Wednesday, March 11, 2009


On a day when the most virulent of Israel bashers are trying their best to pin the withdrawal of Chas Freeman on the efforts of "Steven Rosen, a former director of AIPAC awaiting trial on espionage charges [sic], who has a long history of attacking and undermining anybody he deems hostile to Israel," it's more than surprising to find Daniel Pipes and the Middle East Forum working to help them out.

I'm not going to publish the text of the email Pipes sent out to his readers yesterday. You can find it here, on one of the most hysterically anti-Israel sites on the blogosphere, which was more than delighted to have "confirmation" of "The Lobby" conspiracy.

Jeffrey Goldberg (admittedly neither Rosen's nor AIPAC's biggest fan) went out of his way to dismiss this charge today.

It is widely believed on the blogosphere that the campaign against Freeman was coordinated by AIPAC or by Steve Rosen, the former AIPAC official no charged with espionage. I've been away, so maybe I've missed a couple of Elders of Zion meetings, but no one coordinated this "campaign" with me. In fact, I haven't spoken to Steve Rosen since he screamed at me for writing this profile of him in 2005.

(Ah. You'll have to follow the link to get the link to that profile. I believe in feeding my sources.)

Fact is, the Freeman appointment was derailed by the hard work of a number of people and in the end was driven more by Freeman's glaring conflicts of interest, foreign entanglements and anti-American statements than by the anti-Israel bias that Rosen first exposed. So why does Pipes reiterate the rationalizations of Freeman's defenders by characterizing the derailment as Rosen's "achievement?"

Needless to say, it was quickly picked up by Freeman's supporters. Glenn Greenwald gloats:

...And Antony Loewenstein notes that neocon fanatic Daniel Pipes is sending out mass emails crediting indicted AIPAC official/espionage suspect Steven Rosen with being the catalyst of the anti-Freeman campaign.

(Follow those links if you must. It's the first and last (I hope) time you'll ever find a link to either of those twits here. But as compensation I must refer you to this classic post which, if you haven't read it, you haven't truly lived.)

Pipes is hardly a "fanatic." But I can't imagine what he was thinking here. And the Zionist Organization of America, for some reason, is exercising a similar lack of common sense and discretion in sending around a memorandum claiming its own title in the Freeman KO.

The fact is, it wasn't the efforts of Rosen or the ZOA or the "Israel Lobby" that defeated Freeman's appointment. If anything, those efforts made it a bit harder by generating resistance to the appearance of "caving in to pressure." What ultimately mattered was that enough members of congress, including several Democrats, started to realize that this guy had way too many negatives and that the appointment was making them look bad.

Yes, it appears that "the Lobby" would love to take credit for this one. They can't. In the end, Freeman defeated himself.