(JNS.org) Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday announced that Martin Indyk will be the United States’ broker for the renewed Israeli-Palestinian conflict peace talks. Indyk's ties to the New Israel Fund (NIF) have raised concern over the long-time Mideast diplomat’s impartiality as a broker.
Kerry on Monday said “the cause of peace” has been Indyk’s life’s mission. He also said Indyk is “realistic” about the difficulties facing all parties in the upcoming Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations, the Associated Press reported.
But in a recent letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who according to the New York Times approved of Indyk’s selection, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon opposed the choice—before it was made official—due to Indyk’s ties to the NIF.
“The former ambassador, Mr. Martin Indyk, is the Chair of the International Council of the New Israel Fund, which provides funding to anti-Zionist organizations that accuse Israel of war crimes,” Danon in the letter.
“I request that you ask the American administration for an honest broker for these negotiation,” Danon added.
The NIF, a U.S.-based non-profit whose self-described mission is for “advancing democracy and equality for all Israelis,” has been heavily criticized in the past for its alleged funding of groups involved in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, as described in a 2010 report compiled by the pro-Israel group Im Tirtzu. But the NIF denies supporting organizations with BDS programs.
Indyk’s appointment, before it was officially announced, also drew criticism from anti-Israel elements. Stephen Walt, co-author of “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” which promotes conspiracy theories on Jewish involvement in U.S. politics, slammed Indyk on Twitter, comparing his appointment to “like hiring Madoff to run ur pension.”
Indyk said of his new role on Monday, “It is a daunting and humbling challenge, but one that I cannot desist from.” Last year, Indyk had said he was “not particularly optimistic” about a peace deal being reached because he thinks “the heart of the matter is that the maximum concession that this government of Israel would be prepared to make, [would] fall far short of the minimum requirements that Abu Mazen will insist on.”
“Though it may be possible to keep the talks going, which is a good thing, I find it very hard to believe that they will reach an agreement,” Indyk said last year, according to Israel National News.