Admiral Dennis Blair’s appointment of Chas. Freeman as chair of the National Intelligence Council becomes more troubled by the day. Not because of any real taint on Ambassador Freeman’s record, but because Aipac and its Congressional water carriers are upping the ante day by day in a campaign to oust him due to his strongly critical views about the Israeli Occupation.
His critics veil their criticism in an attack on Freeman’s close ties to Chinese and Saudi business and government interests, but make no mistake–Freeman’s sin is his outspokenness on Israel and his sympathies for Palestinian suffering.
This coordinated attack fits Aipac’s modus operandi to a tee. First, you will probably not hear the group’s name directly associated with the assault. The phone calls go from Aipac headquarters to their mostly Republican minions on the Hill. But it’s entirely possible that unlike the Manchurian Candidate, Aipac doesn’t even need to activate their operatives. They’ve been so indoctrinated that the Congress members know what is expected of them and they start the campaign themselves.
And by the by, Jim Lobe notes that most of the seven Congress members who signed a letter asking for an investigation of Freeman were heavy recipients of pro-Israel campaign donations closely affiliated with Aipac.
Even Chuck Schumer, now New York’s leading pro-Israel political leader after Hillary’s promotion to State, is getting in on the act. He picked up the phone to call his good friend and fellow pro-Israel Dem., Rahm Emanuel, to rail about Freeman. What’s especially significant about Schumer’s involvement is that until now the opposition was led by straight neo-con Republican forces and the pro-Israel right: Steve Rosen, Michael Goldfarb, the Republican Jewish Coalition, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mark Kirk, Marty Peretz, Jonathan Tobin, etc. Schumer is the first Democratic leader to get into the tussle.
I am angry that Chuck Schumer thinks there’s no place in the U.S. intelligence apparatus for a man of Freeman’s views. Do we require uniformity of thought when it comes to Israel? Can no one question? Can no one diverge from a reductive pro-Israel consensus? It doesn’t look good.
Admiral Blair’s spokesperson has just set up a perfect “out” for him by “acknowledging” that Freeman’s appointment was not vetted nor approved by the White House. Can anyone imagine that an appointment to such a senior intelligence position would NOT be vetted? C’mon. I’m afraid they’re preparing to throw him overboard.
This is Aipac laying down a marker, telling Obama that if he wants to stray from the fold on Israel this is what he can expect: war by attrition and death of policy by a thousand paper cuts. The Israel lobby desperately wants to slow down the train that is Obama’s Israel policy. They don’t want it to get to its destination and they’re willing to throw Chas. Freeman under the wheels as part of a long-term strategy.
I’m hoping that Jewish peace groups and bloggers will take up this cause. And intelligence analysts should as well. Don’t let Aipac and Republican neo-cons set our nation’s Israel agenda. Don’t let them destroy the career of an experienced diplomat who brings a refreshingly forthright view of the Israel-Arab conflict. Make no mistake, Chas. Freeman is like the first “Communist” on Joe McCarthy’s list. Once it gets Freeman, it won’t be satisfied. It will then go on to fry the bigger fish or it may simply be satisfied to cow the Obamas and Clintons into submission.