All I Really Need to Know About Martin Indyk, I Learned in Kindergarten

When I was in kindergarten, for a few weeks my yeshivah had no bus service. So, in the interim, I went to kindergarten at the school on our block — P.S. 189. One day, during a fire drill, the principal saw me in the hall and told me to take off my cap. I said, “I can’t; I’m Jewish.”

The principal — who was not Jewish — smiled and said, “Next time, wear a skullcap.”

My teacher — who was Jewish — made me stand in the corner the rest of the day for talking back to the principal.

That day, I learned a life lesson. I had a choice: I could go over to the other side and assimilate … or be a proud maverick.

I chose the latter.

I don’t know where Martin Indyk went to kindergarten. But I know which choice he made.

Indyk is vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program, at the Brookings think tank. A think tank is a group of academics who sit around, do research and then give unasked-for advice.

As head of this elite group of kibitzers, Indyk was a perfect choice for U.S. ambassador to Israel under President Clinton and, more recently, as President Obama’s U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations.

In a trenchant article in The Algemeiner Journal, Moshe Phillips, president, and Benyamin Korn, chairman, of the Philadelphia Religious Zionists of America, wrote, “Martin Indyk … acts as if he knows what’s best for the Jews. As President Obama’s special envoy, he declared in an August 2010 New York Times op-ed that Israel should ‘withdraw from at least 95 percent of the West Bank and accept a Palestinian capital in Arab East Jerusalem.’”

Even AIPAC, where Indyk worked in the 1980s, was concerned when President Clinton appointed him as the first Jewish assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. One AIPAC official — accepting the inevitable — commented that AIPAC “is confident he will carry out his new responsibilities and represent the president’s policies in the most professional manner.”

Uzi Landau, then chairman of the Israeli Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, felt less need to tiptoe around. He slammed Indyk for allegedly “pressuring members of the government” and “interfering in Israel’s internal political affairs.”

Landau then delivered his punch line: Indyk “needs to be reminded that he is not the British high commissioner.”

Landau was referring to the British high commissioner, Herbert Samuel. As Phillips and Korn explain, “Samuel arrived in British Mandatory Palestine in 1920. Jewish leaders were pleased by his appointment, since Samuel himself was Jewish and had expressed sympathy for Zionism … but when Arab rioting against Jews erupted the following year, Samuel changed his tune. Blaming the victim and appeasing the aggressor. …”

Samuel went so far as to pardon Arab terrorists and appointed Haj Amin el-Husseini to the post of Grand Mufti, confident that Husseini would be reasonable and moderate once he had to deal with the responsibilities of office.

How reasonable and moderate was he? Husseini fled to Germany in 1941 and met with Adolf Hitler, proposing that the Nazis export their anti-Jewish campaign to the Middle East.

Indyk, a generation later, tried to convince Israel that the father of modern terrorism — Yasser Arafat — would be a moderate upon taking office.

Indyk’s patronizing arrogance goes so far as describing his role as “a circus master. All these players in the ring. We crack the whip and get them to move around in an orderly fashion.”

Assimilationist turncoats go back well before Herbert Samuel. The syndrome goes back to the Court Jews in the courts of the Austrian emperors and the German princes in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. These Jews rose to positions of influence because of their wealth and education. But — however hard they tried to fit in, they were parvenus — nouveau powerful — at best. They were never fully accepted.

It goes back further, to the Hellenists. And it goes back even further — to the Israelites who didn’t want to leave Egypt … and died in the Plague of Darkness.

The Navi (Yeshayah 49:17) says of the Geulah, “Your ruiners and destroyers shall leave you.” Interestingly, manyhave interpreted this passuk very differently from its literal meaning. The traditional interpretation is “Your ruiners and destroyers will come from among you.” And we have produced many of our own destroyers — from Dasan and Aviram in Egypt to Martin Indyk in Washington.

However, like many power-drunk people before him, Indyk may have made his fatal error. In September, The New York Times reported, “Qatar, the small but wealthy Middle East nation, agreed last year to make a $14.8 million, four-year donation to Brookings, which has helped fund a Brookings affiliate in Qatar and a project on United States relations with the Islamic world.”

Could Martin Indyk be the Bernie Madoff of foreign policy?