Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Lobby Does It Again

Two days ago, under intense pressure from the Israel Lobby, including sitting senators Charles Schumer of New York and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, President Obama’s choice for chairman of the National Intelligence Council, Chas Freeman, withdrew his name from consideration.  Among other things, Freeman, a diplomat with a distinguished record compiled over thirty years, was accused of being in the pay of foreign governments like Saudi Arabia. But the real accusation, hidden as always, was his stance in bringing a balanced view to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2007, he is reported (by the New York Post) to have said:
            “The brutal oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation shows no sign of ending. ... American identification with Israel has become total.”
Anyone who has followed this conflict, and its 60-year history would have to agree with the truth of that statement. Not the Israel Lobby, or the lapdog media. To say such things is to violate what has become a cardinal rule of American politics: don’t tell the truth about the occupation, and don’t tell the truth about the slavish American support of and identification with such oppression. In his statement upon withdrawing, Freeman makes this clearer than ever:
“…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.
The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. 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, 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.” (quoted from Robert Dreyfuss’ March 11, 2009 article in the Nation)
            So, once again, as in the case of I wrote about on January 13 of this year, where Israel’s prime minister Ehud Olmert made the United States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice change her UN vote, we have American advocates for a foreign power determining crucial foreign policy decisions of the United States. By attacking the President’s intelligence choice on all fronts, including in the Congress, Israel’s American surrogates dictate to the leader of the free world who can and who cannot be selected to staff key positions. The critical question then becomes: to whom are these people primarily loyal? It is a question that has been raised often in the past, particularly during wars (I know a great deal about how it was raised during World War II with regard to Italian immigrants), including cold ones. Now, with the Netanyahu-Avigdor Lieberman government threatening to make the middle east cauldron ever hotter, the questions must be raised anew. To wit: Can any sovereign government long tolerate such foreign interference and still call itself sovereign?
            Does everyone realize how serious this is? Sometimes I wonder.
Lawrence DiStasi

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