Robert Malley is a creative scholar and diplomat who was a key player in the Clinton negotiating team that worked tirelessly to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the late 1990s through 2001. Recently, he signed ons an unofficial adviser to the Barack Obama campaign, while maintaining his close ties to his former Clinton colleagues.
Malley's connection to the campaign produced a firestorm. Apparently, Malley wrote several articles during the last few years stating, as someone who participated at Camp David, that all the blame for the summit's failure did not rest with Yasir Arafat, but that Ehud Barak also deserved his share of the blame.
For stating that fact (as also reported by every other participant at Camp David including President Clinton), Malley has been condemned as "fanatically anti-Israel." Jews around the country are being warned that they must vote against Obama to prevent Malley from ever darkening the halls of the State Department or White House again. Similar attacks are being made against Ambassador Joe Wilson who, it is said, is also no friend of Israel and can be expected to serve in a Hillary Clinton administration.
All this is bogus. Both Malley and Wilson are pro-Israel. The only reason that they are criticized by the extremists is because they both support Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
The attacks on Malley, which are particularly vicious, come from a right-wing rag called the American Thinker and from the former publisher of the New Republic, Martin Peretz, who openly despises the Clintons and anyone who has ever been associated with them. As a former member of Clinton's peace team, Malley receives Peretz's trademark vitriolic scorn.
This should not be necessary, but the following is a statement from high Clinton administration officials defending their colleague. This new McCarthyism, the kind designed to destroy careers and lives, has to end.
Over the past several weeks, a series of vicious, personal attacks have been launched against one of our colleagues, Robert Malley, who served as President Clinton's Special Assistant for Arab-Israeli affairs. They claim that he harbours an anti-Israeli agenda and has sought to undermine Israel's security. These attacks are unfair, inappropriate and wrong. They are an effort to undermine the credibility of a talented public servant who has worked tirelessly over the years to promote Arab-Israeli peace and US national interests. They must stop.
We have real differences among us about how best to conduct US policy toward the Middle East and what is the right way to build a lasting two-state solution that protects Israel's security. But whatever differences do exist, there is no disagreement among us on one core issue that transcends partisan or other divides: that the US should not and will not do anything to undermine Israel's safety or the special relationship between our two nations. We have worked with Rob closely over the years and have no doubt he shares this view and has acted consistent with it.
We face a critical period in the Middle East that demands sustained, determined and far-sighted engagement by the United States. It is not a time for scurrilous attacks against someone who deserves our respect.
Samuel (Sandy) Berger
Former National Security Advisor
Amb. Martin Indyk
Former Ambassador to Israel and Egypt
and Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs
Amb. Daniel C. Kurtzer
Former Ambassador to Israel
Aaron David Miller
Former Senior Adviser for Arab-Israeli Negotiations, Department
Amb. Dennis Ross
Former Special Envoy of the President to the Middle East
MJ Rosenberg is the Director of Israel Policy Forum's Washington Policy Center.