How fair is Martin Indyk, who says he was motivated by ‘my… connection to Israel’?

Martin Indyk is said to be John Kerry’s new American mediator in peace talks. Can Indyk be fair?

Indyk launched his American career by working for AIPAC, the Israel lobby, and states that he then founded a thinktank “with support from the pro-Israel community.” He wrote (in the book Innocent Abroad 4 years ago)  that: “I was first drawn to the Middle East through my Jewish identity and connection to Israel.”

Indyk now works at Brookings for a man he calls his “godfather,” Haim Saban. Saban has said that his “greatest concern… is to protect Israel.”

Indyk was described in 1992 by a former AIPAC president as AIPAC’s political asset in the Clinton campaign. 

After the spectacular failure of Camp David negotiations that he helped conduct in 2000, Indyk was characterized by former Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Dahlan as having a pro-Israel bias and “advanced negative attitudes toward Palestinians.”

While former Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said that Indyk was “partial, biased, pro-Israel” and defended Israeli settlements more than Israelis did.

The news. Laura Rozen reports:

Former US ambassador to Israel and Clinton Near East envoy Martin Indyk may take a lead role in helping US Secretary of State John Kerry conduct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, diplomatic sources tell Al-Monitor, although an official cautioned that a decision has not been finalized.

Indyk, vice president of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, did not respond to a query Saturday. Gail Chalef, a spokesperson for Brookings, said Sunday that Indyk was away for the weekend and they declined to comment.

The Times: “Seasoned Hand in Mideast May Shepherd Peace Talks.”

Channel 2 News in Israel reported that Mr. Kerry had told the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, that Mr. Indyk was his choice; the channel said both leaders expressed approval..

Frank Lowenstein, Mr. Kerry’s longtime adviser on Middle East issues, is also expected to remain heavily involved in the talks.

That piece is co-bylined Isabel Kershner. Indyk says in this book that Kershner and her husband Hirsh Goodman, who works for an Israeli thinktank, were among friends who gave him “solace and salvation.”
 

Note Indyk’s careerism by twitter last Friday:

So Kerry did it. By George he did it! Negotiations will resume forthwith. Now watch the naysayers declare there’ll never be an agreement.

Scott Roth’s take:

By George he got it! Martin Indyk to be US representative to farcical Israeli-Palestinian talks.

The AIPAC connection. Indyk has written that being at Hebrew University in Jerusalem during the desperate days of the 1973 war was a “defining moment in my life.” He then went to work at AIPAC in 1981 and “with support from the pro-Israel community,” helped start the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which AIPAC spun off as a thinktank in 1985.

From a secretly-recorded telephone call by AIPAC’s president in 1992:

DAVID STEINER AIPAC: [W]e have a dozen people in [the Clinton] campaign, in the headquarters… in Little Rock, and they’re all going to get big jobs. We have friends. I also work with a think tank, the Washington Institute. I have Michael Mandelbaum and Martin Indyk being foreign policy advisers. Steve Speigel—we’ve got friends—this is my business….

Mitchell Plitnick says that Indyk is a signal from Obama to AIPAC that things are copacetic:

The key party who is well aware of Indyk’s bias toward Israel is, of course, AIPAC. The fact that Indyk is apparently being appointed to this position is a powerful indicator of the Obama administration’s determination to both renew talks and make sure they are conducted in a way that AIPAC does not object to. Can there be any clearer signal that the endgame of restarting talks was just that — resuming them without aiming for a resolution?

Indyk has pooh-poohed the idea of an Israel lobby, saying the assertion that it distorts US foreign policy is anti-Semitic:

“[T]his notion of a loosely aligned group of people that all happen to be working assiduously for Israel is indeed a cabal, the very thing [John Mearsheimer] insists he is not referring to. This is exactly what he suggests. And this cabal includes anyone that has anything positive to say about Israel… And what does this cabal do? It ‘distorts’ American foreign policy, it ‘bends’ it, all these words are used to suggest that this cabal is doing something anti-American.”

But in his 2009 book, Innocent Abroad, Indyk explains that American Jews were “a core base of political and financial support for Clinton,” and says he was brought on to the Clinton campaign to help Clinton gain Yitzhak Rabin’s endorsement at a time when Clinton feared that endorsement would go to George H.W. Bush. And Indyk acknowledges that “all the members of Clinton’s peace team were Jewish.”
 
“[O]ne particularly acerbic Arab journalist labeled us ‘the five rabbis.’ The fact that I had begun my Washington career eleven years earlier working at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC, often referred to as ‘the Israel lobby’)  only reinforced the image in much of the Arab world and among pro-Arab Americans that Clinton’s policy had been taken over by a Jewish cabal…
“Behind that stereotyping lay the reality that our Jewish identities generated a deep desire in all of us to make peace since we all believed that Israel’s security depended  on ending the conflict with its Arab neighbors and that American interests would be well served by doing so.
So is talk of the Israel lobby anti-Semitic? Or is it maybe fair criticism?
 
Clayton Swisher writes in The Truth About Camp David that after that failed peacemaking effort, Indyk told him that settlements were “never” an issue in negotiations. But Nabil Shaath told him, “probably the settlement issue was the single most important destroyer of the Oslo agreement.”
 
Swisher says Indyk and Dennis Ross aroused “the greatest suspicion among Palestinians” because they sided with the Israelis in supporting the settlements. Shaath:
 
“It’s not a question of their religion, because Aaron Miller is Jewish, and Ambassador [Dan] Kurtzer is Jewish, and the two were never suspected by the Palestinians of being partial, whereas Ambassadors Ross and Indyk were viewed by everybody as partial, biased, pro-Israel and they sometimes defended Israel much more than the Israeli delegates did…. many people in [Clinton's] delegation were so close to Israelis that sometimes they adopted positions that were more extreme than most of the Israelis.”

Yesterday, MJ Rosenberg mocked the never-ending Jewishness of US mediators:

 
US rule: all negotiators on Israel-Palestinian issues must be Jewish and preferably have worked for AIPAC: Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross…
 

In an email to me, Rosenberg developed the idea: “The idea is crazy. Are there no Protestant or Catholic diplomats? After the experience with Ross, Miller, Berger, Albright and Indyk in 2000 [the failure of Clinton's negotiations at Camp David], might we consider the possibility that all Jews should recuse themselves. Unless, of course, it’s all part of the charade (which it is). Muslims  of course, should also recuse themselves although no Muslim would ever be considered. “

Colin Wright makes a similar point in an email to me:

Bits from Indyk’s resume:volunteer in a kibbutz during the 1973 Yom Kippur War…American ambassador to Israel…”

Ever get the feeling the deck is…stacked?  To ‘mediate’ a dispute
between two ethnic groups, we pick someone who… volunteered to help that group when it went to war, … served as ambassador to that group.

If we proposed to mediate between the Serbs and the Croats, would we
pick a Serb who had volunteered to help Serbia and been an ambassador
to Serbia?

More ethnic politics. In 1999, Indyk at first defended the only Arab-American involved in policymaking on the issue, assistant Joe Zogby (son of the Arab-American leader James Zogby) when young Zogby was smeared by Israel lobbyists. But according to the Daily Star of Lebanon, young Zogby left State for Justice Department, because Indyk’s defense was “half-hearted.” The Star also focused on the ethnic imbalance in the State Department:

there are at least 6 million Muslims in the U.S., and another 1.5 million Christian Arab Americans, yet none are among those in the U.S. government dealing with the Israel-Palestine peace process. In fact, there seem to be no Christian Americans involved either.

The top three State Department officials dealing with Israeli-Palestinian affairs are Indyk, peace process czar Ambassador Dennis Ross, and his deputy, Aaron David Miller. All three are Jewish. In the White House the top foreign policy official, National Security Adviser Samuel Berger, also is Jewish.

Even before the May 12 visit by Arab and Muslim American leaders to the White House and State Department, however, Joe Zogby, unhappy over Indyk’s half-hearted defense, decided to leave the State Department and accept the Justice Department position for which he had applied before the complaint arose. But just for the history books, here’s one of the things that Joe Zogby wrote that were so upsetting to his pro-Israel critics:

“The American government, by virtue of its role as Israel’s largest donor, has significant leverage over the Jewish state, which it could use to convince the Israelis to ameliorate their policies toward the Palestinian people.”

Meanwhile, Harriet Sherwood in the Guardian writes that Kerry’s vaunted talks are already stalemated inside the Israeli governing coalition:

In a high-profile dismissal of the embryonic process, Israel‘s former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, wrote on Facebook that there was “no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at least not in the coming years, and what’s possible and important to do is conflict-management”.

