Lobby versus Hagel (NYT goes after his ‘record on gays’)

Israel/Palestine
on 36 Comments

A friend writes:

The Times today puts a short article about Hagel’s short history of anti-gay comments on p. 19, and highlights it up front. ‘Possible Defense Nominee Faulted for Record on Gays’ The hit is by Mark Landler, not famous for his independence, a reliable gauge of the paper’s unavowed position
on any given issue.

What do they have? Two votes and two comments over 16 years, both of them early on, both typical of the unexcited anti-gay sentiment of soldiers of Hagel’s
generation. Later, Hagel refused to side with his party on legislation banning gay marriage. He said it was a matter for the states.

Jennifer Rubin dances a jig.

Two precedents come to mind. First, the use of Chas Freeman’s dry realist comments on Tiananmen Square to undermine his nomination as head of the
National Intelligence Council in 2009, when the real issue was Israel. Second, the heightened neoliberal concern, circa 2002, regarding Muslim subordination of
women in order to justify the coming wars against Arab states.

Left-wing shibboleths of gender politics are brought in, where convenient, by the Israel lobby and its allies on the American right to discredit persons who
are skeptical of Israeli expansion and American militarism.

Update. Here is Andrew Sullivan on the attack, brilliant. He explains that the Israel lobby is all about tribalism. Notice the profanity at the end. He knows, I know, Chris Matthews knows too. We must all come in the end to the question of religious identity. Thanks to Peter Voskamp.

For many fanatically pro-Israel Jewish-Americans I know, it all comes down in the end to tribalism.

…I am not a tribal gay; I am a person before I am a gay person. I have attacked HRC in the past in a way that would simply be inconceivable for many Jewish Americans and AIPAC. I oppose hate crime laws; I challenged the priority for employment discrimination laws. I backed the Boy Scouts in their freedom. For the vast bulk of the American Jewish Establishment, this is simply incomprehensible. Why would I betray “your people” as one TNR colleague used to ironically call my fellow gays when talking to me. “My people?” It tells you so much about a mindset. The mindset affects all vulnerable minorities, of course, gays included. But the enforcement of it on Israel questions in Washington is striking. And it is profoundly illiberal. It reflexively and even at this point unconsciously puts tribal loyalty before any argument of any kind. It is why the Middle East is so fucked up. And why on the Israel question, Washington is so fucked up as well.

36 Responses

  1. seafoid
    December 21, 2012, 10:34 am

    I think the debate on Hagel should be widened to make room for Queers against Israeli Apartheid

    link to vimeo.com

    The Lobby’s use of GLBT issues to defend apartheid is beyond cynical.

    How tolerant of sexual difference are the Orthodox in the US and Israel?
    How easy is it to be frum and gay in Bnei Brak or NYC ?

    link to anotherfrumgayjew.blogspot.ch

    Something else that came up in a different context today and reminded me of Zionism now

    link to irishtimes.com

    “But the intensification of their rhetoric in recent days may be telling. The use of excessively emotive language is often the hallmark of a group that knows it is losing the battle, resorting instead to increasingly hysterical claims. The position they cling to is archaic, abstruse and culpably inhumane. No amount of disingenuous emotional incontinence can disguise that.”

  2. tokyobk
    December 21, 2012, 11:12 am

    But there is more than one dancing to this tune.

    Progressive Except Palestine does not only describe Zionists who suddenly become champions of women’s and gay rights to laud Israel, but those for whom these are key issues at home but ignored abroad where inconvenient to a critique of the West as the source of all evil.

    Is there any other context than this where Hagel’s comments would be written off by Phil as “just” two, and basically some good old boy humor from a bygone era?

    And, PS I do not think Hagel is necessarily a bad choice or anti-Jewish. Though I hate the term Jewish Lobby, and think he is rightly criticized for using it in the several instances.

    • seanmcbride
      December 21, 2012, 11:48 am

      tokyobk

      Though I hate the term Jewish Lobby, and think he is rightly criticized for using it in the several instances.

      I have attempted to engage you in a conversation about “the Jewish lobby” in several thoughtful comments. I look forward to your responses to my substantive points.

      One can use standard social science methods to determine the level of activity of various ethnic lobbies in American politics. Here are a few of those ethnic lobbies:

      1. African-American lobby
      2. Anglo lobby
      3. Arab lobby
      4. Asian lobby
      5. Brazilian lobby
      6. Chinese lobby
      7. Cuban lobby
      8. Dutch lobby
      9. German lobby
      10. Greek lobby
      11. Iranian lobby
      12. Irish lobby
      13. Italian lobby
      14. Japanese lobby
      15. Jewish lobby
      16. Korean lobby
      17. Latino lobby
      18. Mexican lobby
      19. Polish lobby
      20. Russian lobby
      21. Swedish lobby
      22. Swiss lobby
      23. Turkish lobby

      I have no problem with discussing the activities of the Irish lobby — Peter King would be an example of a leading member of the Irish lobby. But you seem to have a problem with discussing the activities of the Jewish lobby. Why?

