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December 16, 2014 8:28 am

The Arrogance of Martin Indyk

avatar by Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn

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Martin Indyk. Photo: Robert D. Ward via Wikimedia Commons.

During an old controversy involving Martin Indyk, then the U.S. ambassador to Israel, one Israeli political official invoked a particularly nasty historical analogy. Indyk reportedly had been contacting individual Israel cabinet ministers to demand they support making more concessions to the Arabs. “Ambassador Indyk needs to be reminded that he is not the British High Commissioner,” said the chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Not many Israelis today remember when a foreign power ruled Eretz Yisrael through the proclamations of an absolute dictator, nor how oppressive it was to live under his rule. But prior to Israel’s independence in1948, Jews living in the Holy Land could not shape their own fate. Outside powers – in this case, the British ruling authorities – called the shots, with their High Commissioner deciding what was best for the Jews.

Martin Indyk also acts as if he knows what’s best for the Jews. As President Obama’s special envoy, he declared in an August 2010 New York Times op-ed that Israel should “withdraw from at least 95 percent of the West Bank and accept a Palestinian capital in Arab East Jerusalem.”

In one job or another, Indyk has spent the last two decades trying to bring this about. First as part of the State Department’s Middle East team under President Bill Clinton, then as ambassador to Israel (twice), and more recently as President Obama’s envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Indyk has always pursued his goal of forcing Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians.

Indyk’s passion for his imposed solution is so strong that he has at times even come close to justifying Palestinian violence against Israel. On May 2 of this year, an unnamed “senior U.S. official” told the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot: “The Palestinians are tired of the status quo. They will get their state in the end – whether through violence or by turning to international organizations.” Three days later, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Indyk was the official who said it.

That remark recalled a statement made by “a senior U.S. official” to the Jerusalem Post on June 22, 1997, that recent Palestinian rioting against Jews was “a plausible safety valve” which “lets the Palestinians vent their anger.” At the time, Indyk was the U.S. ambassador in Israel.

Indyk has also earned a reputation for not relating kindly to those who don’t embrace his solution. Speaking at the Adas Israel synagogue in Washington, D.C. this past Yom Kippur, Indyk accused Israel of showing “total disrespect” for the Obama Administration. He invoked the same theme at the Brookings Institution in Washington on December 6, at which he told Israeli cabinet minister (and Jewish Home party leader) Naftali Bennett that Israelis have been “disrespectful” towards the Administration.

It’s ironic to hear Indyk complaining about “disrespect,” in view of the grossly disrespectful and demeaning language he routinely uses against Israel. In that Adas Israel speech, he said he discovered in the most recent round of failed negotiations “that we would crack the whip, but no one was responding to our whip cracks.” Indyk used the same odious analogy when describing his role, in an interview with the Washington Post back on February 24, 1997:  “The image that comes to mind is a circus master. All these players in the ring. We crack the whip and get them to move around in an orderly fashion.”

The characterization of Israelis as circus animals who need to have some sense whipped into them brings us back to the High Commissioner mind-set. The Israeli official who made that comparison specifically referred to the first High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel.

Samuel arrived in British Mandatory Palestine in 1920. Jewish leaders were pleased by his appointment, since Samuel himself was Jewish and had expressed sympathy for Zionism (much like Martin Indyk, one notes).

But when Arab rioting against Jews erupted the following year, Samuel changed his tune. Blaming the victim and appeasing the aggressor became his policy. First, he suspended Jewish immigration. Then his administration sent London a report accusing the Jews of “provoking” their attackers; the fact that Jewish pioneer women wore shorts while harvesting crops was cited as the kind of  “immoral” behavior that understandably angered some Muslims.

Finally, Samuel pardoned Arab terrorists who had taken part in the previous year’s anti-Jewish riots, and elevated one of their leaders, Haj Amin el-Husseini, to the post of Grand Mufti, or supreme Muslim religious leader of the country. Samuel insisted that Husseini would be reasonable and moderate once he had to deal with the responsibilities of office. Indyk and the State Department tried to convince Israel of the same thing regarding Yasser Arafat.

Quite the opposite transpired in both instances. Husseini organized pogroms against the Jews, instigated attacks on British forces, and then fled to Nazi Germany, where he collaborated with Hitler and personally helped block the rescue of Jewish children during the Holocaust. Arafat, after signing the Oslo Accords, continued fomenting terrorism against Israel, and was finally exposed when the Israelis captured a ship containing 50 tons of weapons that he was trying to smuggle into Gaza in 2002.

