Chaz Freeman pulls out

Greg Sargent notes the news here

This doesn’t merely disappoint.  It makes me rather angry.  The power and influence of the AIPAC (and related) crowd has tentacles into both parties and into the way Washington is wired.  Political narratives and decisions become warped as a consequence of this influence and power and the consequences have been, in important ways, deeply destructive.

Update:  Stephen Walt (pre-ouster) on Freeman’s critics:

You know your opponents are worried when they start calling you names.

Jonathan Chait says I’m “paranoid,” that I “went bonkers” in a recent blog post, and that my scholarship is “wildly hyperbolic.” He says his real objection to Charles Freeman’s appointment as chair of the National Intelligence Council is that Freeman is an “ideological fanatic” (isn’t it odd that this quality went undetected during Freeman’s lengthy career as a public servant?) and that Freeman’s other critics were mostly worried about his relations with Saudi Arabia (as if this had nothing to do with their views on other aspects of our Middle East policy). Nice try, but it is abundantly clear to almost everyone that the assault on Freeman has been conducted by individuals — Chait included — who are motivated by their commitment to Israel and who are upset that Freeman has criticized some of its past behavior. Of course Chait doesn’t broadcast this openly, as it would immediately undermine the case he’s trying to make.

As for the others, Michael Goldfarb compares me to Father Coughlin and says I assembled a “blacklist,” when in fact I did no such thing. I’m not suggesting that Freeman’s critics should lose their jobs or face other forms of  persecution; I just pointed out what they were doing and said it was wrong. Read what I actually wrote, and then ask yourself why Goldfarb would make this up.  Perhaps he’s confusing me with Ron Radosh, who did call for the New York Times to fire Roger Cohen for writing a column about Iran that didn’t demonize it. Jeffrey Goldberg says that my co-author and I are “viciously anti-Israel,” even though we have consistently declared our support for a Jewish state, said we “admired its many achievements,” and wrote that the United States “should come to Israel’s aid if its survival is ever in jeopardy.” M.J. Rosenberg challenges Freeman’s critics too, and Goldberg labels him a “professional slander expert.”   (full column at link above)

Foreign Policy on Freeman’s ouster:

Freeman’s withdrawal “is terrible news for anyone who had hoped that the Obama Administration stands tough-minded, rational, probing, and, yes, brutally honest about the life threatening challenges out there,” wrote veteran Washington observer Chris Nelson in his eponymous Nelson Report. “If it turns out the White House pulled the plug on Freeman because of political pressure…shame on it.  If it turns out Blair didn’t have the guts to stick with his guy…shame on him. If it turns out Freeman just couldn’t stomach any more lies from Capitol Hill and the established media, not to mention the blogs, shame on us all.”

Greg Sargent notes this morning’s NY Times (shallow) piece on Freeman’s withdrawl and wonders why this matter was not covered by the mainstream press until now.

Update:  MJ Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum says:

This is a country where you can say anything you want about the president, or any other policy, and it’s really important for people to understand that this is the only issue you cannot discuss openly.  I think if people perceive incorrectly that the Jewish community as a whole is behind these efforts to stifle dissent on this issue, that’s dangerous.  read here


2 responses to “Chaz Freeman pulls out

  1. AIPAC controls the US if you crticize Israel you are a anti semite and their wrongs can’t be pointed out.

  2. Andrew

    Thanks for the comment. But I wouldn’t state the problem as you have. AIPAC certainly has influence, as I noted above, but to say that it “controls the US” would surely not be accurate. It is one of many lobbies (along with, for another important example, the arms industry) and they all struggle to achieve their particular goals. If you’d said that it has too much influence, you’d get no argument from me or many others.

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