Senior Obama administration officials have escalated a secret media war to discredit Israel in the press, providing highly critical anonymous quotes and negative information about the Jewish state in a bid to blame it for the recent collapse of peace talks with the Palestinians.This is nothing new for Indyk. IMRA notes a letter written in 2000 by Israeli MK Uzi Landau to Bill clinton, complaining about Indyk's attempts to manipulate and pressure Israel even then:
Multiple sources in both the United States and Israel confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon that Middle East envoy Martin Indyk again served as the anonymous source for a recent interview in the Israeli press that lambasted Israel, blamed it for the failure of peace talks, and predicted that Israel needs to face another wave of Palestinian terrorism before it will make peace.
Indyk was first identified by the Free Beacon as the anonymous source for a series of anti-Israel stories planted by the Obama administration in April.
The targeted leaks have sparked anger among top officials in Jerusalem who believe that Israel is being attacked with unfair and negative press stories while the Palestinian side escapes blame from the Obama administration, according to these sources.
“There was a general ban on leaks, and it was more or less enforced,” said one senior official with a leading pro-Israel group. However, “Indyk and his team were the exception.”
“The result was that you had this constant stream of anti-Israel talking points from anonymous U.S. officials and nothing to balance them out. The Israelis would go to the Americans and ask them to correct the record, and the Americans would refuse—because of the prohibition against leaking!” the source said.
19 Elul 5760
September 19, 2000
The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Clinton,
As Chairman of the Knesset State Control Committee (the equivalent of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Governmental Affairs) and former Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, I would like to bring to your attention a serious incident involving United States Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk that I believe warrants your immediate intervention.
According to a September 16, 2000 report in the Guardian of London, ".the U.S. Ambassador to Israel yesterday urged Israel to share Jerusalem with the Palestinians. Mr. Indyk said: 'There is no other solution but to share the holy city.." Ambassador Indyk was similarly quoted by the Associated Press, The Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz. The timing of the speech and the political context in which it was delivered leave no room for doubt that Ambassador Indyk was calling on the Government of Israel to divide Jerusalem. Indeed, the Guardian correspondent described the remarks as "a sharp departure from Washington orthodoxy in recent years."
In addition to his remarks concerning Jerusalem, Ambassador Indyk offered his views regarding secular-religious tensions in Israel and the role of the Reform and Conservative movements in Judaism. He also intimated his tacit support for Prime Minister Barak's so-called secular revolution. As a commentator in the liberal daily Ha'aretz noted, "readers are urged to imagine what the Americans would say if the Israeli ambassador to Washington were to come to a local religious institution and say such things."
As a veteran Knesset member who has consistently supported closer ties between our two nations, I wish to strongly protest Ambassador Indyk's blatant interference in Israel's internal affairs and democratic process. I am sure you would agree that it is simply unacceptable for a foreign diplomat to involve himself so provocatively in the most sensitive affairs of the country to which he is posted. If a foreign ambassador stationed in the United States were to involve himself in a domestic American policy debate regarding race relations or abortion, the subsequent outcry would not be long in coming.
Ambassador Indyk's remarks about Jerusalem are an affront to Israel, particularly since he made them in the heart of the city that he aspires to divide. By needlessly raising Arab expectations on the Jerusalem issue, rather than moderating them, Ambassador Indyk has caused inestimable damage to the peace process. It is likewise inexplicable that Ambassador Indyk would choose to interject his private religious preferences into the debate over secular-religious tensions in Israel.
I wish to point out that this is not the first time that the American Embassy in Israel has interfered in our internal affairs. In February, I wrote to you in the wake of media reports that Embassy officials were lobbying Israeli Arab leaders regarding a possible referendum on the Golan Heights. My fear is that such interference in Israel's affairs is rapidly becoming routine.
In light of the above, I request that you recall Ambassador Indyk to the United States and I urge you to disavow publicly his undiplomatic remarks. I am confident that such measures would help to remedy the damage done by Ambassador Indyk to the relations between our two peoples.
Member of Knesset
(h/t Y Medad)