Crackpots At The WaPo

Glenn Greeenwald writes about the Freeman Affair, pointing out this bizarre Fred Hiatt tirade in defense of AIPAC:

What's striking about the charges by Mr. Freeman and like-minded conspiracy theorists is their blatant disregard for such established facts. . . . Crackpot tirades such as his have always had an eager audience here and around the world.

Fred Hiatt ought to know about the market for crackpot conspiracy theories. After all, he publishes Charles Krauthammer and George Will. But what it truly ironic is that in this very edition of the WaPo, the "crackpot theory" Hiatt derides is supported by the reporting of Walter Pincus and is "disseminated" by the "Dean" himself, David Broder. Hiatt writes that Freeman's "tirade" makes it "clear just how bad a selection" Freeman was. Perhaps. But it has long been clear that Fred Hiatt is an embarrassment to the Washington Post.

Speaking for me only

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    Oh please (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 10:24:53 AM EST
    the old Arabist group that almost went out of style at the State Department

    Translation: People who knew the language, culture, and history of the Middle East and very strongly warned against the Iraq invasion and other disastrous moves in the Middle East. Yes, many of them were removed from influence by the Bush administration.

    Good thing we listened to the neocons instead.

    Oh and p.s. (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 10:27:53 AM EST
    Calling for the dissolution of Israel as it is currently constituted does not equate to genocide of the Jews. Any more than calling for an end to slavery meant the genocide of all white Americans or calling for the dissolution of apartheid South Africa meant the genocide of all white South Africans. I read that Cannonfire post as I've read all his postings about Israel and I defy you to find one statement in it that can be interpreted that way.

    Unfortunately (none / 0) (#11)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 06:19:17 PM EST
    Israel as a jewish state cannot both exist, and be fair to the Palestinian and Arabs in the mix. It is a simple problem of demographics. In order to maintain a Jewish state the arabs and palestinians must disappear. The whole issue has to do with births and deaths.

    Possum: Are you also calling for (none / 0) (#14)
    by Think Before You Type on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 06:07:41 AM EST
    the dissolution of Saudi Arabia as currently constituted?  Or Nigeria?  Or China?

    Or is this harsh remedy limited to Jewish states for subtle reasons known only by you?


    Freeman and old times (none / 0) (#1)
    by koshembos on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 10:11:36 AM EST
    Without reference to Hiatt and the right wing WaPo, Freeman is not much of a loss nor is he a capable intelligence person. Freeman belongs to the old Arabist group that almost went out of style at the State Department. These people were against Israel from 1947 and just changed the some nouns and verbs  as time past.

    Funny enough, Freemen a former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in out of line with the current Saudi thinking. The Saudis sided, fully or partly, with in Israel in both Lebanon 2006 and Gaza 2008. Freeman has missed the memo.

    We get tired of all the lame Obama candidates starting with Daschle and now at Freeman who are not suited to their potential assignment and get rejected because of ugly baggage.

    As BTD said yesterday, everyone is free to lobby against whatever they want to. Strangely enough, to Mr. Greenwald, Jews have that right too.

    The last thing we need in intelligence is a guy stuck in the 1940s. Some people get really pissed because of Freeman, who has a born right to his assignment. Cannonfile, for instance, was upset enough to call the attack on Gaza genocide and call for the destruction of Israel; a left winger supporting yet another genocide of the Jews. All this because Freeman didn't get a job he has no qualification to have.

    Stupid character smear (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by GlennGreenwald on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 11:12:25 AM EST
    As BTD said yesterday, everyone is free to lobby against whatever they want to. Strangely enough, to Mr. Greenwald, Jews have that right too.

    Given that (a) I'm Jewish and (b) believe in my right to lobby and petition the Government, it's pretty stupid and ugly (to put it generously) to insinuate that I oppose the right of Jews (and Jews only) to lobby.

    This is what I wrote in response to Armando yesterday:

    Regarding Armando's point here:  I have never heard anyone argue, and I certainly don't believe, that there's anything wrong or illegitimate about Americans with devotion to Israel trying to influence American policy and debates to ensure greater American allegiance to Israel.  All American citizens have the right to engage in whatever sort of advocacy they want.  Petitioning the Government is a core First Amendment right.

    The point isn't that the power they exercise is illegitimate.  The point is that it's harmful in the extreme.  They use it to squelch debate, destroy the careers and reputations of those who deviate from their orthodoxies, and compel both political parties to maintain strict adherence to an agenda that is held by a minority of Americans; that is principally concerned with the interests of a foreign country; and that results in serious cost and harm to the United States. In doing so, they ensure not only that our policies towards Israel remain firmly in place no matter the outcome of our elections, but also that those policies remain beyond the realm of what can be questioned or debated by those who want to have a political future.

    You can criticize someone's ideas without suggesting that they should be barred from expressing them.  Identically, you can criticize someone's political activism and the effects of that activism without suggesting that the activism itself is illegitimate.  People who believe in the AIPAC agenda have every right to engage in political activism to advance that agenda, and critics of that agenda have every right to point out the stranglehold they are exercising and the damage they are creating.

