De Amerikaanse Israel lobby heeft de aanstelling belet van Chas Freeman als onafhankelijke – dus potentieel Israel-kritische – voorzitter van de National Intelligence Council. De Director National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, blijft achter zijn kandidaat staan. (En zo ken ik hem als vriend van lang geleden).
De corrumpterende macht van de zionistische (Pro-Groot)Israel lobby moet worden beteugeld wil er ooit een rechtvaardige en rechtmatige vrede in het Midden-Oosten komen. Dit geldt bovenal voor Amerika, maar ook voor ons eigen land.
Hieronder een deel van de persverklaring van Chas Freeman:
..The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth.
The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.
There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government in this case, the government of Israel. I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.
The outrageous agitation that followed the leak of my pending appointment will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues. I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government…
Andrew Sullivan, as demoralized as we are here, says the MSM didn’t cover Freeman and this means that the Israel lobby has won and there will be no change in policy in I/P under shrewd timid Obama. "The fact that Obama blinked means no one else in Washington will ever dare to go through the hazing that Freeman endured. And so the chilling effect is as real as it is deliberate."
But the good thing is that this one happened out in the open, more or less, and is bound to be covered by the Times. I believe it will lead at last to the "60 Minutes" piece on the Israel lobby. Glenn Greenwald is particularly eloquent on this point, that the third rail is still alive.
Also: it’s all about money, as our correspondent Felson says below. Anyone who says this isn’t about money is deluding themselves. The most important piece of journalism about the Israel lobby in the last couple of years was done by the Forward, when it reported that Ned Lamont’s victory in the Connecticut Dem primary in August ’06 had sent the big Jewish money running for the hills. They stuck with defeated Joe Lieberman, because of Israel. That’s what the Democratic Party fears. And what the Republican Party is playing for: defection of the big money over Putting Pressure on Israel.
That’s why Chuck Schumer’s office is taking credit for getting Freeman knocked out, and Greg Sargent says it was Rahm Emanuel and Schumer working together…
An important sign: Jake Tapper offers this exchange between Senator Joe Lieberman (D-from you know where) and Dennis Blair, director of National Intelligence, on the appointment of Chas Freeman, to be head of Nat’l Intelligence Council. Blair says Freeman has an inventive mind and a great intellect, and yes, strong views, and will face fine-comb scrutiny. But he’s standing by his man.
Also note: the National Jewish Democratic Council has declined to bash Freeman. J Street has said nothing against Freeman either. AIPAC has also been careful not to say anything mean officially about Freeman. Which means that the New Republic (Chait) and Jeffrey Goldberg are now isolated as the sole Democratic types in the neocon camp on this one. When Freeman goes on board at the end of the month, that will be the second call TNR/Goldberg have missed in recent months (Gaza), making them more and more irrelevant.
Amb. Chas Freeman withdrew from consideration for a top intelligence post in the Obama administration on Tuesday, following a vitriolic battle that pitted Republican lawmakers and pro-Israel hardliners opposed to his appointment against liberals and members of the intelligence and diplomatic communities who had come to his defence.
Freemans withdrawal came as a surprise to many in Washington, particularly since it came only hours after Adm. Dennis Blair, the administrations director of national intelligence (DNI) who made the appointment, issued a strong defence of Freeman during his testimony before the U.S. Senate.
His withdrawal is likely to be viewed as a significant victory for hardliners within the so-called "Israel lobby," who led the movement to scuttle his appointment, and a blow to hopes for a new approach to Israel-Palestine issues under the Obama administration…
Despite the Saudi and Chinese angles of the Freeman controversy, many still saw it as heart a neoconservative campaign to shut out critics of Israel from positions of power.
"The whole anti-Freeman effort was engineered by the people who fear that Obama will abandon current policies toward Israel from acceptance of the occupation to forceful opposition to it," M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum wrote on the Huffington Post…
PS NRC Handelsblad plaatste gisteravond een artikel over deze schandelijke kwestie onder de kop:
‘Kandidaat weg na kritiek Israellobby’ (blz. 5)
Hieruit: Freeman stelde gisteren in een verklaring aan vrienden:
" Het is bijzonder ironisch beschuldigd te worden van ongepaste genegenheid voor de mening van buitenlandse regeringen en samenlevingen door een groep die zo duidelijk de opzet heeft om aanhankelijkheid aan het beleid van een buitenlandse regering door te drijven, in dit geval de Israelische".
Onze Volkskrant zweeg in deze.
What unites this narrow band of critics is only one thing: Freeman has dared to utter some rather mild public criticisms of Israeli policy. That’s the litmus test that Chait, Goldberg, Goldfarb, Peretz, Schoenfeld et al want to apply to all public servants: thou shalt not criticize Israeli policy nor question America’s "special relationship" with Israel. Never mind that this policy of unconditional support has been bad for the United States and unintentionally harmful to Israel as well. If these pundits and lobbyists had their way, anyone who pointed that fact out would be automatically disqualified from public service.
There are three reasons why the response to Freeman has been so vociferous. First, these critics undoubtedly hoped they could raise a sufficient stink that Obama and his director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, might reconsider the appointment. Or perhaps Freeman might even decide to withdraw his name, because he couldn’t take the heat. Second, even if it was too late to stop Freeman from getting the job, they want to make Obama pay a price for his choice, so that he will think twice about appointing anyone else who might be willing to criticize Israeli policy or the special relationship.
Third, and perhaps most important, attacking Freeman is intended to deter other people in the foreign policy community from speaking out on these matters. Freeman might be too smart, too senior, and too well-qualified to stop, but there are plenty of younger people eager to rise in the foreign policy establishment and they need to be reminded that their careers could be jeopardized be if they followed in Freemans footsteps and said what they thought. Raising a stink about Freeman reminds others that it pays to back Israel to the hilt, or at least remain silent, even when it is pursuing policies — like building settlements on the West Bank — that are not in America’s national interest.
If the issue didnt have such harmful consequences for the United States, the ironies of this situation would be funny. A group of amateur strategists who loudly supported the invasion of Iraq are now questioning the strategic judgment of a man who knew that war would be a catastrophic blunder…
It’s also encouraging that some key members of the pro-Israel community, like M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum, have come to Freemans defense, and influential bloggers like Robert Dreyfuss, Philip Weiss, Richard Silverstein and Matthew Yglesias have also defended Freeman and pointed out what is going on. The Likudnik wing of the Israel lobby is gradually losing influence, because more and more people understand that its policies are disastrous for both Israel and the United States, and because its repeated efforts to smear people and stifle debate are deeply damaging as well as un-American.
..Chas Freeman is a high-profile figure. He became one by his own design, through public speeches, some of them deliberately provocative. Making him NIC chairman wouldunjustly but unavoidablyhurl all intelligence, and all policy based on intelligence, into the fray of fractious politics.
However, this is where Freeman’s foes misplayed their hand. Had they let Freeman step into the job, they could have used him as the whipping boy for all foreign-policy measures they don’t likeespecially those involving the Middle East and Chinaand it might have been easier for them to rally opposition. But now it will be indisputably clear that the president is the one making policy. They’re left with Barack Obama as their targetand one thing that’s clear, so far, is that those who sling mud at Obama wind up hitting themselves.