Is Israel an ally?


I always thought they were in the connotative sense of the word but that belief was challenged while listening to an interview Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio had with Gareth Porter. (You can find the audio file for that interview here.)  In it Porter made it a point to say that Israel is not an ally but a client state of the US.  I found a Charles Freeman lecture given at The Nixon Center (you remember Charles Freeman don’t you? An appointee who was hounded out of the National Intelligence Council by Israel’s supporters in American policy circles as well as in government who ostensibly knew he would be fairer than most in assessing matters of national security.) where he clearly defined what an ally is and what the expectations are from an ally.

It’s useful to recall what we generally expect allies and strategic partners to do for us.  In Europe, Asia, and elsewhere in the Middle East, they provide bases and support the projection of American power beyond their borders.  They join us on the battlefield in places like Kuwait and Afghanistan or underwrite the costs of our military operations.  They help recruit others to our coalitions.  They coordinate their foreign aid with ours.   Many defray the costs of our use of their facilities with “host nation support” that reduces the costs of our military operations from and through their territory.  They store weapons for our troops’, rather than their own troops’ use.  They pay cash for the weapons we transfer to them……

Israel does none of these things and shows no interest in doing them.  Perhaps it can’t.  It is so estranged from everyone else in the Middle East that no neighboring country will accept flight plans that originate in or transit it.  Israel is therefore useless in terms of support for American power projection.  It has no allies other than us.  It has developed no friends.  Israeli participation in our military operations would preclude the cooperation of many others.  Meanwhile, Israel has become accustomed to living on the American military dole.  The notion that Israeli taxpayers might help defray the expense of U.S. military or foreign assistance operations, even those undertaken at Israel’s behest, would be greeted with astonishment in Israel and incredulity on Capitol Hill.

This is a rather clearly defined list of what an ally does and how Israel meets those goals and objectives or not.

On another point, Freeman was recognized for not bending to the Israeli will if it conflicted, as it often does, with American interests and he certainly wasn’t cowed by dual loyalists in American government. The position which he was forced to give up, chairman of the National Intelligence Council, is responsible for issuing the National Intelligence Estimate, a document which in 2007 asserted that Iran had not re-started a weapons component of the nuclear program, much to the chagrin of the Israelis.  Looking to the next estimate, Israel would like to see indication that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, a claim Israelis have been making or hinting at for sometime, in order to justify a military response against Iran. It seems however, no such claim would be made if the next Estimate were to be produced.

…information from Amiri’s debriefings was only a minor contribution to the intelligence community’s reaffirmation in the latest assessment of Iran’s nuclear program of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)’s finding that work on a nuclear weapon has not been resumed after being halted in 2003….

which means for now the threat of war with Iran is somewhat diminished, until of course the next false flag operation, and diplomacy should be the order of the day. The point being Freeman’s detractors who thought he would not be pro-Israel enough have had all their efforts to remove him wasted because it has not yet produced the intelligence assessment they wanted, that Iran was a nuclear threat to the region.

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Score several for the Lobby


They got over big time, just when I thought integrity mattered and would win out, it appears sleaze is still the driving force in American politics!

“Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair announced today that Ambassador Charles W. Freeman Jr. has requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed,” read a statement from Blair’s office. “Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman’s decision with regret.”

“Critics have seized on retired ambassador Charles ‘Chas’ Freeman’s ties to Saudi Arabia and views on human rights in China to argue against his appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC), but Freeman’s defenders charge that their real aim is to impose an ideological litmus test on top government officials and ensure a continued policy of reflexive US support for Israel,”

And while it may seem to be a GOP inspired campaign to get Freeman’s nomination withdrawn it was anything but!

Steven Rosen, a former director of the American Israel Political Affairs Committee due to stand trial this April for espionage for Israel, is the leader of the campaign against Freeman’s appointment. In his wake, a host of critics from the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to the New Republic’s Marty Peretz have emerged to assail Freeman’s comments on Israeli policies and demand that Obama rescind the diplomat’s appointment. The campaign against Freeman spread to Congress, where a handful of representatives including the top recipient of AIPAC donations, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), called for an investigation of Freeman’s business ties to China and Saudi Arabia.

Freeman’s would have been an ideal position to influence intelligence data on a wide variety of subjects, including whether certain states had nuclear capability, i.e. Iran and or Syria.  With some one more easily malleable, the Lobby could get intelligence to reflect its position vis-a-vis these countries and resulting American policy decisions but Freeman did not fit the bill and so had to be removed.  I’m curious what it was that got Freeman to withdraw his name from consideration.  I am looking forward to the day when American officials are willing to stand up and be counted when it comes to facing a Lobby that does not reflect American interests.  It seems Freeman was not that kind of man, so perhaps it’s good he not take the position.  Next?!

On another front it seems Hillary isn’t quite the man, or woman, I thought she was.  In an earlier post I congratulated her for what I thought was taking a position about Israeli actions that were against American interests.  Well it turns out she didn’t quite take the stand I thought she had.  Instead, Clinton is speaking political correctness, the kind of language that’s good for double speak and confusion, just the kind of predicament people like to take advantage of when oppressing others while making themselves look like victims.

When Mrs. Clinton was asked in Ramallah how she felt about Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a cause of strife with Palestinians, she said the United States would raise “the issue” with the next Israeli government. Asked about it again in Brussels, she recited the official American position that settlements were “unhelpful.”

In Israel, Mrs. Clinton did not publicly broach settlements at all. And she only gingerly raised the issue of border crossings to Gaza, which Israel has mostly kept closed, drawing criticismfrom European leaders and human rights groups.

So, it appears the juggernaut of Lobby interests continues in the face of frighten American politicians who cannot muster the courage to take stands that are consistent with the interests of their own country.  If nothing else, such blatant displays of cowardice should be good fodder for political advertisements of their opponents in future political campaigns.  It’s time to show such people the door.  Next!?

UPDATE:

At least Charles Freeman goes out with a bang.

I have concluded that the barrage of libelous distortions of my record would not cease upon my entry into office.  The effort to smear me and to destroy my credibility would instead continue.  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.  I agreed to chair the NIC to strengthen it and protect it against politicization, not to introduce it to efforts by a special interest group to assert control over it through a protracted political campaign.

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.

So it appears what is needed in American policy is young, fresh pugnacious blood.  I respect Freeman who is at an age where he might not want to summon the rigors necessary for the job he was nominated for, so I would urge Obama to find someone equally as blunt and frank who is up to the task of making America independent of Israel and it’s interests and lobby.

Grasping for straws


charlesfreemanIt’s really amusing to see the Lobby going through its gyrations while opposing all the Obama administration is doing regarding foreign policy and Israel.  Theirs is a coordinated, multiprong effort at causing instability and chaos and they’ve gotten off to a good start.  Here’s their latest attempt.  They seem to be upset with the appointment of Charles Freeman as chairman of the National Intelligence Council, calling him alternately an “Arabist”, a human rights abuser, a Saudi lackey, etc. Of course what he is is someone the Lobby cannot manipulate or control and as head of the NIC would probably have a say in how intelligence is vetted or interpreted regarding Iran, a country in Israel’s sights.  So far, both Freeman and Obama have had little to say about the Lobby’s efforts at voiding his nomination.  It’ll be interesting to see who blinks first.