In his exit interview with the Nation‘s Robert Dreyfuss, Chas Freeman recanted his earlier claim that the “Israel Lobby” had jettisoned his appointment to chair the National Intelligence Council (NIC). Rather, claimed Freeman, it was the “Lieberman Lobby”:
The only thing I regret is that in my statement I embraced the term ‘Israel lobby.’ This isn’t really a lobby by, for or about Israel. It’s really, well, I’ve decided I’m going to call it from now on the [Avigdor] Lieberman lobby. It’s the very right-wing Likud in Israel and its fanatic supporters here. And Avigdor Lieberman is really the guy that they really agree with. And I think they’re doing Israel in.
Never mind that the key bones of contention that scuttled Freeman’s appointment were his ties to the Saudi and Chinese governments – something that neither Freeman nor his supporters are particularly interested in addressing. Never mind that none of Freeman’s supposedly influential detractors in the blogosphere – at least to my knowledge – ever voiced support for Avigdor Lieberman. And never mind that Avigdor Lieberman isn’t even a member of the Likud party, and hasn’t been part of the “right-wing Likud in Israel” for a decade.
Ultimately, Freeman deserves credit for one thing: he knows his audience and gives them exactly what they want – a new catchphrase for vilifying those who support a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. This is the sort of skill that makes him a talented, well-paid proponent of official Saudi positions in our nation’s capital. It is also the sort of skill that would have made him a wholly untrustworthy chairman for the NIC.