Israeli settlements ‘screwed up’ Kerry peace talks, Indyk says–but U.S. is still Israel’s lawyer!

Middle East
on 31 Comments

Martin Indyk speaks to Mehdi Hasan of Al Jazeera, on a show airing Friday night, on the question, “Should the US be neutral on Israel/Palestine?” Here are some of the quotes from the AlJazeera press release:

Former US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Martin Indyk, a key player in US-Israel relations for over 30 years, has said the United States is “not neutral” and that it doesn’t “claim to be neutral” in negotiations with the Palestinians. He also said he does not think “anybody is under any illusion that the United States is in Israel’s corner. We don’t hide that… We shout it from the rooftops.” He also argued the US’s position is “not inconsistent” with being an honest broker, although this might be “hard to accept”.

When challenged by Head to Head presenter Mehdi Hasan about whether the US plays “Israel’s lawyer”, Indyk admitted “there were times when we did”, but reflected it is “not a role that we should play.” He defended his role as chief negotiator during the 2013-2014 Kerry talks, saying the US delegation did not coordinate with the Israelis in advance as it had done in previous rounds, and blamed Israeli settlement construction for the failure of the talks: “It was the settlements that screwed up the negotiations”, he said.

Ambassador Indyk also described the UN as a “very hostile place to Israel.” However, he said “it wouldn’t be a bad thing for the United States at least to abstain” in the upcoming UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements. This “would be huge” because “the resolution would go through.”

Here Indyk, now at Brookings, allows that maybe just maybe the U.S. should take some action against Israel:

Asked why the US continues to tolerate “being slapped in the face” by Israel – for instance, when it announced the construction of new settlements during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel – Indyk said Israeli officials should not be “welcomed in Washington” if they humiliate the US.

He explained that one of the reasons the US supports Israel’s security to the tune of 3.5 billion dollars is because it faces some real threats in the region, but asked about withholding any of the money in order to pressure Israel, he said that he “can imagine that some circumstances would arise. And it’s happened before and I don’t rule out that it would happen in the future.”

The Israel lobby “constrains what an administration can consider that it would do.” Really!

Discussing the power and influence of pro-Israel lobbying organizations in the United States, Indyk said the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which he previously worked for, “is indeed a powerful lobby on behalf of Israel” and that “ there’s no doubt that its influence constrains what an administration can consider that it would do.”

Let’s see if I got this right: Indyk says the US is “not neutral” and “doesn’t claim to be” in the Israel-Palestine peace process, and it’s sometimes acted as Israel’s lawyer, and Israel “screwed up” the latest round of peace talks by building settlements; and there were no consequences to Israel for doing so. And Indyk once worked for AIPAC, which constrains what the White House can do; but he is also a longtime White House negotiator.

Something wrong with this picture? Isn’t it time that Zionist Jews lost some power over this foreign policy question? Or at least there were some Arab-Americans negotiating?

The marvel of this interview is that it is conducted by an international news organization, not an American one, but involves U.S. foreign policy; and a bias that is plain as the nose on your face to others is never explored honestly in American publications. Indyk was interviewed in England. Just as the Israel Lobby had to be published in England 10 years ago. While in our discourse, there’s a ton of prevarication over why those peace talks failed, including from Hillary Clinton, and the New York Times too, with all the talk about Palestinian incitement. (P.S. American revolutionaries were accused of incitement when they resisted the British crown in the 1770s.)

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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31 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    May 13, 2016, 6:00 pm

    Nice that he’s honest. The EU now has no fig-leaf to cover its own refusal to act; it cannot say that the superpower is an honest broker.

    It must admit that USA’s I-am-Israel-lawyer action (or inaction) in peacemaking or enforcement of international law has not brought about peace (or any sort of justice or equality or non-discrimination or protection of Palestinian human rights of Palestinian national rights or Palestinian property rights). It can say, why should it act when the great-and-powerful-Oz (I mean, sorry, USA) has not acted? Or it can elect to act. (It always could — but now the fig-leaf can be declared obviously gone.)

