics, but let's say that an even more precise correction would be that Cole wrote that presently, Israel "is the most dangerous regime to United States interests in the Middle East." Given that when he wrote this Ariel Sharon was prime minister of Israel, and he said Ariel Sharon's regime is the most dangerous to U.S. interests, I think that is indisputably accurate, though I'm sure somone will dispute it, anyway. I'm happy to make this as accurate as possible, because it's not like Cole hasn't said much more outrageous things, not all of which are noted in Fund's article.