WASHINGTON (May. 25)
Israel is refusing to cooperate with a subpoena ordering David Kimche, former Director General of the Israeli Foreign Minister who was involved in the Iran-Contra affair, to testify before a Washington grand jury.
Kimche was subpoenaed last week in New York by independent counsel Lawrence Walsh.
Yossi Gal, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy, said the Embassy told State Department officials and representatives of the independent counsel that the subpoena violates diplomatic practices between countries.
“You can go to the extreme and say that someone can subpoena the Prime Minister,” said Gal. “Everything Kimche did, he did not (do) as a private individual, but as a representative of the government. If questions are asked, any clarification should come from the government.”
Gal also said that Israeli law prohibits citizens from “sharing privileged secret information,” and that by testifying Kimche would in effect be breaking Israeli law.
Kimche’s subpoena apparently came as a surprise to Israeli officials, who had assumed there was an agreement that no Israeli involved in the Iran-Contra affair would testify personally.
Kimche played a key role in the selling of U.S. arms to Iran, according to testimony before the Senate-House select committee’s hearing on the Iran-Contra affair. Former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane said Kimche first approached the U.S. to suggest the opening of diplomatic channels with Iran and later suggested that Israel could be the conduit for selling the arms.