Well, the celebration of Purim — with both its frivolity and its message of import — has ended, and we are back to the every-day world of here and now, such as that may be. I will begin to pick up on what has been going on.
The good news is that Chas Freeman has withdrawn from the position of chair of the National Intelligence Council even before his vetting has been completed. This is a stunning example of the way in which raising our voices in concern over issues can make a difference.
Freeman, however (providing more evidence of his lack of qualifications for the position), has turned on the “Israel lobby” for doing a smear job on him.
What he actually said was: “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 dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter regard for the truth.”
Did he leave anything out?
The simple fact of the matter is that Freeman’s appointment was inappropriate for reasons that had nothing to do with Israel: he has been in the paid employ of/and has lucrative business connections with foreign governments — and has demonstrated a bias towards those governments.
As JINSA points out (Report #868 ), Freeman sits on the board of the Chinese state oil company, which pumps oil in Sudan:
“Two weeks ago, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Sudan’s President Omar Bashir for crimes in Darfur. Bashir, in retaliation, ousted several of the nonprofit food and medical organizations that keep the people of Darfur alive…A few of the civilized countries, including the United States, tried to get a UN Security Council resolution condemning Bashir for tossing the food and medical people. China has a history of defending Sudan in the Security Council and in this instance threatened to exercise its veto on behalf of its state oil company.”
Says JINSA: “Forget Israel. Try defending that in front of Congress.”
JINSA’s conclusion: “…once he aroused public and then Congressional interest and knew he would have to explain himself outside his cozy circle, he had neither the desire nor the ability to defend being paid by Saudi Arabia and sitting on the Board of a Chinese state oil company.”
I had thought by now Netanyahu would have put together his coalition, but it’s moving slowly.
Word is that Moshe Ya’alon, former Chief of Staff who fell into disfavor with Sharon for speaking out against the “disengagement,” will be Minister of Defense. This would be good news.
Apparently Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beitenu) is holding tight in his demand that he be given the Foreign Ministry post. This is a case of coalition politics generating a situation in which the best man for the job is not appointed, but rather the one who brings in a solid number of mandates. Silvan Shalom (Likud), who had previously held the position of Foreign Minister and coveted it again, is greatly disgruntled, and has the capacity to cause problems.
A Freudian slip by Hillary Clinton? Or a deliberate statement?
As reported by Palestinian Media Watch, Clinton was interviewed live on Sunday for a Palestinian TV show for teenagers. One of her young interviewers asked her about a particular exchange program, and how it might help to bridge a cultural gap.
Clinton responded: “I am hoping to play a big role in working to connect the Palestinian people and American people more closely. As you know, we have many Palestinian Americans, we have very successful Palestinians in every walk of life; in business, in academia, you name it, in every walk of life. And I want to do more to connect up our two countries…”
Connect our two countries?