Former US envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk should title his next book The Art of Defamation, and dedicate it to the Palestinians and the Israeli Left.
On a PBS Frontline documentary about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that aired Tuesday evening, Indyk dropped a stink bomb whose fumes have yet to subside.
Reminiscing about times past – 20 years ago, to be precise – Indyk said, “Netanyahu sat next to me when I was ambassador in Israel at the time of [assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin’s funeral. I remember Netanyahu saying to me: ‘Look, look at this. He’s a hero now, but if he had not been assassinated, I would have beaten him in the elections, and then he would have gone into history as a failed politician.’” On Wednesday morning, Netanyahu’s office immediately issued a denial, asserting that the conversation Indyk recounted “never happened.”
By Wednesday afternoon, a video of the funeral was circulating on social media, showing Netanyahu, who was head of the Opposition at the time, seated next to a number of people – Indyk was not among them.
His lie now exposed, Indyk instantly took to Twitter to change his story.
“The conversation w Bibi took place on Nov 5/95 when we sat together at the Knesset ceremony to receive Rabin’s coffin to lie in state,” he tweeted.
Netanyahu’s office replied by releasing another statement, this one harsher and more explicit: “After the first lying version was refuted, Indyk made up a second version, which was also a lie,” it read. “The prime minister never said the things Indyk attributed to him.”
This time around, Indyk was covered, however.
Search as hard as I and others did for photos or video footage from the event in question, all we could find were pictures of the Rabin family. No Netanyahu; no Indyk.
So now it is a case of whom to believe.
The Zionist Union, led by Isaac Herzog, lapped up Indyk’s fable.
“Netanyahu’s words at the funeral of assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin show how low Netanyahu can go,” was its response.
Rabin’s son, Yuval, also jumped on the Indyk bandwagon.
This was to be expected, since his entire family held Netanyahu personally responsible for the murder, committed by right-wing fanatic Yigal Amir, who is a serving a lifetime prison sentence.
Here is why I know that Netanyahu is telling the truth.
Though Netanyahu had nothing to do with the posters of Rabin in an SS uniform at peace rallies, nor incited to any kind of violence against the misguided government that entered into the Oslo Accords, he was held accountable for all of it. The late Leah Rabin, Yitzhak’s widow, would not even shake his hand at the funeral – even though her husband had locked fingers with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn.
In such a climate, anyone who opposed Oslo, as I did, virtually had to go into the closet, making sure to preface the most minor criticism of the Rabin government with profuse expressions of horror that its leader was killed by a kippa-wearing extremist. And if moist eyes did not accompany the required amount of breast-beating, it simply would not do.
Being tagged as the key culprit, and not even permitted to express his sorrow to the grieving widow, Netanyahu was in a far worse position than the rest of us. Certainly when in the presence of professional peace-processors like Indyk, who was in the employ of the Clinton administration, the great patron saint of the dastardly Oslo deal.
There is thus no way that Netanyahu would have dared to utter words of dismissal and disdain about Rabin in anyone’s earshot, let alone Indyk’s, and most definitely not while staring at the assassinated premier’s coffin. Whether he harbored such thoughts or said them in private, which he may or may not have done, is totally beside the point.
Had Indyk said to PBS that he was offering a personal assessment of what Netanyahu was thinking during the funeral, the Knesset ceremony or anywhere else, it would have been legitimate, no matter how much nausea it aroused.
But Indyk is a master of deception. Having spent a lot of time in the Middle East, he has had some top-notch teachers, who take their cue from Joseph Goebbels, father of the infamous adage, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
Luckily for Netanyahu, even some of his political opponents realize just how implausible Indyk’s tall tale actually is.The writer is the web editor of The Algemeiner (algemeiner.com) and a columnist at Israel Hayom.
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