Naftali Bennett, economics minister, insisted construction on Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem would continue, regardless of talks .

The comments by two crucial partners in the Israeli coalition are a sign of deep hostility within the government over the agreement for preliminary talks forged by Kerry on Friday.

Indyk tried to dampen expectations himself on Saturday. Again from his twitter feed, quoting the New York Times:

“…this is not the end…not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 0 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Great exposure Philip.
    This moves proves again that there will be no peace with US as a ” mediator “. Because they are totally biased.

    Watch this clip where Finkelstein easily put Indyk down (1 of 4 clips).

    • ritzl says:

      Yep. American posted the transcript the other day. Indyk objected to Finkelstein’s presence as a counterpoint by saying something to the effect that he wasn’t informed that he would have to debate NF.

      Wow. Hell of a mindset, let alone credential, for resolving a seemingly implacable issue.

      The hypothetical (or not so hypothetical) Indyk, “Gosh, Even though I’m an expert on this issue, I can’t really debate this issue because I wasn’t informed that the Palestinians have issues.” What a complete loser. Yet typical of both the heretofore and envisioned future process.

  2. Donald says:

    “… no Muslim would ever be considered. ”

    Imagine the hysterics if Keith Ellison left Congress to be appointed special Mideast envoy for negotiating Israeli/Palestinian peace.

    • yrn says:

      Israel would would prefer having a Muslim , then Jews like Hostage or Philip Weiss

      • Shingo says:

        Yes,

        Israel likes it’s mediators to be eithe AIPAC point men or complete ignoramuses. informed, educated or critical thinkers need not apply.

      • ritzl says:

        Parsing…

        Israel would prefer… Who cares. Seriously. …having a Muslim… token, cowed, careerist, Abbas-like …than (sic) Jews like Hostage or Philip Weiss… i.e. courageous truth-tellers.

        I see your point.

      • Hostage says:

        Israel would would prefer having a Muslim , then Jews like Hostage or Philip Weiss

        It’s just as well, because I would opt for using the built-in General Assembly majority to adopt resolutions in emergency special session calling for 1) an end to all unilateral interference and arms sales in the region; and 2) the use of an international diplomatic conference of plenipotentiaries to establish an independent international criminal tribunal on Israel and Palestine, or impose an internationally arbitrated or adjudicated solution; or 3) all the above.

        • pabelmont says:

          Hostage: Great ideas.
          To re-iterate my own ideas: There is no law demanding peace (much less a fair and just peace) but there is a law that makes the settlements and land-seizure illegal. Therefore any UNGA action should include a law-based demand for removal of all settlers and demolition of all settlements — and this wholly independent of concerns for peace.. However, the problem of enforcement looms large.

          If UNGA can refer a matter to ICC (or roll their own new one) let them go to it!

          Since Palestinians are being asked NOT to seek international help, it shore would be nice for some friendly country to do the seeking for them.

  3. HarryLaw says:

    The possibility of the cards being stacked against the Palestinians was a given, the US is not a neutral mediator, it follows that someone like Indyk would be the ideal US choice. The question is why should Abbas agree? For years the Palestinian Authority have said, no settlement construction freeze, no negotiations, they lied, they also said negotiations should be based on the 1967 borders and that the Israelis would have to acknowledge that fact, the Israelis have refused, the Palestinians will settle instead for a vague promise from the US to the effect that the “object” of the negotiations is to establish a state for the Palestinians [ of course objects may not be achieved]. To put the top hat on all this nonsense Abbas has agreed not to pursue their rights at the UN by applying to join all the Agencies, also not to formally join the ICC or to pursue remedies at the ICJ, almost to seal the Palestinians fate Natenyahu has said he will continue settlement building and by implication the ethnic cleansing that goes with it. The bottom line is the PA has capitulated to the threats and/or inducements of the US/Israel. I don’t understand why Abbas continues this charade, there seems to be no political reasoning behind it, rather as Blair would prefer, a purely economic approach ,which could make the Palestinians better off financially than they are now, but walled off in various enclaves [fried chicken], which is what the Israelis have had in mind all along.

    • Hostage says:

      The possibility of the cards being stacked against the Palestinians was a given, the US is not a neutral mediator, it follows that someone like Indyk would be the ideal US choice.

      The Palestinian and Israeli press are reporting that there is no deal to resume the talks without the release of Palestinian prisoners and agreement to use the 1967 borders as the basis or framework for the negotiations. For obvious reasons Palestinian officials are promising to submit any agreement to a national referendum. See:
      *Palestinians say they haven’t agreed to relaunch peace talks
      link to israelhayom.com
      *Palestinians: Peace talks won’t resume without Israeli consent to basis of 1967 borders link to haaretz.com

  4. seanmcbride says:

    Martin Indyk, like Dennis Ross, is a ringleader of the liberal Zionist confidence game which has obstructed and sabotaged the Mideast peace process for decades now while pretending to promote and lead it.

    Kerry’s appointment of Indyk removes any remaining doubts: Obama and Kerry have no serious intention of achieving a successful outcome to these negotiations — they are just a stalling tactic. They are intended to fail and to provide Israel with more breathing room to build new settlements in Greater Israel. Say one thing, do the opposite.

    How in the world can liberal Zionists like Ross and Indyk continue to get away with playing the same game over and over again after repeated failures? Is the American political system — particularly the American foreign policy establishment — utterly and irrevocably broken?

    • SQ Debris says:

      Failure in these negotiations is a laudable goal. There is really nothing to negotiate in the first place as the U.N., international law, and the Geneva conventions already prescribe a lawful reconfiguration of the situation. So let this circus run. Sooner or later the American Jewish community will reject zionist minority rule in Palestine, either on the basis of its fundamental incompatibility with Jewish values, or out of plain old shame.

  5. hophmi says:

    Do you have any suggestions, Phil? Indyk has also put people in their place before, including and in particular, Bibi, on the issue of Iran, and on the issue of asking the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

    If a guy said that he got interested in the Middle East because he ate a good falafel once, would that be better?

    “More ethnic politics.”

    Looks like more Jew-counting to me. So, if Phil Weiss is in the State Department, does he get counted as a Jew too? Or do we judge people on the content of their character?

    • Cliff says:

      No, because Phil Weiss in the State Dept. is an American first.

      If it were you, it’d be a case of having an Israel Firster in an American governmental position.

      Not Jew-counting clearly. Unless of course, you’re implying that being Jewish means being a Zionist.

      • hophmi says:

        “Not Jew-counting clearly. Unless of course, you’re implying that being Jewish means being a Zionist.”

        I’m not. Phil is. Otherwise, why count, and why cite an article that essentially says there should be a Muslim there? The presumption of the Daily Star is that being Muslims means being an anti-Zionist.

        • Cliff says:

          First of all, ethnicity and/or religion does matter.

          Those characteristics influence our politics. Phil is not saying Jews should not be allowed to hold political positions in our government (unlike the organized Jewish community saying Sadia Saifuddin shouldn’t be allowed to be on the Univ. of Cali. board).

          There are filters.

          In America:
          If you’re at a certain level of power and prestige in our government AND you’re Jewish THEN you are a Zionist. At the absolute minimum, you may be post-Zionist but leaning toward sympathetic to Israel.

          There are no anti-Zionist Jews in the American government.

          This is not about DNA or genetics. This is sociology and politics.

          So ‘counting Jews’ is irrelevant. It’s based on a false premise (that SIMPLY being Jewish = something).

          If either the social sciences or sciences followed your intellectual framework, hoppie, we’d be stuck in the Dark Ages.

        • Citizen says:

          @ hophmi
          No. Phil’s counting Israel Firsters.

        • hophmi says:

          Really. So that’s why he’s talking about how there are too many Jews in the State Department and not enough Muslims. So Aaron David Miller is an Israel firster now.

          You guys look sillier and sillier and more and more hateful by the day.

      • SQ Debris says:

        Maybe Indyk ought to be defined as an American Fister.

    • Light says:

      Let’s judge him by his character. The guy isn’t impartial. He is not suitable for the position.

      • hophmi says:

        “The guy isn’t impartial. He is not suitable for the position.”

        Who is? In your opinion.

        • Dutch says:

          I could easily point at a dozen of experts in international law here in the Netherlands alone, who would be the perfect moderator and broker. That would result in a peace process that matters and is done in weeks — or not at all –, and in honest reporting about the outcome.

