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Ron Radosh

Monthly Archives: March 2009

Towards a More Effective Conservatism

March 30th, 2009 - 5:29 pm

It is no secret that the Republican Party and the conservative movement have been floundering  since their trouncing in the last election.  But, in the past few days some conservative posts and the formation of a new group indicate that a more nuanced conservatism may be emerging from the ashes.

First, I recommend reading David Horowitz’s essay today on Frontpagemag.com, in which he comments on “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” and warns conservatives on replicating the kind of virulent Bush hatred that spewed forth from the mouths of liberals during the past eight years. As Horowitz points out, in foreign policy at least, Obama is carrying out the Bush policies in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iran, he has made it clear during the past few days, through both Richard Holbrooke and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, that sanctions against Iran will be increased, and that negotiations in a meaningful sense will not take place. “We are not,” Horowitz writes, “witnessing the coming of the anti-Christ.”

Writing in The National Post of Canada, David Frum continues to explain how and why he differs from Rush Limbaugh, and to delineate the nature of the conservatism he thinks can have a broad appeal and continue to grow. Denying that he has become a “mushy moderate,” as one of his friends wrote about him, Frum argues that conservatives have to do more than denounce the  policies of the Bush years in favor of a supposedly pure philosophical conservatism. This does not mean that he will cease to criticize the current administration for its “reckless spending and destructive taxation.”

According to Frum, conservatives are “bereft of answers for the economic challenges of the 21st century.”  And more to the point, this situation seemed to not worry many of his conservative friends and colleagues.  He believes that conservatives have to move beyond the old cultural warfare battles of the past and present policies that appeal and make sense to the majority of the American people.  And this means accepting some of the major changes in the nation on cultural issues—such as ending opposition to stem cell research, gay rights, and concerns about the environment.

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So far, outside of one or two protests from Jewish organizations, like the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, I have not seen any widespread outrage addressed to the Washington Post editors for the Oliphant political cartoon that appeared in yesterday’s edition.

Certainly, the Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist is an equal opportunity offender. Just last month, Rupert Murdoch was forced to apologize when The New York Post ran a cartoon by Sean Delonas that compared a violent chimp shot dead by police to what many said was a stand-in for President Barack Obama, and hence racist in content.

Oliphant has now moved on the Jews. In his new cartoon, he goes from criticizing Israel and Zionism to open anti-Semitism. In so doing, he is following the example of some in the British press. In January of 2002, the leftist New Statesman ran a cover depicting  a gold Star of David piercing and dominating a prostrate British flag, with the title “A Kosher Conspiracy?” over the front. And a cartoon in The Independent in May of 2003 ran a cartoon of then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon eating a baby.

Now, in his new cartoon, Oliphant echoes the kind of propaganda once favored by the Nazis in their racist paper Der Strumer, edited by one of Hitler’s top journalists, Julius Streicher. What Oliphant does is show a headless Nazi-like soldier-  an Israeli- goose-stepping Nazi fashion with his sword ready for action. He is ready to inflict a weaponized Star of David on a mother and child in Gaza.  The right side of the religious symbol of Judaism is depicted as a shark coming at the hapless victims.

If you think the comparison to the cartoons in Streicher’s rag is going too far, take a look at this cartoon. Or this one: the Jewish “monster” with his claw-like hands trying to take over the world. One might wonder if Oliphant consulted this Nazi archive for inspiration.

What should we make of this obscene cartoon which obviously some editors at the Post feel is legitimate criticism in the growing climate of hostility to Israel. For many years, critics of Israel have argued incessantly that to criticize Israel and its policies is not anti-Semitism. Last week, Judea Pearl argued in an op-ed that in today’s world, there is no difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Mr. Oliphant has proved him correct.

Since writing the above, Barry Rubin has written a brilliant comment on the cartoon. You will find it here, with the cartoon reprinted: http://israelinsider.ning.com/forum/topics/barry-rubin-the-loathsome

 

Addendum: To see the cartoons, go to the third link from the top to the word “paper” before Der Sturmer. Then you can see all the cartoons. The direct links do not work

Obama: Which Way on Iran?

