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Ron Radosh

Did the Israeli Lobby Force Out Charles Freeman?

March 11th, 2009 - 1:53 pm

Unable to disprove any of the above allegations against him, Freeman only provides more evidence why he had to step down. Instead of responding to what was proven about his views, he simply tries to deflect attention to the Israel Lobby, which he argues, akin to Walt and Mearsheimer, attacked him as part of  yet another step in the lobby’s attempt to control U.S. foreign policy.  So to Freeman, it was the Israeli lobby and those forced to support its agenda that were responsible for blackballing him. Once again, American policy and a presidential appointment were supposedly vetoed by a foreign power.

So were people like Andrew Sullivan, a supporter of Freeman and now his apologist, correct? Was he forced out by the Israeli lobby and/or the neo-cons? To answer this question a surprising source offered a more nuanced and accurate assessment. An explanation is presented by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball  on the Newsweek.com website. They write that Speaker Nancy Pelosi fiercely objected to “Freeman’s ties to China.” Long known as an advocate of a human rights policy towards the Chinese government and a supporter of its dissidents, Pelosi “was incensed about public remarks that Freeman once made that seemed to justify the violent 1989 Chinese government crackdown on democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square.” Not only that, the two journalists report, she “thought Freeman’s views were ‘indefensible’ and complained directly to President Obama about his selection.” (my emphasis)

So we may conclude the following. It is easier for Freeman and his backers to explain away this embarrassing defeat for Intelligence Chief  Dennis Blair, who supported Freeman to the end, by blaming the Jews. Such a tactic allows them to ignore the actual practices that so enraged everyone- particularly his economic ties to both the Chinese government and his kowtowing to the Saudi rulers. So I caution readers. As difficult foreign policy decisions have to be made, and some appear to be supported by Israel, expect to hear more and more of this refrain: “The Israeli lobby is running our country’s foreign policy.”

Addendum: Thursday’s Washington Post runs a magnificent editorial, “Blame The ‘Lobby’”, in which the editors call Freeman’s apologia “a grotesque libel.” He and others like him, they write, are “conspiracy theorists” who show a “blatant disregard for..established facts.” KUDOS to the Post!

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