          But leaving all this behind, the first meeting, if it happens at all, will be the final one — unless you see the Israeli agree with 1967-borders. Let’s go to the UN and forget ‘negotiations’. There is nothing to negotiate.

          O.T. Since you don’t seem to like Phil, Daniel or Hostage hosting the talk to talks, how would good old Mooser do? Where is he, anyway?

        • amigo says:

          “Who is? In your opinion.”hophmee

          That,s easy.

          Anyone that you think is not suitable.

          You remind me of the good old days in nietanyahu,s first term as PM when he insisted on picking the Palestinians team to negotiate with.

          You would have approved, wouldn,t you mr supremacist.

    • Uh Indyk is pro the policy on Iran and who did Indyk put in place by urging palestinians to declare Israel jewish?

      You seems quite obsessed with brining up ethnicity by the way.

    • Qualtrough says:

      Indyk is not representing Israel, he is working on behalf of the US government. Is it really unreasonable to ask for someone without a long history of being very partial to one of the two sides in the negotiations?

      • Shingo says:

        Indyk is not representing Israel, he is working on behalf of the US government.

        Same thing. As Samantha Power explained, you work for the US government, you represent Israel.

        Is it really unreasonable to ask for someone without a long history of being very partial to one of the two sides in the negotiations?

        Is it fair to look into the history of a pedophiles who’s applying to work at a daycare centre?

    • Donald says:

      “Looks like more Jew-counting to me.”

      The point, as you very well know and are pretending not to see, is that people with a particular ethnic background AND bias are chosen for this position. I jokingly suggested Keith Ellison, but of course I don’t know if he has the expertise for this. So here’s another suggestion–why not Rashid Khalidi? He is very knowledgeable and should be as qualified as anyone on the planet, and he and Obama are casual aquaintances, though Obama distanced himself from him during the 2008 campaign (gee I wonder why?) while speaking at a temple in Boca Raton.

      • hophmi says:

        “The point, as you very well know and are pretending not to see, is that people with a particular ethnic background AND bias are chosen for this position. ”

        Aaron David Miller is not a guy with a strong pro-Zionist bias.

        ” I jokingly suggested Keith Ellison, but of course I don’t know if he has the expertise for this. ”

        Why? Because he’s a Muslim? So it’s just about replacing a Jew with a Muslim? That’s why you’re full of crap. First, there’s an untrue assertion that all US I-P negotiators have been Jews. Because of that, there’s a claim that they are inherently biased, BECAUSE THEY ARE JEWS. Phil didn’t say it was because they were Zionists. He said it was “ethnic politics.”

        I know the people in my own community. They do not care about the religion of US peace negotiators on the I-P conflict. I’ve never heard anyone say George Mitchell was a bad negotiator because he was Catholic. This is what happens when you get lazy and start painting with a broad brush. Inevitably, you turn into a bigot and you say things that are untrue and stupid.

        When you say that Keith Ellison should be one of the negotiators, clearly because he’s Muslim, and as a Muslim, is apparently supposed to be pro-Palestinian, you’re the one playing ethnic politics, not me.

        “So here’s another suggestion–why not Rashid Khalidi?”

        Why, because he’s a pro-Palestinian activist? How about Abe Foxman? Michael Oren, perhaps. This is apparently how you think. You’re not interested in an unbiased negotiator. You’re just interested in a negotiator that is strongly biased toward the Palestinian side.

        “He is very knowledgeable and should be as qualified as anyone on the planet”

        So, unbiased is a guy who was an advisor to the Palestinians?

        • tree says:

          Why, because he’s a pro-Palestinian activist?

          And Martin Indyk is a pro-Israel activist. But while you jump all over the possibility of Khalidi as a negotiator, you pretend that the only objection to Indyk is his Jewishness, not his bias towards Israel.

          You missed Donald’s point entirely, while actually reinforcing it.

        • irmep says:

          Indyk is the wrong guy because he subverts American interests in favor of Israeli interests when the chips are down.

          Case in point: in 1984 his AIPAC research team received confidential business secrets purloined by Israeli Economic Minister Dan Halpern, and turned them against US organizations lobbying against trade preferences for Israel.

          link to IRmep.org

          If espionage hadn’t been a factor, Americans opposed to the one-sided agreement might have had a chance for advice and consent. Indyk and AIPAC stole that from them.

          Here is the ever-so-diplomatic Indyk dodging direct questions about AIPAC espionage on the Diane Rehm show.

          link to irmep.org

        • Cliff says:

          Rashid Khalidi is not pro-Palestinian.

          He is pro-peace.

          ADM is a Zionist. He is not pro-peace at all.

        • Donald says:

          The one good point in your post is the one about George Mitchell. I forgot about him. So yes, that weakens Phil’s point, though of course given that Obama caved in completely to Netanyahu during his first term the overall point is still valid–the US is strongly biased in favor of Israel.

          “Why? Because he’s a Muslim? So it’s just about replacing a Jew with a Muslim? That’s why you’re full of crap”

          Poor logic on your part. Let me give you a clue–when I said “jokingly suggested Keith Ellison”, the word you were deliberately overlooking was “jokingly”. You also deliberately overlooked the little point where I said I wasn’t sure he was qualified (he has spoken out on I/P issues on occasion, but that’s all I know about him.) The point, though, was that if Obama ever picked a Muslim the DC world would go nuts.

          “Why, because he’s a pro-Palestinian activist? How about Abe Foxman? Michael Oren, perhaps. This is apparently how you think. You’re not interested in an unbiased negotiator. You’re just interested in a negotiator that is strongly biased toward the Palestinian side.”

          As for Khalidi, of course he’s biased, but certainly no more so than Indyk or Ross. He is certainly knowledgeable. He would never be picked because he’s pro-Palestinian. Mitchell was fairminded, but then it didn’t matter, since Obama caved in on the big issues. The US has always functioned as Israel’s lawyer–I think Miller himself admitted that. That’s what’s so funny about your reply. You’re the one that is constantly telling us that polls show the US is pro-Israel, not pro-Palestinian, yet in this thread you pretend to forget all that and act as though the US is unbiased in this process.

        • Donald says:

          ” As for Khalidi, of course he’s biased… He would never be picked because he’s pro-Palestinian. ”

          I am conceding too much here. I’m pretty sure Khalidi would favor equal rights for everyone in Palestine–he’s much closer to (what are supposed to be) American values than someone who would favor either Palestinians or Israeli Jews. The phrase “pro-Palestinian” covers a lot of ground, ranging from people who think Palestinians are human beings with equal rights to Israeli Jews (a position which is outside the US political mainstream) to people who would advocate the ethnic cleansing of Israeli Jews of European descent (which is even further out of the mainstream, unless one switches the ethnicities and advocates ethnic cleansing of Palestinians). It’s only because the range of viewpoints in the US is so strongly tilted against the notion of Palestinians having equal rights that someone like Khalidi is regarded as “biased”.

        • hophmi says:

          “As for Khalidi, of course he’s biased, but certainly no more so than Indyk or Ross. ”

          I disagree. Indyk and Ross haven’t spent their careers as anti-Palestinian activists. They’ve spent their careers as diplomats. Khalidi was so identified with the PLO in the 1980s and that people thought he was their spokesman. Since then, he’s spent a career arguing against Zionism.

        • Donald says:

          And one further point. This whole notion of “fairminded” when applied to the I/P conflict is warped, at least in the US. What it should mean is that everyone in Israel/Palestine has basic human rights, including the right to life, the right not to be driven from their homes, etc…. Instead, what it seems to mean is that because Israel has more power and a vastly stronger lobby within the US, a “fairminded” person is one who splits the difference between the perfectly just demands of the Palestinians and the often unjust desires of the Israelis. (Note that I don’t mean the desire for security–both sides have the right to want that.) In practice that means that pressure is exerted on both sides and people within the US think that this means that the process is fair, but obviously that’s not the case.

        • hophmi says:

          “Instead, what it seems to mean is that because Israel has more power and a vastly stronger lobby within the US, a “fairminded” person is one who splits the difference between the perfectly just demands of the Palestinians and the often unjust desires of the Israelis.”

          The perfectly just demands of the Palestinians? How is it a “perfectly just demand” to demand a right of return for millions of refugees in a two-state negotiation? What state would ever agree to anything like that? How is it a perfectly just demand to demand that Israel release prisoners involved in the murder of Israeli children?

          And let’s stop pretending that the Palestinians are lambs with no power. They have the entire world supporting their negotiating position. They have countries with huge oil wealth that throw their weight around on the international stage to gain political support for them, particularly in places where there are few Jews.