      An example of a social science/content analytic metric for graphing the relative level of activity of American ethnic lobbies:

      sort ethnic groups by number of ethnocentric or ethnic nationalist oped articles in the Washington Post from 2000 through 2012.

      • tokyobk
        December 21, 2012, 1:07 pm

        Hi Sean,

        I think in each of the cases above the term is ridiculously inaccurate and object to them for the exact same reason I think the term “Jewish Lobby” is both inaccurate and superfluous. Israel Lobby works just fine.

        There is no such thing as an African American or Japanese or Irish Lobby.
        The terms are lazy at best.

      • tokyobk
        December 21, 2012, 1:20 pm

        … and the idea of -The- Korean Lobby, is really sloppy.

      • seanmcbride
        December 21, 2012, 6:39 pm

        tokyobk,

        There is no such thing as an African American or Japanese or Irish Lobby.

        By taking the position that there is no such thing as a Jewish lobby in American politics — an impossible position to defend, because the real world is overflowing with concrete evidence that a wealthy and powerful Jewish lobby does actually exist — you have backed yourself into the corner of making even more indefensible claims concerning the well-known and well-understood existence of other ethnic lobbies, including the Irish lobby, the Arab lobby, the Turkish lobby, the Armenian lobby, the Saudi lobby, etc.

        Why are you doing this to yourself? I don’t get it. All you need to do is Google [*ethnicity lobby] for each of the ethnic groups I mentioned, and your cup will floweth over.

        For instance, if I Google [irish lobby], I immediately turn up the Wikipedia entry for “Irish American lobby”:

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        The Irish American lobby is the loose coalition of groups and individuals who influence United States policy in both foreign and domestic affairs in support of causes related to Ireland and Irish American interests.

        The main issues that have concerned the Irish American lobby historically have been support for Irish independence, support for the unification of Ireland, support for Catholic parochial schools, and winning increased quotas for immigration form Ireland. In areas with large Irish populations, the Irish lobby has worked through the Democratic Party.

        No Irish American is crazy enough to deny the existence of an Irish lobby in American politics — most of them have had direct contact or experience with it in one way or another.

        Why are you in denial about the existence of the Jewish lobby? Are you afraid that American Jews will be held responsible for the policies that the Jewish lobby has promoted in American politics?

        Are you trying to claim that the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which represents more than fifty constituent member organizations of the Jewish lobby, isn’t really the leading public face of the Jewish lobby? That it should replace the word “Jewish” with “Israeli” in its name?

        Is the ADL or AJC (American Jewish Committee) primarily a member of the Israel lobby or the Jewish lobby? Answer: the Jewish lobby.

        And if this were not enough, the Jewish establishment itself has erased all meaningful distinctions between Jews and Israelis — Jews worldwide are now considered to be members of “Israel” (in quotes) — a sort of mystical transnational entity based on ancient Torah myths and doctrines which is restricted by no conventional borders. From this ideological perspective, the Jewish lobby and the Israel lobby are one and the same thing: Israel = “the Jews” — a messianic global ethnic collective.

        Don’t complain to me about the doctrine: I didn’t invent it, I don’t promote it and I don’t believe in it.

      • MLE
        December 21, 2012, 10:16 pm

        There is an African American lobby- NAACP. Except, that African Americans are American citizens and do not represent anything that would deter American foreign policy, especially one that benefits another country.

        The only other ethnic lobby I can think of is the Cubans in Florida, and they’re opposed to the the current Cuban government.

      • Mooser
        December 21, 2012, 1:18 pm

        “I have attempted to engage you in a conversation about “the Jewish lobby” in several thoughtful comments. I look forward to your responses to my substantive points.”

        Gosh, can’t ask for anything fairer than that, and put very nicely and politely. Tokyobk, don’t you feel you owe the man some response?

      • tokyobk
        December 21, 2012, 3:13 pm

        Sure thing. See below.
        Just got busy and never came back to the thread.
        My basic point is the term is sloppy, superfluous and has a bad history of use by people whose agenda was not pro human rights but anti-Jewish.
        Israel Lobby works just fine.

      • seanmcbride
        December 22, 2012, 1:54 pm

        tokyobk,

        From the Israeli newspaper Ynet News in 2005:

        Israel’s true power lies with JEWISH LOBBY in U.S., Nahum Barnea and Shimon Shiffer write

        No JEWISH LOBBY has more political power than the 100,000-strong AIPAC organization.

        This power is one of Israel’s greatest global assets. The real Dimona, if you will.

        link to ynetnews.com

        It’s interesting how often the Israeli media spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, regarding the existence of a certain non-existent lobby. Perhaps they have an antisemitic agenda? :)

        Are many members of the Israel lobby not Jewish? Of course. Are many Jews not members of the Israel lobby? Of course. Is the Jewish lobby the lead player in the Israel lobby? Without a doubt.

