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Martin Indyk

Martin Indyk adressing the 10,000 delegates at the AIPAC conference in Washington
photo by Rhonda Spivak

Ehud Barak, Israeli Defense Minister
photo by Rhonda Spivak


by Rhonda Spivak,

Washington-One of the most surprising statements made by  former US Ambassador Martin Indyk at the recent AIPAC [American Israel Political Affairs Committee] conference in Washington  before the entire plenum was a prediction that this time next year we would be talking about a "successful" U.S pre-emptive strike on Iran. 

The comment was surprising because Indyk didn't back it up with any explanation, and one can only be left wondering how it is that he arrived at this opinion. It was also surprising because I would not have predicted that President Obama would be likely to be a President who made a decision such as this(although some were surprised Obama made the decision to take out  Bin Laden). Other than Indyk, who is currently the Vice President of Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution, there was no one else at the AIPAC conference that I am aware of that made such a bold prediction.

The coment stuck in my mind when I read Jeffrey Goldberg's blog in Altantic Magazine on  May 25, where he wrote:"Amid all the noise about '67 borders comes this quiet little item, which could be  the biggest story of the week in the New York Times,   about Iran's nuclear intentions:

"The world's global nuclear inspection agency, frustrated by Iran's refusal to answer questions, revealed for the first time on Tuesday that it possesses evidence that Tehran has conducted work on a highly sophisticated nuclear triggering technology that experts said could be used for only one purpose: setting off a nuclear weapon."

I asked one Middle East expert at the AIPAC  confernece about Indyk's comment and he responded " I've listened to Martin Indyk for the last 125 years and I've never much understood a thing he has said."

At the conference, Eric Cantor, Republican Majority Leader,U.S. House of Representatives, spoke aobut the  Iranian  threat: 

  "Recent developments in the region have moved Iran out of the headlines, but it is undeniable: the specter of a nuclear Iran looms larger than ever.

  "We must never take our eye off Iran. And that’s why Congress will soon pass the bipartisan Iran Threat Reduction Act, making it official U.S. policy to   prevent  Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability.

  "Plain and simple, if you do business with Iran, you cannot do business with America."

 Cantor added,

 "Nearly 7,000 miles away, Israel fights the same war we do. We share a common enemy in Iran and its terrorist proxies who seek nuclear weapons. 

 "So, my message to you this afternoon is this: If Israel goes, we all go. 

 " In order for us to win this great struggle, we must have the courage to see the world not as we wish it to be, but as it truly is. "


Following Prime Minsiter Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the United States Congress, Martin Indyk  made a statment  in  a web chat  on his website  which I think  is implicitly critical of  Netanyahu's speech, for not giving a generous enough offer for a two-state solution (Netanyahu said he would be generous in giving  Palestinians territory in the West Bank, but it would not include the major settlement blocks nor East Jerusalem ). Here is  what  Indyk wrote :

"Originally, some five months ago, when the idea of Netanyahu giving a speech was first broached, his idea was to present a new Israeli peace initiative. The Obama Administration was keen for him to do this since it's much easier for the U.S. to get behind an Israeli initiative than to pressure Israel to support an American initiative. The effort then focused on what Bibi would say in that "peace speech." Tony Blair among others was actively involved in trying to get him to express support for a negotiation that would be based on the 67 lines with agreed swaps. When Fatah and Hamas announced their unity deal, I think Netanyahu decided that he was off the hook. How could he be expected to take a peace initiative with Hamas? So the speech shifted from being a peace speech to being a PR speech. He secured the support of the Congress, but he already had that. His problem, and Obama's, is that he didn't say anything that would enable the U.S. to get any other country behind Netanyahu's approach. So, unfortunately, the process of isolating Israel will now proceed, and the U.S. will be isolated with Israel too."

Indyk  also recently has written after the AIPAC conference that Netanyahu can not expect to maintain a military presence on the Jordan valley long-term, citing the fact that Ehud Barak., when he was Prime Minister in Israel, in his negotiations with Arafat accepted less than what Netanyahu appears to be demanding regarding the Jordan Valley . Here's what Indyk wrote

"It's not realistic to expect that a deal that is supposed to end Israel's occupation will result in a perpetuation of that occupation. When Netanyahu told Abu Mazen in that short negotation that took place in August 2010 that he needed an Israeli army presence in the Jordan Vallery for "many decades," Abu Mazen told him he could keep his occupation and walked out. However, at the end of the Clinton Administration, Ehud Barak -- then PM now Defense Minister -- negotiated arrangements with Arafat's security people that would have provided for the following arrangements:

"-- an Israeli army presence in the Jordan Val
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.