          The most ridiculous hypocrisy in this conflict is to talk about an Israel lobby without addressing the much more powerful Arab lobby that exists virtually everywhere, including the United States. Their leverage is oil and sheer numbers.

          As I’ve said many times, if there were 300,000,000 Jews and 6 million Arabs, no one would give a rat’s patoutie about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and there wouldn’t be all of these resolutions at the UN about Israel.

        • Cliff says:

          hoppie said:

          I disagree. Indyk and Ross haven’t spent their careers as anti-Palestinian activists. They’ve spent their careers as diplomats. Khalidi was so identified with the PLO in the 1980s and that people thought he was their spokesman. Since then, he’s spent a career arguing against Zionism.

          Ross and Indyk are career propagandists and agents of the Israel Lobby.

          Their job descriptions did not read ‘propagandists’ and neither did Rashid Khalidi.

          Whether they were or not though, functionally, is based on their actions and their words.

          Rashid Khalidi is not a liar. He is not dishonest. He was merely associated with Palestinian agency.

          Ross and Indyk have been profiled here thoroughly.

          What you are saying is that Khalidi is untrustworthy simply because he may be ‘pro-Palestinian’ and/or because of his PLO association/position.

          Arguing against Zionism does not make someone dishonest or untrustworthy.

          It does not make someone biased and it does not make them irrational.

          Unless you think Israel should forever remain a Jewish majority.

          For Israel to remain as such, it would have to discriminate it’s Palestinian minority forever.

          The US will one day not have a White majority, but if we had Jewish colonists/nationalists like you to lobby for stricter immigration laws and to put a quota on non-White persons, etc. then perhaps we could emulate Israel’s racism.

        • Shingo says:

          Aaron David Miller is not a guy with a strong pro-Zionist bias.

          No, just an above Average one.

        • ritzl says:

          Gawd, hophmi. While you accuse everyone here of antisemitism (“Jew Counting”), you engage in “Non-Jew Counting.”

          You state, “You’re just interested in a negotiator that is strongly biased toward the Palestinian side.” Well so be it. If Indyk is fine, right, and acceptable by you, given his bias, why shouldn’t someone of purported equal and opposite bias be equally acceptable in the position?

          The debate on this issue is so over. All that’s left is the body count on the Palestinian side and when the WB Palestinians get the vote in Israel.

        • amigo says:

          Rashid Khalidi is not pro-Palestinian.

          He is pro-peace. cliff.

          Well , there you are then.He is totally unsuitable from an Israel perspective.

        • lyn117 says:

          Anyone who’s fair-minded is pro-Palestinian, at least to the point of advocating their equal rights including right of return. In fact, Indyk and Ross have spent their careers as anti-Palestinian activists. Ross twisted everything he ever got his hands on against them, blamed Arafat entirely for the breakdown of the previous negotiations. Indyk was equally anti-Palestinian.

          You can be both pro-Palestinian and pro-Jewish Israeli, but you cannot be pro-Israel as presently formed, an exclusive Jewish state that denies the right of most of its native people to life and citizenship in the state that controls their land, and not also be anti-Palestinian. Indyk and Ross both fall in the category of being anti-Palestinian by denying their right to live in their native land.

        • pabelmont says:

          The right not to be “driven” from their homes is surely a complex right. If Palestinians have a right to “return”, does this entitle the right-holder to re-enter his own home i it is still standing, thereby driving the Israeli Jew from that same house?

          In fact, it’s quite hard to define a fair “solution” (an imposed solution most likely).

        • Shingo says:

          Indyk and Ross haven’t spent their careers as anti-Palestinian activists. They’ve spent their careers as diplomats.

          Please explain Hop how these two positions are mutually exclusive?

          And then please explain how being a lobbyist for AIPAC is the same as being a diplomat?

        • Shingo says:

          How is it a “perfectly just demand” to demand a right of return for millions of refugees in a two-state negotiation?

          How is it not? Why should a two-state negotiation bypass intentional law and upholding human rights?

          Oops sorry, what was I thinking? The reason the US and Israel insist on negotiations and not simply abiding by countless UN resolutions and international law is precisely because they want to remain unaccountable for their human rights violations.

          How is it a perfectly just demand to demand that Israel release prisoners involved in the murder of Israeli children?

          How is it justified that Israelis involved in the murder of Israeli children are still walking free?

          And let’s stop pretending that the Palestinians are lambs with no power.

          Call them what you want, but they have no power. When you have a situation where one side has the 4th most powerful military, 200 nukes and the world’s only super power slavishly beholden to them, anyone opposed has no power.

          They have the entire world supporting their negotiating position.

          Except that the US and Israel has insisted that the entire world are to be kept at arms length and are not to get involved in any way. If this was a case of arbitration being carried out by the UN, then you might have a point. But the US and Israel has rejected any suggestion of the UN getting involved.

          They have countries with huge oil wealth that throw their weight around on the international stage to gain political support for them, particularly in places where there are few Jews.

          What rubbish!! Those countries with the huge oil wealth are practicality complicit in Israel’s crimes. Those countries have done nothing to help the Palestinians since the oil embargo if the 70s.

          The most ridiculous hypocrisy in this conflict is to talk about an Israel lobby without addressing the much more powerful Arab lobby that exists virtually everywhere, including the United States.

          Oh really? Care to name the powerful Arab lobby?

          What annual convention do they have that is attended by dozens of US Congressmen, Senators, and even US presidents and heads of state?

          As I’ve said many times, if there were 300,000,000 Jews and 6 million Arabs, no one would give a rat’s patoutie about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

          Stupid argument. Arabs don’t even have enough members at the UN to achieve the necessary majority to push through Revolutions.

        • Hostage says:

          The perfectly just demands of the Palestinians? How is it a “perfectly just demand” to demand a right of return for millions of refugees in a two-state negotiation?

          I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, even former Nazis helped repeal the Nuremberg laws and re-naturalized the Jews and their descendants in the post-war German Constitution. link to germany.info

          They also have paid billions in compensation worldwide and to the government of Israel in particular, even though it didn’t even exist during the conflict. They even agreed to pay billions in compensation to Jews whose freedom of movement had been violated by the Vichy regime. It’s only “liberal Zionists” like you who assert that such demands aren’t perfectly just. The government of Israel should at least repatriate one Palestinian for every Israeli settler it wants to leave in place on prime Palestinian real estate.

        • talknic says:

          hophmi How is it a “perfectly just demand” to demand a right of return for millions of refugees in a two-state negotiation?”

          There is no such demand. The Palestinian RoR claim is under UNGA res 194 of Dec 1948, it applies to only territories as they stood on Dec 1948 and to people who had actually lived in those territories, no lineal descendants per the official UNGA res 194 definition link to unispal.un.org

          UNGA res 194 of Dec 1948 was adopted BEFORE Israel claimed, on 31st Aug 1949 link to unispal.un.org territories beyond it’s UNGA res 181 borders link to trumanlibrary.org The Israeli claim for extra territory was rebuffed link to domino.un.org

          UNGA res 194 cannot possibly apply to any territory beyond Israel as it was recognized May 15th 1948 “within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947,”

          UNGA res 194 of Dec 1948 was adopted BEFORE UNRWA existed Dec 1949. The UNRWA definition cannot and does not apply to a resolution adopted before UNRWA existed. The UNRWA definition is entirely irrelevant to UNGA res 194

          The life expectancy of a Palestinian in 1948 was about 46 yrs. 65 years has passed. The majority of refugees who had RoR to Israel under UNGA res 194 are DEAD. Only a handful remain, all over 65, all beyond the age of rampant procreation.

          The illogical, ill informed, misleading ziopoop propaganda ‘millions’ mantra is Red Heifer sh*t. You really ought stop wading around in it, you look ridiculous.

          RoR poses no demographic threat to Israel. The only threat is to Israel’s illegal facts on the ground in territories “outside the State of Israel”.

        • talknic says:

          hophmi “As I’ve said many times, if there were 300,000,000 Jews and 6 million Arabs, no one would give a rat’s patoutie about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and there wouldn’t be all of these resolutions at the UN about Israel

          Israel is in breach of International Law, the UN Charter and relevant Conventions. Your numbers are irrelevant rat’s patoutie

        • hophmi says:

          “And then please explain how being a lobbyist for AIPAC is the same as being a diplomat?”

          Indyk worked for AIPAC as researcher for a couple of years in the early 1980s. That was about 30 years ago.

          But I know. If the guy spent five minutes working for AIPAC and 30 years working for the State Dept, he’s an AIPAC lobbyist, not a diplomat.

