More on Dennis Ross & Chas Freeman: Israel Hardliners May Be Ticking Off Obama Team and Showing Signs of Weakness

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aipac2.jpgLaura Rozen has done a really great piece of reporting on Dennis Ross‘ new appointment as “Special Advisor on the Gulf and Southwest Asia” to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Very much worth reading in full to get a Kremlinological fix on Ross’ seemingly reduced role.
No matter what his current situation and portfolio, Dennis Ross surely fared better than Anthony Zinni — and in my book, Dennis is quite a fair trade for Chas Freeman.
Sources tell me that Freeman will most likely be on the job as the new Chairman of the National Intelligence Council — essentially the think tank for the CIA and Directorate of National Intelligence — in about 30 days.
Some in the hard line AIPAC crowd, though not formally AIPAC itself, are going after Freeman for having been a financial beneficiary from Saudi relationships.
The FBI-targeted former AIPAC policy director Steve Rosen has been out working over time to try and do Freeman in — but Rosen has been having a tough time finding handles and levers to pull in Washington.
For a non-confirmed position that doesn’t rely on Congress except perhaps for winks and nods, Steve Rosen‘s influence is lessened — and of course, the things he is accusing Freeman of in his private business life are pretty much the same that George W. Bush and many twigs on the Bush family have enjoyed for decades.
On top of that, Rosen may be trying to set up a litmus test on funding and business relationships with other governments that are allied with the United States that may raise many similar questions about Israel government sponsorship of American policy hands.
This is a dangerous slippery slope for the Israel-Zero-Sum crowd to push.
But that said, if they throw all they have at Freeman and lose, that may not be such a bad thing. It’s kind of like Obama winning Florida and not owing the most hardline of anti-Castro fanatics a thing for his win.
I think it’s increasingly clear that Barack Obama is pushing a very full spectrum range of talent and perspective into his Middle East policy team, and if Rosen and the other Israel-hardliners are going to prove anything in the campaign against Freeman, it will be their general impotence in challenging Barack Obama as flagrantly and as crudely as they are doing now.
I may not like everything Obama and his Middle East team are up to every moment, but I do think it’s exceedingly clear that he’s not going into this arena with the traditional biases and the traditional “false choice” approach that many others before him have taken.
For that, kudos to Obama, Jim Jones, Robert Gates, Denis McDonough, Mark Lippert, Hillary Clinton, Bill Burns, Jim Steinberg, Dennis Blair, Mara Rudman, George Mitchell and others.
I think Steve Rosen’s chances of flipping Chas Freeman are pretty much nil.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

79 comments on “More on Dennis Ross & Chas Freeman: Israel Hardliners May Be Ticking Off Obama Team and Showing Signs of Weakness

  1. DR hijazi says:

    REALLY THERE IS NO JUSTICE IN THIS COUNTRY SAUDIA ARABIA ,THERE IS NO ANY KIND OF HUMAN RIGHTS THERE ,IT TIME NOW TO SAY THE FACT ,WHY WE STILL SUPPORT THIS BAD FAMILY AL SAUD,AND WE KNOW THAT SEPTEMBER 11 WAS MADE IN SAUDI ARABIA,ALQAIDA AND TALIBAN MADE IN SAUDIA ARABIA,CHARLES FREEMAN AND OTHER RESEMBLENG HIM SHOULD KNOW THAT,SAUDI IS THE SOURCE OF ALL CRIMINAL ,TERROR ,ACTS THROUG APPLIYNG THE TERROR WAHABI IDEAS,AS AMERICAN WE DONT NEED THE SAUDI FAMILY ,WE MUST LOOK FOR OTHER REAL CIVILIZED PERSONS TO BE THE LEADER OF THE COUNTRY,THIS BAD FAMILY HAS NO REAL ROLE IN GUIDING THE PEPOLE OR INTRODUCE APOSITIVE THINGS FOR THE OTHERS,AT LEAST 70%OF ANY TERROR GROUP ARE SAUDI,THE KING HIMSELF ABDULLA HAS ABLIND STONY MIND HE CANT READ EVEN IN ARABIC,THE QUESTION WHY WE STILL BUILDING CONTACT WITH THIS FAMILY, IT IS TIME TO CHANGE WITH OBAMA ADMINSTRATION,?STILL ANY POSITIVE ROLE CAN THIS FAMILY DONATE? IT IS EXPIRED FAMILY AND THEIR RULE MUST BE ENDED NOW ,THEY MADE ALOT OF DISTURBACE FOR US AND FOR THE OTHER WOURD,
    HIJAZI1111@HOTMAIL.COM

    Reply

  2. DR hijazi says:

    it is time to end the rule of the saudi family and end the crimes against the pepole there,time to stop relation with this terror family that made Alqauida and Taliban

    Reply

  3. Jim Dees says:

    It is so sad that Charles Freeman will not be chairman of the National Intelligence Council. He seems so eminently qualified for this position. It is a shame that various individuals have callously attacked him for having been the chairman of the Saudi financed Middle East Policy Council, calling Saudi King Abdullah “Abdullah the Great”, claiming that 9-11 showed us that if we bomb people, they bomb back and stating that the Chinese government showed monumentally overly cautious behavior during the Tiananmen Square massacre. It is an outrage that 87 Chinese survivors of the Tiananmen massacre have written to President Obama regarding their dismay over the selection of Freeman.
    Charles Freeman must feel so dejected. There is no justice in this country. He has reasons to cheer up, though. There is still justice in Saudi Arabia! The Saudi courts did not hesitate to convict a female arch criminal a week ago. She had the gall to ask the nephew of her deceased husband to purchase and bring her five loaves of bread. Does she not know that women are not allowed to meet men who are not blood relatives? She says that she is 75 years old and ill, but she must be lying. The court sentenced her to 40 lashes and 4 months in jail. I approve highly of this. This is a great opportunity for Charles Freeman to lift his spirits. He can go to Saudi Arabia and meet with old friends. He and the Great Abdullah can go to the woman’s flogging and enjoy themselves. I wish I could be there to enjoy myself, too. Freeman could put in a word for me then with the Great Abdullah and I, too, could be put on the Saudi payroll.
    Saudi, Great Abdullah and Charles Freeman Fan.

    Reply

  4. Frank Walters says:

    haha

    Reply

  5. Nezar says:

    Mr. Steve Clemons,
    What is your analysis now that Mr. Freeman withdraw from the nomination?
    Thanks.

    Reply

  6. SeriousAmericanConservative says:

    By Nominating an Israel Hater like Charles Freeman the Obamalama presidential puppet behaved just as he was expected to.
    Israeli leaders knew Obama was an Israel hater and they prepared for it.
    The contingency plans to bomb Iran and their nuclear plants before they actually put together a working weapon are in place and even though a clear majority did not elect Netanyahu he was offered the chance to put a working govt together so Israel can rally behind a real leader who wont sell them out to gutless liberals.
    Every passing day with the Obamalama puppet administration reminds me more and more of the administration of the imbecile Jimmy Carter.
    Who else but an empty headed puppet (who cant add for himself) would make a speech bragging how he spent 874 Billion to keep 25 cops working in Ohio? And spend the hundreds of thousands it takes to travel by air force one to make the speech? Who else would be that stupid?
    Is Obama going to replace Howdy Duty??? He has the ears to do it???

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  7. SeriousAmericanConservative says:

    Charles Freeman sold his soul (cheaply I should add) to the islamic fanatics. There is not a shred of honesty or a single ethical bone left in his body.
    The traitors to America (Old man kennedy and Henry Ford) took Hitlers side during the phony war of the late 30′s trying to keep America from entering or influencing the takeover of Europe by the Nazi Fanatics, Freeman is supporting the so called islamic moderates of saudi arabia.
    THERE ARE NO MODERATES IN ISLAM! All islamics want Islam ruling the world and Israel has been the thorn in Mohammods (the perverts) side preventing the total takeover of the middle east.
    I am not jewish or Israeli, I am not even a fanatical christian who has religious motives wanting to preserve Israel.
    As a proud and honest American I call a spade a spade even if a loudmouth son screams he “feels like he wants to punch people” because his father sold his soul (maybe it was to get his son a better education).
    Whatever the reason was he still sold out and as such he should be exposed as a traitor to his country and not be accepted as nominee as the new chairman of the national intelligence council.
    If you openly support countries you will be considering American relationships with you have no business allowing yourself to make such potentially inflamatory decisions, it is the worst kind of insider trading BUT YOU WOULD BE SELLING OUT YOUR COUNTRY.
    Charles Freeman is damaged goods by his own admissions and comments so he must not be considered for chairman of the national intelligence council or any position in the Govt of the USA.

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  8. ... says:

    wigwag, you have used this analogy “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” a few times before and i too fail to see its relevance in this or the other examples… from my pov, if someone has nothing to lose and they feel strongly about the imbalance of power, or a greater degree of corruption they are more likely to speak out on it, and if they have nothing to lose it is even more the case..
    as for whether walt, or jewish people in general have a greater sense of paranoia is really quite debatable.. some of it might be justified, and some of it probably not even if we assume that it exists… labeling others based on fear or paranoia probably happens and so i don’t discount the possibility of this in either example..
    as for him not wanting a debate, i am not sure why you say that… he is entitled to comment on his own blog and he does have a comments section where others can voice opinions and views different from his.. he hasn’t stopped anyone from doing that as far as i know.. once again i fail to see the validity of your comments in the examples you’ve given here and find your analogy of no relevance…

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  9. WigWag says:

    “wigwag, i don’t think THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG IN pointing out how israel lobby types are trying to stop freeman from being the new chairman of the national intelligence council, no matter how you would like to twist this story…”
    I don’t either. But I do think there is something wrong with calling people who disagree with you McCarthy-like. That’s what Walt did.
    A number of commentators think Freeman is a bad choice because of his history of patrongage from the Saudis and his comments supporting the attacks by the Chinese government on students in Tiananmen Square.
    People of good will can disagree about this, but neither side is using tactics reminiscent of Joe McCarthy. Walt’s not stupid; he knows this.
    There are two reasons he made his absurd comment:
    1)He’s developed a serious case of paranoia; he thinks that everyone’s out to get him and now Freeman.
    2)He doesn’t want a debate. He thinks his position is the only one entitled to be articulated. Instead of engaging on the merits, he dismisses those with a different point of view as being bad people (accolytes of Joe McCarthy). He wants the debate stifled, not encouraged. This is exactly what he accuses “The Lobby” of.
    As I said in my earlier post; people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
    It’s strange that someone who teaches at Harvard hasn’t figured that out yet.

    Reply

  10. questions says:

    Tangentially related link — Avnery on Israel’s complex motivations for its actions. A nice piece from CounterPunch.org.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/avnery03022009.html

    Reply

  11. ... says:

    wigwag, i don’t think THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG IN pointing out how israel lobby types are trying to stop freeman from being the new chairman of the national intelligence council, no matter how you would like to twist this story…

    Reply

  12. ... says:

    wigwag, i don’t think pointing out how israel lobby types are trying to stop freeman from being the new chairman of the national intelligence council, no matter how you would like to twist this story… the fact is there have been a group of individuals who have a history of being more interested in israels welfare then the usa’s, some are even on trail over this and they have made a point of trying to take down freeman at the same time! walt has pointed this out, while questioning the validity of their word given their track record in leading the usa in the exact opposite direction of its best interests.. to say he is stifling debate would be like saying you or i are trying to stop the other from talking.. both of us know that’s not the case… however if we start winging labels like anti-semite around, this could change..
    on your thought of walt becoming like his detractors, the same thing has been suggested of israel becoming like a modern zazi germany towards palestine.. it is an interesting idea that sometimes those who have been persecuted become like those who persecuted them and i won’t discount it..