These lessons of history are utterly lost on Martin Indyk, however. At the Brookings Institution event, in between constantly interrupting and hectoring Minister Bennett, Indyk repeated the same old myths about Palestinian moderation and Israeli intransigence. Very much in the style of the high commissioner, Indyk arrived in the Mideast with a per-determined agenda to impose on the Jews, ignoring the lessons from actual events, clinging to old cliches and discredited theories, and haughtily dismissing as “disrespectful” and “circus animals” anyone who thought otherwise.

Moshe Phillips is president and  Benyamin Korn is chairman of the Religious Zionists of America, Philadelphia.

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  • charlie johnson

    11 But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.========= The guy that wrote that was a King of Israel for awhile. Unless things change radically soon there will be few meek around to collect their inheritance,In the Mid East of today the meek must be keeping a low profile.The Arabs have a knack for de-meeking their children.

  • al sheeber

    Seems like the author of this take missed the fact that during the high days of Indyk’s infamous power trip, the Nathanyahu Cabinet was toppled in a classic CIA putsch- rumors, disinformation, fear of decline of the “relationship”, Bibi is disliked by Clinton, all this during the same time that Monica Lewinski was crawling under his desk, sharing Domino Pizza take outs with the predator POTUS. Clinton wanted to “depart” with alegacy-what could he take with him other then the stolen silver and furniture? He dreamed of a Middle East legacy. The Israeli Prime Minister was not coming through. he had to be replaced. Three Clinton stooges arrived to the Dan Hotel (1999) near the Labor Party offices,Hayarkon Street, the same building from where Yitzhak Rabin gave the orders to shoot live amo at the Altalena)) to fashion for the fledgeling Ehud Barak a message. Carville, Shcrum, Greenberg, were the A team of the American Left, no one accounted for who paid for their time, but a good bet can begn with Haim Saban, the 60’s troubadoor from Cairo, TLV, will not be far off. They deposed the elected P.M replacing him with the failed Barak, for his failures Israel got the Bulldozer-Arik Sharon. Is it not wise for the wily grifter Indyk to understand that what you plot in your nasty mind is not what will be the likely outcome? Was getting into Viet-Nam with various “nudging” policies during the 50’s was such a wise idea? Does he not know what came out of the Mossadeq intervention? The U.S is still paying in billions for saving Britain’s oil pump, and what is the benefit to U.S tax-payers? Indyk IMHO is a persona non grata that should not be allowed to enter the borders of the State of Israel, i cannot see why a person who was involved in a scheme like an overthrow should be allowed in, but than , Israel has no foreign Minister, nor much of a cabinet, mostly a collection of free-loaders.

  • Paul

    The extreme hatred vented here toward Indyk is the typical reaction of a dumb person when you tell them their breath smells. (A wise person goes and checks, and maybe does something to improve the situation. A dummy lashes out)
    The depth of the attacks against Indyk sink to the low level of saying his name means Turkey in Yiddish – really!? So he is anti-israel because his name means Turkey in Yiddish? HOW STUPID CAN YOU GET ?? Our surname dictates our political opinions ?
    The vitriolic views expressed here by so many emotionally-guided thinkers appears to be: If a Jew has a different opinion from me, he must be a self-hating anti-semite.
    The right wing are so full of self righteousness, believe themselves to possess the absolute true understanding of what is to be done. If they are so smart and so right about everything, how come Israel’s position is getting worse and worse despite almost continuous right-wing government in Israel since 1977 ? MAYBE WE SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER WHAT INDYK HAS TO SAY – INSTEAD OF SIMPLY REJECTING THINGS THAT SOUND UNPOPULAR !!!!! Maybe we ARE doing something wrong ??? Maybe those who lash out at dissenting opinions instead of giving them serious consideration are displaying weakness rather than strength ? Making peace requires courage. SOme wise person said, having the courage of your convictions is easy. What is difficult is, having the courage to examine your convictions.

  • Jack Tucker

    ארבע מדות באדם:

    .האומר שלי שלי ושלך שלי, רשע.