        • hophmi says:

          “They also have paid billions in compensation worldwide and to the government of Israel in particular, even though it didn’t even exist during the conflict.”

          And you keep saying this, as if this made any difference or had any relevance.

          Perhaps Arab governments should accept one Palestinian refugee for every Jew they kicked out in the 1940s and 1950s.

        • talknic says:

          hophmi “Perhaps Arab governments should accept one Palestinian refugee for every Jew they kicked out in the 1940s and 1950s”

          Why? The Palestinians didn’t kick any Jews out of any Arab States. The Palestinians didn’t vote the leaders of the Arab States into power. Your suggestion is more zionist rat’s patoutie

        • Walker says:

          People mention Indyk’s work for AIPAC, among many other things, to point out that he has a very strong bias towards Israel. His bias towards Israel might even appear to be larger than his loyalty towards the US, of which there’s little concrete to show.

          This ought to disqualify him from working as a US diplomat in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, where he should be 1) a fair arbiter and 2) mindful of the overall interests of the US.

        • Shingo says:

          If the guy spent five minutes working for AIPAC and 30 years working for the State Dept, he’s an AIPAC lobbyist, not a diplomat.

          He was described by AIPAC as their greatest asset during the Clinton presidency Hop, so you might want to try and explain to them why they are wrong.

        • Hostage says:

          And you keep saying this, as if this made any difference or had any relevance.

          And you keep demonstrating the depths of your ignorance regarding the fact that actual state practice is used as the evidence of the existence of customary international law that states have adopted to govern their mutual relations. The re-naturalization, repatriation, and compensation of German Jewish refugees and their descendants is a prime example. Germany helped establish the rules that were codified by the responsible UN committees and rapporteurs as part of the preparatory work done on the “Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power” (1985) and the UN report on Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (2005).
          link to untreaty.un.org
          link to untreaty.un.org

          The same UN organs cite that evidence and other historical precedents, including the plight of the Palestinian refugees, as sources of Israel’s continuing legal obligations.

        • Hostage says:

          Perhaps Arab governments should accept one Palestinian refugee for every Jew they kicked out in the 1940s and 1950s.

          Neither the Palestinians nor the state of Palestine have any theoretical responsibility for Jewish claims against third-party states.

          In two cases, Israel has concluded final settlements with other Arab states without the consent of Palestine. In both cases, the government of Israel either implicitly or explicitly waived enforcement of these claims against the state parties responsible for the alleged wrongful acts under the terms of the treaties.

        • Hostage says:

          If the guy spent five minutes working for AIPAC and 30 years working for the State Dept, he’s an AIPAC lobbyist, not a diplomat.

          LOL! You’re implying that AIPAC used to do legitimate non-partisan “research” in the first place. You’re ignoring the fact that he’s working for an ardent Zionist right at the moment as Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy.

        • Walid says:

          “Neither the Palestinians nor the state of Palestine have any theoretical responsibility for Jewish claims against third-party states. ”

          A point of interest, Lebanon THAT DIDN’T KICK OUT ANY JEWS naturalized over 100,000 Palestinian refugees and the major reason it didn’t naturalize the remaining Sunni 400,000 was to avoid disrupting Lebanon’s fragile sectarian balance.

        • talknic says:

          hophmi “Perhaps Arab governments should accept one Palestinian refugee for every Jew they kicked out in the 1940s and 1950s”

          Perhaps there was an Israeli demand for compensation to Jewish refugees from Egypt and Jordan in the Israel peace treaties with those Arab states, but I can’t find it. Help hopmi, your expertise is sorely needed

        • ritzl says:

          I guess it’s been a few days so by way of explanation, hophmi slams the fact that people point out that all US representatives in these negotiations are Jewish and/or in thrall to the Israeli view of the issues at hand, but is perfectly OK with the fact that NONE are NOT Jewish, and/or NOT in thrall to the Israeli view on the issues at hand.

          I find that slam a completely ignorable sentiment.

      • Shingo says:

        Excelkent suggestion Donald. After all, Kslidi has just wroyten a book on thr failure of US mediation for the last few decades – he clearly knows his stuff.

        Or why not Chad Freeman, or Norman Finkelstein, or NoamChomsky?

    • Walker says:

      Do you have any suggestions, Phil? . . . Looks like more Jew-counting to me.

      This is below pathetic.

      • hophmi says:

        Sorry you don’t want to deal with it, Walker. But that’s exactly what’s going on.

      • bilal a says:

        Not pathetic at all. Practical.

        The US government census and every education institution counts ethnic participation to guard against discrimination that results in favorites over representation and discriminated under representation.

        The census and colleges should add a category for religious/ethnic identity to prevent further ethnic identity reverse discrimination, eg Kagan at Havard law school, and here Indyck et alia in us foreign policy in MENA.

        Palestine will not be free until America is free.

      • tree says:

        No, its just our hophmi. Its par for the course with him.

    • libra says:

      hophmi: Or do we judge people on the content of their character?

      We do hophmi, we do.

  6. Hostage says:

    US rule: all negotiators on Israel-Palestinian issues must be Jewish and preferably have worked for AIPAC: Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross…

    Well it’s a matter of public record that Kissinger helped invent “shuttle diplomacy”, yet never even bothered to discuss the proposed final borders with any Arabs and advised the Israelis not to discuss them either. However, he did suggest that Israel should not withdraw to the 1967 border with Jordan or Syria, and that it should conquer additional territory in the Golan Heights as a necessary intermediate step to a final settlement. link to history.state.gov

    • hophmi says:

      “US rule: all negotiators on Israel-Palestinian issues must be Jewish and preferably have worked for AIPAC: Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross…”

      George Mitchell is not Jewish. Neither was Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, or James Baker, all of whom played major roles in I-P and I-A negotiations over the years. There’s no such rule. The rule is that you can’t have someone who is not trusted by both sides, because it’s a waste of time.

      This is the difference between real-life negotiating, and ivory tower negotiating.

      • Philip Weiss says:

        Jimmy Carter isnt even invited to Democratic convention

        • tree says:

          Phil, was the Colin Wright you mentioned the same one who used to comment here? I’d love to see him comment here again. He had some unique perspectives.

        • Yes, what a sad comment on American politics, that Obama was afraid to let Jimmy Carter address the Democratic National Convention, in person. Truly pathetic. Even frightening.

      • Light says:

        The rule is that you can’t have someone who is not trusted by both sides, because it’s a waste of time.

        That is why Indyk is not suitable. He works for AIPAC.

        • hophmi says:

          “That is why Indyk is not suitable. He works for AIPAC.”

          Simply a lie. Martin Indyk does not work for AIPAC.

        • Citizen says:

          @ hophmi
          Indyk use to work for AIPAC but left to help found and serve in WINEP, which is essentially AIPAC’s think tank. Indyk appointment signals there is no intent to do conflict resolution, but only conflict management.

          From lob log:

          “The inescapable truth is that Indyk’s baggage will magnify the already overwhelming pessimism surrounding the resumption of talks. Stephen Walt summed it up well in a tweet after this news reached the public: “Appointing Indyk as IP mediator is like hiring (Bernie) Madoff to run your pension. He had 8 years to do a deal in 90s and failed.”

          Moreover, regardless of how liberal or more sympathetic to the Palestinians Indyk may be than, for example, former US Special Envoy Dennis Ross, he is still predisposed to favoring Israel in any negotiations. The Palestinians know this, the Israelis know it and so does every observer.

          The key party who is well aware of Indyk’s bias toward Israel is, of course, AIPAC. The fact that Indyk is apparently being appointed to this position is a powerful indicator of the Obama administration’s determination to both renew talks and make sure they are conducted in a way that AIPAC does not object to. Can there be any clearer signal that the endgame of restarting talks was just that — resuming them without aiming for a resolution?”

        • Cliff says:

          Indyk did work for AIPAC, beginning in the 80s.

          It is not as if he became an anti-Zionist since then.

        • @Citizen – - Obama probably wanted first and foremost, domestic political protection. Indyk appt. supports this conclusion.

        • Citizen says:

          @ James Canning
          Yes, of course.

      • Light says:

        The rule is that you can’t have someone who is not trusted by both sides…

        For the I/P conflict the rule appears to be you can’t have someone not vetted by AIPAC.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Light,

          For the I/P conflict the rule appears to be you can’t have someone not vetted by AIPAC.

          It goes far beyond that — it is now nearly impossible to run for the US Senate or House of Representatives, or to apply for job in the mainstream media, without being vetted by AIPAC.

