Charles W. Freeman Jr. In His Own Words
On The "Israel Lobby"
Posted: March 25, 2009
Charles Freeman has employed an evolving termination in his references to, and criticism of, the "Israel lobby." In his initial public statement following the withdrawal of his name from nomination as chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council, Freeman criticized the "Israel Lobby," which he called "a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own." He then modified his language, saying that the term "Israel lobby" wasn't "terribly accurate." Instead, he has referred to the "Likud Lobby," the "Yisrael Beiteinu Lobby," or the "Lieberman Lobby," which he describes as the "far right wing of the Jewish community here in alliance with the far right wing in Israel."
In His Own Words:
"Well, the 'Israel lobby' is a term that's in general use. I think it isn't a terribly accurate name. It probably should be called the Likud lobby, or the Yisrael Beiteinu lobby. It's the far right wing of the Jewish community here in alliance with the far right wing in Israel. And I don't think that I've been in any respect excessively or unreasonably critical of Israel. I think I have been critical of Israeli policy. And the atmosphere is such in this country now, that whereas Israelis in Israel routinely criticize policies they think may prove to be suicidal for their country, those who criticize the same policies here for the same reasons are subject to political reprisal." -- March 15, 2009, CNN
"The only thing I regret is that in my statement I embraced the term 'Israel lobby.' This isn't really a lobby by, for or about Israel. It's really, well, I've decided I'm going to call it from now on the [Avigdor] Lieberman lobby. It's the very right-wing Likud in Israel and its fanatic supporters here. And Avigdor Lieberman is really the guy that they really agree with. And I think they're doing Israel in." -- March 13, 2009, interview in The Nation
"[D]espite efforts by the 'Lieberman lobby' to make it seem like members of the American Jewish community speak with one voice, on behalf of Liebermanesque policies in Israel, in fact the American Jewish community has a broad diversity of opinion, and a good deal of it, maybe a majority, doesn't agree with this particular perspective and feels terribly afraid that it can't speak out without being trashed. So you're either anti-Semitic or you're a self-hating Jew. Either way it's an awful accusation to have to endure." -- March 13, 2009,
interview in The Nation
"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.
"There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government – in this case, the government of Israel. I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.
"… I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government." -- March 10, 2009, Public Statement