Martin Indyk, two-time US Ambassador to Israel and current Distinguished Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, attacked President Trump on Twitter Wednesday for saying Israel will be okay despite the US pulling out of Syria because we give them "billions of dollars."
"This cavalier attitude is deeply worrying," Indyk said. "Ignores the role of US as force multiplier for Israeli deterrence. From here it's a short step to Trump asking: why are we giving Israel so much money?"
Here's Trump's full comments as reported Thursday by the Times of Israel:
Speaking with reporters, Trump was asked about criticism that the move could put Israel in jeopardy by allowing Iran to expand its foothold in Syria.Here's some of the top responses to Indyk's tweet:
“Well, I don’t see it. I spoke with Bibi,” he said, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I told Bibi. And, you know, we give Israel $4.5 billion a year. And they’re doing very well defending themselves, if you take a look.”
“So that’s the way it is,” Trump said, according to a White House transcript.
“We’re going to take good care of Israel. Israel is going to be good. But we give Israel $4.5 billion a year. And we give them, frankly, a lot more money than that, if you look at the books — a lot more money than that. And they’ve been doing a very good job for themselves,” he added.
Indyk has a rather fascinating history according to his Wikipedia page (click through for source links):
In 1982, Indyk began working as a deputy research director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington. From 1985 Indyk served eight years as the founding Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a research institute specializing in analysis of Middle East policy.Follow InformationLiberation on Twitter, Facebook, Gab and Minds.
[...]He served as special assistant to President Bill Clinton and as senior director of Near East and South Asian Affairs at the United States National Security Council. While at the NSC, he served as principal adviser to the President and the National Security Advisor on Arab–Israeli issues, Iraq, Iran, and South Asia. He was a senior member of Secretary of State Warren Christopher's Middle East peace team and served as the White House representative on the U.S. Israel Science and Technology Commission.
He served two stints as United States Ambassador to Israel, from April 1995 to September 1997, and from January 2000 to July 2001. He was the first and so far, the only, foreign-born US ambassador to Israel.
He has served on the board of the New Israel Fund. Indyk currently serves on the Adivsory Board for DC based non-profit America Abroad Media.
On July 29, 2013, Indyk was appointed by President Barack Obama as Washington's special Middle East envoy for the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas favored his appointment. He resigned from this position June 27, 2014, returning to the Brookings Institution as its vice president and director for foreign policy.
In 2000, Indyk was placed under investigation by the FBI after allegations arose that he improperly handled sensitive material by using an unclassified laptop computer on an airplane flight to prepare his memos of meetings with foreign leaders. There was no indication that any classified material had been compromised, and no indication of espionage.
Indyk was "apparently ... the first serving U.S. ambassador to be stripped of government security clearance." The Los Angeles Times reported that "veteran diplomats complained that Indyk was being made a scapegoat for the kinds of security lapses that are rather common among envoys who take classified work home from the office." Indyk's clearance was suspended but was reinstated the next month, "for the duration of the current crisis," given "the continuing turmoil in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza [Strip] and for compelling national security reasons."
Receiving donations from Qatar
In 2014, Indyk came under scrutiny when a New York Times investigation revealed that wealthy Gulf state of Qatar made a $14.8 million, four-year donation to Brookings Institution, in order to fund two Brookings initiatives, the Brookings Center in Doha and the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World. The Times investigation found that Brookings was one of more than a dozen influential Washington think tanks and research organizations that "have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years while pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors' priorities." A number of scholars interviewed by the Times expressed alarm at the trend, saying that the "donations have led to implicit agreements that the research groups would refrain from criticizing the donor governments."
The revelation of the think tank's choice to accept the payment from Qatar was especially controversial because at the time, Indyk was acting as a peace negotiator between Israel and the Palestinians, and because Qatar funds jihadist groups in the Middle East and is the main financial backer of Hamas, "the mortal enemy of both the State of Israel and Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party." Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal, who directs Hamas's operations against Israel, is also harbored by Qatar. Indyk defended the arrangement with Qatar, contending that it did not influence the think tank's work and that "to be policy-relevant, we need to engage policy makers." However, the arrangement between Qatar and Brookings caused Israeli government officials to doubt Indyk's impartiality.