Tags: obama | israel | freeman

Report: Obama Taps Israel Critic For Intel Council

Sunday, 22 Feb 2009 08:32 PM

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The respected Foreign Policy magazine's Web site column "The Cable" reported last week that President Barack Obama is set to appoint a fierce critic of Israel to his National Intelligence Council.

The web site reported: "Sources tell The Cable that Chas W. Freeman, Jr., the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, will become chairman of the National Intelligence Council, the intelligence community's primary big-think shop and the lead body in producing national intelligence estimates."

The Cable quoted Freeman as telling associates that "he will occasionally accompany Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair to give the president his daily intelligence briefing."

The choice of Freeman, who will reportedly play a key role in shaping U.S. intelligence estimates, has pro-Israel groups in a tizzy.

Israel’s Arutz Sheva news agency detailed some of Freeman's policy remarks relating to Israel.

In a 2007 speech before the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, Freeman blamed Israel for the strife in the region: "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."

Arutz Sheva also says that Freeman is a strong advocate of talking to Hamas. The agency quotes Freeman as stating that Hamas "is the only democratically-elected government in the Arab world."

The agency quoted another speech, also made in 2007, to Pacific Council on International Policy, in which Freeman reportedly said: "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. This has convinced most Palestinians that Israel cannot be appeased and is persuading increasing numbers of them that a two-state solution is infeasible. It threatens Israelis with an unwelcome choice between a democratic society and a Jewish identity for their state. Now the United States has brought the Palestinian experience – of humiliation, dislocation, and death – to millions more in Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel and the United States each have our reasons for what we are doing, but no amount of public diplomacy can persuade the victims of our policies that their suffering is justified, or spin away their anger, or assuage their desire for reprisal and revenge.”

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