March 25th, 2009 - 4:44 pm

As much as President Obama would like to focus on domestic issues, he will be facing serious foreign policy problems in the near future. The most important, perhaps, is the threat of a nuclear Iran. The reasons why Iran obtaining a nuclear device is so dangerous are outlined in this thorough and important editorial by Mortimer Zuckerman, editor of U.S.News.  “Nuclear Iran,” he writes, “will be a threat to U.S. national security, worldwide energy security, the efficacy of multilateralism, and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.”  If allowed to succeed,  Zuckerman warns, Iran’s mullahs might become overconfident enough to believe that it can operate through its proxy forces without any fear of reprisals from the United States and the European powers. It will thus be emboldened to use terrorism towards any power that wishes to pursue peace with Israel.

In addition, he suggests that if Iran moves ahead on its path to nuclear arms,  “tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands would join radical Islamist groups in the belief that Islamism is on the march.” Zuckerman raises all the issues so many ignore. The mullahs may not be rational,(despite the hopes of people like Roger Cohen) which means that the United States  ”just cannot take the risk of nuclear missiles in the hands of a clerical regime that preaches genocide.”

The big question is simple. What will  President Barack Obama’s response be to this growing threat? Will he, as Zuckerman and others hope, increase sanctions, institute new tough economic measures to hurt the regime, make clear that a military option is not off the table, institute an arms embargo, ban exports to Iran of gas and refined products so transport can be crippled, boycott their banking system, and ban spare parts being sold to Iran’s oil industry?

Or will he continue to tell Iran’s leaders that we understand their needs and their goals, are not out to harm their regime, want peaceful relations with “The Islamic Republic of Iran,” as Obama put it, and insist on a path of “aggressive personal diplomacy.” We know that one thing Obama can do, is talk, and talk and talk.  Will all his talking, waiting and persistence end up with Iran announcing they have a bomb, and Obama concluding that we’ll simply have to live with it? As William Kristol put it, “President Obama seems to evince no sense of urgency about Iran’s nuclear program.” Kristol fears his comments seem to suggest that Obama has already accepted the inevitability of Iran’s obtaining nuclear weapons, and is ready to adopt to it.

In the President’s press conference, he expanded slightly on his letter to Iran with these few words: “When it comes to Iran, you know, we did a video sending a message to the Iranian people and the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran. And some people said, ‘Well, they did not immediately say they were eliminating nuclear weapons and stop funding terrorism.’ Well, we didn’t expect that. We expect that we’re going to make steady progress on this front.”

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On this website, Michael Ledeen has given us his wise assessment of  President Obama’s recent letter to Iran, as well as Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s response to it. It would have been nice had Obama drafted TNR assistant editor Jamie Kirchick to write his message, rather than write the one he actually did. Kirchick said what Obama failed to do. He spoke to the Iranian people and not to the regime. Indeed, Kirchick tells Iran that the mullahs are the ones to apologize to the United States, for its terrorism and its attempt to build a nuclear weapon with which they threaten to obliterate Israel. Kirchick also demands the immediate release of the many political prisoners held in jail from what he accurately calls a “criminal regime.”

There is one commentator, however, who is pleased with Obama’s letter. It is- you guessed- the inimitable  Roger Cohen, who is so taken with himself that he evidently believes, as he puts it, that “Obama has now taken all the steps I called for.”  In his column run on the New York Times website on March 22nd- but strangely absent from the op-ed pages in the paper’s print edition in the “Week In Review,”(which perhaps means that even that paper’s editors are tired of Cohen’s glowing view of the regime of the mullahs)  Cohen likes Obama’s letter and reads into it things that others are not so sure Obama means.

First, Cohen says that Obama has “abandoned regime change as an American goal” and has “shelved the so-called military option.” As Ledeen notes, Obama has increased sanctions, and his spokesmen have many times emphasized nothing is off the table should Iran not make positive responses to the United States.  But nevertheless, Cohen believes the Obama letter means a reversal of US policy towards Iran, one that is based on “mutual respect.”

