Well, the appointment of Charles “Chas” Freeman as head of the National Intelligence Council is now official. That a longtime shill for the Saudis and virulent hater of Israel would be put in such a post is an amazing and troubling development.
This piece by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency gives some of the background on him. But as many others have written during the last week as Freeman’s appointment was mooted, he is more than just your standard Saudi-financed Israel-basher. This is a guy who has promoted the purchase of Saudi-financed textbooks about Islam for American public schools. Freeman is also a big-time fan of the Mearsheimer/Walt “Israel Lobby” smear. And he was also an apologist for the Chinese government’s massacre of dissidents in Beijing. I guess this is Obama’s idea of what hope means.
But what I found really interesting about this lamentable dust-up is the way the Jewish left in this country, even those who like to call themselves Zionists, reacted to Freeman. The Israel Policy Forum’s MJ Rosenberg spent the week cheerleading for Freeman at the HuffPost site as well as on his own blog.
It’s now gotten to the point that the people who identify themselves as “pro-peace” are willing to support anything, even the appointment of a truly vile creature, if it is perceived as anti-Israel. It’s understandable that the people who are open anti-Zionists would celebrate Freeman, but I fail to see how someone who considers himself “pro-Israel” (as people like Rosenberg and his friends at J Street never tire of describing themselves) would feel the same.
For these leftists, it’s no longer enough to bash Israeli right-wingers or to support the Israeli left in its efforts. Whether I agree with them or not, that’s a legitimate position for an American Jew to take, but when Rosenberg and his ilk start backing Chas Freeman and apologizing for Walt and Mearsheimer that’s something very different. Their argument these days seems to be that the best way to be “pro-Israel” is to back anyone — and I do mean anyone — who will attack Israel.
Though unhappy about Freeman, some Jews are saying today that Freeman’s appointment isn’t significant because of all the other pro-Israel figures in the Obama administration. But if you believe there is a moral equivalence between having someone in government who supports Israel and someone who doesn’t, that’s quite a step down from the assurances we were getting all last year from Jewish Democrats about Obama’s reliability on Israeli security. With Hillary Clinton turning on Israel in regard to Gaza, and with the appointment of Freeman, that is a position that is unraveling fast.