Former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk was interviewed by Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) on Thursday morning 5 Elul 5772. Indyk, who serves as Vice President and Director for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C, was a US Ambassador to Israel as well as an Assistant Secretary of State for Mideast Affairs during the Clinton administration.
Raised in Australia, Indyk is a Jew, and has generally espoused left-wing views.
Following is excerpts from the interview.
Can you comment on recent reports quoting an anonymous senior US official relating to Israeli statements of an imminent attack against Iran, stating the United States has learned to live with this?
The current administration is not shattered regarding statements of an imminent attack against Iran. The administration was convinced that an attack would occur in the springtime. They ran to battle stations, mobilized and engaged the Israelis. They did everything they could to calm the Israelis down, to deliver the message that the president was absolutely committed to Israel’s security and concnered with Iran’s weapons program.
…he succeeded in bluffing them and they are now wary about being bluffed again. At least that is the way I believe they saw what took place.
The US has done everything it could to reassure Israel, including heavy troop deployments in the Gulf so this time around they said ‘here we go again’. We have done everything we can and we will learn to live with it.
The president actually cares about Israel but Israelis do not seem to understand. Look at what he said the other day regarding Syria. He went on record saying ‘the red line for me is the use of unconventional weapons’ and that is what he said and he is committed to and will not permit Iran to get a non conventional weapon. He truly cares and means what he says.
Would you recommend a presidential visit to Israel and an address before Knesset perhaps?
I think it would be a very useful time and permit him to repeat what he said.
The president has an election to face and wishes to get reelected so therefore, the timing may not be opportune as he does not have the time for such a visit and perhaps he will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly. The analysts in America explain every day spent on foreign policy at this time is a day wasted regarding the elections.
I actually don’t think it is too bad. I think Netanyahu has been quite careful, especially when Governor Romney was in Israel. Clearly he has a preference to Romney and we can understand that. Anyone paying attention to the relationship of Netanyahu and President Obama see the tensions and level of mistrust.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)