Really, does Cohen actually believe we should show respect to a nation that suppresses homosexuals, practices hangings of dissenters and throws them into jails where they are tortured and have no rights? Does he welcome the growing repression of women and journalists and other actions of the regime in the last few months, that have not let up despite President Obama’s election? Is this something for which the United States should now ignore in the name of realism?

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On the Parole of Terrorist Sara Jane Olson

March 22nd, 2009 - 12:20 pm

I know that most PJM readers- being conservatives- do not read The New York Times. For that reason, I want to suggest they immediately turn to the wonderful Op-Ed by writer Caitlin Flanagan, on the parole last week of Sara Jane Olson, a.k.a. Kathleen Soliah, the name she took as part of the 1970′s “Symbionese Liberation Army,” a radical terrorist group that made the Weather Underground look like amateurs.

Ms. Flanagan presents the strongest case possible for how hypocritical it is for the courts to allow Olson to serve her parole at home in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she lives with her husband, a wealthy doctor and their children. Olson, after all, was taking part in a bank robbery  when a gunshot killed a guard, and when she kicked a pregnant bank teller in the stomach. The teller later miscarried. Her group also tried their best to assassinate police offers.

The excuse for their actions, of course, is that they carried them out for idealistic reasons. As Flanagan writes, they claim they were only reacting to the terrible times in which they lived, in which the U.S. was waging a horrendous war in Vietnam which they opposed.  Pace Bill Ayers, whom as we all know, makes similar excuses for his own behavior in that era, which to this day he does not regret.

At least the founder of the Weather Underground, Mark Rudd (whose book I review today) admits the truth in his new memoir Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen. Unlike Ayers or Olson, Rudd acknowledges that their goal was not to build a peace movement opposed to the war, but to engage in guerrilla warfare at home, waged through terror and violence, for the purpose of overthrowing our democratic government. Yet in his conclusion, Rudd too contradicts all he writes earlier, arguing that there was an “idealism inherent in our rebellion.” If so, it is the kind of idealism that leads to murder of innocents, one of which the 20th Century World was all too familiar from the likes of Hitler and Stalin.

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As Benjamin Netanyahu tries to form a government in Israel, the obstructionist tactics of Kadima’s Tsipi Livni, who refuses to enter any coalition government with Netanyahu, has forced him to seek a governing coalition by turning to the ultra-rightist racist, Avigdor  Lieberman, who will be his foreign minister. The choice could prove to be a disaster for Israel, giving those who seek any excuse to urge a break with Israel a perfect reason. Lieberman, as Martin Peretz writes, is “a thug in personal demeanor and a thug in political belief,” nothing less than a “Jewish neo-fascist.”

Livni argues that she will not join a Netanyahu government because Bibi does not favor a two-state solution, which she and the Kadima party does. As the Jerusalem Post explained in an editorial, that argument is simply not credible. “The truth is ,” the paper editorialized, “that Livni and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have been energetically negotiating with Palestinian leaders to achieve just such an outcome. They offered significant and far-reaching concessions – to no avail. Netanyahu is not keen on a Palestinian state (though it’s a stretch to claim he opposes it) for precisely the reasons Olmert and Livni have failed to achieve one: The Palestinians won’t compromise on borders; they insist on flooding Israel with millions of “refugees,” and the nature of the sovereignty they seek poses an existential danger to Israel’s survivability.”

Yet, Israel’s governing problems is causing a flood of worldwide growing condemnation and isolation of Israel. Ethan Bronner reported in The New York Times growing evidence of this. He quoted the American Jewish author Anne Roiphe, who wrote that Lieberman ‘s growing popularity within Israel made her feel “as if my spouse had cheated on me with Mussolini.” Roiphe is rather typical of those self-proclaimed American leftist peacenik Jews who demand the kind of Israeli government they would be proud to support; i.e., one committed to a two-state solution that is committed to the peace process and wants justice for the Palestinians. Her assumption, unstated, is that the current and past Israeli governments never were. Undoubtedly, were she an Israeli, she would be one more vote for the almost defunct left-wing Meretz Party.

