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Mark Stapleton
03-12-2009, 04:40 AM
Recent Obama appointee Chas Freeman has resigned from his previously accepted position as Chair of the NIC after a nasty campaign of vilification from the Israel Lobby:


http://sydwalker.info/blog/2009/03/12/the-lobby-stomps-on-obamas-free-choice/


His comments regarding the lobby are quite interesting. It's now quite clear that Israel is in total control of US Middle East foreign policy. Anyone who can't see this is simply a bloody idiot.

David Guyatt
03-12-2009, 11:09 AM
It is a damning indictment Mark. And I doubt Obama is up to the task of taking control either.

Btw, how is Syd these days?

Mark Stapleton
03-14-2009, 12:02 AM
It is a damning indictment Mark. And I doubt Obama is up to the task of taking control either.

Btw, how is Syd these days?


Blogging like a crazy man up there in FNQ.:laugh::laugh:

Magda Hassan
03-14-2009, 12:15 AM
So, Chas Freeman states the obvious (http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/131295/freeman_calls_out_israel_lobby%3B_wapo_editorial_b oard_bursts_a_blood_vessel/%E2%80%9Dhttp://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/03/10/freeman_speaks_out_on_his_exit%E2%80%9D): the ‘Israel lobby’ torpedoed his nomination because he didn’t embrace the ubiquitous pro-Israel bias required of those operating in U.S. foreign policy circles.
I’m sure anonymous fount of conventional wisdom who sat down to pen today’s Washington Post editorial (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/11/AR2009031103384.html?hpid=opinionsbox1) responding to the charge intended to dispel the notion that the discourse around the Israel-Palestine conflict is as narrowly limited as Freeman claims. Unfortunately for him or her -- and the rest of us -- the product that emerged was such a McCarthyite screed, so far over the top, that it can ultimately only serve as fodder for the exact kind of ‘Jews control the debate’ conspiracism it seeks to condemn. Let’s tune into this bit of apoplexy in progress ...

It wasn't until Mr. Freeman withdrew from consideration for the job, however, that it became clear just how bad a selection Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair had made. Mr. Freeman issued a two-page screed on Tuesday in which he described himself as the victim of a shadowy and sinister "Lobby" whose "tactics plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency" and which is "intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government." Yes, Mr. Freeman was referring to Americans who support Israel -- and his statement was a grotesque libel. No, Mr. Freeman was not referring to “Americans who support Israel” — as long as we’re indulging in wild hyperbole, I'd say that’s a “grotesque libel” unto itself.

He was referring to a loose, informal network of political operatives and organizations that support Israel’s hawkish government and its policies towards the Palestinians (and its stance towards the rest of the Middle East). Two different animals — there are plenty of “Americans who support Israel” who don’t share those groups’ views (including plenty of American Jews (http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=43213)).
But fear not — it’s not like the WaPo didn’t look into the whole thing carefully before weighing in ...

For the record, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee says that it took no formal position on Mr. Freeman's appointment and undertook no lobbying against him. If there was a campaign, its leaders didn't bother to contact the Post editorial board.See? They never got a memo saying ...
Dear Washington Post,
Just wanted to let you know we’ll be shooting down this guy’s nomination because of his views on Israel.
Love,
The Israel Lobby
Case closed. At least on the editorial page -- the New York Times' news pages tell a different story (http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/131295/freeman_calls_out_israel_lobby%3B_wapo_editorial_b oard_bursts_a_blood_vessel/%E2%80%9Dhttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/washington/12lobby.html?_r=2&hp%E2%80%9D):

The lobbying campaign against Mr. Freeman included telephone calls to the White House from prominent lawmakers, including Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat. It appears to have been kicked off three weeks ago in a blog post by Steven J. Rosen, a former top official of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group.
On the Middle East, Mr. Rosen wrote, Mr. Freeman’s views are “what you would expect in the Saudi Foreign Ministry,” rather than from someone who would become essentially the government’s top intelligence analyst.
Because President Obama himself has been viewed with suspicion among many pro-Israel groups, the attacks on Mr. Freeman had the potential to touch a nerve. There, that seals it — nothing to see here. Move along.
The irony is that while the WaPo’s editorial board denies that an Israel lobby even exists — they put it in quotes, as in: "[Freeman] described himself as the victim of a of a shadowy and sinister ‘Lobby’” — those who carry the lobby’s water do not.
Ray McGovern (http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/131295/freeman_calls_out_israel_lobby%3B_wapo_editorial_b oard_bursts_a_blood_vessel/%E2%80%9Dhttp://consortiumnews.com/Print/2009/031109a.html%E2%80%9D):

