web analytics
January 29, 2015 / 9 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Monitor »

A Diplomatic Memoir Worth Reading


Media-Monitor-logo

The Monitor never much cared for Martin Indyk during the latter’s service in a variety of diplomatic roles (including ambassador to Israel and assistant secretary of state) for President Bill Clinton. He seemed to be the very embodiment of the Clinton foreign-policy mindset that had as its centerpiece the pursuit of a nebulous Middle East “peace process” and the elevation of Yasir Arafat to statesmanlike status.

That’s why reading Indyk’s 2009 memoir Innocent Abroad (Simon & Schuster) was such a delightful surprise. While Indyk still puts way too much stock in the salubrious effects of negotiations, he does admit that for all the “time, energy, and prestige” the Clinton team invested in Mideast diplomacy, “ultimately it failed.”

What really distinguishes Indyk’s book from other first-person accounts of Clinton-era Mideast policy is its remarkable candor – along with a feast of insider tidbits.

Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, for example, “was so keen to reach [an] agreement that he had gone beyond his instructions and informed Arafat that he could have even have sovereignty over the Jewish Holy of Holies, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But at the last moment, Arafat reneged.”

And this: “In one conversation with [Secretary of State Warren] Christopher in 1994, [Syrian President Hafez] Assad actually referred to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

And this, concerning the first meeting between Arafat and Bill Clinton, prior to the signing of the Oslo accords in September 1993:

Arafat was infamous for his kissing on public occasions. When he met Arab leaders, he would perform a kissing spectacle, repeatedly planting his bulging lips on both their cheeks…. How could we prevent him from showering the president as well as [Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin with kisses? This was a job for the State Department!I had already informed the Saudi ambassador, Price Bandar, about the “no kissing rule” and Bandar had agreed to explain to Arafat that in the United States, unlike in the Arab world, leaders shake hands rather than kiss one another. However, as assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, it fell to Ed Djerejian to be the first American official to greet Arafat when he landed at Andrews Air Force Base. Lest a precedent be set, we needed to make sure that Ed did not allow Arafat to kiss him before Bandar had the opportunity to deliver the message. Ed and his aides developed a technique for shaking hands with the right hand while placing the left hand firmly on the bicep of Arafat’s right arm so that he would be unable to embrace and kiss his greeter.

I watched on CNN as Ed tried out his technique on Arafat…. It worked perfectly. On the morning of the signing, [National Security Adviser] Tony Lake taught the president the same technique in case Arafat tried it on him. The president demonstrated with a knee to Tony’s groin what he might do if the technique failed.

And then there’s this gem from Indyk about what happened when Rabin let it be known he would not participate in the Oslo signing ceremony if Arafat wore his familiar military outfit:

“I asked Bandar to help me with the problem of getting Arafat out of his uniform. Bandar arranged for some suits to be delivered by a local tailor to the chairman’s hotel room. He explained to Arafat that protocol required him to wear a suit like everybody else at the ceremony. When Arafat reluctantly tried on one of the jackets in front of his aides, who had never seen him in anything but his battle fatigues, they burst out laughing…. [Arafat] felt humiliated, took off the coat, and insisted that he would only wear his uniform to the ceremony.”

Arafat actually ended up wearing a safari suit that afternoon.

Indyk also recounts the time Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, visiting the White House in 1998, “leaned across the table and explained in a hushed voice that he had ‘information’ that Monica Lewinsky was Jewish and part of a Mossad plot to bring the president down because of his efforts to help the Palestinians. He told Clinton that he intended to share this intelligence with senators … in an effort to forestall his impeachment.”

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Diplomatic Memoir Worth Reading”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hezbollah rocket headed for Haifa in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Israel Won’t Go to War against Hezbollah because It Can’t Win [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
Prophet Mohammed on Jan. 14, 2015 edition cover of  Charles Hebdo..

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

New York Times

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

syria_iran_map

To defeat parasites-the hosts of terrorists-we need to deny them new people, potential terrorists

game-figure-598036_1280-810x540

Combating Amalek doesn’t mean all who disagree with you is evil-rather whom to follow and to oppose

Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t

There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.

Let’s focus not on becoming an ATM for that little bundle of joy, but on what you can save in taxes.

Since the passing of the Governance bill legislation on March 11, 2014, new alignments have become to appear in Israeli politics.

Israel has some wild places left; places to reflect and think, to get lost, to try to find ourselves

The British government assured Anglo-Jewry that it is attacking the rising levels of anti-Semitism.

Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.

Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.

Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians

Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists

In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site

Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Comptroller DiNapoli celebrates Sukkot with Crown Heights Jewish community leaders at the sukkah of Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

Front-Page-102414

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/a-diplomatic-memoir-worth-reading/2010/04/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: