‘Blam­ing the Jews’ doesn’t al­ways work

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - Opin­ion by Wes­ley Pru­den

It’s get­ting crowded un­der that bus where Pres­i­dent Obama throws the dis­cards no longer use­ful to him. For­tu­nately, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is there to of­fer the last rites, this time for Charles W. Free­man Jr., may peace be on him.

Mr. Free­man is the well-paid shill for the Saudis and the Chi­nese who was stopped just be­fore he was to as­sume the chair­man­ship of the Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Coun­cil, where he would have di­rected the prepa­ra­tion of in­tel­li­gence brief­ings for the pres­i­dent and other high gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials — an of­fi­cial largely re­spon­si­ble for what the pres­i­dent should know and when he should know it. The ap­point­ment does not re­quire Se­nate en­dorse­ment and the White House ap­par­ently fig­ured it could slip him past who­ever was not looking.

Mr. Free­man, to put a fine point on it, does not like the Is­raelis very much. He comes out of the State Depart­ment, where bagels and lox are not a big break­fast fa­vorite in the cafe­te­ria, and was once a medi­umhigh of­fi­cial at Foggy Bot­tom, a “prin­ci­pal deputy as­sis­tant sec­re­tary” to some­body who rides to the of­fice in one of the longer lim­ou­sines. (The State Depart­ment is fond of ti­tles too long to fit on a call­ing card.) Mr. Free­man doesn’t like any­body who makes trou­ble for China very much, ei­ther, par­tic­u­larly if they’re demon­strat­ing for democ­racy at Tianan­men Square or Ti­betans strug­gling to get their coun­try back.

For­tu­nately, it occurred to a few key Repub­li­cans and sev­eral Democrats that he was a very odd choice for the job. The Repub­li­cans were mostly Chris­tians, the Democrats were mostly Jewish, and it’s a shame this is im­por­tant but Mr. Free­man’s friends on the left are try­ing to make this a re­li­gious is­sue. It’s time to blame the Jews again, this time for ru­in­ing poor Mr. Free­man’s new ca­reer as the chef in charge of cook­ing the in­tel­li­gence served in the Oval Of­fice.

Mr. Free­man has had a long if not dis­tin­guished ca­reer in be­rat­ing the Is­raelis for strug­gling for sur­vival and apol­o­giz­ing for Chi­nese re­pres­sion of dis­si­dents strug­gling only to breathe free. In a speech in 2005 he de­scribed Is­rael as the ag­gres­sor in the Mid­dle East, and two years later ac­cused the United States of “em­brac­ing Is­rael’s en­e­mies as our own.” He ap­par­ently “for­got” that Is­rael’s en­e­mies had on ter­ri­ble oc­ca­sion made them­selves en­e­mies of the United States, with their sui­cide- bomber at­tacks on tar­gets in the Mid­dle East and fi­nally on the Twin Tow­ers on Septem­ber 11. But blame the Jews, any­way.

When Mr. Free­man sur­ren­dered to the in­evitable and with­drew his name from con­sid­er­a­tion he dis­trib­uted a two-page rant cast­ing him­self as a mar­tyr to Jewish per­fidy and treach­ery, done in by a Jewish lobby whose “tac­tics plumb the depths of dis­honor and de­cency.” Th­ese Jews are “in­tent on en­forc­ing ad­her­ence to the poli­cies of a for­eign gov­ern­ment.”

Blam­ing “lob­by­ists,” whether Jewish, Catholic or Pres­by­te­rian, is an odd ex­cuse for Mr. Free­man, who is him­self a lob­by­ist. He runs a think tank, the Mid­dle East Pol­icy Coun­cil, with money sup­plied by Saudi Ara­bia, which he lov­ingly de­scribes as a king­dom ruled by the benef­i­cent “Ab­dul­lah the Great,” and serves on the board of a Chi­nese gov­ern­men­towned oil com­pany. He may re­gard his de­scrip­tion of Chi­nese re­pres­sion of Ti­betan demon­stra­tors as a “race riot” as noble ad­vo­cacy, but any­one else can rec­og­nize it as lob­by­ing. (Not that there’s any­thing wrong with that.)

Mr. Free­man has his de­fend­ers. Nearly all on the left, nat­u­rally. The Na­tion mag­a­zine de­cries “a thun­der­ous co­or­di­nated as­sault” on him; Pro­fes­sor Stephen Walt, the dean of the Kennedy School of Gov­ern­ment at Har­vard and au­thor of an ear­lier screed against “the Is­raeli lobby,” called the ci­ta­tions (all ac­cu­rate) of Mr. Free­man’s work “a de­spi­ca­ble smear cam­paign” for “some rather mild pub­lic crit­i­cisms of Is­raeli pol­icy.” Mr. Free­man’s crit­ics, the pro­fes­sor says, in­tended to force him out of the job. Hm­m­mmm. Well, yes, that was the idea.

What re­ally bugs Mr. Free­man and his friends is that he was rec­og­nized for who he is. “I think their goal is not to stop me but to keep oth­ers from speak­ing out,” he said on the way out, just as the door was about to bang him on the butt. No­body has tried to shut up Mr. Free­man, his de­fend­ers or his de­trac­tors; it’s the pub­lic noise, the noise that the elites no longer con­trol, that did him in.

The more dis­turb­ing ques­tion is why the White House agreed to this ap­point­ment in the first place. Not all of Is­rael’s en­e­mies live in the Mid­dle East. Some of them live just down the street.

Wes­ley Pru­den is ed­i­tor emer­i­tus of The Wash­ing­ton Times.

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