    Sort of embarrassing, like going into the wrong bathroom: USA was pretending (sort of) all those years to be an honest broker or referee and now is revealed to be a sort of facilitator or enabler of the monster — all knew this, for many, many years, but now it’s “in your face”.

    And we wait.

  2. just
    May 13, 2016, 6:05 pm

    “Let’s see if I got this right: Indyk says the US is “not neutral” and “doesn’t claim to be” in the Israel-Palestine peace process, and it’s sometimes acted as Israel’s lawyer, and Israel “screwed up” the latest round of peace talks by building settlements; and there were no consequences to Israel for doing so. And Indyk once worked for AIPAC, which constrains what the White House can do; but he is also a longtime White House negotiator.”

    Sounds like you nailed it. Well, there it is. What most of the world has always known is now spoken by Indyk. I guess that puts the ‘Peace Industry’ to eternal rest. Finally. The ‘Road Map’ is revealed as the ultimate dead end by design. Now we have a real working document! Thanks, Phil, Mehdi and Al Jazeera. And as much as it pains me because he’s spent “over 30 years” obfuscating and lying through his teeth, thanks to Martin. It’s crystal clear that the Palestinians never, ever had an honest partner for peace and justice.

    Next?

  3. ritzl
    May 13, 2016, 7:53 pm

    Why is it significant when Martin Indyk states the obvious? The obvious that literally hundreds of people have stated before him?

    Does this mean more and more insiders are becoming self-aware, questioning their own self-imposed futility, and in so doing may be willing to contemplate (or, God forbid, adopt) alternate, non-futile behavior? To what end? In what time frame?

    Or is this a form of “we do (did) it because we can (could)” outgoing, self-inflating braggadocio on the part of a person who knowingly made himself as irrelevant as fish fur (and demonstrates why and how in this interview)?

    I can’t tell.

    There seemed to be the barest hint of sadness about Indyk, so maybe that’s a clue.

    • just
      May 14, 2016, 9:29 am

      And here comes Bill, singing the same song:

      “Campaigning for Wife, Bill Clinton Defends His Efforts to Establish Palestinian State

      The former president also stands by his wife’s stance of non-neutrality on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      Bill Clinton defended his positions on the Arab-Israeli conflict at a campaign event for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, on Friday, Politico reported.

      While the former president was speaking at the event in Ewing Township, New Jersey, an attendee yelled, “What about Gaza?”

      Clinton responded that his wife, then the U.S. secretary of state, and Egypt’s then-President Mohammad Morsi “stopped the shooting war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza,” according to Politico.

      After the attendee pressed Clinton on Hillary Clinton’s pledge not to remain neutral on Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, he responded: “[Hamas] said they try to put the Israelis in a position of either not defending themselves or killing innocents. They’re good at it. They’re smart. They’ve been doing this a long time.”

      “I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state,” … was quoted as saying. “I had a deal they turned down that would have given them all of Gaza.”

      “There’s nobody who’s blameless in the Middle East, but we cannot really ever make a fundamental difference in the Middle East unless the Israelis think we care whether they live or die,” he added. “If they do, we have a chance to keep pushing for peace.” ”

      read more: http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/u-s-election-2016/1.719557?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

      uh- huh.

      • Citizen
        May 14, 2016, 5:09 pm

        It all depends on what is, is–or what peace is. A piece of this, a piece of that taken, soon nothing to talk about.

  4. Bumblebye
    May 13, 2016, 7:58 pm

    Re the EU, this is today’s news regarding lobby groups here:

    “Today in London a new report entitled The Israel Lobby and the European Union is being released. Researched and written by Public Interest Investigations and Spinwatch and published by EuroPal Forum, it seeks to explore a number of Israel lobby groups in the European Union, the power they wield and the dubious sources that fund them, while also uncovering the secretive transatlantic networks behind them”

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160513-new-report-breaks-down-the-israel-lobby-in-the-european-union/

    link to pdf download at the bottom of the article. I’ve found it too late in the day (here in UK) to read tonight!