  • Steve Loeb

    The epitome of the “Court Jew”

  • Saul Goldman

    Indyk represents the greatest threat to the welfare of the Jewish nation; the alienated Jew. Indyk reminds us all that the fight for our survival is essentially a spiritual one. The battle is between good and evil. Just one look at the map and one can see that if the issue was the creation of a Palestinian home then Jordan is the place. But, the Palestinians don’t want a home; they just don’t want the Jews to have their home.

    • Paul

      The reality is very simple: what matters is not philosophical arguments about the palestinian homeland being Jordan, or the battle being spiritual or whatever. What matters is this: the palestinians can and will fight for their independence, just as the Israelis did. Every day we continue to occupy the territories and try impose our settlements by force, we strengthen their resolve and the resolve of the entire world against us. Even if you are so convinced you are right, here in Israel we say “Rather be wise than right”.
      The Palestinians don’t want us here ? True !! (Surprise?) I would rather there were no Palestinians either. But the reality is, we are BOTH here. and unless you have a magic formula that will make 5.9 million palstinians disapper, we musy find a way to live with them, rather than continue trying to justify perpetuating a fight that we cannot win, because we believe we are right. We should seek a solution in order to be wise. This is the understanding that was reached by Rabin, and then by Sharon – fighters of long standing. Why did they change their minds ? what finally dawned on THEM ?
      I fought in four wars here. How many more wars would you like our children to fight ? If we do not achieve peace, we will have more and more wars – and time is working for our enemies, against us. Many years ago, arab terrorists had to bring in a Japanese suicide bomber (Koso Okomoto). Today, almost every child on the west bank wants to be a suicide bomber. Are things improving ? Are we really making things develop the way we want them to ? Are we perhaps losing the war for our survival by continuing to make mistakes ? Does everyone who suggests the road to a settlement have to be branded an anti-zionist ? Could it be that our own worst enemy is our own stupidity ?

    • AW

      Totally agree! Even in Israel we have them, and they’re crying wolf constantly, warning us of the dire consequences of not toeing the international line.

      These Jews, unfortunately, cannot in their mind handle the consequences of an independent Jewish state, and simply wish to return to the ghetto. In the words of the former chairman of the Knesset, Mr. Shevach Weiss: We tried that way already – and look where it got us!

  • Wm. J. Levy

    We Jews never learn and we’re considered the smartest people on this earth.

    Unfortunately too many Jews are our worst enemies and that included Torquemada, the converted Jew who became a monk in England brought the “Blood Libel” to England resulting in the massacre of Jews and Iran’s Achminejad who is of Jewish ancestry.

    I have one simple question. Where is God when we need him now?

    • Paul

      Maybe God is sending Indyk to try save us from our own mistakes. Today, Israel and most of those commenting here, are full of hubris. Go read the bible – you will discover that throughout ancient history, the israelis often behaved wrongly and God apparently punished them for it. A bit more humility may be a good idea.

    • Markus

      Wm.J.Levy:”where is GOD when we need HIM now?” well where were you HE has been waiting for you/all of us to tell you/us to”repent
      “if MY people who are called by MY NAME will humble themselves and pray and seek MY face and turn from their wicked ways I will here from heaven and come and heal their land”

  • Emanuel

    INDYK: Insignificant, Narrow-minded, Douchebag, Yucky, Kid. He’s a Loser. Failure. Fake Jew. Clown. Waste of Taxpayer dollars.

    • Paul

      Yes, you certainly present a detailed, logical, convincing argument.

  • capguy

    Proving once more, that liberalism is a mental disorder!

  • Marta Mikey Frid

    Why not to mention how much money Indyk received from the Arab countries? This is a well known fact.

  • Lars-Toralf STorstrand

    With a last name that means “Turkey”, what else can one expect.

  • Herb Grossman

    Also, in his dialogue with Bennett, Indyk managed to slip in a totally false comment about Jews entering Arab communities and committing physical violence against Arabs. The despicable “price tag” vandals are just that — vandals. They leave graffiti and slash tires, but they do not assault people. For every act of physical violence by Jews against Arabs, there are hundreds in the other direction — stonings, gasoline bombs, stabbings, vehicular homicides, etc. Be assured Indyk, even with your jumping on the antisemitic bandwagon and propagating those libels, the gentiles will still view you as a Jew.

