ZOA To President Obama: Don’t Appoint Anti-Israel, Pro-Arab Lobbyist Chas Freeman To Head National Intelligence Council
February 25, 2009



ZOA: One Of The Most Anti-Israel Ever




The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed shock and deep concern at President Barack Obama’s invitation to anti-Israeli former diplomat and pro-Arab lobbyist Chas W. Freeman Jr. to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council and has called upon the President to rescind the invitation. The Council has a strong influence on the content of intelligence briefings presented to the President and the Council Chairman is often called to brief the President directly. 


Freeman has served, among other positions, as U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (1989-92) and, since 1997, President of the Middle East Policy Council (MEPC) (formerly known as the American Arab Affairs Council), a lobbying group for the Arab world. MEPC owes its endowment to the “generosity” of the Saudi monarch. In 1994, Saudi Arabia awarded Freeman the Order of ‘King Abd Al-Aziz’ 1st Class (Diplomatic Service).


The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has observed that, “Freeman is well-known for his hostility toward Israel, but what’s more substantively troubling about this report is the obvious inappropriateness of hiring a well-known advocate for the interests of Middle Eastern autocracies to produce national intelligence estimates for the Obama Administration … it seems inappropriate to give the job to a Saudi sympathizer as well.” (Jeffrey Goldberg, ‘Saudi Advocate to Run the National Intelligence Council?,’ February 23, 2009).


The Middle East Policy Council headed for the past eleven years by Freeman publishes a quarterly journal, Middle East Policy, which has been filled with articles and editorial notes fervently hostile to Israel. In its Fall 2008 issue, the editor, Anne Joyce perpetuated the veiled anti-Semitic slander that the Iraq war was waged on behalf of Israel. In its Summer 2007 issue, she invested Israel with Nazi-like characteristics by describing Israel’s 1967 capture of the Golan Heights as a “Blitzkrieg.” In its Fall 2006 issue, Middle East Policy published a revised, updated, and unabridged version of the anti-Semitic assault on the pro-Israel advocacy community, by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, ‘The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,’ about which Freeman boasted saying, “No one else in the United States has dared to publish this article, given the political penalties that the Lobby imposes on those who criticize it. So we continue to do important things that are not done by anybody else, which I think fill some gaps.” (‘Building Understanding: The Role of the MEPC: A Conversation with Chas W. Freeman, Jr.,’ Saudi-US Relations Information Service,’ September 20, 2006). The ZOA critiqued in detail the manifold errors, distortions and omissions that disfigure the Walt-Mearsheimer tract at the time, which can be read here).



Some recent statements by Chas W. Freeman:


·         “As long as the United States continues unconditionally to provide the subsidies and political protection that make the Israeli occupation and the high-handed and self-defeating policies it engenders possible, there is little, if any, reason to hope that anything resembling the former peace process can be resurrected. Israeli occupation and settlement of Arab lands is inherently violent … And as long as such Israeli violence against Palestinians continues, it is utterly unrealistic to expect that Palestinians will stand down from violent resistance and retaliation against Israelis.” (Remarks to the 14th Annual US-Arab Policymakers Conference The National Council on US-Arab Relations, Washington, D.C., September 12, 2005).


·         “…[Israel’s] inability to find peace with the Palestinians and other Arabs is the driving factor in the region’s radicalization and anti-Americanism … Demonstrably, Israel excels at war; sadly, it has shown no talent for peace … For the past half decade Israel has enjoyed carte blanche from the United States to experiment with any policy it favored to stabilize its relations with the Palestinians and its other Arab neighbors, including most recently its efforts to bomb Lebanon into peaceful coexistence with it and to smother Palestinian democracy in its cradle … The suspension of the independent exercise of American judgment about what best serves our interests as well as those of Israelis and Arabs has caused the Arabs to lose confidence in the United States as a peace partner … By sad contrast, the American decision to let Israel call the shots in the Middle East has revealed how frightened Israelis now are of their Arab neighbors and how reluctant this fear has made them to risk respectful coexistence with the other peoples of their region … [the 2002 so-called Arab Peace Initiative] would exchange Arab acceptance of Israel and a secure place for the Jewish state in the region for Israeli recognition of Palestinians as human beings with equal weight in the eyes of God, entitled to the same rights of democratic self-determination … Despite the fact that such a peace is so obviously also in Israel’s vital and moral interests, history and the Israeli response to date both strongly suggest that without some tough love from Americans, including especially Israel’s American coreligionists, Israel will not risk the uncertainties of peace. Instead, it will persist in the belief, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that it can gain safety through the officially sanctioned assassination of potential opponents, the terrorization of Arab civilians, and the cluster bombing of neighbors rather than negotiation with them. These policies have not worked; they will not work. But unless they are changed, the Arab peace plan will exceed its shelf life, and Arabs will revert to their previous views that Israel is an ethnomaniacal society with which it is impossible for others to coexist and that peace can be achieved only by Israel’s eventual annihilation, much as the Crusader kingdoms that once occupied Palestine were eventually destroyed. Americans need to be clear about the consequences of continuing our current counterproductive approaches to security in the Middle East. We have paid heavily and often in treasure in the past for our unflinching support and unstinting subsidies of Israel’s approach to managing its relations with the Arabs. Five years ago we began to pay with the blood of our citizens here at home. We are now paying with the lives of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines on battlefields in several regions of the realm of Islam, with more said by our government’s neoconservative mentors to be in prospect.” (‘Remarks to the 15th Annual US-Arab Policymakers Conference,’ Washington, D.C., 31 October 2006).