        Do antisemites try to exploit the fact that the Jewish lobby is the lead player in the Israel lobby to try to incite antisemitism? That is undeniably true — and they should be strongly opposed. But while opposing antisemitism we can’t check our brains at the door and pretend that the Jewish lobby doesn’t exist, or fail to notice that Jewish pro-Israel activists, who are strongly associated with the Jewish lobby, have led the charge to destroy Chuck Hagel and to push Americans into a war against Iran.

      • piotr
        December 21, 2012, 1:27 pm

        So you are not Scot or Scot-Irish, McBride?

      • seanmcbride
        December 21, 2012, 7:12 pm

        piotr,

        So you are not Scot or Scot-Irish, McBride?

        To the best of my knowledge, no, but they are quite a formidable people and certainly have a major presence on the American scene. In my experience, most of them have been fully assimilated into American culture — they aren’t aggressively lobbying for the interests of their ancestral homeland, after the manner of William Kristol and the Conference of Presidents (whose full name we shouldn’t pronounce for fear of being accused of trafficking in antisemitism).

      • tokyobk
        December 21, 2012, 1:43 pm

        Sean,

        Sorry I was not avoiding you. Never came back to that thread.

        Your definition :”The Jewish lobby is the worldwide social, organizational, political, financial, cultural and propaganda network that lobbies for Jewish interests.”

        Of course there are networks of Jews with various interests, including Israel. There is no unified network advancing Jewish interests. And frankly “financial and political network” really does get you into ugly company.

        Its sloppy and dangerous thinking, and one with a bad history.

        Why is this useful inquiry to you anyway?

        What service does “Israel Lobby” not provide for you?

      • tokyobk
        December 21, 2012, 5:02 pm

        And also, Sean.

        This is not just lazy thinking, it is exactly what the Jihad Watch people do to all things Islam.

      • seanmcbride
        December 23, 2012, 12:04 am

        tokyobk,

        Isn’t it a fact that the worldwide Jewish establishment, including the worldwide Jewish religious establishment (mainstream Judaism), has completely erased all distinctions between “the Jews” and Zionism? There really is little distinction these days between the Jewish lobby and the Israel lobby — thanks to the activities and propaganda of the Israeli government and the worldwide Jewish establishment.

        I am trying to be helpful in pointing this out. The Jewish community has the power to change this situation if it so chooses. I am urging it to do so before it falls deeper into a trap from which it might not be able to escape. I see it marching full speed into that trap as we speak. Sometimes I am fairly good at making predictions about large historical and strategic trends. I trust my analysis of this situation.

        I am offering this advice not because I am a wonderful and noble altruist, but because I think the trap that the Jewish establishment is falling into will also drag in the United States and all Americans — including myself. My motives are largely selfish.

        Bottom line: the Jewish community needs to start dealing with the current complexion and agenda of the Jewish lobby. That lobby must be explicitly and clearly named, and effectively challenged. You can’t challenge it if you don’t acknowledge its existence.

    • flyod
      December 21, 2012, 12:03 pm

      yes, women’s rights in israel;

      link to haaretz.com

    • Cliff
      December 21, 2012, 12:17 pm

      tokyobk

      Is Hagel on the level of Fred Phelps to you via gay rights?

      Is gay rights more important to you than foreign policy? Do you think people value one or the other more?

      I think they do. I think we all do. Some people care more about the economy.

      ‘Domestic issues.’

      Do you think pointing out that the New York Times – with a track record of subtle pro-Israel propaganda and framing (with close attention paid to language; example: Isabel Kershner and the legality of the settlements) – is focusing on the supposed anti-gay views to bolster the overall Zionist attack on Hagel does not merit reporting on an anti-Zionist website?

      I don’t think there is any equivalency. There is a rhetorical equivalency that leads nowhere.

      Pro-Israel types love to issue equivalencies – whether it’s praising the ‘resilient’ Israeli Jewish democracy juxtaposed against the Arab dictatorships (blanket generalization; as if you know anything about the ME outside of Israel) and so on and so forth.

      Do you think there are perfect candidates? Who are good on every issue?

      The point behind PEP is that a progressive should be progressive on Palestine.

      Hagel is not a liberal. People in the Palestinian solidarity camp seem to like him for his common sense attitude toward Israel. I think it’s also important to examine political stands relative to the political culture.

      Do you think it’s revolutionary to advocate gay rights in America? (rhetorical question, of course it is NOT – gay rights is mainstream in terms of activism in our political culture – gay rights advocacy is VISIBLE).

      The same is not true for Palestinian rights and recognizing that the Jewish State is a Jewish colony.

      Stop equivocating like a child.

    • Donald
      December 21, 2012, 12:56 pm

      I’m fine with people opposing Hagel on gay rights grounds. At a minimum, he should be asked to tell us whether he still holds those views and if so, how he could be expected to run the Pentagon if he does.

      But I also think that people are going to be looking hard for any reason they can find to shoot this guy down. The visibility of the non-existent Israel lobby is getting embarrassing and it would be so convenient if he could be eliminated for consideration on other grounds.

