Alex Massie

Charles Freeman

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Appointing Charles Freeman to run the President's National Intelligence Council is not quite the same thing as asking him to be National Security Advisor or Secretary of State. How many people could name any of Freeman's predecessors? Clive links to most of the pieces I was planning to mention (though I'd add that Matt Welch makes a good and blessedly un-Israel-related case against Freeman here).

Still, most of the loudest objections to Freeman concern his alleged hostility to Israel and, apparently "Jews generally". Maybe this exists and I confess I don't think I'd choose to die in the last, or indeed any, ditch to defend Freeman. Nonetheless it is painfully obvious that the people who tend to deny the existence of an Israel lobby* are also Freeman's most passionate prosecutors. If Freeman falls because of his views on Israel rather than China or some set of convenient financial irregularities, then his critics will have won a great victory. Of course they will also demonstrate the strength of the lobby whose existence or influence they so vehemently deny.

*Of course there's an Israel lobby. Of course it is very influential. Of course there's nothing sinister or illegitimate about that. Many countries petition Washington, some formally others informally. There's nothing disreputable about the Israel lobby. But it's idiotic to pretend it doesn't exist or that it has no more influence than, say, the Armenian lobby.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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