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Obama Picks Israel Critic for Senior Intelligence Post

Oh, the Israel lobby is up in arms over this one!  Former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Chas W. Freeman, will be appointed to head the National Intelligence Council.  The Council prepares national intelligence estimates for the president, and in the Bush administration this became a pivotal and highly charged job.  Thus, it is no accident that Obama has chosen an honest broker to tell him where in the world the most dangerous challenges are to U.S. interests.  Dare we hope that several Israeli settler pro-terror groups might be added to the State Department list in the coming year?

JTA provides the “damning” evidence of Freeman’s heresy:

In 2005 remarks to the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, Freeman said that “as long as the United States continues unconditionally to provide the subsidies and political protection that make the Israeli occupation and the high-handed and self-defeating policies it engenders possible, there is little, if any, reason to hope that anything resembling the former peace process can be resurrected. Israeli occupation and settlement of Arab lands is inherently violent.

And as long as such Israeli violence against Palestinians continues, it is utterly unrealistic to expect that Palestinians will stand down from violent resistance and retaliation against Israelis. Mr. Sharon is far from a stupid man; he understands this. So, when he sets the complete absence of Palestinian violence as a precondition for implementing the road map or any other negotiating process, he is deliberately setting a precondition he knows can never be met.”

In 2008, in a speech to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Security Studies Program, he said, “We have reflexively supported the efforts of a series of right-wing Israeli governments to undo the Oslo accords and to pacify the Palestinians rather than make peace with them.

“The so-called ‘two-state solution’ is widely seen in the region as too late and too little. Too late, because so much land has been colonized by Israel that there is not enough left for a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel; too little, because what is on offer looks to Palestinians more like an Indian reservation than a country.”

Imagine a senior U.S. intelligence officials using the term “colonization” and “Indian reservation” in relation to the Occupation.  It’s shocking.  This is the Israel lobby’s worst nightmare–that an honest broker will actually have a senior position in the administration and be able to impact U.S. policy, even in an indirect way, toward Israel.

And lest the lobby and Israel’s supporters attempt to paint any misleading picture of what this means, we need to remember that Aipac’s boy, Dennis Ross, is about to be appointed U.S. special envoy regarding Iran.  Obama has not sold his soul to the Arabs or anything like that.  He’s merely attempting to do what previous U.S. presidents should do–keep a level playing field.

Israel is not used to this.  It’s used to getting its way when it comes to U.S. presidents and U.S. policy.  It’s used to having virtual veto power over personnel appointments it sees as potentially threatening to its interests.  But it didn’t get its way on this one.  And this won’t be the last time.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Crimson Ghost February 22, 2009, 2:05 AM

    The great underreported story of 2009 is that the financial crisis is sharply eroding the power of the formerly “invincible” Israel lobby.

    Just as the rise in the lobby’s power since the early 1980s reflected the enormous wealth that accrued to Wall Street and banking honchos (many of them Jewish) — the unprecedented financial collapse of 2008-2009 has hit the lobby’s wealth and power like a kick in the teeth.

    Although far from “out” the lobby certainly is “down”.

  • noam February 22, 2009, 6:53 AM

    As I see it, there are mixed signals from Obama. Some honest brokers were appointed, but there have also been reports that the administration favors a “national unity” government in Israel, which will end up being a waste of four more years.

    The only real question is whether Obama understands that he will have to confront Israel on the Palestinian issue. Every president ended up doing it, so the sooner the better.

  • Donald Johnson February 22, 2009, 9:27 AM

    I’ve been very skeptical of Obama all along, but if this guy is appointed then, along with Mitchell, I’ll start to have serious hopes that I’ve been wrong. Though in the end what matters is what policy Obama actually implements.

  • noam February 22, 2009, 10:50 AM

    These are good signs, but it remains to be seen if and when Obama will be ready to confront the Israeli government on the major issues – the settlements, Jerusalem etc. Recent history has showed that without direct pressure by the president there isn’t any progress, and Israel had a carte blanche from the WH for too long.

  • Yevno Aron February 22, 2009, 12:19 PM

    If someone bothers to check facts the US banks and finances are
    controlled by Germanic people, not Jews.

    However Jews, Armenians, Lebanese,etc. are very successful in the money world as some kind of the servants to the Anglo-Saxon Germanic masters.

    We also must pay attention that 3 diverse Arab states already formed on the territory of the historic Palestine.
    Jews are also entitled to at least two states to accomodate their diversity in Palestine

  • Mark February 24, 2009, 6:25 AM
    • Richard Silverstein February 25, 2009, 1:36 AM

      One little thing you overlooked…Dennis Ross is on Israel’s payroll as a paid consultant for the Jewish Agency for Israel. YOu see two can play this game. If Ross can have a high level State Dept. position, why can’t Freeman? Or is Israel’s money greener or purer than Saudi’s?

  • Adele Federman February 24, 2009, 11:51 AM

    Obama professes to be determined to save Israel. He appoints Samantha Power & Susan Rice to work on the mid-east situation. S.P. wrote an anti-Israel book. S.R. was let go from Kerry’s campaign because of her anti-Israel remarks. These are Obama’s advocate’s to determine Israel’s future?

    • Lazynative February 25, 2009, 10:00 AM

      When did Samantha Powers writh an “anti-Israel” book?

    • fiddler February 25, 2009, 10:31 AM

      Arguably the only saving Israel needs is from itself, so in that sense “anti-Israel” can in fact be very much “pro-Israel”.
      Whatever happened to good ol’ dialectics?

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