As we’ve noted previously, Juan Cole is an American academic and blogger who has called Israel a fascist state whose behavior was partly responsible for 9/11. He’s also advanced antisemitic narratives about dual loyalty, and has warned his followers about the dangers of unchecked ‘Jewish power’. (He also has been a Guardian contributor)

Naturally, the Independent highlighted his ‘analysis’ – and only his analysis – in a story about the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israel’s new defense minister.

Here are the final two paragraphs of the report, by Matthew Payton.

Professor Juan Cole from the University of Michigan, an expert on Middle Eastern politics, described him as a “far-right extremist”, telling the Salon: “There is no European cabinet minister who comes close to Lieberman’s far, far right positions, and if there were he or she would be boycotted by the other Europeans.”

He added that in his opinion the current politics of the Israeli government has no real comparison other than in Hungary’s neo-fascist party.

And, when it comes people with a visceral hatred of Israel, Cole ‘has no real comparison’ other than bloggers at places like Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada.

Of course, criticizing Lieberman is one thing.

Smearing Israel by highlighting the intellectually unserious suggestion – by a commenter with a track record which includes the use of antisemitic tropes – that the state is on par with neo-fascist parties in Europe is quite another. 

Here’s our backgrounder on Cole.