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  13. Paul Atreides says:

    wigwag, you are the Kwisatz Haderach!

    Reply

  14. WigWag says:

    “Why not divulge that the family who endowed his chair happens to be Jewish and perhaps Zionist?? little facts like these seem to go missing in your commentary…”
    I’m happy to “divulge” it. The family that provided the funds to endow the chair that Walt occupies, the Belfer family, is both Jewish and ardently Zionist. The only way the development people at Harvard could get the family to underwrite Walt’s chair was to deceive them about the nature of Walt’s views. Whether or not Walt himself played a role in the deception is unclear.
    While Walt’s official title at Harvard is the “Robert and Rene Belfer Professor of International Relations” a more accurate moniker would be the Professor from Enron.
    Here’s the story of Walt’s chair.
    As has been widely discussed, the Chair that Walt occupies was funded as part of a $7.5 million gift that the Belfer family made to Harvard’s Kennedy School (Center for International Affairs) in 1997.
    Income from the endowment is used to pay Walt’s salary, fringe benefits and probably also provides him with funding for assistance from graduate students, postdoctoral fellows or research associates. In all likelihood, Walt also derives travel funds from the income from the Belfer gift.
    So who is Robert Belfer? He’s the son of oil magnate, Arthur Belfer and the sibling of the late Anita Saltz Belfer and Selma Rubin. The Belfer family’s tremendous wealth came almost entirely from oil. Robert Belfer himself is the founder of Belco Petroleum. In the 1980s Belco Petroleum was merged into Houston Natural Gas, Inc, the Company that in 1985 was renamed Enron.
    Belfer became a Board member of Enron along with Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling. By 2001, Belfer’s Enron stock was worth $750 million. Belfer along with his wife Renee endowed the chair occupied by Professor Walt in 1997. Although Belfer himself did nothing illegal, the vast wealth that allowed him to fund Walt’s chair was based almost entirely on Enron’s fraudulent activities. In fact, although only Walt and the Development People at Harvard know for sure; it’s highly likely that Walt’s chair was actually funded with appreciated Enron stock.
    According to Forbes, Belfer’s wealth collapsed when Enron collapsed and he lost more than $500 million. He went from being a billionaire to being a mere multi millionaire.
    As you noted, Robert and Renee Belfer are ardent Zionists who have contributed tens of millions of dollars to Jewish and Israeli causes. They also fund breast cancer research because Belfer’s sister, Anita Saltz died of breast cancer and diabetes research because Belfer’s nephew has it. They have repudiated Professor Walt and his views and they have expressed regret that they funded his Chair. Walt was relieved of his responsibilities as a Dean shortly after his superior, Marvin Kalb (the former CBS correspondent) criticized the rigor and quality of his work. Of course, because he has tenure, Walt himself cannot be fired from the Harvard faculty (like him or hate him, this is a good thing).
    To his credit, Walt has not altered his views to suit the administrators at Harvard or to placate the benefactors whose contribution makes his career possible. Of course, Walt did not know when he accepted the Chair that Belfer’s wealth was based on fraudulent activity by Enron; even Belfer didn’t know about the Enron fraud.
    But none of this changes the fact that Walt’s salary, fringe benefits and the stipends he pays to graduate students or research assistants are paid for by Harvard with income derived a gift that originated in the Enron fraud. If Walt found this troubling; he could have resigned. He didn’t.
    I don’t think Walt should have resigned, but I do think that people like Walt who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
    You don’t need to be a Harvard Professor to understand that!
    And none of this changes the fact that Walt is exactly like the people he criticizes. He thinks the “Israeli Lobby” stifles debate, but this is exactly what he was trying to do by calling people who disagree with him about the Freeman appointment McCarthy-like.
    Walt’s position is hypocritical at best and paranoid and delusional at worst.
    Walt, like Tony judt is turning himself into a caricature of a thoughtful intellectual.

    Reply

  15. ... says:

    perhaps mccarthys use of the communist label is similar to zionists use of the anti-semitic label.. both labels serve a particular purpose but neither are honest..
    indeed i can think of no label that works to stifle debate as the ‘anti-semite label and it is used regularly to do just this..
    the ‘facts’ you cite aren’t facts so much as subjective blather as i see it… for example “Perhaps it’s the fact that his book was so roundly criticized in so many quarters.” his book was roundly applauded in so many quarters as well.. as for the other ‘facts’ in the same paragraph, they seem to feed into his argument that one is silenced for speaking out on these matters.. why not divulge that the family who endowed his chair happen to be jewish and perhaps zionist?? little facts like these seem to go missing in your commentary… perhaps you are more lenient with yourself then with those you like to critic..
    wigwag, your commentary seems exceedingly rich from my pov..

    Reply

  16. WigWag says:

    I’m glad you mentioned Walt’s blog post about Chas Freeman. It was just about as disingenuous as everything else that Walt writes. Here’s the complete version of what Walt said.
    “Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s infamous witch hunt against alleged communists in the U.S. government relied primarily on lies, innuendo, and intimidation. Then, at a particularly odious hearing, after McCarthy had falsely accused a young Army officer of being a communist agent, Army counsel Joseph Welch turned on the senator and shot back: “At long last, Senator McCarthy, have you not a shred of decency?”
    I am reminded of that moment as I watch the all-too-predictable smear campaign against Charles Freeman’s appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. As soon as the appointment was announced, a bevy of allegedly “pro-Israel” pundits leapt to attack it, in what The Nation’s Robert Dreyfuss called a “thunderous, coordinated assault.” Freeman’s critics were the usual suspects: Jonathan Chait of the New Republic, Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard, Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, Gabriel Schoenfeld (writing on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal), Jonah Goldberg of National Review, Marty Peretz on his New Republic blog, and former AIPAC official Steve Rosen (yes, the same guy who is now on trial for passing classified U.S. government information to Israel).
    What was their objection to Freeman? Did they think he’s unpatriotic, not smart enough, or that he lacks sufficient experience? Of course not. Just look at his resume:
    Freeman has worked with more than 100 foreign governments in East and South Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and both Western and Eastern Europe. He has served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires in Bangkok and Beijing, Director of Chinese Affairs at U.S. State Department, and Distinguished Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and the Institute of National Security Studies.”
    What unites this narrow band of critics is only one thing: Freeman has dared to utter some rather mild public criticisms of Israeli policy. That’s the litmus test that Chait, Goldberg, Goldfarb, Peretz, Schoenfeld et al want to apply to all public servants: thou shalt not criticize Israeli policy nor question America’s “special relationship” with Israel. Never mind that this policy of unconditional support has been bad for the United States and unintentionally harmful to Israel as well. If these pundits and lobbyists had their way, anyone who pointed that fact out would be automatically disqualified from public service.
    There are three reasons why the response to Freeman has been so vociferous. First, these critics undoubtedly hoped they could raise a sufficient stink that Obama and his director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, might reconsider the appointment. Or perhaps Freeman might even decide to withdraw his name, because he couldn’t take the heat. Second, even if it was too late to stop Freeman from getting the job, they want to make Obama pay a price for his choice, so that he will think twice about appointing anyone else who might be willing to criticize Israeli policy or the special relationship.
    Third, and perhaps most important, attacking Freeman is intended to deter other people in the foreign policy community from speaking out on these matters. Freeman might be too smart, too senior, and too well-qualified to stop, but there are plenty of younger people eager to rise in the foreign policy establishment and they need to be reminded that their careers could be jeopardized be if they followed in Freeman’s footsteps and said what they thought. Raising a stink about Freeman reminds others that it pays to back Israel to the hilt, or at least remain silent, even when it is pursuing policies — like building settlements on the West Bank — that are not in America’s national interest.
    If the issue didn’t have such harmful consequences for the United States, the ironies of this situation would be funny. A group of amateur strategists who loudly supported the invasion of Iraq are now questioning the strategic judgment of a man who knew that war would be a catastrophic blunder. A long-time lobbyist for Israel who is now under indictment for espionage is trying to convince us that Freeman — a true patriot — is a bad appointment for an intelligence position. A journalist (Jeffrey Goldberg) whose idea of “public service” was to enlist in the Israeli army is challenging the credentials of a man who devoted decades of his life to service in the U.S. government. Now that’s chutzpah.
    Fortunately, the screeching of Freeman’s critics has not worked; Freeman will be the head of the National Intelligence Council. In fact, this heavy-handed behavior, with its McCarthy-like overtones, may even backfire, by showing just how obsessesed his critics are with their own narrow-minded vision of U.S. Middle East policy, a vision they expect all other Americans to share. I would not be surprised if President Obama and other key figures in his administration are angry about these malicious smears, and wisely decide to pay even less attention to these individuals in the future. And rest assured that the smearing will not end.
    It’s also encouraging that some key members of the pro-Israel community, like M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum, have come to Freeman’s defense, and influential bloggers like Robert Dreyfuss, Philip Weiss, Richard Silverstein and Matthew Yglesias have also defended Freeman and pointed out what is going on. The Likudnik wing of the Israel lobby is gradually losing influence, because more and more people understand that its policies are disastrous for both Israel and the United States, and because its repeated efforts to smear people and stifle debate are deeply damaging as well as un-American.”
    It looks like Walt’s persecution complex is on display again. It’s a funny thing about some critics of Israel (Tony Judt is the same way); they become so paranoid that they consider everyone who has a different opinion to be part of a conspiracy out to destroy fair discourse in America. First Walt thought “they” were out to get him, now he thinks “they’re” out to get Freeman. I guess Walt never got the message; “paranoia will destroy ya.”
    Walt’s smart so it can only be his paranoia that inspires him to equate the commentary of
    Chait, Goldberg, Goldfarb, Peretz, Schoenfeld and others with the remarks of Joe McCarthy. Of course, Walt fails to site any “lies or innuendos” in any of the articles he criticizes. The reason is simple, the lies and innuendo aren’t there.
    Walt said it himself in the initial paragraph of his blog post; McCarthy’s behavior was especially heinous and “indecent” because the young man he was accusing of being a communist, was in fact not a communist; the charge was not only malicious, it was false. Calling someone a communist in the 1950s (during the age of Stalin) was a particularly egregious charge. The other feature of the McCarthy era that was so “indecent” was the requirement (enforced by congressional subpoena) for those summoned to testify in the House or Senate to testify against their friends family members and and co-workers. None of those features are at play here.
    When it comes to Chait, et, al, Walt conflates falsehood with truth. Everything they’ve said about Freeman is accurate and well documented. Walt may think that the facts about Freeman’s career don’t disqualify him from high government office while Freeman’s critics do; but that’s just an honest disagreement, it’s got nothing to do with McCarthyism.
    What are the claims the Freeman’s critics have made? They’ve called him an Arabist in the tradition of State Department Arabism. That’s demonstrably true. Freeman was not only the US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; he ran a think tank funded by Saudi and other Arab parties. And Freeman did take $1 million to help the Saudi’s with “publicity.” People of good will can disagree about whether this should disqualify Freeman from the position he has been appointed to, but there’s nothing inherently reminiscent of McCarthyism in holding the debate.
    And there are several things Walt leaves out of his blog post. For example, he doesn’t even mention Freeman’s comment criticizing the Chinese Communist Party for not reacting aggressively enough in putting down the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. Whether the autocrats are the Saudis (who execute gay people and won’t let women drive) or the Chinese (who arrest bloggers and forbid iconoclasts like Walt himself from speaking their minds) its seems that there is no form of autocracy that’s vehement enough for Chas Freeman. Walt’s hypocrisy is stunning. While Walt himself is an amoral realist, most of his supporters are leftists of the interventionist mode who harbor great sympathy for the Palestinians. Fair enough. But these same Walt supporters vehemently opposed Reagan’s support for the contras, Bill Clinton’s leniency towards the Chinese and the mindless support of numerous Republican administrations for every tin pot dictator they could find. But when Freeman praises the wisdom of the Saudis or criticizes the Chinese or not cracking down on decent vigorously enough, Walt thinks its McCarthyism to criticize him.
    You can’t make this stuff up!
    Nor does Walt mention the possibility that a Saudi vassal in a sensitive intelligence position might be tempted to steer intelligence in an anti-Iranian manner. After all, Freeman’s long time Saudi patrons have an abiding hate for Iran, Shiites and the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon. Anyone who cares about US policy towards Iran should worry about this.
    Most stunning of all is that Walt doesn’t mention his conflict of interest when it comes to Chas Freeman. It was Freeman who initially published the Mearsheimer and Walt treatise on the influence of the “Lobby.” Freeman claimed that he published the work because no one else would (of course shortly thereafter it was published as a full-length book). Doesn’t Walt think that in fairness to his readers, this little fact is something that he should have divulged?
    Walt may be smart, but he’s letting his paranoia get the better of him. Perhaps it’s the fact that his book was so roundly criticized in so many quarters. Perhaps it’s the fact that his own institution stripped him of his chairmanship. Perhaps it’s the fact that the Kennedy Center has described his work on “the Lobby” as not up to Harvard’s academic standards. Or perhaps it’s the fact that the family the endowed his chair has repudiated him.
    Whatever the reason, Walt has clearly lost his bearings. If he thinks Chas Freeman is qualified for his new job; that’s great. But if other commentators disagree with him that doesn’t mean they’re behaving like Joe McCarthy; it just means they have a different point of view.
    But no one should be surprised that Walt disapproves of a debate about Freeman’s qualifications and appropriateness for the job; after all, he disparages the right of Israel’s supporters to band together to express their point of view also.
    In fact, Walt has become everything he criticizes. He claims that “the Lobby” stifles legitimate debate and won’t allow people who think like he does a place in the public sphere. But apparently Walt only supports vigorous debate as long as the only opinions expressed are his. Express a different point of view and Walt accuses you of McCarthyism. Why does he do it? To stifle debate.
    It’s rich, isn’t it?