  • Herb Grossman

    Let us not forget that Indyk also ran a one-man campaign, including an op ed in the Washington Post, after the disastrous Oslo process that he and the other court Jews, Kurtzer, Miller and Ross, bungled, to pressure Israel out of the Golan Heights in a “deal” with Assad. Imagine where Israel would be now, with ISIS on those heights ready to rain rockets and artillery down on Israel, as he would also have Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad do from the mountain range in the West Bank. With a prestigious position and riches from Qatar, why should he be concerned with the safety of the Jews of Israel?

  • Pinchos Woolstone

    The most disrespectful thing a Jew can do is marry out.He adds insult to injury by haughtily having the temerity to lecture to Israel.
    What arrogance Martin, shame on you.

  • Pinchos Woolstone

    please forget about Indyk, hes an old hack going nowhere, accepting bribe donations from our enemies.
    He hopes to serve his political mistress Hilary, but that will lead nowhere, she may be visiting the next President in the White House but residency will not be hers.
    Martin should enjoy his non Jewish wife and leave Israel alone.

  • Anthony C Abela

    I love Israel and it’s beautiful people and I also thank them for their contributions to the world (especially Arabs)in medical advancement, literature and music amongst other things. The whole world benefits from Israel, maybe it is about time they start thinking who should get what especially those countries with anti Jewish sentiments. It pains me when I see Jewish people being the worst enemies of Israel. Maltese living in Melb. Australia.

  • NCS

    Martin Indyk …despicable character.

  • Martin Bookspan

    “Indyk” is the Yiddish word for turkey. What a foul-smelling, odious and repugnant turkey is this contemptible Indyk who is on the payroll of Islam to the tune of millions of dollars annually. He should be shunned and shamed before the world!


  • David Goshen

    I would like to suggest with respect a few points to Martin Indyk for consideration which might help him in arriving in & formulating ideas on a settlement between the PA and Israel as laid down the several UN Resolutions:
    1)The seperation of Kosova from Serbia.
    President Clinton with whom Martin Indyk worked closely and no doubt had a lot of influence on him led the seperation of Kosova from Serbia.We should not overlook that to this day few countries have recognized this seperation.
    I would respcetfully like to suggest that one of the main reasons for its lack of general acceptance especially by some leading nations is the failure to have considered the rights,religion ,customs etc of the local populations on the ground.Let me give a few examples:On the northern border of Kosova and the southern border of Serbia is a strip of territory solely occupied by Christian Serbs.It is not a large territory but with out any logic the said territory was given to Muslim Kosova.This reminds one of the cronic mistakes of the World Powers after WW1 when Iraq,Syria etc were created and which are causing a hovic with the peace of the region.The Kosava /Serbia division is a small example of a guaranteed likelihood of future unrest.It is essential to take into account in any peace settlement the local settlers and place them under the rule of those who have a similar history,background,religion ,customs and limit to the minimum the movement of populations.
    2The Palestinean /Israeli Situation
    One should give the British Government some credit when it questioned at the time the wisdom of the Sykes/Picot territorial divisions by its officials which the British Government at the time considered completely unwise because of the major differences in religion,customs,traditions,etc of populations being lumped togeter.The answer at the time from Senior British Officials was that we will”Teach them to get on together!”This was a complete miserable failure which we all know today.
    The British High Comissioner Lord Herbert Samuel made some critical mistakes which the Fench made as well.He used a policy of ensuring that there would be constant conflict between Arabs and Jews by suporting the Husseinis with no logic whatsoever to ensure that there would be constant conflict between the two populations so the British could “Divide & Rule”,a similar policy to the French.Had Samuel chosen the more educated civilized and western &flexible Nishishubis to represent the Arabs the history of Palestine whould have been completely different.
    3The present Palestinean /Israeli Peace Negotiations
    Abu Mazem and Arafat before him have carried out a severe ethnic cleansing of Arab Christians in the PA territory since Oslo.Christian Arabs who numbered a few hundred thousands and who were a much more moderate element are now below 50,000 and there are no longer sufficient Christian Arabs to care for te Christian Holy Places their jobs being filled by Muslims.Pope John Paul II made
    several appeals to Arafat to stop the ethnic cleansing but the strict policy of Arafat & Abu Mazem is to have a pure Muslim State with no minorities whatsoever,Christian Arabs,Copts,Behais,Druzes,etc.When Abu Mazem talks of no Jews he means no minorities,and within a generation or two no Christian Arabs will remain.Gaza as most of the Middle East hs been cleansed.
    Let us look at East Jerusalem.There is absolutely no way that the PA could be given the rule of areas where Christian Armenian Arabs live as they too would be cleansed in a few generations,
    The whole Apartheid System of Muslim belief that the physical presence of non Muslims is unacceptable very much the same as the South African Apartheid System makes a peaceful settlement very difficult.Abu Mazem “fear” of “infection”by Jews ,Christian Arabs & other minorities affecting the holiness of the Absa Mosque is foreign to the 21st Century and is completely unacceptable.
    It is my hope that Martin Indyk with a deeper understanding will be beter able to avoid the disasterous mistakes of the British Governments in the past when trying to find a just wise and peaceful WORKABLE settlement.