    • just
      May 13, 2016, 8:18 pm

      Thank you, Bumblebye. It certainly looks promising. I am looking forward to reading it in depth tomorrow.

    • Kay24
      May 14, 2016, 8:11 am

      I have not read it as yet but this paragraph caught my eye:

      “Despite all this, there is some good news in the report- the push for a strong Israel lobby in the European Union springs from the recognition that Palestine solidarity movements are having an effect on public opinion. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign has seen considerable progress, as has other campaigns that are taking root across Europe.”

      Good news from a bad situation.

      No wonder the occupier is sweating hard to stifle BDS activity, and getting puppets like Clinton to parrot their talking points that BDS is anti-semitism. It seems the BS is not working.

    • just
      May 18, 2016, 7:05 pm

      Bumblebye~ Asa Winstanley did a piece @ EI today on your linked report:

      “US anti-Muslim groups fund Europe’s Israel lobby

      … Right-wing US billionaires
      Most of the groups detailed in the report “are opaque about their sources of funding.”

      But most Israel lobby money comes from the far right in the US, said report co-author David Miller, including from noted pro-Israel and pro-Republican billionaires.

      The report notes that while European Friends of Israel is associated with the political right in Europe, the Friends of Israel Initiative is even further to the right.

      “Although its founding members include many Europeans, its funders include key American players in the transatlantic Islamophobia network,” the report states.

      This follows a trend in the United States: whereas the lobby there has traditionally aimed for bipartisan support for Israel, the issue is becoming more aligned with the right.

      In a sign of this shift, support for the Palestinians among young Democratic Party voters has increased markedly over the last few years.

      US funders of the lobby in Europe include billionare casino magnate and key Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, leading Islamophobic demagogue Daniel Pipes and Nina Rosenwald – heir to the Sears Roebuck fortune, dubbed by journalist Max Blumenthal “the sugar mama of anti-Muslim hate.”

      Adelson owns Israel Hayom a leading pro-government tabloid in Israel. He also bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal in December.

      Last month the most widely read columnist there resigned over what he termed a “gag order” placed on him by Adelson, who apparently did not take kindly to the columnist writing critically about his casinos. …”

      https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/us-anti-muslim-groups-fund-europes-israel-lobby

  5. yonah fredman
    May 14, 2016, 4:45 am

    The American revolutionaries were settler colonialists and comparing the Palestinians to the revolt of the settlers against the mother country is, shall we say, mixing one’s metaphors.

    • Citizen
      May 14, 2016, 5:17 pm

      @ yonah freeman

      After the impact of two world wars resulting in the Nuremberg Trials & Geneva progeny, US/Israel still think what was done to the native Americans through the later 19th Century is still OK today? Our POTUS main candidates & US Congress & main media act so. Their answer is to boycott & sanction nonviolent BDS protestors and corporate supporters. Major malfunction USA will live to regret.

      • DaBakr
        May 16, 2016, 9:24 pm

        if the us adressed its ‘theft of land’ from first nations people the way the palestinians are demanding their land issue with israel it might actually have some credibility. the same thing could apply to dozens of other nations where indigenous land was settled or stolen (depending on your perspective. but zionist haters hate to hear this and they call it what about-ism . or, they make a lot of other excuses to disavow any analogy. but when pw wants to make a colonial patriot/palestinian analogy there is not a peep in the house.

      • talknic
        May 16, 2016, 11:55 pm

        @ DaBakr May 16, 2016, 9:24 pm

        “if the us adressed its ‘theft of land’ from first nations people the way the palestinians are demanding their land issue with israel it might actually have some credibility.”