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  17. ... says:

    i like what stephen walt had to say on this..
    “Have they not a shred of decency?”
    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/02/28/have_they_not_a_shred_of_decency

    Reply

  18. Cee says:

    But I just
    ignore it; it’s like recess for me
    Liar.

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Surely you jest. It used to a regular theme”
    And you are a liar. Whats more, everyone here, that is not sliming this blog with pro-Israel garbage, knows it.
    Show us one single comment of Carroll’s that substantiates your assertion.
    You can’t.

    Reply

  20. Sweetness says:

    “Or when she argues that anti-Semitism is a
    figment of crazy Jews’ imagination and paranoia”
    POA: Considering that I have never seen Carrol make that
    argument, I’m curious why you think we should find anything
    you say as being credible.
    Sweetness: Surely you jest. It used to a regular theme.
    POA: Add to that your recent denial of your past treatment of
    Carroll, that some of us remember clearly, and any credibility
    you might enjoy dissappears completely.
    Sweetness: And some of us clearly remember her position above
    and her other remarks about “native borns.” You produce the
    quote and thread, and I’ll take a look. Which is actually more
    than you (and she) deserve. Naturally, I’ll expect you to do the
    same.
    POA: There are some substantive comments offered on this
    thread, and it is indicative of your hypocritical and purposefully
    incendiary nature that you choose to ignore those so that you
    can once again offer some greasy accusation of anti-semitism.
    Sweetness: That’s what I said: There are “some.” As far as being
    “incendiary,” I’m a novice compared to you. I think we can all
    agree on that point.
    POA: Offering such a comment, while decrying “a pretty low level
    of debate in general”, is exactly what one should expect from
    you, considering your history here.
    Sweetness: Seems to me we agree on “some.” But if you actually
    compare the debate here on IP with what the debate COULD be
    as demonstrated by tpmcafe, there is hardly any comparison.
    But it is a judgement call, I suppose, and you’re welcome to your
    opinion.
    POA: Its interesting indeed that we rarely, if ever, see you offer
    an argument in defense of Israel.
    Sweetness: Defense of…what? The Gazan invasion (I don’t).
    Israel’s existence (I do). Zionism in any of its forms (I do, though
    I’m not a zionist myself). US support for Israel (I do, in the main)
    though I’m happy to have the US get tougher with Israel, which I
    have argued for on this blog, as opposed to those who simply
    want to cut off aid (where’s the leverage then?)
    “Defending Israel” is a long waterfront. What section would you
    like me to defend? Quite a few comments are of the “fuck Israel”
    variety (remember What Grief Is Good?) Or Israelis = Nazis (any
    of Carroll’s many rants). I have, sometimes, defended against
    these comments, but mostly it’s a waste of time, because these
    folks aren’t offering an argument themselves.
    POA: You long ago ceased to argue for the indefensible. On
    more occassions than not, my posts include links and reasoning
    that fully explain why I feel such abhorance and disdain for
    Israel’s actions.
    Sweetness: I don’t argue for the indefensible. But, unfortunately,
    you express a fondness for your own ignorance about the larger
    picture within which this conflict and Zionism emerges. So,
    when you decry the use of white phosphorous, I have no
    argument against it (so why should I offer one?), but frankly it’s
    one more story out of a thousand I’ve already read.
    POA: In contrast, more often than not, your drooling garbage is
    just another attack on someone’s character, accusing them in
    your characteristically slimey manner, of bigotry while ignoring
    the examples they provide of Israel’s well earned reasons to be
    criticized.
    Sweetness: I would have to say that Israel isn’t simply
    “criticized.” More often than not, she’s hated and she’s hated
    down to the very core of what you might call her reason for
    being in the first place. Check out Carroll on a “good” day. Or
    Art. As Questions has pointed out on numerous occasions,
    atrocities of a MUCH higher order are going on around the world
    as we speak, and we get nary a peep from these crusaders. Or
    from you, for that matter. If it’s just a matter of the money for
    you, POA, then I guess your outrage boils down to the dough.
    Sorry if I’m not impressed…
    It’s not a question of “he does it too so it’s okay,” it’s a question
    of what you really care about.
    POA: You and Wig-wag epitomize the reasons many of us are so
    disdainful of the Israel-firsters.
    Sweetness: But, of course, I’m NOT an “Israel-firster,” and nor is
    Wig from what I can see (he can speak for himself). But I do
    have a certain sensitivity to the jingoism and racism in much of
    the “America first”-type rhetoric and have pointed this out on
    numerous occasions. Carroll has fallen into this many times;
    then again, she’s a recovering segregationist. What I and others
    have pointed out is that isn’t so easy to determine what
    America’s interests are, though I’m sure you’ve found them
    engraved on one of your horse shoes.
    POA: Your tactics and strategies of argument are just so
    dishonest, hypocritical, and, well, slimey, that they are
    particularly despicable. Of course, you have neither the guile,
    nor the intelligence that Wig-wag uses to grease his argument,
    so your mask is far more easily removed.
    Sweetness: Yes, Wig tends to assemble lots of facts. You should
    like that since that’s what you purport to respect. But you don’t
    and consider it a “mask.” This is why I mostly ignore you.
    POA: But make no mistake, once removed, the ugliness of what
    lies beneath is no less detestable.
    Sweetness: Now I’m shivering in my boots. What you don’t get
    is that after a while the name-calling wears off. Varanasi is still
    upset. Questions thinks she can argue you out of it. But I just
    ignore it; it’s like recess for me. Fire away until your fingers
    bleed; I couldn’t care less.

    Reply

  21. Sweetness says:

    POA writes: “In his intitial tirade about Carroll, on this thread, he
    makes a specific accusation. But when it is pointed out that his
    accusation is dishonest, he avoids recognizing or admitting his
    deception.”
    But, in fact, my specific accusation about Carroll was not dishonest
    in the least. She made her position on anti-Semitism clear many,
    many times. She’s denied it, but so what? Doesn’t make it so.

    Reply

  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Again, the link has been disabled.
    Frying Palestinians is OK, but looking at the terrible reality of such an action isn’t?
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_a-Su2SAnGYU/SaOVm2FZ_jI/AAAAAAAAJII/UU1xnkeKJ5k/s1600/amnesty.jpg

    Reply

  23. Kathleen G says:

    POA you are digging your heels into the facts. You go!
    Israel needs to abide by International Law. Get out of the West Bank and the Gaza, stop expanding and building illegal settlements. Build the wall on Israel’s internationally recognized land.
    Sign the Non Proliferation Treaty
    Open up its doors to inspections.
    If the Palestinians (Hamas) were still lofting rockets into Israel after that. Then Israel has the right to fight back.
    The way it is the Palestinians have every right to fight for occupied lands

    Reply

  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Once again, we see Sweetness avoiding any attempt to defend Israel’s actions. To Sweetness, it is enough to constantle rattle his jar of accusations, always alluding to the “anti-semitism” of the usual TWN posters.
    In his intitial tirade about Carroll, on this thread, he makes a specific accusation. But when it is pointed out that his accusation is dishonest, he avoids recognizing or admitting his deception. Well, I guess it beats calling Carroll a “c*nt”, as he has done in the past.
    Perhaps he’d like to address Israel’s use of White Phosphorous on Palestinian children? Or maybe give us a comment about the AIPAC website’s blatant misrepresentation and spin on the IAEA findings about Iran’s nuclear program?
    But probably not. Its far easier to just maintain this steady litany of character assassination directed towards those of us that are most vocal in our opposition to the racist and murderous policies of the Israeli leadership. Sweetness is just another one trick pony in a small herd of Israeli firsters that have infected the commentary here with sleazy tactics of debate, and inaccurate, dishonest, and incendiary natterings about anti-semitism.

