On Monday [July 29], US Secretary of State John Kerry named Martin Indyk as the administration’s special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Indyk, 62, who is Jewish, has worked for AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobby group, and he helped found the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a think tank that has been critisied for being a part of the pro-Israel lobby.
During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Indyk volunteered in a kibbutz, then moved to America and in 1982 started his career as a deputy research director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful pro-Israel lobby group based in Washington DC. He then went on to found the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), an offshoot of AIPAC, in 1985.
According to his biography on The Brookings Institution’s website, “Indyk served as special assistant to President Clinton and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council (1993-1995) and as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs in the U.S. Department of State (1997-2000).”
Former United States president Bill Clinton appointed Indyk to serve as the US ambassador to Israel from 1995-1997, and he held this ambassadorial position again from 2000-2001 when he was involved in the failed Camp David peace talks. In order to assume his role as special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Indyk has taken a leave of absence from his current position as vice president and director of the foreign policy program at the Washington-based Brookings Institution think tank.
Indyk’s history of working with pro-Israel organizations has raised concerns about his ability to impartially oversee the renewed peace talks, and to work towards a solution that would see Israel abide by its obligations under international and human rights law.