    To be clear (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 11:37:45 AM EST
    I expressly stated in my post that you did not argue that AIPAC's lobbying was illegitimate.

    I was making the argument to those whose objections are to AIPAC's influence, as opposed to AIPAC's positions.


    It was crystal clear to me. (none / 0) (#6)
    by oldpro on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:15:31 PM EST
    I know (none / 0) (#8)
    by GlennGreenwald on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:29:42 PM EST
    I expressly stated in my post that you did not argue that AIPAC's lobbying was illegitimate.

    I know you did.  I was addressing my argument to those, such as your commenter (and there are many, many others), who accuse any AIPAC critics of believing that Jews have no right to lobby or petition the Government for the laws and policies they believe in.


    Everyone has the right to criticize AIPAC (none / 0) (#15)
    by Think Before You Type on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 06:16:54 AM EST
    and its positions.  However, if they use Nazi-like language, they should be called on it.  [I'm not suggesting that you use such language, Glenn.]  If someone is not aware what language is Nazi-like, he should read Mein Kampf or any other classic of anti-Semitism and its descriptions of Jewish power and influence.  This type of language gets thrown around in these discussions all the time, Glenn, and I'm afraid that you sometimes come uncomfortably close.

    We progressives have an obligation to be sensitive in the language we use just as we demand of conservatives to be sensitive about racial matters.  We also have to be respectful of Jews who have personally experienced anti-Semitism, which you personally may not have, Glenn.


    Right Wing Lobby (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:21:32 PM EST
    As BTD said yesterday, everyone is free to lobby against whatever they want to. Strangely enough, to Mr. Greenwald, Jews have that right too.

    AIPAC does not represent the jews. And if you are suggesting that Greenwald or anyone here believes that Jews do not have a right to lobby you are spreading lies.

    AIPAC represents right wing Israeli interests. I am a jew and they certainly do not represent my views. I believe that AIPAC is working hard to foment anti-semitism around the world.


    AIPAC respresents the views of (none / 0) (#16)
    by Think Before You Type on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 06:20:09 AM EST
    huge numbers of American Jews, a substantial majority according to all surveys that I have ever seen.  (Not to mention millions of Evangelical and other conservative Christians, who are as American as you and me.)

    If you believe otherwise, why don't you provide a link to a survey instead of just inanely repeating the same false talking point?


    American Jews And AIPAC (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by daring grace on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 11:21:40 AM EST
    I've never seen anything in the mainstream media that suggests a majority of American Jews aupport the AIPAC agenda. In fact, everything I've ever read suggests the opposite.

    Here are a couple of surveys

    The 2008 American Jewish Committee Survey of American Jewish Opinion.

    The J Street Survey.

    I'd love to see some of your surveys that indicate otherwise.


    a majority of Americans.  It would be a vast majority of American Jews.

    And I should have chosen my words more carefully.  I wasn't referring to the AIPAC agenda - I don't even have a clue what that is.  Lobbyists in general and AIPAC in particular are currently dirty words, so a survey certainly shouldn't use those words.

    I was referring, rather, to the question of whether Israel is uniquely evil and the source of most of the troubles in the Middle East, as claimed by some on the left (and right!), vs. Israel is generally a force for good that makes some mistakes like every other country, and there's enough blame to go around in the Middle East.

    On this general question of whether the respondent has a positive attitude to Israel, surveys consistently have shown majorities of Americans taking this position.  If you don't agree, I'd be happy to give you a link.  I don't think either of the surveys you cited refutes my point.


    lol (none / 0) (#19)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 01:21:42 PM EST
    AIPAC is a very effective lobby. They have you believing, and spouting, nonsense. I bet you are so sure of your assertion that you never even bothered looking it up.

    on this.  Both Charles Krauthammer and George Will are highly intelligent scholars and effective writers.  To say they are crackpots or conspiracy theorists is like calling the Pope a Jew.

    I know you frequently disagree with them.  I sometimes disagree with them too, and I sometimes agree with them.  But demonizing our intellectual opponents doesn't advance the dialogue at all, and in fact makes it easier for them to do the same to us and ignore the substance of our issues.

    Scholars? (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 07:56:00 AM EST
    I think you misunderstand what the word means.

    I didn't misunderstand anything - (none / 0) (#21)
    by Think Before You Type on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 01:40:35 PM EST
    they're both among the most scholarly and knowledgeable newspaper columnists I've seen, and I've read very widely.  Krauthammer has a background as a physician and scientific researcher.  According to Wikipedia, "The standard textbook for bipolar disease ("Manic Depressive Illness" by Goodwin and Jamison) contains twelve references to his work".  He is also extremely knowledgeable about foreign affairs and has been named the most influential commentator in America by the Financial Times (I know you dislike him, that's not the point).  Will has a PhD from Princeton in political science and has written many highly regarded books.  The vast majority of syndicated newspaper columnists have far lower scholarly credentials than either of them, and also come across as less knowledgeable when you read them.

    Of course, I'm not comparing them with academics or philosophers - maybe that's what you thought I meant.