    Reply

  25. Sweetness says:

    Gee Sweetness….
    I hardly know whether to laugh or cry…
    Sweetness: Take your pick.
    Carroll: You misrepresent my words here and then compliment
    my other comments all in one post!
    Sweetness: Ah no. I agree you have admitted that anti-Semitism
    exists among the crazy fringe, like the, ah, skinheads and KKK,
    but you’ve repeatedly posited that MOST of it swirls around in
    the paranoid minds of Jews chasing their own tails.
    As to your comments over TPM, they have been more tempered
    than much of what you’ve said here, mostly, I think, because the
    whole tenor of the conversation is more reasonable there (on
    the IP conflict) and “Carroll” just wouldn’t fit in.
    But my actual point, obscured by poor syntax, was that ALL
    points of view are engaged there, not just those who think the
    Israelis are Nazis and Zionism is a racist excrudescence as is
    MOSTLY the case here (though not entirely and not, as I say, by
    the principal posters, Steve and his guests).
    You also tend not to share your musings on hiring only “native
    born” Americans in policy positions. Even your anti-Israel buds
    there would turn on you (at least I hope they would–one can
    never be too sure about ‘real Americans’).
    Carroll: I have commented on Rosenberg’s spot but couldn’t use
    my real name because Carroll was taken by another user. MJ is
    the only writer there I follow and like his style because he
    responds to commenters and has no patience with anti semitic
    sluring,red herring throwing and general strawman tactics we
    see so often elsewhere on Israel discussions.
    Sweetness: I agree. He also doesn’t have any truck with folks
    who say things like Zionism = Naziism = racism. He’s a Zionist,
    Carroll, even a proud Zionist, and has said so many times.
    Mostly, though, he’s fighting pro-settler-types, so that takes up
    more inches.
    Carroll: ..there fore the comments are more intelligent. As for
    Marshall,I have never thought he was very bright.
    Sweetness: I would disagree with you and Wig on that one. I
    think he is reasonably bright, though not a terribly good writer.
    He also takes a somewhat “generalist journalist” approach,
    which means he isn’t an expert on at least some of what he
    comments on–but at least he admits it.
    Carroll: The lowness of the discussion on TWN stems from the
    fact that in the Israel debate your side doesn’t stick with the
    facts that often, prefering to chalk everything up to all those bad
    anti semites..causing the rest of us to say ..oh what the hell and
    not bother with any serious reply.
    Sweetness: Uh-huh. Care to sell me some NC swamp land? I
    think, truthfully, there is always SOME bending of the facts on
    both sides of this debate, here and elsewhere. But you and
    others have peddled some amazing whoppers and presented “as
    fact” arguments or theses that are hardly settled, if one really
    looks into it, e.g., the St. Louis. As I recall, you claimed I was
    accusing Roosevelt (and probably you) of being an anti-Semite
    when, in fact, I wasn’t. You also accused me of being “sick,”
    which I wasn’t–at least at the time.
    You’ve also gone on about how Jews keep themselves “separate”
    which really is an easily debunked myth and a dangerous one at
    that. So, in terms of sticking to the facts, I think you have some
    work to do.
    And now, just in time to sweeten the pile of facts “your side”
    regularly provides, we have DonS with this strange bit of illogic:
    On the one hand, we have the Geo. Bush neo-zio soaked and
    AIPAC besotted regime unable and uninterested in doing the
    “right American thing” because The Lobby had their very balls in
    their iron grasp REBUFFING their masters, the Israelis, and
    PREVENTING them from following their hearts’ desire and bomb
    Iran–or, better yet, get the U.S. to do it.
    But now,Obama–who has already rebuffed “The Lobby” by
    appointing Chas Freeman–and who has said he would sit down
    with Iran without preconditions–is a “wild card” who may well
    tell his wife to “STFU”–why is that, Don? has MIchelle
    emasculated Barack?–and let the Israelis have their way with
    Iran and create a geopolitical catastrophe.
    Hard to know what DonS is “thinking” here, but I guess all things
    must be considered possible in a country whose foreign policy is
    controlled by The Lobby and crazy Israel.
    After all, doesn’t Cee have a “hard drive full” of “facts” about all
    of Israel’s dastardly deeds–I THINK she claimed this–in
    virtually every corner of the world? Love them facts, Carroll.

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see the link I provided, that was a graphic photo of two human beings, victims of Israeli war crimes, has been disabled.
    It seems its OK for Israel to incinerate Palestinians, but it is not OK for a nation that is subsidizing those crimes, and providing the munitions, to view the actual fruit of our complicity.
    I don’t know if the link was disabled here by Steve, or if more insidious website tampering is responsible. But the disabling of this link cannot be defended by a host that adocates for a realist approach to foreign policy.
    Here is the link again. This is what our nation is complicit in….
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_a-Su2SAnGYU/SaOVm2FZ_jI/AAAAAAAAJII/UU1xnkeKJ5k/s1600/amnesty.jpg
    And here is the truth. Note how Israel lies until a lie is no longer sustainable. This is exactly what we must expect from Israel, for it is the exact pattern of behaviour that defines the history of Israel. In this crazy world of international politics, it matters not how many times a nation is caught in deception, the leaders still spew the propaganda as though it is credible. If your neighbor had a history of lying to you, would you extend the benefit of the doubt to their constant dishonesty? Such a practice would be naive and foolish. Yet we are expected to believe the Israeli spokespeople as they explain away one war crime after another, in a long line of known deceptions, lies, half truths, and spin.
    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/01/25-4
    Israel Finally Admits Using White Phosphorous in Attacks on Gaza
    by James Hider in Jerusalem and Sheera Frenkel in Gaza City
    After weeks of denying that it used white phosphorus in the heavily populated Gaza Strip, Israel finally admitted yesterday that the weapon was deployed in its offensive.
    The incident being investigated is believed to be the firing of white phosphorous shells at a UN school in Beit Lahiya on January 17.
    (Mohammed Abed/AFP) The army’s use of white phosphorus – which makes a distinctive shellburst of dozens of smoke trails – was reported first by The Times on January 5, when it was strenuously denied by the army. Now, in the face of mounting evidence and international outcry, Israel has been forced to backtrack on that initial denial. “Yes, phosphorus was used but not in any illegal manner,” Yigal Palmor, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told The Times. “Some practices could be illegal but we are going into that. The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is holding an investigation concerning one specific incident.”
    The incident in question is thought to be the firing of phosphorus shells at a UN school in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on January 17. The weapon is legal if used as a smokescreen in battle but it is banned from deployment in civilian areas. Pictures of the attack show Palestinian medics fleeing as blobs of burning phosphorus rain down on the compound.
    A senior army official also admitted that shells containing phosphorus had been used in Gaza but said that they were used to provide a smokescreen.
    The Ministry of Defence gave lawyers the task before the attack of investigating the legal consequences of deploying white phosphorus – commonly stocked in Nato arsenals and used by US and British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan – inside the Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, and one of the most densely populated places in the world.
    “From what I know, at least one month before it was used a legal team had been consulted on the implications,” an Israeli defence official said. He added that Israel was surprised about the public outcry. “Everyone knew we were using it, and everyone else uses it. We didn’t think it would get this much attention,” he said.
    Because Israel is not a signatory to the treaty that created the International Court of Justice in The Hague, it cannot be tried there. Any country that is a signatory to the Geneva Convention, however, can try to prosecute individuals who took part in the Gaza operation as culpable of war crimes.
    Despite a denial when The Times first reported the use of white phosphorus, an army spokeswoman said yesterday that the military had never tried to cover up its deployment. “There was never any denial from the beginning,” she said.
    CHANGING TUNE
    January 5 The Times reports that telltale smoke has appeared from areas of shelling. Israel denies using phosphorus
    January 8 The Times reports photographic evidence showing stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells. Israel Defence Forces spokesman says: “This is what we call a quiet shell – it has no explosives and no white phosphorus”
    January 12 The Times reports that more than 50 phosphorus burns victims are taken into Nasser Hospital. An Israeli military spokesman “categorically” denies the use of white phosphorus
    January 15 Remnants of white phosphorus shells are found in western Gaza. The IDF refuses to comment on specific weaponry but insists ammunition is “within the scope of international law”
    January 16 The United Nations Relief and Works Agency headquarters are hit with phosphorus munitions. The Israeli military continues to deny its use
    January 21 Avital Leibovich, Israel’s military spokeswoman, admits white phosphorus munitions were employed in a manner “according to international law”
    January 23 Israel says it is launching an investigation into white phosphorus munitions, which hit a UN school on January 17. “Some practices could be illegal but we are going into that. The IDF is holding an investigation concerning one specific unit and one incident”

    Reply

  27. DonS says:

    We say it’s crazy to think of atacking Iran. Just about everyone who is not in the neocon thrall thinks its crazy. But Israel has already tried one bombing run that was turned back when the US would not provide the codes to allow Israel’s bombers access to vital airspace.
    http://www.willthomasonline.net/willthomasonline/Israeli_Nuclear_Strike_Turned_B.html
    An Israeli initiated operation still is the possibility, and the wild card is how Obama would react. It is difficult for me to imagine him taking strong enough actions to disuade the Israelis, or dissociate the US completly from and Israeli attack. I so hope I am totally off base. The geopolitical mess that would resultgoes without saying.
    I agree that Michelle may have a moral outrage quotient. But Obama may have a STFU streak, explicitly or internally.