        • Aipac indeed is seeking near-total control of American news media, to reward those who promote its line and punish those who do not.

        • hophmi says:

          “Aipac indeed is seeking near-total control of American news media”

          Near-total control. Just yesterday there was a story about that rapist guy in Cleveland. AIPAC was responsible for that.

      • Donald says:

        “The rule is that you can’t have someone who is not trusted by both sides, ”

        This is absurd. Clinton betrayed Arafat, for one thing, putting all the blame on him for the outbreak of the Second Intifada. (George Mitchell didn’t agree, but then Mitchell is a more honest man than Clinton.) The Palestinians are by far the weakest of the three parties and pretty much have to accept whatever representatives the US chooses. Trust doesn’t really come into it–it’s a question of who has power and who doesn’t.

      • Shingo says:

        George Mitchell is not Jewish

        Which is why he was kept on a right leash by Ross until Ross decided to stick the dagger into his back.

      • Citizen says:

        Mitchell grew very irritated by the increasing role President Obama’s senior adviser Dennis Ross began to play in the peace process. Ross’s portfolio, which originally centered on Iran, was increased to include security ties with Israel. Ross later took on peace process related negotiations with the Netanyahu government and was dispatched to the region several times on behalf of President Obama. In short, Mitchell’s Middle East Envoy portfolio was largely taken over by Ross. Mitchell finally had enough of that, so he resigned.

  7. seanmcbride says:

    # Martin Indyk: topics

    1. AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)
    2. attacks on John Mearsheimer
    3. attacks on Stephen Walt
    4. Australian National University
    5. Brookings Institution
    6. CFR (Council on Foreign Relations)
    7. Clinton administration
    8. David Steiner
    9. Democratic Party
    10. Dennis Ross
    11. Haim Saban
    12. Hebrew University
    13. Innocent Abroad
    14. Iraq War ringleaders
    15. Israel lobby
    16. Israeli gatekeepers in the Democratic Party
    17. Israeli settlements
    18. Ivor Indyk
    19. Jewish billionaires
    20. Jewish hawks in the Democratic Party
    21. Jewish lobby
    22. Jewish nationalists
    23. Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
    24. liberal Zionists
    25. Madeleine Albright
    26. Mossad
    27. Moyshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
    28. National Interest
    29. neoconservatives
    30. neoliberals
    31. New Israel Fund
    32. Norman Finkelstein
    33. NSC (National Security Council)
    34. PNAC (Project for the New American Century)
    35. Saban Center for Middle East Policy
    36. Tel Aviv University
    37. WINEP (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    • hophmi says:

      For the record: He’s not a fan of settlements. He’s not a neocon. He’s not a “Jewish hawk,” whatever the hell that is. He’s not a member of the Mossad. He did not sign PNAC. He’s not a “nationalist.” He’s also not associated with Norman Finkelstein, for that matter.

  8. Sin Nombre says:

    Hey, this is a cheap shot! Indyk follows precisely in the tradition of so many other prominent American partisans of Israel! Right down to his handling of sensitive American intelligence! (Having probably been our first and still perhaps only Ambassador to have ever had his security clearance actually revoked—while he allegedly was our man in Israel, ‘natch.)

    Now move along, move along; nothing to see here….

  9. belewlaw says:

    Not as bad as Dennis Ross?

  10. bijou says:

    Impressive piece of research, truly. Thanks for this.

  11. seanmcbride says:

    Martin Indyk and Dennis Ross are basically neoconservatives who are pretending to be liberals — in other words, con artists:

    article=Tom Barry; Liberal Hawks: Flying in Neocon Circles; Common Dreams; May 22, 2004 link to commondreams.org

    In the heat of Iraq the neoconservatives are seeing their visions of Pax Americana turn into nightmares and headaches. But they are not alone. Liberal hawks like Ivo Daalder, Robert Kerrey, and Will Marshall also find themselves discredited as the quagmire in Iraq swallows up all their arguments supporting the invasion and occupation.

    Along with such neocon stalwarts as Robert Kagan, Bruce Jackson, Joshua Muravchik, James Woolsey, and Eliot Cohen, a half-dozen Democrats were among the 23 individuals who signed PNAC’s first letter on post-war Iraq. Among the Democrats were Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution and a member of Clinton’s National Security Council staff; MARTIN INDYK, Clinton’s ambassador to Israel; Will Marshall of the Progressive Policy Institute and Democratic Leadership Council; DENNIS ROSS, Clinton’s top adviser on the Israel-Palestinian negotiations; and James Steinberg, Clinton’s deputy national security adviser and head of foreign policy studies at Brookings. A second post-Iraq war letter by PNAC on March 28 called for broader international support for reconstruction, including the involvement of NATO, and brought together the same Democrats with the prominent addition of another Brookings foreign policy scholar, Michael O’Hanlon.

    • @seanmcbride – - And let’s remember the neocons are in fact not “conservatives”.

      • seanmcbride says:

        James Canning,

        And let’s remember the neocons are in fact not “conservatives”.

        Neoconservatives are militant Likud Zionists — militant ethnic nationalists, and often militant ethno-religious nationalists (for instance, Elliott Abrams).

        Their ideology is radically out of sync with both traditional American conservatism AND liberalism. It often resembles a toxic mix of Trotskyism and fascism. But they have managed to seize control of both the Republican and Democratic Parties.

        Their closest allies are Christian Zionists — and Christian Zionism bears no resemblance to traditional and mainstream Christianity.

        Bottom line: they have managed to place America in great peril by deceitfully manipulating and subverting traditional American cultural and democratic memes.

        • Great post, Sean. Neocons to some extent literally are a Fifth Column. (With their fellow-traveller “liberals”)

        • hophmi says:

          “Great post, Sean. Neocons to some extent literally are a Fifth Column. (With their fellow-traveller “liberals”)”

          So, like half the country is a fifth column. I believe that’s also referred to as columns one, two, three, and four.

        • hophmi says:

          “Neoconservatives are militant Likud Zionists”

          Oh yes, that fits two guys who spent their entire careers trying to make peace between Palestinians and Israelis real well. Militant Likud Zionists.

          This proves my point – Sean thinks every single pro-Israel Jew is a militant Likud Zionist. That’s the vast majority of Jews in this country. So I have no idea why anyone here would take him seriously. His views have no relationship with reality.

          And he says: “Bottom line: they have managed to place America in great peril by deceitfully manipulating and subverting traditional American cultural and democratic memes.”

          That’s how he describe most Jews in this country. He’s an antisemite, plain and simple.

    • hophmi says:

      “Martin Indyk and Dennis Ross are basically neoconservatives who are pretending to be liberals — in other words, con artists:”

      They’re basically liberals, and they say pretty much what they mean, which is why Phil has a long list of stuff they said that he disagrees with.

      Yeah, Indyk’s a real neocon. He’s critical of Bibi on Iran, he wasn’t, at least to my knowledge, a big supporter of Iraq. He’s not a fan of Likud.

      But you know, he’s a Jew, and he’s not an anti-Zionist, so he must be a neocon.

      Ross is pretty much the same story.

  12. American says:

    My comment from last week still stands….’all ye Palestines who enter these peace talks, abandon all hope.”

  13. Erasmus says:

    Firstly, following the Guardian article
    link to guardian.co.uk
    there will probably no need for Martin Indyk or anybody else as a US-representative interlocutor.
    The pre-talks for talks about final I-P-negotiations are unlikely to take place at all.

    Secondly, one ought to assume that it is even clear for the POTUS that Martin Indyk can not be a credible choice, even though AIPAC et al and Haaretz’ Barak David would love to see him in such position. See: link to haaretz.com

  14. Kathleen says:

    Clearly Indyk can not be fair. But does he know that Israel needs to make a real deal now or never….I think he does know this. Have watched his face at a few conferences about this critical issue. He knows times have changed..the truth is out and no way to hold back the Israel is an apartheid state flood if Israel does not make a real deal

    • piotr says:

      One can argue that there is nothing urgent happening that would make peace more urgent for Israel than 10 years ago. And in ten years we may have a similar situation.

      It remains the case that even if you can continue indefinitely policies of oppression and dispossession punctuated with outright mayhem, it does not mean that you should.

      • Kathleen says:

        Public awareness, opinion and action changing dramatically. Indyk knows this. Two state door only open by a crack then one state, one person, one vote….present apartheid circumstance totally exposed

        • hophmi says:

          “Public awareness, opinion and action changing dramatically.”

