Monday, March 2, 2009

Likud's McCarthyites

By Stephen M. Walt
Foreign Policy

"Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s infamous witch hunt against alleged communists in the U.S. government relied primarily on lies, innuendo, and intimidation. Then, at a particularly odious hearing, after McCarthy had falsely accused a young Army officer of being a communist agent, Army counsel Joseph Welch turned on the senator and shot back: "At long last, Senator McCarthy, have you not a shred of decency?"

I am reminded of that moment as I watch the all-too-predictable smear campaign against Charles Freeman’s appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. As soon as the appointment was announced, a bevy of allegedly “pro-Israel” pundits leapt to attack it, in what The Nation’s Robert Dreyfuss called a “thunderous, coordinated assault.” Freeman’s critics were the usual suspects.....

What unites this narrow band of critics is only one thing: Freeman has dared to utter some rather mild public criticisms of Israeli policy. That's the litmus test that Chait, Goldberg, Goldfarb, Peretz, Schoenfeld et al want to apply to all public servants: thou shalt not criticize Israeli policy nor question America's "special relationship" with Israel. Never mind that this policy of unconditional support has been bad for the United States and unintentionally harmful to Israel as well. If these pundits and lobbyists had their way, anyone who pointed that fact out would be automatically disqualified from public service......"

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