... As Glen Greenwald has noted, “Lynch mob leader Jonathan Chait [of The New Republic and author of an influential op-ed (http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/131295/freeman_calls_out_israel_lobby%3B_wapo_editorial_b oard_bursts_a_blood_vessel/%E2%80%9Dhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/27/AR2009022702485_pf.html%E2%80%9D) for the Washington Post] who spent the last week denying that Israel was the driving force behind the attacks on Freeman,” now concedes the obvious.
Greenwald quotes Chait: “Of course I recognize that the Israel Lobby is powerful, and was a key element in the pushback against Freeman.”
Neoconservative Daniel Pipes offered an anatomy of the crime, blog-bragging about how it was conducted:
“What you may not know is that Steven J. Rosen of the Middle East forum was the person who first brought attention [on Feb. 19] to the problematic nature of Freeman’s appointment. … Within hours, the word was out and three weeks later Freeman has conceded defeat. Only someone with Steve’s stature and credibility could have made this happen.”
The same Steve Rosen who is currently on trial for violations of the Espionage Act involving the transmission of classified information intended for Israel? One and the same! This has to be the purest brand of gall that ever came down the Pipes.We should be able to have an open discussion not only about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, but also the way the discourse over that policy is constrained here at home. But when influential voices like the Washington Post’s editors say, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” it only gives ammunition to those who do see a dark and sinister conspiracy afoot. Shame.
I'll have more on this soon -- been meaning to write on the topic anyway.
PS: see Stephen Walt, co-author of The Israel Lobby, arguing that the Israel lobby’s victory in this fight is a pyrrhic one (http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/131295/freeman_calls_out_israel_lobby%3B_wapo_editorial_b oard_bursts_a_blood_vessel/%E2%80%9Dhttp://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/03/11/on_chas_freemans_withdrawal%E2%80%9D). After such a visible and high-profile excercise of the lobby's power, I don’t suppose you can blame Walt for indulging in a bit of ‘I told you so.’
http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/131295/freeman_calls_out_israel_lobby%3B_wapo_editorial_b oard_bursts_a_blood_vessel/

Magda Hassan
03-14-2009, 12:20 AM
POLITICS-US: Freeman Affair Puts Israel Lobby in Spotlight
By Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe*

WASHINGTON, Mar 13 (IPS) - Although the successful campaign to keep Amb. Charles "Chas" Freeman out of a top intelligence post marked a surface victory for the pro-Israel hardliners who opposed him, the long-term political implications of the Freeman affair appear far more ambiguous.

Freeman’s withdrawal has provoked growing - if belated - media scrutiny of the operations of the so-called "Israel Lobby", and aroused protests from a number of prominent mainstream political commentators who allege that he was the target of a dishonest and underhanded smear campaign that, among other things, accused him of shilling for the governments of Saudi Arabia and China.

For the neo-conservatives who led the charge against Freeman’s appointment, his withdrawal may therefore prove to be both a tactical victory and a strategic defeat.

At the same time, the Freeman affair has highlighted the yawning disconnect between the career professionals in the intelligence and diplomatic communities, from whom Freeman enjoyed strong support, and political leaders in Congress and the White House, none of whom came to his defence publicly.

Freeman, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia who has been a vocal critic of Israeli policies in the occupied territories, withdrew from consideration as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC) on Tuesday. He did not go quietly into the night, however, releasing a statement in which he struck back at his critics.

"I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country," Freeman wrote.

"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."

