My colleague Jeffrey Goldberg writes:
Here's what I posted:
My colleague Jeffrey Goldberg wrote on February 23 that Freeman was "well-known for his hostility toward Israel," but argued that the Saudi connections were more "substantively" problematic. The evidence Jeffrey provided for "hostility to Israel" is this essay. Read it yourself.
I "provided" two links to the entire essay and urged readers to read it. I'm not sure what else I am supposed to do. And as yet, I do not see evidence of "hostility to Israel" in it. I see criticism of Israel - plenty of it. But hostility?
A desire to see it extinguished or weakened? Nowhere I can find. A desire to see it thrive and prosper? In many places. It should be possible to debate this in America without being called an anti-Semite or an agent for a foreign government. But, of course, it isn't.
So Freeman is not just someone whose foreign policy views are mistaken or misguided. He is "bigoted" and betrays hostility "to Jews generally." As to Jeffrey's substantive point:
So the question is, what caused Charles Freeman to change his opinion about the causes of al-Qaeda radicalism? Could it be his close ties to Saudi Arabia? This was my original concern about Freeman, that he was too tied to a country that is an obvious target for the collectors and analysts of American intelligence.
I note that Jeffrey does not explicitly conclude that Freeman's views can be "bought" because we don't have evidence of that. (And since Israel and Saudi Arabia are wuite close on the central issue of Iran these days, the conflict seems somewhat esoteric in the first place). As I've said from the start, if there are financial conflicts of interest that bar Freeman, bring it on. But if advisers to the president cannot have any "close ties" to a country subject to US intelligence, who would be left in a foreign policy apparatus? More to the point: if you removed every government official who had close ties with Israel - and if that was the reason they were removed - can you imagine the uproar?
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.