      Incidentally, if you want an example of someone conflating Judaism with lobbies for Israel, I give you Jeffrey Goldberg, whose latest column at the Atlantic contains this statement–

      “Do you think Stephen Walt is going to suddenly like Jews when Jewish groups lose whatever political influence they have? ”

      Chuck Hagel and the Jews

      • tokyobk
        December 21, 2012, 5:42 pm

        Its interesting because Walt has been pretty clear in using Israel Lobby and not Jewish lobby for the very reason he understands the tainted history of that term and does not want it to blunt his ability to write about the Israel Lobby.

  3. tokyobk
    December 21, 2012, 1:15 pm

    Is Hagel on the level of Fred Phelps to you via gay rights?

    –Not at all. I don’t think Hagel is particularly anti gay or anti Jewish.

    –I think self styled liberals also display traits of being Progressive Except Palestine (and other struggles they frame as West vs Natives).

    Is gay rights more important to you than foreign policy? Do you think people value one or the other more?

    I think they do. I think we all do. Some people care more about the economy.

    — I agree. Its part of my point here about minimizing Hagel’s mildly homophobic remarks. Phil would not do it in other cases.

    ‘Domestic issues.’

    Do you think pointing out that the New York Times – with a track record of subtle pro-Israel propaganda and framing (with close attention paid to language; example: Isabel Kershner and the legality of the settlements) – is focusing on the supposed anti-gay views to bolster the overall Zionist attack on Hagel does not merit reporting on an anti-Zionist website?

    — I think it merits pointing out here (is MW officially anti Zionist btw?) as does my comment.

    I don’t think there is any equivalency. There is a rhetorical equivalency that leads nowhere.

    —Some Progressives give Hamas a pass or roll their eyes when someone mentions their charter.

    Pro-Israel types love to issue equivalencies – whether it’s praising the ‘resilient’ Israeli Jewish democracy juxtaposed against the Arab dictatorships (blanket generalization; as if you know anything about the ME outside of Israel) and so on and so forth.

    –Can only answer for myself. I realize that anything outside of the echo chamber or in disagreement here is taken as pro-Israel and Zionist. I am happy to discuss anything with you but would prefer you not lump me into any category meant to shut down conversation.

    Do you think there are perfect candidates? Who are good on every issue?

    –I don’t think Hagel is a bad candidate. I would like to see this government forced to the table and not given unconditional passes when the US is supporting their existence. I think Netanyahu tried to mess with Obama and its expected that there will be a slap back.

    The point behind PEP is that a progressive should be progressive on Palestine.

    –Yes, I agree but progressives align themselves and excuse all kinds of non-progressive things in Palestine and in other movements to which they are sympathetic.

    Hagel is not a liberal. People in the Palestinian solidarity camp seem to like him for his common sense attitude toward Israel. I think it’s also important to examine political stands relative to the political culture.

    Do you think it’s revolutionary to advocate gay rights in America? (rhetorical question, of course it is NOT – gay rights is mainstream in terms of activism in our political culture – gay rights advocacy is VISIBLE).

    The same is not true for Palestinian rights and recognizing that the Jewish State is a Jewish colony.

    Stop equivocating like a child.

    • Cliff
      December 21, 2012, 4:00 pm

      tokyobk said:

      Some Progressives give Hamas a pass or roll their eyes when someone mentions their charter.

      Really? Here is how it really happens:

      Discussion topic: Israel commits some crime or kills Palestinian civilian or ethnically cleanses a group of Palestinians

      Responses:
      *Anti-Zionists (or people simply critical of the Israel as per the topic at hand) discuss the issue

      *In mitigating the bad PR, pro-Israel commentator side-steps the topic and shoots straight for the Hamas charter usually accompanied by such other textbook Zionist memes as, ‘Hamas wants to destroy Israel’ or ‘blah blah suicide bombing’ or ‘Palestinians refused Olmert’s generous offer’ or ‘the Wall was built only to defend against suicide bombing’ or ‘in 1948 Israel was attacked by six Arab armies’ or ‘rockets blah blah on S’Derot’ or whatever else.

      The ‘Hamas charter’ meme is used in response to criticism of Israel’s physical actions.

      So people like you, tokyobk, want to put a charter (an idea or words written by some guy whose name none of the Zionist cyber-warrior zombies know) on the same level as however many Palestinians killed or Palestinians evicted and so on and so forth.

      Defending Israel online means defending Zionism or the IDF or the settlers or the Israeli government, etc.

      I have never seen anything outside those general guidelines.

      I have never seen any MW anti-Zionist defend Hamas’s charter or suicide bombing or rockets on S’Derot or the PLO or plane hijacking or whatever-the-****-else amounts to partisan hackery.

      I think anti-Zionism is at worst on the same rhetorical level as a Zionist defending Zionism. But even then, you could be a follower of Christian liberation theology and defend the rights of indigenous people. Your motivation can be ideological – sometimes the articulated political views of the ideological are reasonable and humanistic.

