Monday, March 09, 2009

Open your eyes!

By N. Richard Greenfield | With each announcement of a new appointee to the Obama Middle East foreign policy team the tilt against Israel increases.

Samantha Powers and James Jones, both with long records of antagonism towards Israel, were followed by lesser-known names of the same persuasion. Fred Hof will deal with Syria and Susan Rice represents American interests at the United Nations. George Mitchell, who carries the flag for moral equivalence is directed to mediate the Arab-Israeli impasse and, if past experience is any guide, will call on Israel to sacrifice its security and safety in exchange for an Arab promise not to wantonly kill Israeli civilians. Isi Liebler describes Mitchell as a man whose "obsessive even-handedness resulted in an inability to distinguish between terrorists and victims."

But last week the administration did more than appoint. It shifted policy about 90 degrees towards Hamas in Gaza.

Secretary of State Clinton announced 300 to 900 million dollars in aid for Gaza, which is part of an almost 3 billion dollar EU package that makes the Israeli incursion into Gaza a joke. To underline the absurdity of this move, rockets again came down on southern Israel, hitting a school in Ashkelon that, fortunately, was not in session.

To believe that Hamas terrorists who control life and death in that forlorn sliver of land will not have access to those funds, as it has access to anything else that comes into that area, is naive.

Ed Lasky of the American Thinker warns that the removal of sanctions against Burma, one of the world's most odious regimes, presages a possible reversal of U.S. policy towards Iran.

In the meantime, Galid Shalit is in captivity in Gaza for nearly a thousand days. If he is alive, and the U.S. hands over that almost billion dollars without as much as mentioning his name, it can only be termed a studied indifference to Israel's well being. It's not naivete.

To top this all off, the appointment of Chas Freeman is the one move that is most problematical. One can grasp the problems with Freeman just by listening to him:

"The problem of terrorism that now bedevils us has its origins in.....the Middle East. To end this terrorism we must address the issues in the region that give rise to it. Principal among these is the brutal oppression of the Palestinians by an Israeli occupation. ....Israel no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians..." Freeman, May 2007.

JWR columnist Frank Gaffney comments on this appointment as follows:

"It strains credulity that a man with such pronounced — and anti-American — policy views can serve effectively, let alone objectively, as the arbiter of National Intelligence Estimates. ..... The evidence suggests that he is what he appears to be: an aggressive partisan in the service of many of America's most dangerous actual or potential adversaries."

Freeman is a paid shill for both Saudi Arabia and China. His foundation just received a million dollar gift from a Saudi Prince. The Middle East Policy Forum, among other things, urges the inclusion of a sanitized version of Whahabbism in our school system's textbooks. A former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Chas Freeman is the President's choice to head the National Intelligence Council. The facts tell us that he is an unlikely candidate for any vital planning position which requires a studied objectivity, as opposed to partisanship. As such he will help shape Middle East strategy for our President, instead of foreign policy for the princes of Saudi Arabia. Not only does Freeman's appointment endanger Israel, but his commercial ties to China also bring into question his views on Taiwan which, like Israel, he disdains and sees as an impediment to US interests.

JWR columnist Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post characterizes his appointment as such: "Freeman is an outspoken opponent of Israel. He has stated repeatedly that the source of Islamic and Arab hostility toward the U.S. and violence against Americans — including the September 11 attacks — is the American alliance with Israel. Were the U.S. to abandon Israel — which he believes is solely to blame for the Arab world's rejection of its right to exist and for Iran's stated intention to destroy it — then the U.S. would have no further difficulties with the Arabs or Iran."

Add to all of this an in-and-out re entry into the Durban process; Obama's team players who provide running commentary on Israel's election that can only be interpreted as meddling with Israeli democracy; and a European-style curtailment of arms shipments to Israel except for those deemed 'defensive only,' and one can't help but believe that the Obama Administration has traveled far in six short weeks.

For many who feel the jury is still out, the obeisance to the Arab world at the expense of Israel makes it clear that there is a verdict in the offing here.

One thing is clear: American Jews who supported and voted for change should open their eyes to this reality and rethink their blind allegiance to this administration in terms of its policy towards Israel. Congress, which has always been a bulwark of support for Israel in this country can take the lead in this initiative, and Americans would do well to be supportive of its efforts.

Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, has called for an investigation on the closeness of Freeman to the Saudis. Democrat Steve Israel of New York has also written a letter to the Investigator General of the National Security Council asking for an investigation of Chas Freeman's fitness for this appointment.

Americans did not vote in this last election for a major realignment to the historical alliance we have with Israel. Asking our senators and representatives to inject greater oversight of our newly appointed Middle East foreign policy team and Chas Freeman in particular is a constructive exercise. Supporting those who are making this inquiry is a good start.


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