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A "Poetic" Anti-Semite at La Verne University By: Steven Plaut
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, October 14, 2005


William A. Cook  is  a far-left professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. He is a regular correspondent for Counterpunch, and most of the drivel that he writes there is anti-Israel and anti-Jewish, although some is also anti-Christian. A professor of English literature with a highly-dubious academic record (in fact with none at all that we could uncover) at a third-rate college, he sees himself as having the credentials and expertise to make pontifical pronouncements on everything from the workings of capitalism to the history of the Middle East.

La Verne "University" is a small college outside Los Angeles, which is... not exactly Stanford.  US News and Report lists it as "third tier", which may be charitable. Established in 1891, it is affiliated with the Church of the Brethren and has a grand total of 1650 students. 

Cook holds a PhD from Lehigh University, claims to know something about Nathaniel Hawthorne, and was once Academic Vice President at La Verne. We had trouble finding any academic work he has ever done on anything at all. Instead, all he seems to write are his own "poems", often with a leftist political message, and Bash-the-Jews articles for Alexander Cockburn over at Counterpunch. Fact checking, for Cook, means citing other Counterpunch columnists who have the same bias as himself, and "objective" scholars like Noam Chomsky.

Much of Cook's "poetry" is simply anti-American boilerplate, the rest is anti-Semitic or anti-conservative. His "poetry" includes one gem called "Dubya Was A Little Boy" (Cook invariably refers to the President as "Dubya" in his scribblings, such as in Yet Another Bush Doctrine), and another one is about Rachel Corrie ( In Memoriam: Rachel Corrie), the clueless undergraduate from Evergreen State University who committed suicide as part  of an attempt to protect Palestinian terrorists and their smuggling tunnels. The former "poem" reads, in part: "This orange-coated giant, Went out from Israel, The land of the Philistines, To slaughter the Palestinians." A professor at a church-institution thinks Israel is the Land of the Philistines!

In yet another "poem," The Ghosts of Terezin, he describes survivors of Nazi concentration camps going to Israel and supposedly turning into brutal Nazis. He spends a lot of time writing about genocide, but mainly about how the US and Israel are perpetrating it: "Genocides and holocausts (sic) arise out of unchecked zeal, unquestioned duty, and silent acquiescence. They are fueled by blind belief, personal fear, and a sense of superiority that gives license to slaughter. Both the United States under Bush and its clone under Sharon exemplify the presence of racism resulting in genocidal devastation as they impose their respective wills on Iraqis and Palestinians."

Cook's latest self-composed anthology is a collection of his "poems" he calls "Psalms for the 21st Century." Imagine the hubris of this professor of English at a church-affiliated institution, comparing his own "poems" to a Book in the Bible! The real Psalms, traditionally attributed to King David, often celebrate Jews going out and killing anti-Semites. Cook dares to call his pro-terror, anti-Jewish "poems" by that same name.

Cook is a regular in the Cockburn stable. Among his many literary masterpieces on Counterpunch is An Open Letter to Osama bin Laden. In this letter, he tells Osama:

"Let's turn now to your second concern: American domination of nation-states and the consequences of that control. No where in your statement do you grapple with why America dominates these nations; no where do you differentiate among Americans who condone practices that result in that domination and those who do not; and no where do you offer alternatives to America's willingness to use its power to control, rather you undertake to justify your use of the same means to accomplish your end. Is not this a mirror image of the hypocrisy you level at the United States?… Over the past 50 years, corporations have evolved into transnational corporations that use America as a base of operations…They enforce their will through legislation controlled by those they have put into office. They create International Monetary Funds and impose World Bank regulations on nations to ensure their continued growth and profit…. They are parasites on humanity. These powerful corporations use American military might to protect their interests even as they gain increased wealth through the increase in military expenditure….Peace to you and to all whom you love."

Cook makes little effort to hide the fact that he simply hates America. He writes: "It's the American people that are maligned; it's our values that are desecrated; it's our nation that has been placed under this horrific pall by an administration willing to subvert its most cherished ideals." In addition, he insists the US bombed Japanese cities in World War II out of racism and sheer cussedness.

In another Cook screed, A World Wide Intifada? Why?, he tells a comic-book pseudo-history of how the Jews "stole Palestine" from the "Palestinians", and blames them for world terrorism. In that piece he openly supports the Palestinian aim of annihilating Israel altogether. In Calling It Like It Is he waltzes in with an analysis of terrorism, writing:

'The very actions condemned by Bush about Hamas are actions that other nations find condemnatory about Bush. Terrorism is as terrorism does, or so one would think….A 'terrorist' is one who attempts to dominate and coerce by intimidation, and 'terrorism' is 'a method of resisting a government.' These definitions incriminate Osama bin Laden and the undeclared leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah, but they also incriminate the ultra right Zionists in Israel, and, one could argue, the hard-right Evangelical Zionists in America. More tellingly, and this is the point of this article, they incriminate the United States under Bush and Israel under Sharon."

In Israeli Democracy he offers his scholarly opinion as a crackpot poet that Israel is not a democracy at all because it does not have a written constitution. Of course, Britain and some other democracies also have no written constitition, but you would not expect a La Verne literature prof to know that. Cook adds, "Non-Jews (in Israel) are taxed differently than Israeli citizens and the neighborhoods in which they live receive less support." As it turns out, non-Jews in Israel pay the same tax as Jews, and the towns and neighborhoods in which non-Jews live get funded proportionately more than those of Jews; but why does a "poet" need to bother with facts? The main form of discrimination in Israel is against Jews, who get conscripted into the military, while most non-Jews do not. 

In Sharon Recruits US Mercenaries Against Syriahe repeats the now-familiar "theories" about how Israel and Jews control American forign policy. In What Bush Didn't Say to the UN, he defends Iraq and opposes any American action against the Saddam regime, demanding instead that the US attack Israel. In his Counterpunch articles, he never condemns Palestinian terrorists, but denounces Israelis as fascists running "killing fields" (in Killing for Christ) when Israel dares to defend its civilians. He rants in A Call to War or Slaughter? against "neocons" and their supposed cabal to manipulate and control the United States, and has trouble disguising the fact that by neoncons he means "Jews":

"Would you want your children fighting in a war that is the brainchild of right-wing Christian zealots and Israeli Zionists?" he asks. For a professor at a college with Christian affiliations, Cook goes out of his way to smear Christians who believe not only that Israel has the right to exist but that its creation is part of God's master plan, in Armageddon Anxiety. Here is a typical Cook rant, without the grammar being fixed:

"Add to this the neo-cons in the administration like Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Pearle, Feith, and many others, and one understands that the ties that bind the neocon Christian right, read Christian Zionists, to the Zionist orthodox Jew cement mentalities that embrace myths as truth and behavior directed by superstitious beliefs, regardless of those who do not share their zeal."

This year on the anniversary of the September 11 atrocities, Cook wrote "From New Orleans to Palestine: When the Press Comes Marching In," a column devoted to the notion that the people made homeless in New Orleans in the hurricane were all somehow the victims of Israel (because the media were spending too much time reporting the tribulations of Jewish settlers being evicted from the Gaza Strip). 

If you would like to tell the Church of the Brethren what you think of such a character being employed as a professor at one of its institutions, contact Lerry Fogle, executive director, 1451 Dundee Ave.,Elgin, IL 60120, Phone: 800-323-8039/847-742-5100 Fax: 847-742-3998 E-mail: annualconf@aol.com 

The President of La Verne is Stephen Morgan, President, Address: 1950 Third St. 1950 3rd Street La Verne,CA 91750-4443 (909)-5933511

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Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.


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