Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Freeman and the lobby: Pride and Prejudice

This will appear in the next issue of Al-Ahram Weekly

Pride and Prejudice

The Zionists are playing a dangerous game by scuttling Freeman’s appointment, warns Eric Walberg

The remarkable hegemony of Zionists in US -- and by implication -- world politics continues unabated, as demonstrated starkly by the withdrawal of Chas Freeman as United States President Barack Obama’s nominee to chair his National Intelligence Council (NIC).

Unlike cabinet positions, the NIC chair is not subject to Senate approval, but when Freeman was subjected to a campaign of slander led by AIPAC functionary Steve Rosen, joined by a chorus of senators, he withdrew, relating in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) the “libelous distortions of my record”, the “efforts to smear me and destroy my credibility ... by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country.”

Jews have more of a tradition of being liberals and supporting Democrats. But nowadays, more important than shades of pink are the Zionist colours one flaunts, and no US politician, left or right, dares to buck the Zionist tide. Whether or not Freeman -- or any other US public figure -- is Jewish is now a moot point. So it is not really so important to point out that Obama’s closest advisers are Jewish, such as his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, his veepee’s chief of staff Ron Klain, senior advisor David Axelrod, and his domestic cabinet members Timothy Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Paul Volker, Peter Orszag, and Jason Furman and Jamie Rubin. It is more to the point to emphasise that they are Zionists one and all, including his WASP veepee Joseph Biden (“You don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist”) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The waning of Jewish liberalism and the growing irrelevance of tribal affinity in American politics began with the rise of the neocons under president Ronald Reagan and is reflected in Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman’s endorsement of Republican John McCain for president in 2008. That Lieberman was not expelled, and managed to retain his chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Committee, shows who’s in control.

Zionists are the essential second leg that Obama stands on, along with his imperial support. As Democratic Caucus chairman, Emanuel helped make sure that 60 per cent of Democratic congressmen and virtually all the senators will continue to support the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan , with the possibility of an attack on Iran still on the table, despite that fact that 60 per cent of Americans (80 per cent of Demcrats) are against such policies. Emanuel served in the IDF during the 1990 Gulf war, which would have resulted in his arrest and the end of his political career if he had been involved in any other country’s war as a foreign soldier. His father was a member of the terrorist organisation Irgun and no doubt murdered dozens of Palestinians fighting to protect their homeland. “Rahm-bo” also knocked on doors for AIPAC as a student in the 1980s in AIPAC’s successful effort to unseat former Republican congressman Paul Findley just because he was for balance in US Middle East policy.

Ironically Zionism has become a bit of a dirty word around Washington , and the Jewish press prefers to brag -- in the words of former president Clinton counsel Abner Mikvner -- that “Barack Obama is the first Jewish President.” Whatever epithetic is used, Israeli political leaders, too, brag about their clout at the highest levels of US politics. Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert crowed about his telephone call to president George W Bush in January 2009 -- interrupting him in the middle of a speech -- to insist that secretary of state Condoleezza Rice vote against her own Gaza ceasefire motion in the UN Security Council. Jewish chutzpah celebrates the November 2008 US elections, where more Jews were elected than ever -- 10 per cent of congressmen, four times their proportion in the population. This leaves aside the fact that more than 90 per cent of congressmen and senators vote for all motions concerning Israel which are approved, if not formulated, by AIPAC.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, inspired by the Zionists and their stranglehold on politics and media, have led to mounting frustration, allowing occasional, if carefully modulated criticism to trickle down into the mainstream media. Time columnist Joe Klein, who supported Bush’s war against Iraq and considers himself “a strong supporter of Israel”, wrote (in a lowly blog) that the “fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives -- people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd at Commentary -- plumped for this war [in Iraq], and now for an even more foolish assault on Iran, raised the question of divided loyalties.” Within a day, Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, accused Klein of espousing “age-old anti-Semitic canards about a Jewish conspiracy to control and manipulate government.”

Other brave souls include Norm Finkelstein, author of Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, Jimmy Carter (Palestine: Peace not Apartheid), Mearsheimer and Walt (The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy. Whether or not their efforts mark the beginning of a decline in the Zionists’ hegemony is yet to be seen.

That their power is still formidable was brought home by the Freeman debacle. “The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views,” writes Freeman.

The Zionists made no mention of the real reason for scuttling his nomination, instead inventing the charge that he was a lobbyist for Saudi and Chinese interests. A career diplomat, he was president Richard Nixon’s personal interpreter during the first meetings with Mao Tse Tung. Since 1997, he has presided over the Middle East Policy Council, a nonprofit organisation that is partly funded by Saudi money. “There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments ... by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government -- in this case, the government of Israel ... policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel .”

Fighting the Zionists is not easy. Jewish scholars like Finkelstein argue that Zionists generally refuse to answer the content of critiques of Israel , invariably reducing the argument to an ad hominem attack, questioning the legitimacy of the critic, as they did with Freeman. Finkelstein was personally the target of their wrath, losing his university tenure battle due to their protests that he was too impartial. Where ad hominem is not enough, they merely ignore valid criticisms and relying on control of the public discourse, including laws forbidding anti-Semitism, racism or slander, to bury the issue.

Dozens of Jewish and overtly Zionist lobby groups throughout the US monitor all school and university teaching content, regularly denouncing critics and lobbying for their dismissal. As part of the campaign to vilify Islam, David Horowitz organised “Islamofascism Awareness Week” (IFAW) on close to a hundred college campuses in October 2007. At Michigan State University, the campus chapter of Young Americans for Freedom invited a bona fide fascist -- Nick Griffin, the head of the British National Party -- to speak on how Europe is becoming “Eurabia”. IFAW is now an annual event, with seminars on jihad and Islamic totalitarianism.

But there is a silver lining. Formerly schemes to control the discourse took place behind the scenes. Steve Rosen, who led the attack on Freeman, says, “A lobby is like a night flower. It thrives in the dark and dies in the sun.” That Rosen is now indicted as a spy, that the Finkelstein, Mearsheimer and Carter books even saw the light of day, and that Freeman was able to blast the lobby so witheringly in the WSJ suggest that broader US society may be awakening to the devastation that the Zionists have wrought on America.


Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly. You can reach him at