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    From the propaganda mill; the AIPAC website….
    http://www.aipac.org/130.asp#22589
    U.S. Will Seek to End Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions
    Rice said the U.S. would work to halt Iran’s nuclear pursuit. The Obama administration will seek to end Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its support for terrorism, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Thursday—drawing an immediate rebuke from Iran’s envoy, the Associated Press reported. The United States “will seek an end to Iran’s ambition to acquire an illicit nuclear capacity and its support for terrorism,” Ambassador Susan Rice told the Security Council. Iran’s ambassador criticized Rice’s statement as “baseless and absurd,” saying Iran has never and will never try to acquire nuclear weapons. Despite these claims, the head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog recently slammed Iran for hiding its nuclear intentions and warned that Tehran could be poised to achieve a nuclear weapons “breakout” capacity. Iran has rebuffed repeated U.N. Security Council demands to suspend its atomic work and faces further sanctions as a result.
    From Patrick Buchanan’s pen…
    http://www.antiwar.com/pat/?articleid=14323
    February 27, 2009
    Return of the War Party
    by Patrick J. Buchanan
    “Real men go to Tehran!” brayed the neoconservatives, after the success of their propaganda campaign to have America march on Baghdad and into an unnecessary war that has forfeited all the fruits of our Cold War victory.
    Now they are back, in pursuit of what has always been their great goal: an American war on Iran. It would be a mistake to believe they and their collaborators cannot succeed a second time. Consider:
    On being chosen by Israel’s President Shimon Peres to form the new regime, Likud’s “Bibi” Netanyahu declared, “Iran is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and constitutes the gravest threat to our existence since the war of independence.”
    Echoing Netanyahu, headlines last week screamed of a startling new nuclear breakthrough by the mullahs. “Iran ready to build nuclear weapon, analysts say,” said CNN. “Iran has enough uranium to make a bomb,” said the Los Angeles Times. Armageddon appeared imminent.
    Asked about Iran’s nukes in his confirmation testimony, CIA Director Leon Panetta blurted, “From all the information I’ve seen, I think there is no question that they are seeking that capability.”
    Tuesday, Dennis Ross of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a front spawned by the Israeli lobby AIPAC, was given the Iranian portfolio. AIPAC’s top agenda item? A U.S. collision with Iran.
    In the neocon Weekly Standard, Elliot Abrams of the Bush White House parrots Netanyahu, urging Obama to put any land-for-peace deals with the Palestinians on a back burner. Why?
    “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is now part of a broader struggle in the region over Iranian extremism and power. Israeli withdrawals now risk opening the door not only to Palestinian terrorists but to Iranian proxies.”
    The campaign to conflate Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria as a new axis of evil, a terrorist cartel led by Iranian mullahs hell-bent on building a nuclear bomb and using it on Israel and America, has begun. The full-page ads and syndicated columns calling on Obama to eradicate this mortal peril before it destroys us all cannot be far off.
    But before we let ourselves be stampeded into another unnecessary war, let us review a few facts that seem to contradict the war propaganda.
    First, last week’s acknowledgement that Iran has enough enriched uranium for one atom bomb does not mean Iran is building an atom bomb.
    To construct a nuclear device, the ton of low-enriched uranium at Natanz would have to be run through a second cascade of high-speed centrifuges to produce 55 pounds of highly enriched uranium (HUE).
    There is no evidence Iran has either created the cascade of high-speed centrifuges necessary to produce HUE or that Iran has diverted any of the low-enriched uranium from Natanz. And the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors retain full access to Natanz.
    And rather than accelerating production of low-enriched uranium, only 4,000 of the Natanz centrifuges are operating. Some 1,000 are idle. Why?
    Dr. Mohamed El-Baradei, head of the IAEA, believes this is a signal that Tehran wishes to negotiate with the United States, but without yielding any of its rights to enrich uranium and operate nuclear power plants.
    For, unlike Israel, Pakistan and India, none of which signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and all of which ran clandestine programs and built atom bombs, Iran signed the NPT and has abided by its Safeguards Agreement. What it refuses to accept are the broader demands of the U.N. Security Council because these go beyond the NPT and sanction Iran for doing what it has a legal right to do.
    Moreover, Adm. Dennis Blair, who heads U.S. intelligence, has just restated the consensus of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that Iran does not now possess and is not now pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
    Bottom line: Neither the United States nor the IAEA has conclusive evidence that Iran either has the fissile material for a bomb or an active program to build a bomb. It has never tested a nuclear device and has never demonstrated a capacity to weaponize a nuclear device, if it had one.
    Why, then, the hype, the hysteria, the clamor for “Action This Day!”? It is to divert America from her true national interests and stampede her into embracing as her own the alien agenda of a renascent War Party.
    None of this is to suggest the Iranians are saintly souls seeking only peace and progress. Like South Korea, Japan and other nations with nuclear power plants, they may well want the ability to break out of the NPT, should it be necessary to deter, defend against or defeat enemies.
    But that is no threat to us to justify war. For decades, we lived under the threat that hundreds of Russian warheads could rain down upon us in hours, ending our national existence. If deterrence worked with Stalin and Mao, it can work with an Iran that has not launched an offensive war against any nation within the memory of any living American.
    Can we Americans say the same?
    COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

    Reply

  29. Carroll says:

    Gee Sweetness….
    I hardly know whether to laugh or cry…you misrepresent my words here and then compliment my other comments all in one post! I have commented on Rosenberg’s spot but couldn’t use my real name because Carroll was taken by another user. MJ is the only writer there I follow and like his style because he responds to commenters and has no patience with anti semitic sluring,red herring throwing and general strawman tactics we see so often elsewhere on Israel discussions. ..there fore the comments are more intelligent. As for Marshall,I have never thought he was very bright.
    The lowness of the discussion on TWN stems from the fact that in the Israel debate your side doesn’t stick with the facts that often, prefering to chalk everything up to all those bad anti semites..causing the rest of us to say ..oh what the hell and not bother with any serious reply.
    To POA….
    You’re right.
    To Kathleen …
    You’re right.
    My take right now is ‘who knows’ on Obama’s I-P intentions.
    But what I think will happen is that Obama will find out by trial and error that he can’t play reasonable with Israel, just like he found out there is no such thing as bipartainship with the GOP. The good news is he sleeps with Michelle…who appeared during the campaign to have a moral outrage measuring cup and who, I am willing to bet, is a full,if private, partner in the Obama brain.

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see we are withdrawing from the Durban conference unless all references to Israel are dropped from the official rap sheet.
    As much as we bend over, I don’t see why we bother to pull our pants up. Washington is Israel’s bitch, and Obama doesn’t seem to be objecting. Our Oval office is just a parlor now, the perfect setting for entertaining tricks. What I don’t get, is why our politicians are the ones getting paid, but we are the ones getting screwed.
    Lets see. Shooting crude rockets at Israel is not OK, but frying Palestinian’s in white phosphorous is OK. And that premise isn’t racist?
    Don’t click on this link if you aren’t prepared for a graphic depiction of what Israel has been doing to Palestinian men, women, and children. Personally, I think this picture should be required viewing for all Americans.
    http://tinyurl.com/akvza3

    Reply

  31. Kathleen G says:

    Sure disagree with Wendell Belew on lobbyist and the revolving door phenomena. Hurts more than helps

    Reply

  32. Kathleen G says:

    Rosen’s 20 years of what you call a “triumph” has not been good for Israel, or the U.S.

    Reply

  33. ... says:

    The Nation said Rosen is “a brilliant and, some say, ruthless bureaucratic infighter at the country’s premiere Mideast lobbying group, who was emboldened by his long relationships with figures in and around the Bush Administration and the Washington scene to behave almost as an unofficial diplomatic entity in his own right” (July 14, 2005). “The special relationship between the US executive branch and AIPAC was the triumph of twenty years of work by…Rosen” (May 20, 2005)

    Reply

  34. Kathleen G says:

    Steve what do you think about Flynt Leverett? Who would be your pick for the Chairman of the National INtelligence Council?
    Who?

    Reply

  35. Kathleen G says:

    Great interview with former CIA officer Phillip Giraldi
    http://antiwar.com/radio/2009/02/13/philip-giraldi-19/

    Reply

  36. WigWag says:

    Sorry, I meant Steve Rosen and Wendell Belew posting on the same thread shows what a great site this is.

    Reply

  37. WigWag says:

    Wow, Steve Rosen and Wendell Below commenting on the same thread! Is this a great blog or what?

    Reply

  38. Kathleen G says:

    Hey Steve if this is “the” Steve Rosen. Did you pass on classified intelligence to Naor Gilon?
    Did you actually say “that you were glad there was no officials secrets act”
    Have you seen/heard any coverage about the Aipac/Rosen espionage investigation and trial in the MSM. I have not.
    Can you explain this

    Reply

  39. Steve Rosen says:

    Readers of my blog (http://www.meforum.org/blog/obama-mideast-monitor/) know that I have been on the whole quite positive about Obama’s Mideast team, as I was in a Jerusalem post op-ed (http://www.meforum.org/2064/assessing-the-obama-mideast-team). But Freeman is a very different kind of appointment. If the issue with Freeman was just doing business in the Arab world, that would not be an issue at all. But he took $1 million from Saudi Arabia for what he, not I, called public relations activity in the United States. That is not an academic or ordinary business activity. And his writings on Israel are full of vitriol, completely unbalanced. He is anything but “even-handed.” Freman is an ideologue where Israel is concerned, not an analyst.

    Reply

  40. Peter H says:

    I have to disagree with WigWag about Will Bower. Bower is a liar & a schmuck. There plenty of legimiate criticisms one can make of Obama’s presidential campaign, but to claim that Obama “stole” the nomination from Hillary or that Obama ran a sexist campaign is pure poppycock. And to say that he ran the whole campaign. And let’s not forget that if Bower & the rest of the PUMA movement had their way, we’d be living under a McCain presidency right now.
    BTW, here’s an example of Bower’s dishonesty:
    http://clintonistasforobama.blogspot.com/2008/08/will-bower-liar.html

    Reply

  41. Peter H says:

    Chas Freeman’s speeches & interviews are available online at the Middle East Policy Council website. While I believe Freeman’s views of the Saudi & Chinese governments to be overly rose-colored, I find his overall analysis of the Middle East & China to be candid, intelligent, & insightful. And while Freeman is certainly very critical of recent Israeli policy, he is not the mindless Israel-basher that some commenters have portrayed him.
    But go the MEPC website and decide for yourself:
    http://www.mepc.org/whats/freeman.asp

    Reply

  42. Sweetness says:

    Wig…you have the right attitude.
    As to TPM…I don’t equate it with Marshall, mostly because I head
    to the Cafe where a lot of knowledgeable people do write. And the
    commenters really are thoughtful and not an echo chamber of one
    stripe or another. Pretty varied and well-informed bunch.
    Thanks for your comment and kind words.

    Reply

  43. ... says:

    one more point – wigwag and sweetness – my views on israel/palestine can be put very simply : i see israel as goliath and palestine as david.. i always side with the one i perceive as the underdog…

    Reply

  44. WigWag says:

    It’s funny, Sweetness, how two people can look at the same thing and see it so differently.
    I can’t stand TPM. Steve Clemons just adores Maureen Dowd but Josh Marshall is turning into Maureen Dowd. He becomes dumber with each passing day. What’s particularly sad is that what was once one of the most promising new media ventures has turned into the same blathering idiocy to be found so ubiquitously in the “old media.” To my mind Marshall is not yet as bad as Dowd and Andrew Sullivan, but he’s doing everything he can to pursue his race to the bottom. You should read some of the commentary that Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler writes about Marshall. Somerby excoriates him regularly and Somerby is usually right.
    Clemons is smarter and more astute, perhaps because he has a more challenging day job. And I like and respect his unfailingly polite manner. I almost never agree with him but I like the fact that he tolerates dissent on his site and rarely censors what people have to say.
    As for the comment section, who really cares? I mostly write my comments to clarify what I think in my own mind. Somehow writing it down helps me figure out what I really think (or don’t think). If there is the odd interesting interchange with other commenters now and then, that’s just a bonus.
    I do get a kick out of occasionally interfacing with some of the really fascinating people who pop up on the site from time to time.
    Steve’s friend, Will Bower is an extraordinary young man who has written some of the smartest critiques of Barack Obama you will ever read. He single-handedly created a movement to expose sexism during the Presidential campaign. Agree with him or disagree with him; he’s clearly one of the brightest young people in Washington. I do get a kick out of thinking that he might read my comments from time to time.
    Another example is Wendell Belew. I couldn’t believe it when I saw him comment over on the post about Chas Freeman.
    Belew is an extraordinary guy who inadvertently learned he was being spied on by the government when the FBI inadvertently tipped him off. He was representing an Islamic Charity that the government thought was linked to Al Qaeda. You should do a little internet research and check it out; the case is quite interesting. The opportunity to interface with someone like Belew is alot of fun and I was glad I could do it. POA accused me of being “pseudo-civil and oily,” it’s not surprising that he doesn’t recognize politeness when he sees it. Given Belew’s courageous fight with FBI he deserves respect and to be engaged in a polite fashion even though I probably disagree with him about a lot of things.
    As for the regular commenters; who really cares? Some are smart, some are dumb, most are in-between.
    There are plenty of sites I could visit where everyone agrees with me on Israel, the economy or everything else. Personally I think it’s more entertaining and informative to visit a site where most people think I’m wrong (or worse.)
    By the way, I do think your comments are usually amongst the most lucid and well-written to be found at the Washington Note.
    I enjoy reading them.

