Martin Indyk’s ties to the New Israel Fund (NIF) have raised concern over the long-time Mideast diplomat’s impartiality as a potential broker for upcoming peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The State Department has yet to confirm Indyk’s rumored appointment as mediator. In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who according to the New York Times approved of Indyk’s selection, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon opposed the rumored selection of Indyk due to his ties to the NIF.
“The former ambassador, Mr. Martin Indyk, is the Chair of the International Council of the New Israel Fund, which provides funding to anti-Zionist organizations that accuse Israel of war crimes,” Danon in the letter.
“I request that you ask the American administration for an honest broker for these negotiation,” Danon added.
The NIF, a U.S.-based non-profit whose self-described mission is for “advancing democracy and equality for all Israelis,” has been heavily criticized in the past for its alleged funding of groups involved in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, as described in a 2010 report compiled by the pro-Israel group Im Tirtzu. But the NIF denies supporting organizations with BDS programs.
Meanwhile, the rumor of Indyk’s appointment is also drawing criticism from anti-Israel elements. Stephen Walt, co-author of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, which promotes conspiracy theories on Jewish involvement in U.S. politics, slammed Indyk on Twitter, comparing his appointment to “like hiring Madoff to run ur pension.” The anti-Israel blog Mondoweiss also questioned Indyk’s impartiality due to his prior experience working for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and his failure during Camp David peace talks in 2000.