The motives for the anti-Freeman campaign are themselves a matter of debate. Virtually all of his chief attackers were neo-conservatives, whose views generally reflect those of the Israel's right-wing Likud Party, and other reflexive defenders of Israeli government policies. Many observers viewed it as self-evident that their hostility to him was based on his often bluntly-spoken belief that U.S. and Israel's interests in the Middle East were not necessarily convergent.

In the media, the campaign against Freeman was waged mainly by neo-conservative organs, such as the Weekly Standard and the National Review, and by The New Republic, a generally liberal weekly that, however, routinely attacks Israel's critics.

In Congress, it was led by politicians such as Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, and Rep. Mark Kirk, all of whom have strong ties to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful lobby group whose members range from far-right supporters of the militant settlement movement in Israel to more moderate factions sympathetic to the relatively centrist Kadima and Labour Parties.

Freeman’s critics sought to portray their attacks on him as rooted not in his criticisms of Israel but in his allegedly compromising ties to Saudi Arabia and China, including his leadership of a think tank that was partially funded by a member of the Saudi royal family and his service on an advisory board of China's largest oil company.

In the mainstream media, however, few seemed to buy into these claims. The most widely read U.S. newspapers, which had all but ignored the controversy as it raged in the "blogosphere", attributed his withdrawal to the unacceptability of his views on Israel policy - in the process going further than ever before in putting the Israel lobby in the national spotlight.

The New York Times headlined its story "Israel Stance Was Undoing of Nominee for Intelligence Post", while the Washington Post confirmed that AIPAC, which had insisted it had no position on Freeman's appointment, had indeed quietly provided critical material about him to inquiring reporters.

A Los Angeles Times editorial explicitly referenced "the Israel lobby" as the force behind Freeman’s withdrawal, adding, "We do not believe that Israel should be immune from criticism or that there is room for only one point of view in our government."

And while the Post's editorial page, like the neo-conservative Wall Street Journal, had hosted anti-Freeman op-eds early in the campaign against him, its veteran political columnist, David Broder - long viewed as the embodiment of Washington centrism - praised the former ambassador as "an able public servant" and wrote that "[t]he Obama administration has just suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the lobbyists the president vowed to keep in their place."

Broder was not the only prominent centrist to react harshly to the anti-Freeman campaign. Others included the Broder's fellow Post columnist, David Ignatius, The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan (who called the campaign "repulsive"), Time’s Joe Klein ("assassination"), and Foreign Policy’s David Rothkopf ("lynching-by-blog"). Freeman has also been invited as the guest of Fareed Zakaria, a regular columnist for Newsweek and the Post, on his regular Sunday CNN programme on foreign policy, "GPS."

In the end, the attempts by Freeman’s critics to make the story about anything but Israel may have backfired. Instead, discussion of the role of the Israel lobby in forming U.S. foreign policy appears to have acquired more mainstream legitimacy than ever before.

The long-taboo subject became a matter of public debate in 2006, when two prominent political scientists, the University of Chicago's John Mearsheimer and Harvard University's Stephen Walt, published their article "The Israel Lobby", later expanded into a book. The two argued that a powerful lobby, centred on but not limited to AIPAC, exerts a "stranglehold" on U.S. foreign policy debates and stifles any criticism of Israeli policies, to the detriment of both the U.S. and Israel.

Mearsheimer and Walt’s thesis was instantly controversial. Critics accused them of perpetuating age-old anti-Semitic tropes about the covert Jewish domination of politics. Mainstream critics of Israel have been reluctant to align themselves with the two, even when they have reached some of the same conclusions.

In the wake of the Freeman affair, however, Mearsheimer and Walt appear to be getting a new hearing. The Los Angeles Times went to far as to suggest that the attacks on them may have been overstated.

"[T]he battle over Freeman...seems to have exposed more sympathy for a Walt/Mearsheimer view of U.S.-Israel relations than one might have expected to be out there," wrote Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard, one of Freeman’s harshest critics. "People like Joe Klein and Andrew Sullivan are now fairly indistinguishable from Stephen Walt."

Goldfarb intended the comment as an insult, but it may nonetheless have contained a kernel of truth.

While the Freeman affair may have shifted the parameters of debate on Israel policy, it has also exposed fissures and resentments between the national security bureaucracy and the U.S. political leadership.