        Uh? I see. If the US addressed its past ‘theft of land’, Israel would suddenly adhere to the law? Withdraw from all non-Israeli territories? Pay for 68 years of intransigence? Interesting theory …

        Sorry pal, but the US did address exactly that issue in 1933 http://www.cfr.org/sovereignty/montevideo-convention-rights-duties-states/p15897 … Your turn.

        ” the same thing could apply to dozens of other nations where indigenous land was settled or stolen”

        No it can’t. The UN, which was formed of those nations recanted on their former colonial practices, adopting laws that prohibit the acquisition of territory by any coercive means, incl war.

        Say, is Ziopoop nice to wade around in

      • eljay
        May 17, 2016, 7:29 am

        || DaBakr: if the us adressed its ‘theft of land’ from first nations people the way the palestinians are demanding their land issue with israel it might actually have some credibility. the same thing could apply to dozens of other nations where indigenous land was settled or stolen (depending on your perspective. but zionist haters hate to hear this and they call it what about-ism . … ||

        “Murderers exist, so it’s OK to rape.”

        It’s amusing to see you arguing against whataboutism by using whataboutism as a defence.

        The U.S.’ problems don’t absolve Israel of its obligations. Similarly, Israel’s problems don’t absolve the U.S. of its obligations.

        But instead of insisting that your states must resolve their own problems and uphold the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality, apologists like you on both the American and Israeli sides do nothing except argue “what about … ?”

  6. Kay24
    May 14, 2016, 8:07 am

    The US has lost any credibility as an honest broker in this conflict, and has shown unwavering support for the aggressor in far too numerous ways to list. How can the Palestinians have faith in a broker that hands over ammunition and weapons to the occupier when it decides to attack them, or expect the nation we give the highest amount of aid and support in any situation to toe that line?
    It would be ridiculous to expect them to do so.

    “but asked about withholding any of the money in order to pressure Israel, he said that he “can imagine that some circumstances would arise. And it’s happened before and I don’t rule out that it would happen in the future.”

    What is the US waiting for? Israel has given excuse after excuse to maintain the status quo, insulted our officials, disrespected Obama, violated MANY international laws, and keeps building those damn
    illegal settlements, which has been condemned by the world AND the US, so WHEN will the
    US use that aid as leverage to get the war criminals stop building more squatter abodes and agree to give the Palestinians their independence? Not in our lifetime.

  7. eljay
    May 14, 2016, 8:58 am

    … Former US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Martin Indyk, a key player in US-Israel relations for over 30 years, has said the United States is “not neutral” and that it doesn’t “claim to be neutral” in negotiations with the Palestinians. He also said he does not think “anybody is under any illusion that the United States is in Israel’s corner. We don’t hide that… We shout it from the rooftops.” He also argued the US’s position is “not inconsistent” with being an honest broker …

    What I-P needs is an impartial broker: A country or group of countries whose goal is to realize a just and mutually-beneficial resolution to the I-P conflict by applying – as best as possible – justice, accountability and equality (“JAE”) to it.

    An “honest broker” like the U.S. – thoroughly biased and utterly disinterested in JAE – is far worse and more dangerous than merely useless.

  8. James Michie
    May 14, 2016, 10:04 am

    I continue to be curious in wanting to know why Mondoweiss refuses to label Zionist Israel’s illegal colonist settlements “Illegal”. Your failure to do so, only serves to legitimize Zionist Israel’s continuing grand theft of Palestinian homes farms, businesses and lands.

    The headline for this piece should read: Israel’s Illegal settlements ‘screwed up’ Kerry peace talks, Indyk says–but U.S. is still Israel’s lawyer!

    I hope you give this due consideration, Phil and Adam. Thanks.

    Jim Michie

    • just
      May 14, 2016, 11:43 am

      Thanks for that, James. You are right, of course. I, for one, will stop being neglectful.

