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.