Answering Roiphe is the Haaretz columnist Bradley Burston, who has written an extremely powerful and essential answer, which he sarcastically titles “The racist Israeli fascist in me.” Burston is writing for the daily left of center newspaper, not the rather conservative Jerusalem Post. Yet Burston tries to explain to American Jews like Roiphe why so many in Israel find Lieberman’s racist rantings so appealing. He understands that people like Roiphe find Israel’s current policies an “embarrassment” to so-called “progressive” American Jews. She claims to understand Israel’s predicament, but in fact, Burston notes, she and others do not.

It all comes down to one word, he writes, “rockets.” Israelis have voted overwhelmingly for parties and leaders who want peace, and a stable Palestinian state. But whatever they have done, such as give up Gaza, “Palestinians set up rocket launchers on the ruins of settlements that had been just evacuated. They took aim not only at Sderot, but at some of the very kibbutzim who had most strongly championed the cause of an independent Palestine alongside Israel.”

It is rockets, he writes, not racism, that gave Avigdor Lieberman his political strength. These same rockets are also responsible for the collapse of Meretz, the Labor Party, and the once strong Peace Now movement. It meant, Burston points out, that “it put a sudden end to the idea of land for peace, because no one, even some of the most ardent advocates of a Palestinian statehood in the West Bank, was about to agree to leave Ben-Gurion airport, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem within range of the rockets.” The consensus of opinion within Israel is rightfully skeptical of a phony peace that leaves them open to danger.

And that raises the old cry of Israel’s “disproportionate” response to the rockets from Gaza. Hamas knows that they can keep sending rockets at a level the rest of the world comfortably ignores,  while for Israelis subject to the constant attacks, it is simply unbearable. And when Israel responds, the rest of the world attacks it for their necessary response. The world does not realize, Burston writes, “that when a rocket up to nine feet long flies up to 25 miles traveling at a half a mile per second and lands with up to 44 pounds of explosives packed into its warhead-the human consequences could easily be carnage.”

Would we, one must ask, accept such a situation if rockets from Mexico came at this rate to Texas cities and towns near our border? Would not the entire country demand quickly that the White House act promptly to stop this major attack on our nation? Would it really say it’s not so bad, and why don’t those Texas residents just put up with it? So the situation is this. And again, let me close with Burston’s words:

“The world should know this: No matter how progressive the government in Israel, no matter how grave the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza, without an end to the rockets, there will be no peace process and certainly no peace.”

The world’s pressure, and ours, should be put on Hamas- not on any Israeli government. If we keep pointing this out, perhaps even the likes of Anne Roiphe will eventually understand Israel’s predicament.

Remembering Ron Silver

March 17th, 2009 - 3:37 pm

There have been some beautiful tributes on PJM to the late Ron Silver, and those by Roger Simon and Lionel Chetwynd are particularly moving. I will try not to repeat what they have said, but instead to convey something of his character and uniqueness as I experienced him.

I met Ron in 2005, when my wife and I were awaiting publication of our book, Red Star Over Hollywood:The Film Colony’s Long Romance with the Left. Fred Siegel, a mutual friend, thought he would be interested in it, and introduced us. We sent Ron the book, and after reading it, he got in touch with us immediately. I knew that after 9/11,  Ron had courageously come forward as a supporter of George W. Bush,  and had done so knowing full well the consequences he could face in liberal Hollywood. I also knew that even before he had changed his political direction, he was a man of ideas, whose commitment to political life was second to none. When he was  president of Actor’s Equity in New York, I recalled having read statements by him on the issue of health care for actors, and was impressed with his knowledge of what was really involved.