  • nelson marans

    Based on Martin Indyk’s long record of anti-Iarael rhetoric and actions, what does this say about President Obama and his appointment of Indyk for a critical role in the failed Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace negotiations.
    Far from being a neutral negotiator, he apparently mirrored the views of President Obama, leading to the failure of negotiations as Abbas continued to raise his demands for a interim peace, expecting support from the U. S. and Indyk.

  • art

    Let us not forget the $14+million endowment from the qatar sheiks. Also he is very well compensated as a special envoy, ask George Mitchel and Tony Blair

  • C S

    What do you expect from Indyk after he took all those millions from Qatar?!?!? That is the same Qatar that lovingly supports Hamas and shields its nouveau billionnaire leaders in five star hotels, while the Gaza population is 45% unemployed, while there is no money for infrastructure because it’s spent on weapons and terror tunnels by peace loving Hamas.

  • Saba

    Unfortunately there is a Jewish left wing fifth column that exist in America who say they support the state of Israel but do everything in their power to undermine the Israeli government.The same can be said of Israelis who support the Palestinian cause.

  • Louis Fried

    Indyk is an arrogant and obnoxious non-entity. He is best ignored.

  • Attila the hun

    Who needs an enemy when you have self hating Jews as a friend

  • Jeff Blankfort

    I am not sure of the nationality of the writer of this article but he should remember that Indyk received fast track to US citizenship under Bill Clinton in order to become US ambassador to Israel after working for AIPAC and becoming the founding director of the Wash. Inst. for Near East Policy.

    His job description did not require him be a spokesperson for the Likud or for Israel or swear his loyalty to its government but to the country of which he most recently swore his citizenship, the US, something those American born Jews who have never been called on to do and who criticize him like the writer of this article fail to understand.

    As for the ideas expressed by Indyk and Bennett, polls taken of American Jews reveal that the large majority of American Jews, including most Zionists to the left of the ZOA, would adhere to the comments of Indyk by a large majority.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    I regard Martin Indyk’s take on Israel as not only anti-Zionist, but also anti-Semitic. And there is nothing more reprehensible and degrading than a self-hating Jew in public! I watched in distress Indyk’s discourse with Bennett. Such a public showing of an American Jew baiting an Israeli Jew sent cold shivers up my spine! What an absolutely disgraceful display of condescension on behalf of Indyk! So, in conclusion, I find Martin Indyk a despicable example of a Jew and an odious example of a human being! (I’m sorry if I sound direct in my meaning, but I mean what I say!)

    • art

      First indyk is NOT a self hating Jew. He loves himself and willingly would sacrifice other Jews to advance himself. He hates other Jews not himself. He will advance himself by self righteously throwing other Jews under the bus

    • Sam Goodman

      Of all the the world,we have one in our midst.ISRAEL needs Bibi

    • Hillel

      I concur whole heartedly. You have expressed my exact thoughts eloquently.
      I would remind all an sundry that there is nothing worse in this world than a self hating Jew. If Indyk finds it so distasteful, he should put a rag on his head and change his name to Hussein. Unfortunately, there are a few Jews like him here in Australia and many more, undoubtedly in the US and the world at large. They’re already snipped, I suspect, the change to muslim would not be a great leap for them, they’re on the same path to hell anyway.

    • Sol Bleiweis

      I agree. Never trust some one who claims to have Israel’s interest but really has his own personal agenda which is clearly anti-Israel.

    • Don’t be sorry it’s the unmitigated truth!