GE-Sponsored Site Lends Platform to Notorious Anti-Semite

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Chas Freeman
Chas Freeman / Wikimedia Commons
June 18, 2014

The General Electric-sponsored website ran a lengthy interview Wednesday with a longtime Israel critic who says that the United States is a "prisoner" of Israeli interests. editor and founder Ezra Klein conducted the interview with former U.S. diplomat Chas Freeman, who was forced to withdraw his name from consideration to an intelligence posting in the Obama administration after controversy erupted over his anti-Israel views, which some critics said amounted to anti-Semitism.

"In some countries, like the United States," Freeman said in a December 2012 speech in Moscow. "Israel can rely on a 'Fifth Column' of activist sympathizers to amplify its messages, to rebut and discredit statements that contradict its arguments, facts, and fabrications, and to impugn the moral standing of those who make such statements."

In the interview with Klein, Freeman claimed that the United States is displaying strategic incoherence in Iraq because it is a "prisoner" of Israel’s interests, implying that U.S. foreign policy is manipulated by nefarious, pro-Israel actors.

The publication of Freeman’s controversial remarks—as well as several other articles that critics say are both anti-Israel and factually incorrect—raise questions about GE’s investment.

A spokesman for GE would not comment on the website’s promotion of Freeman and his fringe views.

"GE is sponsoring #Pressing, which aggregates independently reported content on important policy issues into a continuously updated dynamic display," the spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon. "GE has no editorial input on partner content."

The GE logo appears at the top of every page of It is the only discernible corporate sponsor of the site.

Freeman accused Israel in the Vox interview of holding U.S. foreign policy hostage due to its "anti-Iranian paranoia."

"We also are the prisoner of special interests including Israel's views, which are heavily tinged with anti-Iranian paranoia, and the views of the Saudis, who are equally paranoid if not more so about Iran," Freeman said in the interview with Klein.

Freeman, who has long expressed hostility to Israel, has also come under scrutiny for his financial ties to China and Saudi Arabia, where he once served as U.S. ambassador.

He frequently lashes out at the so-called "Israel lobby," a term employed by those who disapprove of Israel as well as by anti-Semites who claim that Israeli agents in the United States are somehow exerting control over U.S. foreign policy.

Freeman is of the belief that a powerful cohort of Jews and Israelis control the United States and has described the "Israel lobby" as "a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own."

Freeman’s comments generated controversy in 2009 when President Barack Obama selected him to head the National Intelligence Council (NIC), which would have given Freeman access to highly classified national secrets.

Democrats, Republicans, and Jewish-American organizations all condemned Freeman and the Obama administration for selecting him.

"His statements against Israel were way over the top and severely out of step with the administration," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said at the time. "I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing."

Freeman lashed out at Jewish people and the "Israel lobby" in comments issued after he withdrew his name from consideration for the NIC.

"The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East," he wrote at the time.

"The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth," Freeman wrote.

In addition to giving Freeman a platform to attack Israel, Vox has published multiple factually inaccurate articles in recent weeks about the Jewish state that attempt to blame it for the failure of peace talks with the Palestinians.

One piece, an "explainer" by writer Zach Beauchamp, was thoroughly riddled by factual errors.

Another by writer Max Fisher criticized Israel for launching a massive search for three teens kidnapped by Hamas terrorists.

One senior official with a pro-Israel organization said that Vox is losing credibility with readers.

"Whether it's an interview, a story, or an explainer, Vox's Middle East articles are without exception vicious and incorrect," the official said.

Not all of the site's content has to do with foreign affairs. "The inventor of eugenics had a surprisingly good idea about how to cut cakes," read a recent headline.

Published under: Ezra Klein , Israel