By Grant F. Smith There are many reasons why naming Martin Indyk the special envoy to mediate between Israel and Palestine is a bad idea. Marinated in Israeli-American media mogul Haim Saban’s largess at Brookings Institute, many observers have noted Indyk’sprevious failures as a diplomat for the U.S. It is assumed that Indyk will again function as “Israel’s lawyer” and Palestinians will get a raw deal. Less explored are the likely costs for the United States.
In 1984 as research director at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Indyk and his “research team” gutted advice and consent process during trade negotiations to deliver unprecedented concessions to Israel. During the negotiations American businesses opposed to the concessions delivered trade secrets and proprietarydata supporting their opposition to the International Trade Commission. The FBI soon discovered AIPAC had illegally obtained a secret copy of the business secrets compiled by ITC, giving AIPAC invaluable ammunition to target those lobbying against the deal.
When publicly called out to explain the data theft on National Public Radio, Indyk was incapable of explaining how his research division obtained American business secrets—and instead answered aphilosophical question about free trade that had not been asked.(Listen here) Thanks to recently declassified FBI files, it is known that Israeli Trade Minister Dan Halpern surreptitiously obtained and passed the stolen secrets to AIPAC, allowing the Israel lobby to end-runstaunch opposition to the near-unilateral concessions. Complaints about Israeli theft of U.S. intellectual property, including pharmaceutical patents to export copy-cats into the U.S. market, have been ongoing.
Since the year of the theft, the formerly balanced U.S.-Israeli trading relationship has turned into a chronic yearly deficit for America. From 1985 through May of 2013 (the latest data available), the deficit has reached a cumulative $100 billion. The recently departed U.S. Trade Ambassador refused to provide compensation to victimized industries. Indyk is once again in a position to throw America under the bus. Concerned observers must begin wonder how much it will cost.