Martin Sean Indyk (born July 1, 1951) is the Vice President and Director for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. He took leave from the Brookings Institution to serve as the U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli–Palestinian Negotiations from 2013 to 2014. Indyk served as United States ambassador to Israel and Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs during the Clinton Administration. He is known as the framer of the U.S. policy of dual containment which sought to 'contain' Iraq and Iran, which were both viewed as the United States' two most important strategic adversaries at the time. He is the author of Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peacemaking Diplomacy in the Middle East.


Martin Indyk was born to a Jewish family in London, United Kingdom. He was raised in Australia, growing up in the Sydney suburb of Castlecrag. He graduated from the University of Sydney in 1972 and received a PhD in international relations from the Australian National University in 1977. His brother is Ivor Indyk. He emigrated to the United States and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1993. He was formerly married to Jill Collier Indyk with whom he had two children, Sarah and Jacob.

Political and diplomatic career

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.[1][2] 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.[3] He has been an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where he taught Israeli politics and foreign policy.

He has taught at the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University, and the Department of Politics at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Indyk has published widely on U.S. policy toward the Arab–Israeli peace process, on U.S.–Israeli relations, and on the threats to Middle East stability posed by Iraq and Iran.

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 and 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.[4] Indyk currently serves on the Adivsory Board for DC based non-profit America Abroad Media.[5]

On July 29, 2013, Indyk was appointed Washington's special Middle East envoy for the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.[6] Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas favored his appointment.[7] He resigned from this position June 27, 2014, returning to the Brookings Institution as its vice president and director for foreign policy.[8][9]


Indyk was the first United States ambassador to be stripped of a security clearance. Indyk was under investigation for improperly handling sensitive material.[10][11][12] Indyk's clearance was restored a month later, in October 2000, by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.[13]

Media appearances

In his video interview with Leadel.NET, Indyk speaks of the path he followed from a young international relations student and volunteer in a kibbutz during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, until he was made the first (and second) Jewish American ambassador to Israel.

While promoting his book, Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy, on 8 January 2009, Indyk engaged in a discussion of Israeli–Palestinian peace negotiations with Norman Finkelstein of Democracy Now!. Indyk indicated he felt "sandbagged" by not being informed of Finkelstein's presence.[14]


  2. ^ Halsell, Grace. "Clinton's Indyk Appointment One of Many From Pro-Israel Think Tank". Washington Report. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Mearsheimer, John J.; Walt, Stephen M., The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, Macmillan, September 4, 2007. Cf. p.152
  4. ^ Guttman, Nathan (July 30, 2013). "Martin Indyk Brings Baggage to Mideast Talks — and That's the Point". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  5. ^ [1] Archived July 16, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Ravid, Barak (July 29, 2013). "Obama welcomes renewal of Israeli-Palestinian talks, but says 'hard choices' lie ahead". Haaretz. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Barak Ravid (July 21, 2013). "Report: Martin Indyk to be U.S. representative on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks". Haaretz. 
  8. ^ Jackson, David (27 June 2014). "U.S. envoy for Middle East peace resigns". USA Today. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Office of the Spokesperson. "Secretary Kerry Announcement on Ambassador Martin Indyk". United States Department of State. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Koppel, Andrea (September 23, 2000). "U.S. suspends security clearance for ambassador to Israel". CNN. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Ambassador’s Security Clearance Suspended". ABC. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2000 Briefer: RICHARD BOUCHER, SPOKESMAN". Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "U.S. Envoy to Israel Regains Clearance--for Duration of Crisis". LATimes. October 11, 2000. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  14. ^ "Former Amb. Martin Indyk vs. Author Norman Finkelstein: A Debate on Israel’s Assault on Gaza and the US Role in the Conflict". Democracy Now. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Edward Djerejian
U.S. Ambassador to Israel
Succeeded by
Edward S. Walker, Jr.
Preceded by
Edward S. Walker, Jr.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel
Succeeded by
Daniel C. Kurtzer
Government offices
Preceded by
Robert Pelletreau
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
October 14, 1997 – November 16, 1999
Succeeded by
Edward S. Walker, Jr.