Chaz Freeman and the “Israel Lobby”

This matter is still echoing around.  But there are good reasons that it is as this very good piece from The Forward and reproduced at Ha’aretz details:

The pro-Israel lobby – ‘alive, well, and bipartisan?’

The fight is over. Chas Freeman, the outspoken Israel critic appointed to chair the National Intelligence Council, is out. And now, both sides in the explosive firefight that broke out over his appointment are battling to frame the narrative over what it all meant.

For some of Freeman’s critics, the bottom line is what counts. “This shows the pro-Israel lobby is alive and well, and bipartisan,” declared Jonathan Tobin, executive editor of the neoconservative journal Commentary, at a public forum just five days after Freeman’s March 10 withdrawal…But critics, interestingly, are celebrating the bright light the Freeman issue shone on their own questioning of American policy toward Israel and on their claims that the pro-Israel lobby routinely uses its clout to ensure that dissenters gain no foothold. They say their attempt to discuss the Israel lobby issue won a legitimacy it never had before.

…AIPAC’s former director of foreign policy, Steve Rosen, who used his blog to lead the fight against Freeman’s appointment, saw it differently. Rosen, who once famously described the lobby as a night flower that “thrives in the dark and dies in the sun,” made clear that the public exposure did not serve the pro-Israel lobby’s interests.

“I’m sure AIPAC was happy when Freeman withdrew, but they might also be worried by the high profile of the Freeman issue,” he said.

Full piece at the link above.  Highly recommended.

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