          No they aren’t. Public opinion polling shows that Americans favor Israel over the Palestinians by a factor of 8 to 1. That’s pretty much what’s it’s been for the last 25 years.

      • @piotr – - The foolish US Congress makes it almost impossible for Israel to stop growing the illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank.

    • ritzl says:

      So Indyk is the palatable v. painful guide to the inevitable (in this iteration)?

      Interesting, and that’s not sarcasm.

  15. Great piece. And to think it was only a few decades ago that an American president thought that Jews tended to have a conflict of interest, if they were involved in American foreign policy in the Middle East.

  16. Rusty Pipes says:

    Perhaps Kerry and Obama are setting the negotiation process up to fail, while satisfying the Democratic Congresscritters that they are doing nothing to scare away their donors. Since it’s highly unlikely that even the AIPAC-drenched Indyk will be able to get Netanyahu to budge significantly on settlements by September, Abbas can have full cause to carry through with his ICC and UN plans. Even a Security Council veto by the Israel Lobby-approved US Ambassador cannot halt the Palestinians’ bids for their rights and statebuilding through other channels.

    • Citizen says:

      Obama has no intent on actually achieving a solution to the conflict; it’s just more conflict management, s.o.p for any POTUS. Mitchell went over there, wrote up a report for POTUS, concluding Israeli settlements had to stop. Obama appointed Mitchell as his envoy to ME, but then he got cold feet and had the AIPAC star, Ross take over most of his portfolio, and jet off to Israel for Obama; no wonder Mitchell resigned “for personal reasons.”

  17. seanmcbride says:

    More background on Martin Indyk:

    1. “U.S. will go to war with Iran in 2013, says ex-U.S. ambassador to Israel” (Haaretz, September 17, 2012) link to haaretz.com

    Speaking during a panel discussion Sunday on the CBS program Face the Nation, Indyk said: “I’m afraid that 2013 is going to be a year in which we’re going to have a military confrontation with Iran.”

    Indyk, currently head of foreign policy at the Brookings Institute think tank, said that “Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon,” but added that there’s not a lot of time left until it does.”

    Indyk obviously isn’t “afraid” of an American military confrontation with Iran — he’s itching for it.

    2.

    [Jeffrey] Goldberg’s Torah study group in Washington includes David Brooks, David Gregory, and former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk.

    link to nymag.com

    Add another neocon to Ross’s and Indyk’s social network: David Brooks.

    Some more Indyk topics:

    1. David Brooks
    2. David Gregory
    3. Egypt
    4. Egyptian military
    5. Iran sanctions
    6. Iran War
    7. Jeffrey Goldberg
    8. Syria
    9. Torah

  18. John Kerry apparently is entirely sincere in seeking way forward to end the I/P dispute. And to end the occupation of WB.

  19. just says:

    Great article Phil! Thank you. This shall be shared.

    No, neither he nor Ross can be trusted– they’ve been nothing but failures over and over and over again.

    Long ago, I thought that the only honest negotiator would be Jimmy Carter, but he was vilified for his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”. (I loved it!) He was certainly prescient, and is probably gnashing his teeth @ the current situation. Mr. Obama very foolishly disgraced himself by disrespecting this wonderful President and humanitarian.

    • Citizen says:

      So did the Democratic Party; as Phil pointed out above, he wasn’t even invited to their last DNC. Who could stay in a party that overruled their own delegates with the slam of a gavel on a yay or nay vote in full prime time TV view? “Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel.”

  20. American says:

    And furthermore.

    CHRONOLOGY OF MARTIN INDYK’S RISE TO POWERMid-1980s

    – The Israeli/Jewish lobby first brought Martin Indyk to Washington in the mid-1980s from Australia to head their “think-tank” in Washington. Indyk is said to have had an intelligence background both in Australia and with the Israelis, possibly directly with Mossad. Indyk was known at that time for his pro-Likud slant and close relations with the Israeli-government then headed by Yitzhak Shamir.

    Formally Indyk became the Executive Director of the “Washington Institute on Near East Affairs” — a front-group established by the Israeli/Jewish lobby shortly after the 1982 war.1991 –

    Indyk went to work for the Clinton Campaign and in early 1992 goes directly to Little Rock to work at Clinton headquarters. A substantial number of Israeli-oriented American Jews were then working in key positions for the Clinton Campaign, including a number who had previously been directly employed by “the lobby”. Indeed, the President of the AIPAC, The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the lead organization in the Israeli/Jewish lobby, is overheard bragging (not realizing his remarks were being recorded) that his organization has about a dozen operatives working with Clinton in Little Rock, Indyk one of them, and that Clinton would be the best President ever for Israel if elected.

    1992 – Shortly after Clinton’s election Indyk’s change in citizenship from Australian to American is rushed through.1993 – In a major political pay-off Indyk is given a position in the White House as National Security Council person in charge of Middle East affairs.
    >>>>>>

    Helen Cobban…

    ’’Like me, Indyk had been born in England. He arrived in Washington via a childhood and education in Australia. I came via my seven years of on-the-ground-experience in Lebanon and other Arab countries. Then in 1993, on the eve of Bill Clinton’s inauguration as president, Indyk received extraordinarily rapid naturalization as a U.S. citizen and immediately went to work in Clinton’s White House as his senior adviser on Middle East policy.
    You see, when it comes to the pro-Israeli crowd, having other nationalities or dual or triple nationalities is an easy-come-easy-go business inside the U.S. political elite. Australian to American? No problem– provided you’re well-connected with the pro-Israeli in-crowd, like Indyk. American to Israeli? Again, a matter of moments if you happen to be long-time “American” scholar turned suddenly Israeli diplomatic rep, Michael Oren.
    At the time, when I wrote something about the rapidity of Indyk’s acquisition of U.S. citizenship, he picked up the phone and started screaming at me, accusing me of being an “anti-Semite.” “Oh,” I asked him, “I assume we are talking on the record here?”
    He slammed down the phone. What a baby he was. I don’t think we’ve spoken since then.’’

    Was there some kind of legal reason for Indyk not taking US citizenship until 1993? Perhaps to protect himself legally by keepng a foregn citizenship in some of his subversive activites in the US? He came he when he was 10 years old, why wait for 30 years?

  21. American says:

    I suggest the US appoint Jimmy Carter as the US Rep in I/P talks.
    And Stephen Walt as his second chair for US interest involved.

  22. Martin Indyk lacked the poise to have a discussion with Norman Finkelstein on “Democracy Now!” how can he be expected to negotiate with the Palestinians?

    link to democracynow.org

  23. crone says:

    George Washington warned against alliances with foreign nations… he was the first but certainly not the last. Here are excerpts from his Farewell Address:

    “… [Page 23]

    In the execution of such a plan nothing is more essential than that permanent inveterate antipathies against particular Nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded; and that in place of them just & amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one Nation against another–disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate envenomed and bloody contests. The Nation, prompted by ill will & resentment sometimes impels to War the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the Nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition and other sinister & pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the Liberty, of Nations has been the victim. [return to top]

    [Page 24]

    So likewise, a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favourite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels & Wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification: It leads also to concessions to the favourite Nation of priviledges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions–by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained–& by exciting jealousy, ill will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom eql priviledges are withheld: And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favourite Nation) facility to betray, or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition corruption or infatuation.

    As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper [return to top]

    [Page 25]

    with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public Councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great & powerful Nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

    Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, (I conjure you to believe me fellow citizens,), the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real Patriots, who may resist the intriegues of the favourite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause & confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

    The Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our comercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled, [return to top]

    [Page 26]

    with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.”

    link to gwpapers.virginia.edu

  24. piotr says:

    I reviewed Wiki entry on Martin Indyk, and one sentence allows to peg him somewhat:

    “In late February 2010 he made highly critical remarks, as member of the New Israel Fund Board, of the campaign against the Fund in Australia which resulted in the postponement of a visit by Naomi Chazan.”

    So it seems that while Indyk is an alumnus of AIPAC, he is now more liberal than that. Also, AIPAC seems less liberal that it used to be, as it aligns itself with GoI. Thus he indeed is not a “fan of settlements”. Nevertheless, he is a part of Israeli establishment, and as such he must struggle to avoid being branded as a traitor (as it happen to Naomi Chazan). And the third rail that they avoid is suggesting any type of material pressure on GoI, even if the latter defies USA, say by refusing settlement freeze.

    Without such pressure, Israel will continue settlement expansion and will refuse to present ANY proposals pertaining the borders with Palestinian state. After all, this is what happened last time when Netanyahu presided over negotiations. The biggest change from that time is increased domination of maximalist supremacists in the ruling coalition of Israel.

