Mideast Mediator Martin Indyk Draws Ire From Both Sides of Israeli Spectrum

Too Critical of Bibi for Some, Too Hawkish for Others

Straight to Point: Martin Indyk brings an ‘Australian bluntness’ to the job as Mideast peace mediator. Is that a good thing?
getty images
Straight to Point: Martin Indyk brings an ‘Australian bluntness’ to the job as Mideast peace mediator. Is that a good thing?

By Nathan Guttman

Published August 02, 2013, issue of August 09, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

Indyk’s career in the world of Middle East policy has been compared at times with that of Dennis Ross, the former longtime top peace process negotiator who, like many others who have served on the American negotiating team, is also Jewish. Both Ross and Indyk have experienced firsthand the ups and downs of the peace process, and both have strong ties to Israel. When President Obama put together his national security team, he brought on board Ross, who had advised him during the campaign. Indyk, who was close to Hillary Rodham Clinton, remained in the think tank world, heading Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy, named after its main funder, Haim Saban, an Israeli American billionaire who has been a key contributor to the political careers of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Now it is Indyk’s turn to take the front seat in the administration’s efforts to advance the peace process. Former Israeli and American officials agree that Indyk could be more willing to apply pressure on Israel than Ross is. But a former American official stressed that Indyk “doesn’t pull his punches” from either side and “will be there to challenge both leaders.”

In a 2009 interview with a European Jewish website, Indyk tied his decision to take on a diplomatic career focusing on Israel to “that basic insecurity that is in the dark part of our hearts, that is a product of our history of thousands of years.” He noted that his wish, ever since his days in Jerusalem during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, was to “play some role in trying to make Israel safe because it would make me safe.”

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter, @nathanguttman

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.