Ron was not like other actors who traded on their celebrity, using their persona to endorse one or another cause. He considered himself just another citizen of our country, who felt that he owed something to it for the blessings he had received from being born here. A man who spoke many languages and had a background in the academic world as well as that of the arts, Ron was fully equipped to plunge himself into any issue with which he was concerned, be it domestic issues or foreign policy. He read widely and intensely, and when he spoke out, he knew what he was talking about. He was the opposite of the “star” who thought he could issue an inane statement and be taken seriously.

In our case, Ron identified with the people we spoke about in our book, like the actress Olivia de Havilland, who in the late 1940′s, openly broke with the Communists in Hollywood and at a public event, tossed out a speech written for her by the Communist writer Dalton Trumbo and instead told her audience why liberals should not cooperate with Communists.  So Ron went out of his way to tell others in the acting world about our book, and he tried to get them to listen to our arguments. As a founder of The Creative Coalition, he brought us to the staff’s attention, and did his best to get them to sponsor a debate before the group on the issue of the blacklist and the Communists. (In this, alas, he proved unsuccessful. There are limits even to how persuasive Ron could be to Hollywood liberals.)

Ironically, one of the lesser roles Ron had played was that of a blacklisted Communist writer in the 1989 TV film Fellow Traveler, a film we discussed and criticized in the appendix of our book. Ron agreed with us that Hollywood had a preferred and often repeated narrative about the blacklist, one in which the Communists were always depicted as martyred heroes and their opponent as one-sided villains. He did not mind in the slightest that we had criticized this particular film in which he had a leading role. At about this time, Ron appeared on an episode of Law and Order, in which he took the role of a very left-wing lawyer defending Islamic terrorists and their supporters. He played opposite the conservative actor Fred Dalton Thompson, who as the DA, took the kind of hard line that Thompson himself favored. I teased Ron about it, knowing that in real life, he virulently opposed every line coming out of his character’s mouth. “You did a great job, Ron,” I told him, “did you enjoy it?” He winked and with a sly smile, said, “That’s called acting, my friend!”

Having the same first name, Ron asked me if I had ever been called Ronnie. In fact, all my old friends with whom I grew up always called me that.( Some, like Michael Ledeen, still do.) Then he told me the story about the time he met President Bush at the White House, and the President told him: “You’re a good man, Ronnie.” Ron replied to Bush: “Only my mother calls me Ronnie, Mr. President.” Bush looked at him and said “You’re a good man, Ronnie.”

When the President appointed him to the board of The U.S. Institute for Peace, those of us who had come to know him were pleased, knowing that the appointment was more than appropriate. Ron could debate  foreign policy issues with the best of them, and would be able to use his expertise to really accomplish something.

And finally, I had to quiz Ron about his view of Bob Dylan. I told him, “we share a lot of ideas about many things, but I’m a major Bob Dylan fan, Ron. So how about you?” I was not disappointed. He too, loved and appreciated Dylan. Then he told me about how when Dylan received the Kennedy Center Award, as a board member of the Center, Ron was asked to come down to Washington and help out Dylan. Coming to DC on Amtrak, he spent the hours listening to Dylan songs to prepare himself for the job.  He assumed he would be asked to accompany Dylan, make him at ease, and perhaps keep him out of the way of fans and the paparazzi. And, of course, he would get to spend time with him. Instead, Ron sighed, he was assigned the task of accompanying Dylan’s mother. “She’s a nice Jewish lady,” he said, but it was not quite the same as hanging out with Dylan. He had to show her Washington, keep her comfortable, and spend the day at her side.

Ron Silver was a mensch. He said what he believed, and was willing to forgo roles he knew were not offered to him because so many in Tinseltown did not want to hire someone who admired the man they all hated, George W. Bush.  When I told a friend of mine- someone in the business that I had got to know Ron, he said to me in a snide tone of voice, “he’s quite a Republican these days, isn’t he?”  I don’t know if he was actually a Republican. His brother told The New York Times that on election day, he voted for Barack Obama. If true, it would be fitting. Ron was an independent centrist, who must have realized how historic it was for America to have an African-American President. He stuck to his guns, and went on his own path.  He will be sorely missed.

