Thursday, March 12, 2009

On Goldberg on Freeman

Here. See especially 1 and 4.
The majority of Freeman's critics (me included) reported on statements he has made in various speeches, and provided links to the full texts. Freeman and some of his supporters, on the other hand, have accused his critics of being treasonous dual-loyalists. Their argument seems to be: Opposition to Charles Freeman equals opposition to the best interests of the United States of America.
In fact, even after Goldberg explicitly quoted what he found problematic, Sullivan combed through the speech to find nothing objectionable without bothering to address what Goldberg had quoted. Even later, Joe Klein quoted Freeman, highlighting a different section than what Goldberg had quoted, saying, 'I find this wrong, but not so wrong as to disqualify Freeman.' (I'll find links later Links added evening of original post.) Both of those writers had specifically cited Goldberg, so it's not as if they can claim to have been addressing "Freeman's critics in a general sense." Whether one had agreed with Goldberg on that particular point, that it was noxious of Freeman to blame Israel for 9/11 -for what it's worth, I found Freeman's claim that the US had ceded its ability to exercise it's own judgment far more noxious- it was peculiar that Freeman's supporters didn't address the point.
One of the more interesting pieces on the controversy comes from Michael Weiss, who noted that many liberals who would ordinarily stand in opposition to the cynical "realism" of Charles Freeman were nevertheless lining up with him
This, of course, is what Freeman's supporters are accusing his detractors of doing - making judgements about Freeman on the basis solely of his position on Israel. Weiss:
An unintended consequence of this maneuver is that these same leftists appear even more obsessed with the Jewish state than do the "neocons" they purport to monitor. They also look especially stupid in this instance because they're effectively arguing that what goes on in the West Bank is more crucial to U.S. national security than what goes on in the one country which produced fifteen out of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. How's that for realism?
I think it's a bit unfair for some of those Weiss accuses. One can reasonably imagine Klein and Klein would have a legitimate interest in the West Bank out of proportion to its real importance. The problem here is more the atmosphere -in which Jews who support Israel in any way are seen as disloyal to the US- than any one critic. But can we ask: would that qualify as Judeocentrism?

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