Talk about speaking truth to power and vitriol. In a hard-hitting statement on his withdrawal from consideration as chair of the National Intelligence Council, the estimable Charles Freeman responds to the "barrage of libelous distortions of my record" by a hard-line Israel lobby whose tactics "plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency." Freeman's crime? Questioning the American "war on terror" and Israeli policy. The McCarthy-esque response, he notes, does not encourage.
"It is apparent that we Americans cannot any longer conduct a serious public discussion or exercise independent judgment about matters of great importance to our country as well as to our allies and friends."
Freeman went on to blast an Israel lobby "determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired." Its aim, he said, "is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors."
I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.
Freeman concluded by insisting, "I am my own man....I will continue to speak out as I choose on issues of concern to me and other Americans." This is a bit of good news in an otherwise libelous lobbying scandal in which we are all the losers.
Speaking, as only some of us can, as "a Jew with a memory," commentator David Rothkopf likewise cites that loss. He calls to task "those who celebrate keeping out Freeman or any others whose views do not align with theirs."
"The result is not a government of people without conflicts of interest or troubling ties, rather it is a government full of people whose conflicts and ties are with groups powerful enough to protect them."