Once again, The New York Times failed its readers when it came to coverage of the issues that forced Charles Freeman to resign as head of the National Intelligence Council. As Marty Peretz pointed out, the paper only covered the much debated issues at the very end, after he stepped down. In the preceding weeks, Eli Lake in The Washington Times, Jennifer Rubin at “Contentions” and PJM,  Michael Goldfarb in The Weekly Standard and Noah Pollak in Commentary’s “Contentions,” had made its readers well aware of the high stakes.

Once Freeman left, the fight over the meaning of his action only got bitterer. Freeman, as I noted earlier, laid the blame for his resignation on the so-called Israeli lobby. There was no end of observers who tore apart his apologia, including some on the same ForeignPolicy.com website that Freeman and Stephen Walt write for. Today David J. Rothkopf reluctantly concludes that Freeman and the supporters of the Israel lobby thesis were dead wrong. Commenting on the support given by Stephen Walt (one half of the Walt-Mearsheimer duo) to Freeman, Rotkhopf writes that his Walt’s comments were “a smug ‘I told you so’ laden with a  list of co-conspirators with names so Jewish that I could hardly read it without cringing.” Whatever  “the intellectual merits of his hackneyed argument may be,” he writes, “he and Mearsheimer know full well that their prominence on this issue has come because…they were willing…to play to a crowd whose ‘views’ were fueled by prejudice and worse.”

Rothkopf believes that those concerned with Israel were responsible for mobilizing support against Freeman. But he notes the two major flaws with both the Walt and Freeman argument: First, it assumes that when the U.S. supports Israel it’s because of the lobby, and not because it is in the national interest of our country. And second, it assumes that the lobby “is so powerful it is dictating policy rather than trying to influence it like every other lobbying group in Washington.” The only reason to single out the Israel lobby, he writes, is “to suggest that American policy in the Middle East is being driven by the interests of an especially unsavory group of ultra-powerful people who are masters at manipulating Washington.”

Rothkopf continues to give words of wisdom to people like Andrew Sullivan, who believe just that. The Israel lobby thesis, he writes “distorts reality, implies coordination where there is none, implies consensus across a group of people with widely divergent views,” and “tars opponents as members  of a lowly lobby while reserving the intellectual and moral high group for the views of Walt and co.-‘you lobby, we are patriots.’”

Although he thinks Freeman’s record was distorted and many against him were supporters of Israel, Rothkopf notes his opponents were not “part of an orchestrated attack.”

The above comes from a writer who is sympathetic to Freeman, and thinks he was wronged. Yet when we look at the coverage in The New York Times, it reads like a propaganda spread from Freeman and Stephen Walt. Hence the main March12th dispatch, in which Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper’s article bore the headline: “Israel Stance was Undoing of Nominee for Intelligence Post.” Their story concentrates on Freeman’s own blast at the Israeli lobby for forcing him out, and quotes a former US Ambassador to the Saudis as saying “our political landscape finds it difficult to assimilate any criticism of any segment of the Israeli leadership.”

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After Charles Freeman stepped down from his pending appointment to a major intelligence post, the explanations started pouring forth from the anti-Israel lobby. In essence they said, “it’s all the fault of the Jews.” You know how powerful they are and how they control the media and the country’s politics. No one put this more forthrightly than Andrew Sullivan, who wrote that the opposition to Freeman’s appointment engaged in “character assassination,” and that “even minor appointments in the president’s own staff cannot proceed if the appointees question the p.c. line on Israel.”

I don’t know Sullivan’s definition of character assassination, but carefully quoting – often in full and never out of context- Freeman’s views on China, the Saudis and yes on Israel—and holding him to account for views that previously were ignored by those who vetted him, hardly fits the charge of character assassination.

