Did 'Israel lobby' block Obama's pick for intelligence czar?
Charles Freeman, nominee for chair of the National Intelligence Council, blames pro-Israeli lobbyists for scuttling his nomination.
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Charles Freeman, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, has blamed the "Israel lobby" for blocking his nomination. Somepoliticians have also questioned his position on China. In an e-mail published by a Foreign Policy magazineblog, Mr. Freeman said his accusers sought to stifle debate in the US and skewer its policy options in the Middle East.
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.
The NIC is charged with synthesizing the findings of various US intelligence agencies and presenting nonpartisan analysis to the president. In recent weeks, critics of Freeman have argued that his views on Israel, in particular, made him an ill-advised candidate for the job.
The New York Times reports that these critics included some prominent lawmakers who took their cue from a blog posting last month by Steven Rosen, a former pro-Israel lobbyist. Mr. Rosen described Freeman's views as comparable to those of the Saudi Foreign Ministry. Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer said Freeman showed an "irrational hatred of Israel."
Freeman is the former head of the Middle East Policy Council. In that role, he said Israel's occupation of disputed lands was "self-defeating" for any peace process. In a 2007 speech, Freeman said "Israel no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians, it strives instead to pacify them," The Wall Street Journal reports.
Bloomberg reports that 10 House lawmakers had asked Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, to look into Freeman's financial ties to Saudi Arabia, which funds the Middle East Policy Council. Freeman denied receiving payments from any foreign governments.