(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Former U.S. Middle East envoy Martin Indyk lied twice about a supposed conversation he had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the funeral of assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, a Prime Minister’s Office official said Wednesday.
The spat involving Indyk began following the airing of a PBS “Frontline” program about Netanyahu on Jan. 5. In an interview for the program, Indyk referred to a conversation he claimed he had with Netanyahu at Rabin’s funeral. Rabin was assassinated on Nov. 4, 1995, in Tel Aviv by a right-wing Jewish extremist. At the time, Indyk was the U.S. ambassador to Israel and Netanyahu was the Likud party leader as well as head of the Israeli opposition.
Indyk told PBS, “Netanyahu sat next to me when I was ambassador in Israel at the time of Rabin’s funeral. I remember Netanyahu saying to me: ‘Look, look at this. He’s a hero now, but if he had not been assassinated, I would have beaten him in the elections, and then he would have gone into history as a failed politician.’”
In response to that comment, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a blanket denial on Wednesday, saying the conversation described by Indyk “never happened.”
A video of the funeral showed that Indyk was not sitting next to Netanyahu. Indyk tweeted later on Wednesday, “The conversation w Bibi took place on Nov 5/95 when we sat together at the Knesset ceremony to receive Rabin’s coffin to lie in state.”
This prompted the Prime Minister’s Office to issue another denial.
“After the first lying version was refuted, Indyk made up a second version, which was also a lie,” a Prime Minister’s Office statement said. “The prime minister never said the things Indyk attributed to him.”
A Likud statement said, “This is another blatant lie by Indyk, who never stops slandering and defaming the prime minister.”