Then there is the variation on the Israeli lobby theory: It was just the Jewish neo-cons, who evidently are so powerful even when the Republicans are out of office, that they can accomplish such a feat. Thus one Charles Freeman, a self-proclaimed Jewish peacenik, blogs that he “was the victim of a mob, not a lobby.” Freeman points to Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic liberal from New York, who now is himself evidently a neo-con.  As for AIPAC, he points out that the first salvo against Freeman’s appointment  came from dismissed AIPAC lobbyist Steve Rosen who is now on trial for violation of the Espionage Act. I guess despite these disabilities, Rosen too has great power.

Finally, Flesher (who Sullivan also links to) argues that he has heard from “very reliable sources” that AIPAC spokesman Josh Block contacted journalists and bloggers about Freeman. Block is communications director for the organization, and deals regularly with the press. Even if Flesher is right and Block cited articles and evidence that revealed Freeman’s positions on different issues, this is not only not lobbying—-but is well within the terrain of Block’s job.  At least Flesher acknowledges that Freeman “had enough extra baggage to make him an easy mark.”

Then there was the ultimate so-called explanation, that which came from Charles Freeman himself. Now widely known, Freeman’s screed – and screed it is- includes the following key paragraph:

The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful  lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East.  The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth.  The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.

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BREAKING NEWS: Just as I posted this–literally- the news has come through that Charles Freeman has asked not to be appointed to the post! In other words, our blogs, attacks and opposition has done its job! If not for people like the folks at The Weekly Standard, who uncovered Freeman’s e mail, and journalists like Eli Lake, Martin Peretz, James Kirchick, Reason magazine’s Michael Moynihan and others, this victory could not have taken place. Kudos to all of them, and let us rejoice!

Update: 7:48 pm East Coast Time. Freeman has just posted his own explanation for why he asked to not be appointed. It is a self-serving, dishonest and poor excuse. To make it simple: his explanation is: “It’s all the fault of the Israeli Lobby.” You know how powerful they are. After all, Walt and Mearsheimer proved it. see for yourself: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/03/10/freeman_speaks_out_on_his_exit

The opposition to the appointment of Charles (“Chas”) Freeman to the post of Director of the National Intelligence Council has been growing. The problem is that it quickly is becoming a partisan issue- with more Republicans going on the offensive- and Democrats remaining quiet. This is one of the issues that deserve bi-partisan unity, with national security Democrats joining Republicans with the demand that President Obama rescind his appointment.

Do the Democrats really want someone like Freeman choosing what national security information to give to the President each morning, given Freeman’s track record of being a shill for the Saudis and a man in the pocket of the Chinese government? Last week, TNR’s Jonathan Chait rightfully called Freeman an “ideological fanatic” who is “blind to the moral dimension of international politics.” And The Weekly Standard posted Freeman’s now famous e-mail in which he made known his views. Freeman wrote the following:

From: CWFHome@cs.com [mailto:CWFHome@cs.com]
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2006 9:29 PM

I will leave it to others to address the main thrust of your reflection on Eric’s remarks. But I want to take issue with what I assume, perhaps incorrectly, to be your citation of the conventional wisdom about the 6/4 [or Tiananmen] incident. I find the dominant view in China about this very plausible, i.e. that the truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud, rather than — as would have been both wise and efficacious — to intervene with force when all other measures had failed to restore domestic tranquility to Beijing and other major urban centers in China. In this optic, the Politburo’s response to the mob scene at “Tian’anmen” stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action.

For myself, I side on this — if not on numerous other issues — with Gen. Douglas MacArthur. I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be. Such folk, whether they represent a veterans’ “Bonus Army” or a “student uprising” on behalf of “the goddess of democracy” should expect to be displaced with despatch from the ground they occupy. I cannot conceive of any American government behaving with the ill-conceived restraint that the Zhao Ziyang administration did in China, allowing students to occupy zones that are the equivalent of the Washington National Mall and Times Square, combined. while shutting down much of the Chinese government’s normal operations. I thus share the hope of the majority in China that no Chinese government will repeat the mistakes of Zhao Ziyang’s dilatory tactics of appeasement in dealing with domestic protesters in China.

I await the brickbats of those who insist on a politically correct — i.e. non Burkean conservative — view.

Chas

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