      I think ideologies like Zionism will never be humanistic or reasonable. Just like Manifest Destiny can never be.

      So that’s why there is only a slight rhetorical equivocation. The supposed ‘rolling of the eyes’ or impatience with the ‘Hamas charter’ meme is due to the anti-colonialist core thinking behind anti-Zionism. And that charter will never oppress you and your fellow Zionists as you PHYSICALLY, IN ACTION, ACTIVELY (get the point?) oppress Palestinians with Zionism.

      Idea vs. Idea – what’s more oppressive? The stupid worthless charter (AS IF IT IS NECESSARY FOR AN ISLAMIST GROUP to actually have to write out that it wants to destroy the occupying power)

      Or colonialism and the power differential and the constant land theft – all predicated on Zionism (YOUR idea/your ‘charter’)

  4. chinese box
    December 21, 2012, 1:20 pm

    Well posters on some of the “Democratic” forums are buying the gay angle hook, line, and sinker. Of course the real issues don’t matter to them, only whether someone has a “D” or an “R” after their name…they only care that their sports team wins.

    The whole gay rights/democracy/women’s rights argument smacks of neocolonialism to me. It reminds me of when various groups tried to hitch women/hijab-wearing issues onto terrorism fears after 9/11. I’m in favor of these things but the fact is a western country was plopped into the Middle East and now we expect it to influence these other countries so that can become more like us. And, besides, it’s not even working. Where is the evidence that Israel’s vaunted “democracy” is influencing the governance style of the surrounding countries? If anything, Israel has been moving in an anti-democratic direction for years now.

    We’ve seen all this before. The Shah’s regime was somewhat “western” and permissive socially. It didn’t last because it was just another a case of putting lipstick on a pig. If change comes to these societies, it has to come organically from internal movements within them, not from the putative influence of US client states in the region.

  5. Mooser
    December 21, 2012, 1:21 pm

    “gay rights is mainstream in terms of activism in our political culture”

    Yup, that’s very true! After all, people can switch more than their religions, you know, and some day my prince will come, and when that happens, I don’t want any impediments to the course, of course.

  6. piotr
    December 21, 2012, 1:38 pm

    Desperate times need desperate tactics, but I do not see how this dog may hunt. Hagel seems shoe-in. He is what non-neocon Washington establishment loves: bipartisan moderate. From geographic center of USA. Senate Democrats swallowed him, even Schumer and other ardent Zionists (who are not extremists like Abrams and his ilk). Now we hear news that can secure him some precious Republican votes.

    It reminds me when fiscal zealots were advocating “privitization of Social Security” and they invented a clever argument that because Blacks have lower life expectancy, current Social Security is unfair for Blacks. So they lost some White Southern votes (why should we can the only federal program that gives White folks a fair shake?).

    Of course, it is absolutely legitimate to ask Hagel during confirmation hearings how will he approach the issues of gay soldiers. Or how he would approach the issues of the treatment of military detainees like Manning Bradley who is gay and who was sexually humiliated (under current liberal Secretary of Defense).

  7. seafoid
    December 21, 2012, 2:38 pm

    At some time in the future jewish lobby will hopefully refer to a style of hotel entrance.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    December 21, 2012, 3:20 pm

    RE: “Lobby versus Hagel (NYT goes after his ‘record on gays’)”

    ● RELEVANT PETITION: Urging the Obama administration to nominate Hagel and fight for his confirmation.
    TO SIGN - link to petitions.whitehouse.gov

    ● RELEVANT FACEBOOK PAGE: Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense
    TO “LIKE” – link to facebook.com

  9. DICKERSON3870
    December 21, 2012, 3:33 pm

    RE: Two precedents come to mind. First, the use of Chas Freeman’s dry realist comments on Tiananmen Square to undermine his nomination as head of the National Intelligence Council in 2009, when the real issue was Israel. ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: The Neocons and the pro-Israel lobby also faulted Freeman back in 2009 for being too cozy with the Saudis. But then just a couple of years later, they did a complete volte-face and urged the Obama administration to be more supportive of Saudi Arabia!

    • SEE: “Arab winter: Israel has urged US to intervene to prop up Saudi monarchy”, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 05/01/11:

    Americans ought to know they are now also to be politically obligated to defend the House of Saud. From the ‘Wall Street Journal’, Ted Koppel carries the water from Jerusalem:
    The Israeli government is so concerned that America’s adversaries may miscalculate U.S. intentions that it is privately urging Washington to make it clear that the U.S. would intervene in Saudi Arabia should the survival of that government be threatened. . .”