    • Pixel
      May 14, 2016, 1:56 pm

      +10

    • amigo
      May 15, 2016, 5:00 am

      Excellent point.

    • Talkback
      May 15, 2016, 8:39 am

      +1

    • Kay24
      May 15, 2016, 8:55 am

      Good point. The emphasis MUST be on ILLEGAL. Why give any credibility to squatter abodes by not mentioning the “squatter” part?

      • DaBakr
        May 16, 2016, 9:27 pm

        labeling assad the ‘illegal’ ruler of syria would do nothing to solve the conflict there. i think your underestimating how people process propaganda-be it from israel or zionist-hating morally superior left-wing progressives.

      • Kay24
        May 17, 2016, 6:47 pm

        DB, Let’s not look at Syria in this article (the usual look over there attempt). Besides the zionist squatters have been at it longer than Assad’s war. So let’s deal with the culprit who has violated international laws longer.

        NOT labelling the settlements “Illegal” has not solved the conflict either.
        We should simply keep referring to the squatter abode as Illegal, even though the Palestinian hating zionists cannot take it.

      • talknic
        May 18, 2016, 4:53 am

        @ DaBakr May 16, 2016, 9:27 pm

        “labeling assad the ‘illegal’ ruler of syria would do nothing to solve the conflict there”

        It’d be false to label him as ” the ‘illegal’ ruler of syria”. If anything it would help to further exacerbate the conflict there.

        Meanwhile under International Law as emphasized and re-affirmed in UNSC resolutions reminding Israel of binding law and the binding UN Charter, the Israeli settlers in non-Israeli territories are illegal. Issues are more easily solved when facts are known.

    • Sycamores
      May 15, 2016, 2:42 pm

      Hi James Michie,

      overall i agree with you on the word illegal alongside Israeli settlements no problems there.

      i could be wrong but Phil Weiss was quoting Martin Indyk in the Headline. i watch Head to Head on Friday and as far as i can remember Indyk never used the word illegal alongside Israeli settlements.

  9. Boomer
    May 14, 2016, 11:34 am

    re “The marvel of this interview is that it is conducted by an international news organization, not an American one, but involves U.S. foreign policy; and a bias that is plain as the nose on your face to others is never explored honestly in American publications.”

    The marvel is that he can “safely” say it to a foreign network (which was effectively excluded from broad U.S. distribution even though it neutered itself in an effort to reach Americans), while the U.S. media, supposedly among the least fettered in the world, censors itself on this issue (as well as a few others).

  10. Citizen
    May 14, 2016, 5:29 pm

    If Kerry had any balls, he’d let slip to the public in no uncertain terms what his chief negotiator waffles about. The guy is rich, has the highest political chair he will ever have, is very old–he’s got nothing practical to lose by choosing to honestly inform the public in America’s and World’s best interest–yet he won’t move–Why? How does he remain swift-boated by the Zionists? Explanations welcome.

  11. Citizen
    May 14, 2016, 5:48 pm

    Kerry vowed to Palestinian agent 2 veto pending UNSC resolution on settlements last February, after telling Israel agent settlements were “illegitimate” last December. And now Kerry’s chief negotiator says the settlements killed the peace process. Meanwhile, Kerry’s out to lunch, pondering what? Obama offering Netanyahu $50 Billion aid package? Kerry needs to grow some balls. http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Erekat-Kerry-vowed-to-veto-UNSC-resolutions-on-Israeli-settlements-Palestinian-statehood-447019

    • Kay24
      May 17, 2016, 6:50 pm

      Obama offering Netanyahu $50 Billion aid package? Kerry needs to grow some balls…

      Neither Obama, Biden, Kerry, the Congress, the media, nor Hillary have any!

  12. John Salisbury
    May 14, 2016, 6:04 pm

    Yes PHIL I have often thought about the liberation movement of the 1770’s and wondered whether the struggle would have had any currency at all among the ‘powerful and good’ in the Washington of today.

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