Indyk cracks the whip on Israel
As Yom Kippur sermons go, Martin Indyk’s was a doozy. Speaking at the Adas Israel synagogue in Washington, D.C. on the holiest day of the Jewish year, the former U.S. envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations accused Israel of showing “total disrespect” for the Obama administration.
Indyk said many things in his Yom Kippur address with which one might take issue, but one analogy in particular stands out as especially disturbing.
He said that he “discovered” in the most recent round of failed negotiations “that we would crack the whip, but no one was responding to our whip cracks. That’s a change.”
How disappointing for Indyk. Those who recall his days as U.S. ambassador to Israel no doubt feel a sense of deja vu when they hear Indyk talking about whips. Here is how he described his role in Israel to the Washington Post back on Feb. 24, 1997: “The image that comes to mind is a circus master. All these players in the ring. We crack the whip and get them to move around in an orderly fashion.”
Ironic, isn’t it? The ex-diplomat who accuses Israel of being “disrespectful” has repeatedly compared the Israelis to circus animals who need to have some sense whipped into them. And when the dumb brutes don’t respond, Indyk the circus master is outraged and lashes out at his victims.
The irony goes further. Indyk served a president who has made almost a hobby of being disrespectful to Israel’s prime minister. Nobody can forget the time that President Obama deliberately left Prime Minister Netanyahu waiting for an hour and a half, while he went off to have dinner with Michelle and the kids. Or the infamous photo that the White House released of President Obama with his feet on his desk as he spoke by phone with Netanyahu.
Not to mention just last week, when Mr. Obama repeatedly referred to Netanyahu as “Bibi,” while Netanyahu, by contrast, appropriately referred to Obama as “Mr. President.” In an earlier era, perhaps someone could complain that it was difficult for an American president to pronounce a name such as “Menachem.” But how hard would it have been for President Obama to pronounce the name “Benjamin”?
If the U.S.-Israel relationship is indeed “in trouble,” as Ambassador Indyk claimed in his Adas Israel speech, the reason is not that Israelis are being “disrespectful,” which Indyk claims to be “really, really disturbed by.”
The reason is that the Obama Administration’s policymakers, starting with the president and going all the way down the line to envoys such as Indyk, automatically blame Israel for everything and the Palestinians for nothing.
They denounce Israel for construction within existing Jewish towns in Judea-Samaria, but never criticize the Palestinian Authority for building entire new Arab cities there. They denounce Israel for building homes in Jerusalem, yet they never say anything about the widespread illegal Arab construction in Jerusalem.
Nor do they ever say a word about the truly “disrespectful” actions by the PA toward the United States, such as paying salaries to imprisoned terrorists who have murdered Americans, or naming streets, parks and soccer tournaments after killers of Americans—including the killer of the niece of the late U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff.
Just two weeks ago, both PA cabinet minister Yusuf Ida’is and the official PA news agency “WAFA” praised the killers of the three Israeli teenagers—one of whom was an American—as “Shahids,” or “martyrs.” And just a few weeks before that, the official PA daily newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published no less than five articles in a six-day period accusing the United States of creating ISIS in order to destabilize the Middle East. (For details, see http://www.palwatch.org)
It is precisely this Obama-Indyk attitude, which ignores the disrespectful actions of the PA, and accuses Israel of being “disrespectful” if it fails to respond to “whip cracks,” which threatens U.S.-Israel relations.
Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn are members of the board of the Religious Zionists of America.