    SOURCE – link to mondoweiss.net

    • AND SEE: “With Egypt, Turkey Lost as Israeli Allies, Where to Turn?”, By Richard Silverstein, 9/12/11:

    (excerpt) To Saudi Arabia, perhaps? That’s right, the birthplace of most of the 9/11 hijackers and ancient birthplace of Islam. A religion that Bibi, his followers, and more importantly, his father detest. One of the most conservative monarchies in the world. That’s where Bibi sees Israel’s next alliance according to Aluf Benn in Haaretz:
    Netanyahu now hopes that Israel might be able to get close with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States, who also seek to block the possibility of an Arab Spring in the region…

    SOURCE – link to richardsilverstein.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      December 21, 2012, 3:55 pm

      P.S. RE: The Neocons and the pro-Israel lobby also faulted Freeman [a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia] back in 2009 for being too cozy with the Saudis. – me (above)

      FROM WIKIPEDIA [Charles W. Freeman, Jr.]:

      [EXCERPTS] Charles W. (“Chas”) Freeman, Jr. (born 1943) is an American diplomat, author, and writer. . .
      . . . On February 26, 2009 the Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair named Freeman as chair of the National Intelligence Council,[13] which culls intelligence from sixteen US agencies and compiles them into National Intelligence Estimates. Blair cited his “diverse background in defense, diplomacy and intelligence.”[14]
      News of Freeman’s nomination met with criticism from a number of pro-Israel commentators of his views about Israel and Arab nations and his ties to Saudi Arabia, with Steve J. Rosen, a former top official with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conducting the “opening salvo” according to professor John Mearsheimer.[1][15][16][17][18] The Zionist Organization of America called for rescinding “the reported appointment.”[19] U.S. Representative Steve Israel wrote to the Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence calling for an investigation of Freeman’s “relationship with the Saudi government” given his “prejudicial public statements” against the state of Israel.[20] All seven Republican members of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence signed a letter raising “concerns about Mr. Freeman’s lack of experience and uncertainty about his objectivity.”[7][21] . . .
      . . . Freeman then issued a full statement on his reasons for withdrawal, stating, “I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country;” he identified the country as Israel. He questioned whether the “outrageous agitation” following the leak of his pending appointment meant that the Obama administration would be able to make independent decisions “about the Middle East and related issues.” He cited especially interference by Israel supporters, writing:
      “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. The tactics of the Israel lobby plumb the depths of dishonour and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the wilful 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 favours.” —Charles W. Freeman[24][25]

      After his withdrawal Freeman gave an interview to Robert Dreyfuss in The Nation saying he regretted he did not identify his attackers as “right-wing Likud in Israel and its fanatic supporters here,” what he called the “(Avigdor) Lieberman lobby.” He also said that if President Obama had stepped in earlier he might have deflected attacks by Democrats, but that he and the National Intelligence Council still “would have been subjected to a slanderous attack,” making it impossible for him to do the job. He said these attacks were as the “Chinese say, killing a chicken to scare the monkeys,” to dissuade other critics of Israel from accepting government positions, but he had received messages from a number of Jews who also disagreed with Israel’s policies.[26] . . .

      In an interview with Fareed Zakaria on CNN[27] he repeated many of the same points, adding a defense of past comments about the September 11 attacks, saying US past actions had “catalyzed — perhaps not caused, but catalyzed — a radicalization of Arab and Muslim politics that facilitates the activities of terrorists with global reach.” He stated he was “deeply insulted” by those charging antisemitism and that he had a “great respect for Judaism and its adherents.” He also said Saudi Arabia has “definitely been successfully vilified in our politics,” despite efforts by the current Saudi king to reform his country and promote peace with Israel. . .

      SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org.

    • DICKERSON3870
      December 21, 2012, 4:07 pm

      P.P.S. ALSO RE: The Neocons and the pro-Israel lobby also faulted Freeman [a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia] back in 2009 for being too cozy with the Saudis. – me (above)

      SEE: “So What if Charles Freeman Served in Saudi Arabia?”, by American Bedu, 3/02/09
      LINK – link to americanbedu.com

  10. DICKERSON3870
    December 21, 2012, 4:19 pm

    RE: “For many fanatically pro-Israel Jewish-Americans I know, it all comes down in the end to tribalism. . . The mindset affects all vulnerable minorities, of course, gays included. But the enforcement of it on Israel questions in Washington is striking. And it is profoundly illiberal. It reflexively and even at this point unconsciously puts tribal loyalty before any argument of any kind.” ~ Andrew Sullivan

    MY COMMENT: Yes it certainly is “profoundly illiberal” and it also helps to illustrate why I fear that Revisionist Zionism and Likudnik Israel (specifically by virtue of their inordinate sway over the U.S.) might very well be an “existential threat” to the values of The Enlightenment [like “the right of free speech”] ! ! !