·         “The problem of terrorism that now bedevils us has its origins in one region – the Middle East. To end this terrorism we must address the issues in the region that give rise to it. Principal among these is the brutal oppression of the Palestinians by an Israeli occupation … American identification with Israeli policy has also become total. Those in the region and beyond it who detest Israeli behavior, which is to say almost everyone, now naturally extend their loathing to Americans. This has had the effect of universalizing anti-Americanism, legitimizing radical Islamism, and gaining Iran a foothold among Sunni as well as Shiite Arabs. For its part, Israel no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians; it strives instead to pacify them. Palestinian retaliation against this policy is as likely to be directed against Israel‘s American backers as against Israel itself. Under the circumstances, such retaliation – whatever form it takes – will have the support or at least the sympathy of most people in the region and many outside it. This makes the long-term escalation of terrorism against the United States a certainty, not a matter of conjecture. The Palestine problem cannot be solved by the use of force; it requires much more than the diplomacy-free foreign policy we have practiced since 9/11. Israel is not only not managing this problem; it is severely aggravating it … Israel has shown – not surprisingly – that, if we offer nothing but unquestioning support and political protection for whatever it does, it will feel no incentive to pay attention to either our interests or our advice. Hamas is showing that if we offer it nothing but unreasoning hostility and condemnation, it will only stiffen its position and seek allies among our enemies … There will be no negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians, no peace, and no reconciliation between them – and there will be no reduction in anti-American terrorism – until we have the courage to act on our interests.” (‘Can American Leadership Be Restored?’ Remarks to the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs Washington, D.C., 24 May 2007).


·         “… we embraced Israel’s enemies as our own; they responded by equating Americans with Israelis as their enemies. We abandoned the role of Middle East peacemaker to back Israel’s efforts to pacify its captive and increasingly ghettoized Arab populations. We wring our hands while sitting on them as the Jewish state continues to seize ever more Arab land for its colonists … Now the United States has brought the Palestinian experience – of humiliation, dislocation, and death – to millions more in Afghanistan and Iraq.”(‘Diplomacy in the Age of Terror, Remarks to the Pacific Council on International Policy The American Academy of Diplomacy,’ Los Angeles, October 4, 2007).


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We are naturally appalled, as are a large number of American Jewish and pro-Israeli groups, that a lobbyist for Saudi and other autocratic Arab interests as well as someone so obviously brimming with hostility against the Jewish state and its supporters should have been invited to occupy this senior intelligence position within the Obama Administration.


“The statements we have cited clearly display Mr. Freeman’s animus and malignant hostility to Israel.


“After Israel recognized the PLO, agreed to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA), gave away half of Judea and Samaria and all of Gaza to Palestinian control, as well as disbursing funds, assets and even arms to the PA, and offered statehood in almost all of the disputed territories, only to receive more terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder in return, Freeman has the gall to assert that Israel has not acted to achieve peace.


“Freeman’s words explicitly justify Palestinian terrorism as reasonable behavior in response to what he calls the “inherently violent” presence of Jews living and building communities in Judea and Samaria. This is nothing less than endorsement of the racist Palestinian agenda that regards the presence of even a single Jew in Judea and Samaria or in a future Palestinian state as unacceptable. Imagine what Freeman would say if it were Israeli policy that all of Israel be forcibly depopulated of Arabs.


“Freeman’s detestation of Israel is evident in his Orwellian language. About a Palestinian polity that insists on the expulsion of every last Jew from a Palestinian state, he has not a word of criticism. But about democratic Israel, which has 20 percent Arab citizenry, complete freedom of religion and full Arab participation in the legislative and judicial arms of government, he speaks of an ‘ethnomaniacal state.’ We note that Freeman has not criticized Saudi Arabia, with whom he retains ties and from whom he accepted in 1994 the Order of ‘King Abd Al-Aziz’ 1st Class (Diplomatic Service), for its complete suppression of freedom of religion, extending even to prohibition on the holding of even private church services among Westerners in the country, the lack of basic rights for women, the promotion of extreme Wahhabi Islamist doctrine, or the routine ban on entry of Jews to the country


“Freeman’s other Orwellian, flat-earth statements about ‘Palestinian democracy’ which he claims Israel seeks to ‘smother,’ or alleged seizure of land for ‘colonists’ are a good indication of his malicious hostility to Israel. In no other case could one imagine Freeman having the temerity to claim that a polity like the PA, in which someone who denounced suicide bombings as a moral obscenity would be strung up and lynched, is a functioning democracy. In no other case could one imagine Freeman referring to a ‘democracy’ when speaking of a regime that, like the PA, incites hatred of Jews and glorifies suicide terrorism in its controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps.


“We are appalled and perturbed that President Obama has turned to this clear apologist for Arab autocracies, facilitator of anti-Semitic smears and vicious defamer of Israel when seeking someone to occupy a senior appointment in our intelligence community. Mistakes occur in government all the time and the correct response must be to acknowledge and fix them. We therefore call upon President Obama to rescind this invitation to Chas W. Freeman.”



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