Some veteran observers, such as the "Nelson Report", an influential private newsletter, compared Freeman's treatment to the McCarthy era when long-time government Asia experts were deemed responsible for "losing China" to the Communists and hounded out of the foreign service by the so-called "China Lobby".

Col. Pat Lang, the former top Middle East analyst at the Defence Intelligence Agency who signed a letter of support for Freeman, told IPS that the saga had caused a "tentative feeling of disappointment" about the new administration within the intelligence community.

"It’s very disheartening for people who viewed Freeman’s appointment as the return to some standard of intellectual excellence or integrity", he said, adding that Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Adm. Dennis Blair, who went to the Senate and strongly defended his appointee, may be the next target for Freeman’s antagonists as they push for alarmist intelligence on Iran.

"I’m concerned about what these characters are going to do about Blair, because Blair really stood up to them, and their general reaction to that is to wage a war of annihilation against people who do that," Lang said.

*Jim Lobe's blog on U.S. foreign policy can be read at http://www.ips.org/blog/jimlobe/.
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=46103

David Guyatt
03-14-2009, 11:05 AM
At the same time, the Freeman affair has highlighted the yawning disconnect between the career professionals in the intelligence and diplomatic communities, from whom Freeman enjoyed strong support, and political leaders in Congress and the White House, none of whom came to his defence publicly.

Nothing more need be said. Obama is a waste of space. If he won't even back his own man against these sort of attacks then what a compliant mongrel he is.

Mark Stapleton
03-14-2009, 08:08 PM
At the same time, the Freeman affair has highlighted the yawning disconnect between the career professionals in the intelligence and diplomatic communities, from whom Freeman enjoyed strong support, and political leaders in Congress and the White House, none of whom came to his defence publicly.

Nothing more need be said. Obama is a waste of space. If he won't even back his own man against these sort of attacks then what a compliant mongrel he is.

Agreed.

Obama should go public about it and make the broader issue of Israeli control of US foreign policy a matter of wider public discussion, neatly bypassing the pro-Israel commentariat. JFK did this in his fight with US Steel in 1962. I reckon it would scare the pants off the Israel lobby. They don't want the American public catching a glimpse of the 800 pound gorilla the rest of us can all see.

Obama could do this but, hey, I'm dreaming. Obama doesn't possess a fraction of JFK's balls.

Dawn Meredith
03-14-2009, 09:47 PM
At the same time, the Freeman affair has highlighted the yawning disconnect between the career professionals in the intelligence and diplomatic communities, from whom Freeman enjoyed strong support, and political leaders in Congress and the White House, none of whom came to his defence publicly.

Nothing more need be said. Obama is a waste of space. If he won't even back his own man against these sort of attacks then what a compliant mongrel he is.

Agreed.

Obama should go public about it and make the broader issue of Israeli control of US foreign policy a matter of wider public discussion, neatly bypassing the pro-Israel commentariat. JFK did this in his fight with US Steel in 1962. I reckon it would scare the pants off the Israel lobby. They don't want the American public catching a glimpse of the 800 pound gorilla the rest of us can all see.

Obama could do this but, hey, I'm dreaming. Obama doesn't possess a fraction of JFK's balls.

Agreed, but what an actor. He took in the last of Camelot. And that sure helped pull in more. Looking at his dropping poll numbers however I think people are waking up. I know I certainly have and I was joyous on 11/4. In tears. I wanted to believe. Americans are a sucker for a thing called hope.
Clinton played the "hope " card first, with his hometown. Obama just played us.
Dawn

Myra Bronstein
03-15-2009, 10:06 PM
At the same time, the Freeman affair has highlighted the yawning disconnect between the career professionals in the intelligence and diplomatic communities, from whom Freeman enjoyed strong support, and political leaders in Congress and the White House, none of whom came to his defence publicly.Nothing more need be said. Obama is a waste of space. If he won't even back his own man against these sort of attacks then what a compliant mongrel he is.

Did Obama ever say anything about the Israeli massacre in Gaza that was so conveniently timed between his election and inauguration?

I think I know the answer.