    OTHER EXAMPLES OF ILLIBERALITY
    “How We Became Israel”, By Andrew J. Bacevich, The American Conservative, 9/10/12
    LINK – link to theamericanconservative.com
    ‘Israelis are helping write US laws, fund US campaigns, craft US war policy’, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 6/30/12
    LINK – link to mondoweiss.net
    “America Adopts the Israel Paradigm”, by Philip Ghiraldi, Antiwar.com, 7/05/12
    LINK – link to original.antiwar.com
    “Report: Israeli model underlies militarization of U.S. police”, By Muriel Kane, Raw Story, 12/04/11
    LINK – link to rawstory.com
    “David Yerushalmi, Islam-Hating White Supremacist Inspires Anti-Sharia Bills Sweeping Tea Party Nation”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 3/02/11
    LINK – link to richardsilverstein.com
    “Boston airport security program rife with racial profiling has Israeli links”, by Alex Kane, Mondoweiss, 8/14/12
    LINK – link to mondoweiss.net

  11. W.Jones
    December 21, 2012, 5:17 pm

    So the NYT is siding with the conservatives instead of with even Jstreet and the liberal religio-nationalists on Hagel?

  12. DICKERSON3870
    December 21, 2012, 5:44 pm

    RE: “The Times today puts a short article about Hagel’s short history of anti-gay comments on p. 19, and highlights it up front. . . Jennifer Rubin dances a jig.”

    MY COMMENT: As if the Neocons give a damn about gay rights!

    SEE: “Rachel Podhoretz Decter Abrams’s Gay Problem — And Ours, by Daniel Luban, LobeLog.com, 7/13/10

    [EXCERPTS] Eli and Ali have been doing great reporting on the Emergency Committee for Israel, the new Likudnik group that has formed to attack Democrats on Israel. Many of the group’s principals will be familiar — Bill Kristol, of course, needs no introduction . . .
    . . . One figure who has received less attention is the group’s fourth principal, Rachel Abrams — wife of Elliott Abrams, daughter of Midge Decter, stepdaughter of Norman Podhoretz.
    This is a shame, because she is almost certainly the craziest of the lot.
    I must confess that when I began reading her blog, I was primarily looking for evidence of her Revisionist Zionism. And, to be sure, such evidence is not in short supply. . .
    . . . But as I continued reading Rachel Abrams’s writings, what jumped out at me was not so much her predictably crazy views about Israel, but her strange obsession with (and apparent hostility to) homosexuality. This first jumped out at me in her response to Peter Beinart’s New York Review of Books essay, a long rant in which Abrams pretends to write in Beinart’s voice. While most of her Beinart “parody” is devoted to accusations that he is insufficiently devoted to the state of Israel, a large chunk of it is spent on rather bizarre and gratuitous insinuations that Beinart is gay. Thus she has fake-Beinart complaining, about a focus group of Jewish students, that “an insufficient number were gay and too many were broads,” and espousing his support for “open debate that of course excludes those who would advance anti-feminist or anti-gay or pro-Israel argument”. (It’s striking that she equates “pro-Israel” with “anti-feminist” and “anti-gay” arguments.) Then she has fake-Beinart condemning Orthodox Jews for homophobia before defensively reasserting his own heterosexuality: “they condemn gays, though I want to reassert that I have children,” a trope that she repeats throughout the piece. One has to wonder why she is so intent to insist that Beinart is gay, as if this fact would have any relevance whatsoever to the content of his piece.
    I was initially inclined to dismiss Abrams’s homophobic attack on Beinart as simply a failed and sophomoric attempt at humor, but the more of her writing I read, the more I noticed that this strange obsession with homosexuality seems to be a recurring feature of it. For instance, in a post claiming that Christopher Hitchens is “giving homosexuality a bad name,” and professing disinterest in the sexual pasts of “old Tory buggers,” Abrams writes:
    Wherever one stands on the homosexuality question—I’m agnostic, or would be if the “gay community” would quit trying to shove legislation down my throat—there can be no denying bisexuality’s double betrayal—you never know, whether you’re the man of the hour or the woman . . .

    . . . Similarly, Abrams is deeply offended by the Obama administrations’ human rights policy, but her complaint goes beyond the standard neocon one that Obama is not aggressive enough in pushing regime change against Israel’s rivals — what’s really galling is that the administration has identified LGBT rights in the U.S. as an important human rights issue. She froths that it’s Hillary “Clinton’s fawning speech in honor of ‘Pride Month,’ which she delivered the other day to members of the ‘LGBT community’ who have fanned out from the mother-ship of state, as it were…that’s the truly breathtaking expression of this perversion of a policy.” For telling this quote-unquote community such wildly controversial statements as “human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights,” Clinton is responsible for this “perversion” — I can’t imagine the word choice is accidental — of a policy.
    I could go on. There’s her speculation, for instance, that the problems of the Afghan war originate in the rampant homosexuality of Pashtun males, which leads Abrams onto a long tangent about homosexuality among the ancient Greeks, concluding: “those ancient elitist pedophiles and narcissists, disturbingly fascinating as they are, will seem to many in our armed forces to have been people doing and suffering things that are very ‘base’ indeed.” There’s yet another rant about the Obama administration’s focus on LGBT rights, which she excoriates as an abandonment of America’s traditional “embracing of the rights of ordinary men and women,” (as opposed to perverts, presumably). There’s the way that Abrams throws a gratuitous warning about “a profitable surge in gay-couples-therapy sessions, as gay marriage, and divorce, become commonplace—nay, even humdrum” into an article on a completely unrelated topic. But you get the picture. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to lobelog.com

  13. Shingo
    December 21, 2012, 6:36 pm

    Jennifer Rubin dances a jig.