    Reply

  45. Sweetness says:

    DonS writes: “Perhaps the neocon/AIPAC apologist has
    abandoned the field here unless prompted to show up in
    numbers by a particular ‘alert’.”
    I guess the problem with your perhapsing here is the following:
    1) that the AIPAC line was ever strongly represented here-it
    wasn’t; 2) that you are with the “majority” of Americans
    knowledgeable about this issue OR you are with AIPAC–there’s
    a LOT of middle room; and 3) for “some reason” your
    supposition doesn’t apply to tpmcafe where, as I say, the FULL
    range of opinions is continuously expressed, “alert” or no.
    In fact, there is NO reason why the AIPACers, or that a full range
    of sustained opinion on this topic, should have “abandoned”
    TWN except that the level of debate here (on this topic) is pretty
    low, not always, but for the most part–IMO.

    Reply

  46. ... says:

    wigwag, you are free to criticize me as i do you.. no problem with that.. i don’t agree with your conclusions, but don’t feel a need to go over them point by point…i will comment when i feel like it and you will do the same! no problemo..
    sweetness – we are on the same page with regard to it being fine to want to understand others motives then and that is all good as i see it.. i don’t think tpm is anywhere as good a site as this site so we differ on that…

    Reply

  47. Sweetness says:

    You know, Kathleen, I think the Palestinians could use a similar
    effort.

    Reply

  48. Sweetness says:

    DonS writes: “Sweetness says “I’m also curious about the
    distinctly one-sided nature of the IP
    debate on this blog, apart from the main posters.”
    Exactly what is that supposed to elicit, if it is not a naked
    implication? I really don’t get it. The nature of the posts by
    Clemons are at least as in depth and substantive as on TP by Mr.
    Rosenberg. The discussion in the comments here is hard at
    times, but it is often substantive, dense, and closely reasoned.
    Sweetness: Perhaps I wasn’t clear. By “main posters” I do mean
    Mr. Clemons, MJ Rosenberg, and the various guest posters. I’m
    fine with what they write; nor am I looking for an echo-chamber.
    The exact opposite. My beef is with the tenor of the comments
    beneath the main posters. I do allow for exceptions to this also.
    But I think it would be hard to put the two arenas side by side
    and not see a big difference in TPM’s favor.
    But I accept that this is a judgement call, and if you don’t accept
    my judgement, I’m not going to argue “to the end” about it.

    Reply

  49. DonS says:

    Sweetness says “I’m also curious about the distinctly one-sided nature of the IP
    debate on this blog, apart from the main posters.”
    Exactly what is that supposed to elicit, if it is not a naked implication? I really don’t get it. The nature of the posts by Clemons are at least as in depth and substantive as on TP by Mr. Rosenberg. The discussion in the comments here is hard at times, but it is often substantive, dense, and closely reasoned.
    True it is not an echo chamber for an Israeli view, nor would one expect that. It is just possible that the vast majority of reasoning Americans who follow this issue, and of those who actually participate here are strongly opposed to the foreign policy sham that has too much been the AIPAC-neocon/US political dance for too long. Perhaps the neocon/AIPAC apologist has abandoned the field here unless prompted to show up in numbers by a particular ‘alert’.

    Reply

  50. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Or when she argues that anti-Semitism is a
    figment of crazy Jews’ imagination and paranoia”
    Considering that I have never seen Carrol make that argument, I’m curious why you think we should find anything you say as being credible.
    Add to that your recent denial of your past treatment of Carroll, that some of us remember clearly, and any credibility you might enjoy dissappears completely.
    There are some substantive comments offered on this thread, and it is indicative of your hypocritical and purposefully incendiary nature that you choose to ignore those so that you can once again offer some greasy accusation of anti-semitism. Offering such a comment, while decrying “a pretty low level of debate in
    general”, is exactly what one should expect from you, considering your history here.
    Its interesting indeed that we rarely, if ever, see you offer an argument in defense of Israel. You long ago ceased to argue for the indefensible. On more occassions than not, my posts include links and reasoning that fully explain why I feel such abhorance and disdain for Israel’s actions. In contrast, more often than not, your drooling garbage is just another attack on someone’s character, accusing them in your characteristically slimey manner, of bigotry while ignoring the examples they provide of Israel’s well earned reasons to be criticized.
    You and Wig-wag epitomize the reasons many of us are so disdainful of the Israel-firsters. Your tactics and strategies of argument are just so dishonest, hypocritical, and, well, slimey, that they are particularly despicable. Of course, you have neither the guile, nor the intelligence that Wig-wag uses to grease his argument, so your mask is far more easily removed. But make no mistake, once removed, the ugliness of what lies beneath is no less detestable.

    Reply

  51. Sweetness says:

    .., writes: “i am always curious about the motives of others..
    sweetness comment is proof that some here work especially
    hard to paint posters a certain way meant to be taken as a put
    down, demeaning and contemptuous…”
    That’s okay; I’m curious, too. For example, arthurdecco’s
    motives are ALWAYS curious–maybe you should look into
    them. I find Cee’s motives curious, too. Carroll has been
    curious for a long time, especially when she advocates for only
    “native born” people being placed in policy-making positions.
    She sees no irony. Or when she argues that anti-Semitism is a
    figment of crazy Jews’ imagination and paranoia.
    I’m also curious about the distinctly one-sided nature of the IP
    debate on this blog, apart from the main posters. If you head
    over to TPM Cafe, you will find all the views expressed here–
    Carroll, for example, has posted there under the name
    “Calypso”–and often more eloquently and substantively stated.
    But you’ll also find equally eloquent and substantive arguments
    on the “other side” and everything in between. Here,
    unfortunately, those who disagree have to run the POA gauntlet
    and, often, I’m afraid to say, a pretty low level of debate in
    general with some notable exceptions.

    Reply

  52. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Quite telling, seeing Wig-wag’s pseudo-civil and oily attempt to link Mr. Belew to radical Islamic terrorism. I recall the pre-feigned moderation phase of Wig-wag’s tenure here, when he was far more shrill and blatant in using the time-worn accusation of “anti-semitism” to counter any and all criticism of Israel’s murderous policies. I found his open use of the scripted excuses, justifications, and accusations far less despicable than the back door insinuations he is now fond of using. But these back door insinuations, presented in such a sacharin and feigned display of civility, are quite enlightening, so I suppose we should be grateful for the display. Its the unseen snake that usually bites you. And anyway, Wig-wag was long ago defanged here.
    Meanwhile…..
    February 27, 2009
    Trapped Between the Wall and the Green Line
    by Mel Frykberg
    RAMALLAH – “They started smashing down doors at 2am last Wednesday before moving through homes and destroying property,” says the mayor of Jayyus, Muhammed Taher Shamasni.
    “Residents were assaulted, money was stolen, computers confiscated, over 60 young men arrested and the village placed under curfew. The Israeli soldiers came into my home and threw the contents of cupboards and closets on to the floor,” Shamasni told IPS.
    Jayyus, an agricultural community of 3,500 inhabitants, located in the Qalqiliya district of the northern Palestinian West Bank, was invaded by Israeli soldiers using police dogs and backed by military helicopters.
    The village has been the scene of frequent clashes between local youths, their Israeli supporters and international sympathizers on the one hand, and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on the other. Dozens protesting Israel’s continued expropriation of village land were injured last Friday by Israeli soldiers firing live ammunition, rubber bullets and teargas.
    Israel started building a separation barrier (a combination of walls, ditches and fences), most of it on Palestinian land, in 2002 to separate the Jewish state from the West Bank. This followed a wave of suicide bombings carried out by Palestinian militants, some of them originating from the West Bank.
    While Israel has argued that the wall is primarily for security reasons, the Palestinians and human rights organizations accuse the Israelis of using security as a pretext for both a massive land grab for the benefit of illegal Israeli settlements, and continual human rights abuses.
    The route of the barrier deviates significantly from the internationally recognized Green Line, veering off repeatedly into the West Bank where it has swallowed enormous swathes of fertile Palestinian land.
    continues….
    http://www.antiwar.com/ips/frykberg.php?articleid=14320
    Last update – 09:39 27/02/2009
    Israel planning mass expansion of West Bank settlement bloc
    By Akiva Eldar
    Tags: settlements, Green Line
    Despite the state’s formal commitment not to expand West Bank settlements, a government agency has been promoting plans over the past two years to construct thousands of housing units east of the Green Line, Haaretz has learned.
    The plans, which have not yet been approved by the government, were drawn up by the Civil Administration, the government agency responsible for nonmilitary matters in the West Bank. Details of the plans appear in the minutes of the agency’s environmental subcommittee, which were obtained by the B’Tselem organization under the Freedom of Information Act.
    The plans propose the initial construction of 550 apartments in Gva’ot, located near Alon Shvut in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, followed by construction of another 4,450 units at a later stage. At present, Gva’ot is inhabited by 12 families. The neighboring settlement of Bat Ayin, which has about 120 families, is slated to receive another 2,000 apartments, according to the plans.
    Advertisement
    Rimonim will get another 254 apartments if the plans are approved, and expansion plans are also in the works for Einav and Mevo Dotan. All three of these settlements are east of the separation fence.
    Ma’aleh Adumim has included planned construction in the E-1 corridor in its sewage treatment plans. That corridor, which links Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem, is eventually slated to hold some 3,500 apartments.
    Nearby Kfar Adumim’s sewage treatment plan predicts that the settlement will double its population “in the coming years,” to 5,600 inhabitants. And in Eshkolot, the Civil Administration instructed the settlement to draw up a sewage plan adequate for a population five times its current one.
    continues…
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1067319.html

    Reply

  53. Cee says:

    If the founder of Al-Haramain is guilty of using funds for the Chechens, he’s on the side of the US government.
    http://www.stratfor.com/memberships/122073/analysis/u_s_saudi_arabia_holding_chechen_card
    This case won’t go anywhere.

    Reply

  54. dwg says:

    Dan Kervick wrote:
    “Freeman seems like the kind of guy who has just as little patience with rosy-eyed Palestinian apologetics as with sentimental pro-Israel apologetics, and that he will indeed help Obama cut through the crap and get as accurate a picture of Middle East reality as he can get. What values Obama will apply to the answers he gets, what choices he will make, and what policies he will develop, are still yet to be determined.”
    Spot on! Well said Mr. Kervick.

    Reply

  55. Carroll says:

    Yes Kathleen..he does sound like he means business..what a breath of fresh air, no bulls*** for a change.
    Chas Freeman:
    “In retrospect, Al Qaeda has played us with the finesse of a matador exhausting a great bull by guiding it into unproductive lunges at the void behind his cape. By invading Iraq, we transformed an intervention in Afghanistan most Muslims had supported into what looks to them like a wider war against Islam. We destroyed the Iraqi state and catalyzed anarchy, sectarian violence, terrorism, and civil war in that country.” -
    Chas Freeman:
    “Meanwhile, we embraced Israel’s enemies as our own; they responded by equating Americans with Israelis as their enemies. We abandoned the role of Middle East peacemaker to back Israel’s efforts to pacify its captive and increasingly ghettoized Arab populations. We wring our hands while sitting on them as the Jewish state continues to seize ever more Arab land for its colonists. This has convinced most Palestinians that Israel cannot be appeased and is persuading increasing numbers of them that a two-state solution is infeasible. It threatens Israelis with an unwelcome choice between a democratic society and a Jewish identity for their state. Now the United States has brought the Palestinian experience – of humiliation, dislocation, and death – to millions more in Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel and the United States each have our reasons for what we are doing, but no amount of public diplomacy can persuade the victims of our policies that their suffering is justified, or spin away their anger.”

