In the Arena


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Chas Freeman has withdrawn his name from consideration as the chairman of the National Intelligence Council. His withdrawal statement is relayed here by Laura Rozen in all its pugnacious glory. The guy goes out with guns blazing–a bit too hot, for my taste. He pins his departure on “the Israel Lobby,” which is imprecise. He was the victim of a mob, not a lobby. The mob was composed primarily of Jewish neoconservatives–abetted by less than courageous public servants like Senator Chuck Schumer, who has publicly taken credit for the hit. This was his statement:

“Charles Freeman was the wrong guy for this position. His statements against Israel were way over the top and severely out of step with the administration. I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing.”

Schumer should  know that he has taken a scalp in the name of closed-mindedness, which is not a well-known Jewish tradition. He has made Washington even less hospitable for those who aren’t afraid to speak their minds, for those who are reflexively contentious, who would defy the conventional wisdom.

Freeman’s most important point in his statement is this one:

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.

Barack Obama should take note. The thugs have taken out Chas Freeman. They will not rest. Their real target is you, Mr. President.