    The best part is reading the comments. Just about all of them are rebukig and ridiculing Rubin as a nut case.

    This could well backfire!!

  14. Donald
    December 21, 2012, 11:12 pm

    I subjected myself to Rachel Maddow tonight. She spent some time on Hagel. She talked about the gay issue, which is fair. She talked about DailyKos, which is relatively trivial. She said the Republicans opposed him. She said nada, zilch, zip, zero about Iran or Israel. It was mentioned on the PBS Newshour. Not by her.

    You can see how the gay issue is going to be used in her case. It’s an important issue and should be discussed, but she’s using it to distract attention from the issues she clearly doesn’t want to touch. Or anyway that’s what it looked like to me.

  15. mcohen
    December 22, 2012, 4:58 am

    how to win an election -in the usa-show some courage weiss and publish this

    Currently run by Michael P. McCarthy, the McCarthy Group is a venture capital and long-term investment banking firm throughout most of America. While this in itself does not make the company particularly newsworthy, its connections to big business, the Republican Party, and perhaps most importantly, voting technology, demands that it be viewed with more scrutiny.

    Ok, so a long time ago when voting machines first became popular in America, a number of companies stepped up to the challenge of designing, programming, and instituting technology to smooth out the voting process. One of these companies was Data Mark, which later branched off a subsidiary, American Information Systems. Throughout the early 1970s and into the 1980s, these companies operated relatively independently of each other (though many of the same executives worked for both companies), competitive but not overly so, since government contracts ensured that all were paid handsomely for their efforts. The first signs of impropriety occurred in the system when Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel won his seat in 1996, while he was currently CEO of American Information Systems, the same company that provided the machines he was voted into office with. His campaign treasurer? Michael McCarthy.

    While no tampering or wrongdoing was ever discovered, Hagel stepped down from his executive position, replaced by Mark Urosevich, a former CEO of Data Mark. At the same time, AIS underwent a largely cosmetic name change to Election Systems & Software. Their primary owner remained the McCarthy Group, overseen by McCarthy, whose ties to the Republican party extended well beyond merely helping out his buddy Hagel’s campaign. The McCarthy Group also owns large pieces of several Republican-backed firms, including Halliburton, The Williams Company, and the Ahmanson Group, a group particularly noted less for its finances than its politics – Howard Ahmanson, the founder of the group, is a Christian reconstructionist, believing America should revert to a theocracy in order to save itself from destruction.

    In 1997, the McCarthy Group entered into a joint trust with Omaha World-Herald for ownership of ES&S. Interestingly, World Marketing Incorporated, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Omaha World-Herald, is one of the primary investors in the McCarthy Group. The cycle continues …

    On a personal note, as a student at the George Bush School of Government and Public Policy at Texas A&M University (headed by Robert Gates, former CIA director and long-time member of the Council for National Policy, far-right think tank of the Reagan administration), I get to meet a lot of captivating and interesting conservative speakers who make their way to special conferences here. From Dan Quayle to Newt Gingrich to the former President himself, they’ve all come down and given a speech or two and done Q&A with us political science students. These occasions are usually pretty stiff and formal, and certainly nobody threw any “potatoe” jokes at the former Veep when he was here. There was one exception to this: P.E. Esping.

    Esping is a businessman from Dallas who was here to discuss new corporate laws and their effect on the economy (long story short: business is good). But apparently (and unbeknownst to me) Esping used to be CEO of Business Records Corporation, which was bought up in 1997 during the Election Systems & Software trust deal. This company, owned by Cronus Industries (the main money of the Hunt oil company – needless to say, this all gets convoluted rather quickly, but trust me, it’s a lot of money and it’s conservative to the core.) and thus Esping had direct contact with the (ultimately secretive) owners and executives of the Omaha World-Herald, ES&S, and the McCarthy Group. One inflamed member of the crowd began throwing all kinds of accusations at Esping, asking how much it would cost “to buy a vote” and “who owns the voting machines” and all sorts of vitriol. Esping laughed nervously at first, but apparently his Texas pride got the best of him, and he spewed back some really banal but interesting comments about fighting “liberalism at all fronts” and whatnot. After the spectator had been (rightfully) removed for interrupting the proceedings, Esping made a very simple but chilling comment: “Lucky for us that THOSE people don’t own the voting machines.”

    • Mooser
      December 23, 2012, 3:13 pm

      “how to win an election -in the usa-show some courage weiss and publish this”

      Why does it take courage to garner a “hit” (they’re all the same) and allow you to make a fool of yourself? Hell, I’d be eager to do it, and I’m one of the world’s biggest cowards!

      BTW, mcohen, there’s no link. Did you write that all yourself? Good muck-raking skills from forty years ago!!

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