    The choice of Indyk signals that Obama already gave up any positive outcome of the negotiations.

    • hophmi says:

      “So it seems that while Indyk is an alumnus of AIPAC, he is now more liberal than that. ”

      No Piotr, he was always on the liberal side. There are many people involved with AIPAC who are liberal.

      ” Nevertheless, he is a part of Israeli establishment,”

      No Piotr. He’s an American. He’s not part of any Israeli establishment.

      ” After all, this is what happened last time when Netanyahu presided over negotiations. The biggest change from that time is increased domination of maximalist supremacists in the ruling coalition of Israel.”

      There’s another big change, which you’re ignoring. And that change is that a good chunk of those who were against the two-state solution in the 1990s are now in favor of it, like Livni, and everyone else in the moderate wing of the Likud. That’s a major shift that began under Ariel Sharon, and it is why Netanyahu is able to countenance negotiations today. People do change. Despite all of the Oslo bashing that goes on here, there were many naysayers then as well. There were many naysayers at Camp David. These things tend to seem impossible until they happen.

    • seanmcbride says:

      piotr,

      I for one never said that Ross and Indyk were “fans of settlements” in an overt way. My argument is more complex than that: liberal Zionists like Ross and Indyk have publicly claimed to oppose the settlements while in reality promoting policies that guaranteed their continued expansion. They are playing a double game — acquiring control of a “peace process” that they have consistently undermined and driven into the ground.

      I think they are fully conscious of what they are up to — they are pusuing a deliberate strategy of deception and misdirection. They may well be Likud moles on the center-left — certainly their neoconservative connections create that impression.

      Even if their behavior over the last few decades hasn’t been deliberately deceitful and manipulative, they have been colossal failures by any objective and reasonable standard. They should have been disqualified from playing any role in the making of American Mideast policy a long time ago. They don’t care about America’s best interests.

  25. talknic says:

    If Indyk was fair he’d be recommending the US drop the UNSC veto vote. It is the only fair option.

  26. Listen: the odds against these talks working is long. If Indyk is out front after the failure blaming the Palestinians, then we’ll know that his appointment was a bad idea. But let’s go back to Camp David 2000 and the blame put on Arafat by Clinton and Barak. In the end did it make that much of a difference? A couple propaganda points here and a couple propaganda points there, it really (the blame, not the failure) makes little difference. This web site as an American web site is stuck with one upshot: it ends up that American support for Israel costs the US in its wars in Muslim countries, so the propaganda after a failure will make no difference.

    Will it really reduce the chances for successful talks? No, I don’t think it will make much difference. If Netanyahu and Abbas are about to get close enough to truly be within shouting distance of each other’s position, it will not hurt that Indyk is there.

    • Shingo says:

      But let’s go back to Camp David 2000 and the blame put on Arafat by Clinton and Barak.

      Let’s not. As Israel’s foreign ministers at the time said, if he were a Palestinian, he too would have rejected Camp David.

    • seanmcbride says:

      The only way a peace agreement can be achieved between Israel and the Palestinians is by the application of heavy American pressure on both parties.

      The role of liberal Zionists like Martin Indyk and Dennis Ross is to prevent and obstruct the application of any meaningful pressure on Israel. They are deliberately undermining and sabotaging the peace process while pretending to support and promote it. In essence, they are running clever interference for Likud and the entire Greater Israel project — and I think they know exactly what they are doing — they are not stupid.

      Indyk and Ross have gravely damaged the American interest while working for the Israeli interest (as they see it) inside the American government. Their branch of the Israel lobby exercises an iron grip on the Democratic Party, primarily through the financial control of billionaires and hectomillionaires like Haim Saban, who are proud and self-proclaimed Israel Firsters.

    • Hostage says:

      But let’s go back to Camp David 2000 and the blame put on Arafat by Clinton and Barak. In the end did it make that much of a difference? A couple propaganda points here and a couple propaganda points there, it really (the blame, not the failure) makes little difference.

      It depends. Those of us who were paying close attention at the time remember the right wing/settlers propaganda talking points. They revealed all you need to know about why there was no settlement:

      Prime Minister Ehud Barak today (27.2.2000) accepted the Arab assertion that U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 requires Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders. Mr. Barak noted that Madrid was based on 242 and asked his cabinet rhetorically “what other recognized border is there besides the 1967 border?”

      link to imra.org.il

      I don’t imagine anyone chimed-in to mention the frontiers contained in the UN partition plan. The Sharon government’s first order of business was to put the Mitchell report and the withdrawal clause of 242 in formaldehyde.

      • Clinton should have pushed hard for 1967 borders. Not hard to surmise why he did not.

        Dennis Ross is talking up the naming of Indyk. What a surprise.

  27. jon s says:

    Regardless of whether or not Mr. Indyk can do the job, I can’t resist referring to his last name. “Indyk” is a turkey, and I’m reminded of a story of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, about the prince who thought he was an indyk, a turkey. A case which these days would be referred to the shrinks, but back then the rabbis would be called in:
    link to breslov.org

    • Dutch says:

      I thought his family name was originally Dutch. There were many places in Holland with that name. It could also refer to someone living on the safe side of the dykes.

  28. Rusty Pipes says:

    It’s also possible that Indyk’s name has been proposed by the Israel Lobby or Netanyhu to pressure the Obama administration. Right now, only Kerry knows what he is telling both Abbas and Netanyahu — the Israel Lobby may not like being out of the loop.

    • talknic says:

      @Rusty Pipes the Israel Lobby may not like being out of the loop

      I doubt very much the Israeli Govt is gonna leave the lobby out of their loop.

      • Shingo says:

        I agree.

        If Indyk is there, then the lobby are most certainly in the loop. In fact, I suspect that Kerry would not have proceeded to push for these talks without running it by AIPAC first.

        Let’s stop pretending that the peace process has anything to so with a 2ss. The peace process is simply a way to provide ongoing legitimacy to settlements. That’s why a new round of new settlements buildings was announced at the same time as Kerry’s.

      • Rusty Pipes says:

        There are two loops, both of which go through Kerry. Old School: face to face, hard copy letters handed to recipients. However Netanyahu or Abbas want to represent the process to others, only Kerry knows what is going on. He’s Secretary of State; having taken the project on, he has the right not to relinquish that power to an underling.

        • talknic says:

          It is naive to think the Israeli Government isn’t updating AIPAC and other lobby groups minute by minute.

          As for Kerry. He’s just one on a long line of US politicians who’ve gone before him, too scared to rock the boat and of limited tenure link to wp.me (pic2) Were he or the US honest they’d’ve lived up to their commitment to International Law link to cfr.org and never have vetoed UNSC resolutions against Israel in the first place.

          Meanwhile the Zionist Federation have been refining their tactics for almost 100 years. Putting the right people and money in the right places, grooming new people for the job almost from birth, answerable only to themselves, no change of direction, not having to present themselves as a democracy or go thru the same machinations as the US does with its elections, changes of policy and fresh bunch of career oriented newbies to the scene who’re terrified of being labelled as antisemitic.

        • Rusty Pipes says:

          Since during coffee breaks at Camp David, the Israeli negotiators updated Israel Lobby reps to pressure Clinton’s team for concessions, I would expect nothing less from Netanyahu.

      • Mort Zukerman and other rich American Jews close to Netanyahu et al. will surely be kept informed.

  29. @Rusty – - I think we can assume that powerful Democrats told Obama to go with Indyk. And that Dennis Ross played a large role in this.

    • Rusty Pipes says:

      By George, Martin’s sure been angling for it. No doubt, Obama has gotten pressure from many quarters to confirm it. Other than unauthorized leaks about “possible consideration” is there any official confirmation? Indyk has had a cushy spot being promoted to Vice President of Foreign Policy at Brookings, not just at the Saban Institute. Why would he want to leave?

  30. Citizen says:

    Rachel Cohen, opined at Open Zion that Indyk in the mix is a plus for peace process. Says Indyk likely learned it was not good that the Americans “continually backed down” from its proposals at Camp David, that, since leaks are the lifeblood of Israeli politics, this time no details would be furnished on Kerry’s progress with both parties, and that, this time POTUS wouldn’t wait to his last final year to really push it, as this is the weakest time for POTUS to pursue the matter seriously. She also said the Americans are less naive this time around how the Israelis play their ties to establishment USA Jewish community to weaken the will of the US broker team. link to thedailybeast.com

    Sure looks like a weak argument, eh?