We recall the raging debate and slugfest during the campaign on patriotism,.. whether or not candidate Obama was sufficiently patriotic to be elected President of the United States.
The Question of the Day: from a commenter posting at The Washington Note:
Is loyalty to Israeli preference a litmus test for a political appointment? Apparently it is…..if you challenge any of it, the possibility of being labeled anti-semite is very strong…
american politicians are really quite pathetic in their unquestioning devotion to Israel… need they to be challenged on this around voting time when Americans have the ‘one’ chance to do anything about it…
You may have missed the smearing and hounding of Amb. Chas Freeman from being appointed to chair the National Intelligence Council. Chalk up another win for AIPAC. They’ve succeeded, again.
AIPAC’s two cheerleaders – Senators Schumer and Lieberman – were among those in the front line that led the charge. Schumer and Lieberman happily joined with the leader in-chief, Steven Rosen, “a former director of AIPAC due to stand trial this April for espionage for Israel,
Take a look at the hypocrisy cited by Max Blumenthal
“Rosen’s tactics follow a familiar pattern he has displayed throughout his career, in which he viciously undermined anyone in the foreign-policy community deemed insufficiently deferential to Israel–even his own boss.”
Well, so much for patriotism or my Country first. Whatever Israel wants, Israel gets in double quantities on a golden platter. In America, no criticism of Israel is allowed. Toe the AIPAC line and STFU.
The Chas Freeman debacle has been covered by TPM, Andrew Sullivan and Steve Clemons.
“Charles Freeman was the wrong guy for this position. His statements against Israel were way over the top and severely out of step with the administration. I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing.”
“…severely out of step with the administration,” Have you no shame Senator Schumer?
Does Israel own the Obama administration?
Andrew Sullivan has a subtle message for President Obama:
The one thing I’ve learned about Obama is that he’s smarter – both intellectually and politically – than most of us. He knows that a central test of his time in office will be managing the Middle East. He knows too that any grand bargain will require some push-back on Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. But at every time, the Israel lobby has challenged him directly to reassert that no change will occur in the US-Israel relationship, he has backed the AIPAC line 110 percent.
He did so by firing Robert Malley; he did so by hiring Dennis Ross on the Iran question; by hiring Clinton as secretary-of-state; and by humiliating his own intelligence chief, Dennis Blair, on Freeman.
Dennis Blair has also been humiliated – publicly, by both the Israel lobby and by the White House. He may react to that humiliation by surrendering independent judgment, or by being even more skeptical of the forces that demanded Freeman’s smearing and removal from government. I suspect the latter. Be careful what you ask for …
I just got word that Chas Freeman has resigned as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, yielding to the attacks on him. This is unfortunate news as it is going to yield a new, long-running battle over what “patriotism” to US national interests means. Is loyalty to Israeli preferences and interests a litmus test for a political appointment?
This will be a big battle and while Freeman has been the first big victim in this struggle for the soul of American foreign policy, I suspect that there will be a slew of similar battles ahead and any Congressman or Senator who regularly puts Israel’s interests before American interests could be in for some rough times.
Wake Up America. Our enemies are within the gates.
Chas Freeman speaks truth to power.
Laura Rozen has Chas Freeman’s statement upon his exit:
Retired Amb. Chas Freeman, who said today that he no longer accepts an offer to chair the National Intelligence Council, has just sent this message:
You will by now have seen the statement by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair reporting that I have withdrawn my previous acceptance of his invitation to chair the National Intelligence Council.
I have concluded that the barrage of libelous distortions of my record would not cease upon my entry into office. The effort to smear me and to destroy my credibility would instead continue. I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country. I agreed to chair the NIC to strengthen it and protect it against politicization, not to introduce it to efforts by a special interest group to assert control over it through a protracted political campaign.
As those who know me are well aware, I have greatly enjoyed life since retiring from government. Nothing was further from my mind than a return to public service. When Admiral Blair asked me to chair the NIC I responded that I understood he was “asking me to give my freedom of speech, my leisure, the greater part of my income, subject myself to the mental colonoscopy of a polygraph, and resume a daily commute to a job with long working hours and a daily ration of political abuse.” I added that I wondered “whether there wasn’t some sort of downside to this offer.” I was mindful that no one is indispensable; I am not an exception. It took weeks of reflection for me to conclude that, given the unprecedentedly challenging circumstances in which our country now finds itself abroad and at home, I had no choice but accept the call to return to public service. I thereupon resigned from all positions that I had held and all activities in which I was engaged. I now look forward to returning to private life, freed of all previous obligations.
The outrageous agitation that followed the leak of my pending appointment will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues.
I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government.
Good on Chas Freeman. Kudos.
Imo, having loaded up his wagon from the AIPAC crowd, President Obama is hog tied. He will be told where to go and when to return.
More the pity. There was such promise for change.
As the well connected Steve Clemons observes:
This is unfortunate news as it is going to yield a new, long-running battle over what “patriotism” to US national interests means. Is loyalty to Israeli preferences and interests a litmus test for a political appointment?
It’s about time we find the answer