THE BLOG
02/23/2009 02:13 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Lobby Out To Defeat Obama Appointment: Too Evenhanded

This is getting good. Laura Rozen was first to report that the Obama administration wants to appoint Charles Freeman, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, as head of the National Intelligence Council. which synthesizes all intelligence information, makes sense out of it, and delivers it to the President.

Jim Lobe explains why the job is important and why Freeman is a good choice for it.

But here's the problem. The lobby HATES Freeman. It considers Freeman anti-Israel because he has repeatedly indicated that he believes that successive Israeli governments deserve their share of blame for sinking the peace process. He does not toe the line.

So they have to stop him. First salvo came from indicted for espionage former AIPAC spook Steve Rosen (spook as in spooky, I don't know if he was a spy. I do know that the dude is spooky). Then the JTA (the authoritative Jewish Telegraphic Agency) gave the more-or-less official view of Freeman. And now another hit from the indicted Rosen saying that Freeman is on the take!

Now Jeff Goldberg, not part of the lobby but with a similar world view, weighs in.

There will be a lot more. And, in the end, Freeman probably won't get the job.

That is how it worked when Admiral Bobby Inman was nominated for Secretary of Defense by President Clinton. William Safire thought him to be anti-Israel. Pretty soon, somehow, everyone was hearing that he was crooked and gay, and bingo, he was out.

I don't know much about Freeman. But I do know this. No one is ever disqualified from high office from being too close to Israel. Martin Indyk came to this country from his native Australia to work for Steve Rosen at AIPAC. Pretty soon he was an Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East and then ambassador to Israel. Indyk got the jobs despite his AIPAC ties and was damn good at them. In fact, the Clinton administration's entire "peace team" was close to Israel and AIPAC.

So what if Freeman is close to the Saudis. Why should that disqualify him for the intelligence post?

Unless, he has done something unethical or illegal, these smears are more evidence (if any more is needed) that being deemed overly critical of the occupation is today's equivalent of being called a Communist in 1953. It's a career killer, used to ensure that policymakers adhere to the neocon line.

I understand the neocons are hurting. No more Feith, Abrams, or Perle. All disgraced, humiliated and shamed. Bottom line: their day is done.

In any case, read this great Freeman speech Why not try diplomacy.

He sure sounds like what we need. Besides, it is Obama's choice, not any lobby's.