    Reply

  56. WigWag says:

    Thank you Mr. Belew for responding. Your comment was very informative. I am more skeptical than you are about the propriety of government workers trading on knowledge, experience and contacts acquired while on the public payroll to enrich themselves; but you do make a good case. As for whether Freeman actually made $1 million per year; it’s been reported in several places but I will check for original sourcing.
    I looked on the internet as saw that a federal judge had thrown out the case against Al Haramain in the United States but that some committee of the UN Security Council had classified it as a terrorist organization that is a front for Al Qaeda. Wikipedia says that the organization is now banned worldwide by United Nations Security Council. But I understand that Wikipedia is hardly an authoritative source.
    I also found a brief on the internet of a case in which Larry Silverstein and other owners of the World Trade Center are suing Al Haramain and many others for providing funding to the people who attacked the world trade center (perhaps you know something about this case). Interestingly a board member of Freeman’s organization, the MEPC, is also a defendant in the suit alleging complicity in the World Trade Center bombing. His name is Dr. Fuad A. Rihani.
    I read the brief but of course I’m in no position to know whether the law suit is substantive or frivolous or even whether the case is still pending.
    Forgive my skepticism that gay people in Saudi Arabia are treated in the same manner that the Catholic Church would treat gay people. Although I’m Jewish not Episcopal I am a huge fan of Katharine Jefferts Schori. She is one of the most dynamic and impressive religious figures I have ever heard. I listened to an interview with her shortly after she declared a “time out” for ordaining new gay Episcopal Bishops. Her anguish was palpable and very moving for people of any religion or no religion. And of course who wouldn’t admire Gene Robinson? Although I guess Peter Akinola doesn’t.
    I don’t know if you know Steve Clemons but this is a great blog where diverse points of view are welcomed warmly by Steve. Your story is such a compelling one that someone ought to make a movie out of it. Or perhaps you are planning to write a book. Although I have a suspicion that we would disagree about many things, I am sure we could disagree civilly and I do think your story is heroic.
    Frankly it’s been an honor for me to chat with you in this format. When it came to taking on the FBI you did something very brave.
    One last thing, while I don’t use my real name when I comment here, there’s no need to be upset about it; it’s well within the rules.
    With best regards,
    WigWag

    Reply

  57. Wendell Belew says:

    Yes, that’s me. And, unlike you, I post under my own name.
    For the record, Al Haramain no longer exists. It is a former member of a trade association that I represented then and continue, without Al Haramain, to represent now. At the time of the apparent illegal action by the government in intercepting conversations between me and my then client without a warrant, I was in the process of attempting to engage with American law enforcement and other officials to share information about Islamic charities and identify and resolve any problems that pose a risk to security. Rather than accept information and documents that we offered freely and without condition, the Bush administration illegally intercepted attorney-client communications. I believe in the rule of law, and I believe that in the case of Al Haramain the law was violated.
    On Freeman’s business relationships I am completely ignorant, although – based on my limited personal experience – I am extremely skeptical of the $1 million figure. Do you get your information from LDA filings?
    On gay rights, I don’t know what Al Haramain’s position on gay rights would be if it still existed, although I suspect that it would be close to that of the Catholic Church – hate the sin but love the sinner. For the record, I am a fervent Episcopalian (if that’s not an oxymoron) proud that my church includes a Gay and Lesbian Fellowship. However, I understand that other faith traditions – even those within my own Anglican Communion – see these issues differently.
    Finally, I agree with David Brooks on the subject of lobbyists (being one myself). Having served in government gives one insight on policy matters and should not bar one from serving in the private sector – using the insight one has gained from public service. I disagree with the Obama administration in establishing a broad rule barring lobbyists from serving in government. Private sector service provides useful insight as well. The key is to hire people with integrity and ensure transparency. In the international relations arena, people such as Dennis Ross and Chas Freeman bring to the table their experiences in both the governmental and non-governmental sectors. In my opinion, this is useful, not disqualifying. But there must also be safeguards and enforcement so that the government officials are attentive to the interests of the US and not third parties.
    Thanks for your interesting and respectful comments,
    Regards,
    Wendell Belew

    Reply

  58. Carroll says:

    Heheheheh…I love it.
    When the Israeli zio-cons start spitting and screeching you know the Obama adm has done something right toward fixing our relations with the ME.
    Those people really don’t know when to shut up…Obama is so popular right now he could ship all the zios to Gitmo and people would cheer.

    Reply

  59. WigWag says:

    Wendell Belew reads the Washington Note; very interesting.
    Would that be the Wendell Belew who represents the prominent Saudi Arabian charity Al-Haramain that the government considers to be a terrorist front? Would it be the Wendell Belew who sued the government after the FBI inadvertently tipped him off that his phone was being tapped?
    Mr. Belew (if you’re not some other Wendell Belew) your story is a very interesting one and it’s actually somewhat heroic. It would be great if you could expound on it for Washington Note readers.
    You say, “The work of the NIC needs to be based on facts, not belief or dogma.”
    Freeman’s compensation for his job as President of the Middle East Policy Council (in 2007, the most recent year the organization’s tax return is available on the internet) was $87,000. After he stepped down as Saudi Ambassador, the Saudi government paid him $1 million per year as a lobbyist. It reminds me of the way Steve’s friend Rita Hauser (Stroock, Stroock and Lavan) made millions of dollars representing the PLO.
    Don’t you think it’s ethically questionable, Mr. Belew, for a former government employee to trade on his government experience to make millions? Don’t you think it’s reasonable to conclude that Freeman’s preternaturally close ties to the Saudis may affect the way he views the Iranians?
    Why exactly should we conclude that Freeman “entertains a variety of viewpoints and is clear about his own perspectives?”
    What we do know is that Freeman thinks the Chinese Communists weren’t brutal enough in putting down the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and that he has extremely close relations with a Saudi society that considers women to be chattel and doesn’t permit them to drive.
    Actually, Mr. Belew, that puts me in mind of a question I’d love to ask you. That organization you represent, Al-Haramain; how does the organization and its leadership feel about gay people? Many Washington Note readers happen to be gay; what’s the Saudi attitude towards it gay citizens? And what’s the story with the women driving thing? Do you think that’s a legitimate cultural difference or is it barbarity?
    Your insight would be appreciated and thank you for your bravery in fighting government spying.

    Reply

  60. WigWag says:

    “wigwag, pointing out certain consistencies in your comments is relevant, as it serves to shed better light on all your commenting here at twn…”
    Perhaps it hasn’t occurred to you, but your comments critical of Israel and Israeli policy are at least as consistent as my remarks supportive of Israeli and Israeli policy. Come to think of it, I am occassionally critical of Israel (e.g. Israel’s outlook on Iran, its settlement policy) but I don’t think I’ve ever read a comment of yours that was anything but critical when Israeli policy was concerned. I guess “your consistency is relevant as it serves to shed better light on all your commenting here at twn.”
    Before criticizing me, you should take a look in the mirror.
    And don’t you feel at least a little hypocritical criticising Sweetness for not being interested in substance? I’ve read plenty of substance that Sweetness has written. Perhaps I’ve missed it, but I don’t see any comments from you on this post that are particularly substantive. As a matter of fact, I’ve checked every post currently up on Steve’s website and substantive commentary from you is few and far between.
    You know what they say about people in glass houses don’t you?

    Reply

  61. Wendell Belew says:

    The Freeman appointment is good news indeed! It will be even better news if Obama resists the campaign to derail it. The work of the NIC needs to be based on facts, not belief or dogma.My experience with Freeman is that he entertains a variety of viewpoints and is clear about his own perspectives.
    For an example of this process, see the recent forum on the two-state solution:
    http://www.mepc.org/forums_chcs/55.asp

    Reply

  62. Kathleen G says:

    Shed some light on the Aipac Rosen espionage investigation and trial and boom the person gets whacked.
    good for you Steve. Now if only the MSM would shed the light on this issue
    Chas Freeman sounds like he means business.

    Reply

  63. ... says:

    wigwag, pointing out certain consistencies in your comments is relevant, as it serves to shed better light on all your commenting here at twn… i have commented on what i perceive as your general motives, to which you can take exception to or find flattering.. it doesn’t matter to me how you choose to take it, but reading it flat out is not a bad idea either…
    i am always curious about the motives of others.. sweetness comment is proof that some here work especially hard to paint posters a certain way meant to be taken as a put down, demeaning and contemptuous, but are not interested in substance as such, or even motive for that matter.. why bother responding to the specifics when you can see an obvious pattern to the words and actions of some??

    Reply

  64. Dan Kervick says:

    What I think is most interesting about the Freeman appointment is the nature of the job he is getting. Freeman is not getting a policy making position or a diplomatic position. He’s going to be the NIC chair.
    My understanding is that the NIC’s job is to coordinate the process by which the policy-maker gets straight, full, unvarnished answers to the questions he is asking. It seems to me both notable and praiseworthy that Obama wants an unsentimental realist bastard in this job. Freeman seems like the kind of guy who has just as little patience with rosy-eyed Palestinian apologetics as with sentimental pro-Israel apologetics, and that he will indeed help Obama cut through the crap and get as accurate a picture of Middle East reality as he can get. What values Obama will apply to the answers he gets, what choices he will make, and what policies he will develop, are still yet to be determined.

    Reply

  65. Sweetness says:

    Unfortunately, Wig, you didn’t get the memo: Only those opinions
    on Israel that run the gamut from A to B are welcome on TWN
    comment threads.
    Everyone else? Well, Cee put it best: “Let them all join Jonathan
    Pollard as traitors in jail already!” I guess joining Webster, or
    Aldridge, or Hansen, or some other good, old fashioned American
    spies is too good for them.

    Reply

  66. WigWag says:

    “I second Dons comments… wigwag your self interests always appear to be one and the same as Israelis… my view is you lose all objectivity though too strong an identification with this same country… I view your attitude as very similar to present day Israel, in losing all ability to create peace, or in finding common ground with others, while maintaining a thin veneer that conveys something the opposite…”
    I’m just saying what I think, just like you are. It’s rather flattering to have you so obsessed with my motivations; but it would be far more interesting if you had something provocative to say about the substance of what I said.
    Or is substance not your thing?

