The impartiality of former US Middle East Envoy Martin Indyk has been thrown into further doubt, after a New York Times report on Sunday exposed that Qatar is a major contributor to the Brookings Institution, Indyk’s employer.
Oil-rich Qatar is the largest foreign donor to Brookings according to the report, and in 2013 promised a $14.8 million donation over the course of four years. It is also the largest foreign donor to Hamas, the terrorist organization waging war on Israel from Gaza.
“Qatar has been a major bankroller for Hamas and other terrorist organizations,” an Israeli government official said in response to the revelation. “The fact that the same Qatari government is also a major provider of funds for a respectable Washington think tank raises a whole series of questions about that think tank’s relationships and impartiality.”
As noted in the statement, unlike lobbying groups, Brookings as a think-tank is supposed to be an objective source of research, making the new revelation all the more troubling.
Indyk, who served as US negotiator in the failed peace talks, has had his impartiality put into question before due to his position on the executive board of the radical-left New Israel Fund, which funds numerous anti-Israel NGOs. In May, Indyk was accused of engaging in a “nasty” anti-Israel tirade at a bar following an address to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Qatar has not only funded Hamas, but according to reports pushed the group to reject a ceasefire in the recent Operation Protective Edge and return to its terror war on Israeli citizens, threatening to expel Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal if it didn’t do so.
The position of Qatar led Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor in August to label the oil-state “a Club Med for terrorists,” adding that the “hundreds of millions of dollars” Qatar gave Hamas meant “every one of Hamas’s tunnels and rockets might as well have had a sign that said ‘Made possible through a kind donation of the emir of Qatar.'”
Indyk, who returned to Brookings after the Palestinian Authority (PA) torpedoed peace talks in April by signing a unity deal with Hamas even as he blamed Israel for canning the talks, spoke to the New York Times in light of the new report.
“Our business is to influence policy with scholarly, independent research, based on objective criteria; and to be policy-relevant, we need to engage policy-makers,” stated Indyk, who currently serves as Brookings’ vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program.
The New York Times report added that in addition to Qatar, Brookings also receives major donations from the United Arab Emirates, also a key donor to Hamas, and Norway, which recently called Israel an “occupier” and offered to help Hamas in its demand for a sea and airport.
“More than a dozen prominent Washington research groups 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,” added the report.