    Reply

  67. ... says:

    i second dons comments… wigwag your self interests always appear to be one and the same as israels… my view is you lose all objectivity though too strong an identification with this same country… i view your attitude as very similar to present day israel, in losing all ability to create peace, or in finding common ground with others, while maintaining a thin veneer that conveys something the opposite…

    Reply

  68. Cee says:

    Let them all join Jonathan Pollard as traitors in jail already!
    When does that trial start?
    Steve Rosen, Accused Aipac Spy, Joins Jewish Anti-Obama Media
    Nov 21st, 2008 by Richard Silverstein
    This is for all of you out there who sincerely believe that Aipac is a non-partisan, fair-minded, centrist group. You’ll recall the story of Steve Rosen (at the time Aipac’s chief political operative) and Keith Weissman, allegedly caught red-handed by the FBI accepting secret U.S. government documents from Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin. The pre-trial motions have dragged on for a few years.
    The indicted Rosen is basically unemployable by any of the pro-Israel political groups, think tanks, PACs or politicians that might hire him. Apparently tired of stewing in his own juices, he’s affiliated with several far-right Jewish media enterprises. He’s begun, Obama Mideast Monitor, whose home is at Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum. The blog promises to probe Obama’s Israel policy and foreign policy appointments with a fine tooth comb looking for ‘anti-Israel’ tendencies. He’s also become a contributor to American Thinker,** home of some of the farthest right anti-Obama smearmongering during the last campaign. All that remains is for Rosen to publish in American Thinker’s sister publication (ideologically), Frontpagemagazine. That’ll come I guess. Rosen has made his hard-right political bed and now he’s happy to lie in it.
    But Steve is attempting to take the high road and gamely denying any partisan intent:
    “One should not assume that the purpose of this blog is to draw a negative picture of a future Obama administration’s views toward the Middle East,” Rosen told the Forward, adding that he does not necessarily agree with all the views of the Middle East Forum, which is hosting his blog.
    http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2008/11/21/steve-rosen-accused-aipac-spy-joins-jewish-anti-obama-media/

    Reply

  69. DonS says:

    OK, wigwag, I give you credit. Pound for pound you can dig up more ‘dirt’ on someone you dislike than most folks can.
    But you above all should know it’s not fair to paint Clemon’s advocacy with a broad negative brush, “desperate”. I’ll say no more about that, but to acknowledge his own sources, methods, and unpredictability. For myself, I would readily acknowledgte desperation for change in US dealing with Israel.
    As to Mr. Freeman having a ruthless, and you seem to allude, hard edged sided when it comes to foreign policy — now who shall we engage, just on the Isr/Pal issue, to get the Israelis to be more responsive to a change in US policy (if indeed that is what Obama intends; we don’t know)? Mary Poppins?

    Reply

  70. WigWag says:

    I don’t know, Steve, for a guy who isn’t interested in “folks that criticize Israel” you sure mentioned AIPAC and Israel supporters like Rosen many times throughout your post. Personally I think you’re besotted. All it took was for Chas Freeman to recite the required incantations about Israel and you’re willing ignore every other unpalatable aspect of Freeman’s career. I have this sneaking suspicion that you might find Freeman’s remarks critical of Israel a little like Love Potion Number 9;
    “Chas bent down and turned around and gave Steve a wink
    He said “I’m gonna make it up right here in the sink”
    It smelled like turpentine, it looked like Indian ink
    Steve held his nose, he closed his eyes, he took a drink”
    I wonder how many of those NIEs that Freeman will be formulating for President Obama will be related to Iran. Given his indenture to the Saudis who hate Iran and fear the Shia I wonder why you feel comfortable with Freeman as Chair of the National Intelligence Council. I would think that the idea of someone so subservient to the Saudis would strike fear in the heart of someone who opposes an American attack on Iran. And I’m surprised that Rosen is so opposed to Freeman. After all the Saudi position on Iran and the Israeli position on Iran are virtually indistinguishable; they both want Iranian nuclear ambitions thwarted and they both want Iranian power diminished if not destroyed. A Saudi vassal at the National Intelligence Council would seem like just the ticket.
    Does anyone really think that Freeman’s anti-Israel utterances will make a difference in Administration policy on the Israel-Palestine dispute? Does anyone imagine that Freeman will be inserting coded messages or subliminal text into the NIEs to manipulate Obama, Clinton, Mitchell and the rest?
    Given his ties to Saudi Arabia, the Saudi funded Middle East Policy Council and the Gulf Cooperation Council (where he made many of his incendiary remarks in October, 2006) can America afford to put Freeman in charge of interpreting intelligence about Iran?
    And given Freeman’s endorsement of Chinese brutality in Tiananmen Square, his opposition to Tibetan Independence and the role he played in the Nixon Administration (does anyone remember Salvador Allende) does this man have the moral character or objectivity to serve in the Obama Administration?
    I guess the answer is yes. After all he seems to have the main qualification; after leaving office, he immediately cashed in. After leaving his post as US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia he became a Saudi lobbyist for a fee of $1 million per year which interestingly is the same amount Leo Hindrey paid to Tom Daschle (we don’t know if the Saudis provided Freeman with a car and driver).
    And while he criticizes the neocons relentlessly; is Freeman really any better than they are? Given his service in various Republican Administrations he reminds me of the people who brought us the Shah and the people who supported Roberto D’Aubuisson in El Salvador.
    And let’s not forget that Freeman proudly calls Douglas MacArthur, the man who wanted to nuke North Korea, his hero.
    Are a few rhetorical flourishes against Israeli policy enough to justify this man’s behavior in the eyes of anyone?
    Am I so off base in calling that desperate?

    Reply

  71. Kathleen G says:

    If we want real change in that part of the world we will not get there with Dennis Ross. What about Flynt Leverett or Zinni (he was sure treated poorly
    Aipac needs to be forced to sign up under the FARA
    http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fara/
    The MSM has not touched the Aipac Rosen/Weissman espionage investigation and trial. No I lobby influence there.
    Interesting discussion having to do with 5 time delayed Aipac trial here
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/02/24/the-aipac-prosecution-suffers-a-crippling-blow/

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  72. DonS says:

    Wig wag, you’re right. We need someone with the moral clarity of a Dennis “never saw a settlement I didn’t like” Ross, or perhaps go right for the gusto with Steve “espionage accusee” Rosen.
    You mistake the motivation of those who support Freeman as being “desperate . . .
    anyone who has been critical of Israel”. This does not surprise me, as you usually come down on the side of the Israel firsters when push comes to shove, though you are usually more circumspect. But try to understand that there are those who wish for the Obama administration to become more even handed, to begin to address that massive imbalance that has for decades stroked Israel in the halls of power. If that is “desperation” then, once again, you are using your penchant for nuance as a trap.
    But here you don’t really seem to nuance at all, trotting out some supposed disrespectful human rights comment by Freeman against the Chinese, for god’s sake, to disqualify him for ME duty. (By the way, as a supporter of Israel, I’d caution you not to get too close to that mirror in merging the notion of human rights with anything to do with Israel these days.). It is interesting too how you make the human rights argument, tangential as it is, with regard to a Chinese event almost two decades ago when your darling Hillary has just informed us that human rights is to be disconnected from our rapprochement with China. Your ability to champion individuals and causes, and to disconnect at will, is truly amazing. Or maybe we should say the, over time, things change, if we are honest, and maybe you should even consider that with regard to Mr. Freeman, though that is not you modus. Rather you selectively use history and quotes to support your idée de jour. So be it.

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  73. Rose Hunter says:

    I’m totally fed-up with ISRAEL, and with it’s appologists. God! WHERE does AIPAC get so much money for whinning????

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  74. Rose Hunter says:

    Israel’s ‘needs’ as in money from the US, have been way over the top!!! Why, HOW, does this pugalistic, predatory, FASCIST, non-nation, get more attention, and $$$$$$$$$$ from the US when the US ‘can’t take care of IT’S OWN PEOPLE!!!????? Inquiring minds want to know!!! I personally think that dole should be cut off!!! Israel is the stooge of the Military/Industrial/MEDIA/PETROLEOM mafia, to facilitate sales of arms and equipment, so they should be the ones upon whose shoulders the financing of their future wars.

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  75. PissedOffAmerican says:

    How can anyone possibly be “pro starve kids then dump white phosporous on them”?
    There is absolutely nothing about Israel to be “pro” about, anymore. They are committing human rights abuses that equal almost anything human history has written into the history books.
    Even now, these bloosdsucking monsters are hampering the delivery of aid to the Palestinians, increasing the mortality, hardship, and human suffering of millions of fellow humans. At this point, anyone “pro-Israel” should hang their head in shame.

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  76. Steve Clemons says:

    WigWag — I’m not interested in folks that criticize Israel. I want folks who can approach the region realistically, without false choices, and without bias other than the bias of US national interests projected over the long run. I’m pro-Israel and pro-Arab League and reject the notion of a zero sum arrangement between their interests. So, criticizing Israel is not a litmus test for me at all…I have others though.
    All the best, steve

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  77. WigWag says:

    Steve Clemons and others must be incredibly desperate to have someone, anyone, who has been critical of Israel in a position of authority to support the likes of Chas Freeman. Freeman has been harshly critical of Israel’s settlement policy and its entire political culture. But of course that was a few years ago when he was shilling for the Saudis to the tune of $1 million per year. Now that his Saudi masters have decided that Hamas not Israel is their main enemy, it’s a good bet that Freeman will be changing his tune.
    We haven’t actually heard from Freeman yet about the degree of his enthusiasm for Saudi (and Egyptian and Jordanian) support for Israel’s invasion of Gaza. Given the fact that no congressional approval is needed for the appointment, we will probably never know. But based on Freeman’s history we can guess; if Israel’s attack on Hamas was okay with the Saudis, it was okay with him. My guess is that Clemons may find himself deeply disappointed and Rosen may find himself pleasantly surprised.
    It’s a sign of how seriously Israel’s critics have lost their bearings that they think the Freeman appointment will somehow give the position they espouse a voice at the table. This sounds like a very thin reed to me (despite the noisy protestations of Rosen, Peretz and others).
    What’s really telling is the willingness of those who support democracy for the Palestinians to show complete contempt for democratic rights in China. Freeman’s only complaint about the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 was that the Chinese waited too long and weren’t brutal enough.
    Here’s the Freeman quote widely circulating on the internet,
    “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 dispatch 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 democracy protesters in China.”
    Based on this quote three questions come to mind:
    (1)Has Chas Freeman ever heard of the March on Washington or the anti-Viet Nam war demonstrations? (2)Exactly how amoral is Chas Freeman? and (3)why is Steve Clemons so desperate for a critic of Israel to be ensconced in the Administration that he is willing to support a person this morally obtuse? Didn’t we just finish an 8 year run with people with no sense of moral nuance running the intelligence establishment? Given his past associations and remarks, is there any reason to suppose that Freeman will be any less amoral than the neo con crowd that brought us Gitmo and extraordinary renditions?
    Or maybe Steve Clemons just likes Freeman because he was Nixon’s translator on his first China trip. We all know how Steve feels about Richard Nixon.
    The whole debate about the Chas Freeman appointment puts me in mind of an aphorism from Oscar Wilde;
    “There are but two tragedies in a man’s life; one is not getting what he wants and the other is getting it.”
    Or in other words, be careful what you wish for.

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  78. Jim says:

    Interesting background report. It appears that Steve Rosen is not going to be the only member of the Israel Lobby trying to do Chas Freeman in…
    Have you read the 2/25/09 Wall Street Journal Opinion article by Gabriel Schoenfeld? It identifies Freeman as an “Israel basher” with “outlandish perspectives and prejudices”.

    Reply

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