ZOA Opposes Possible Appointment of Robert Malley to Foreign Policy Team
News Press Release
July 2, 2013

The ZOA has expressed concern at rumors that President Barack Obama is intending to appoint to his foreign policy team Robert Malley, an advocate of U.S. recognition of major, unreconstructed terrorist groups Hamas and Hizballah, and proponent of containment of Iran, not preventing them from attaining nuclear weapons. Rumor has been circulating that Malley, a career diplomat who was fired from the 2008 Obama presidential campaign for negotiating with Hamas, could be hired for the job in the coming weeks. According to sources cited in the Washington Free Beacon, Malley will soon be named by Secretary of State John Kerry for a senior advisory role with a portfolio that focuses either on Syria or on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

 He wrote a revisionist account of the 2000-2001 Israeli/Palestinian negotiations that exculpated Yasser Arafat for their failure, a bogus argument that was dissected and debunked already in 2002 by Saul Singer, then head of the project on U.S.-Israel Relations at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, in the Middle East Quarterly.

 Worrying aspects of Malley’s career:

  •  Malley was one of Obama’s closest advisers for Middle East issues until his affinity for negotiating with Hamas became public in 2008.
  • He is a Harvard-trained lawyer who currently works at the International Crisis Group, a body affiliated with anti-Israel billionaire George Soros.
  • His father, Simon Malley, was a virulently anti-Israel member of the Egyptian Communist Party and a close confidante of Yasser Arafat.  
  • In a July 2001, op-ed in the New York Times, Malley blamed Israel for the failure of the Camp David Peace talks, contrary to the accounts of all of the other Americans and Israelis involved, including U.S. Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross and President Clinton himself.
  • In an April 2007 Los Angeles Times op-ed, Malley advocated for negotiations with Syria, despite his own admission that Syria would not “cut ties with Hezbollah, break with Hamas or alienate Iran as the entry fare for peace negotiations” and contended without evidence that there was reason to believe Syria would actually do these things if Israel signed a peace giving away the Golan Heights (and Israeli territory illegally seized by Syria in 1948). He also claimed, contrary all experience, that Syria would not continue to sponsor terrorist groups, when in fact it has sponsored continuously the Kurdish PKK, al-Saiqa, Asbat-al-Ansar, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and of course Hizballah in Lebanon.
  • In November 2012, Malley argued that an Israeli/Palestinian peace actually requires Mahmoud Abbas Fatah/Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the terrorist group which calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the global murder of Jews (Article 7), to unite.
  • Malley also has referred to Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria as “colonies.”
  • “A political opening (immediate concessions of Israel on the colonies or a transfer of the territories and resumption of the peace process) is essential,” he said.
  • Malley has advocated in favor of containing a nuclear Iran, even criticizing President Obama because he “took containment of a nuclear-armed Iran off the table.”
  • A Congressional aide has said of Malley that “He sees political groups, not terror groups, and political agendas that can be resolved through negotiations where we see hardened killers who need to be defeated.”
“It is… deeply worrying that President Obama has apparently no compunction at appointing to a position of such responsibility someone with whom, on major aspects of Middle East policy, he has publicly disagreed.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We are deeply concerned that someone hostile to Israel and pro-Hamas and pro-Iran as Robert Malley may be appointed to high office in the Obama Middle East team. 

“It is also deeply worrying that President Obama has apparently no compunction at appointing to a position of such responsibility someone with whom, on major aspects of Middle East policy, he has publicly disagreed. When running for president in 2008, then-Senator Obama said clearly that he did not agree with Robert Malley’s support for recognizing Hamas without Hamas making substantive changes to its platform and behavior. 

“Appointing Malley suggests that these words of disagreement had no basis. Now, it appears that, when he is beyond electoral recall, President Obama intends to appoint Malley to a senior position dealing with the Middle East.

“We urge President Obama not to appoint Robert Malley and to repudiate reports indicating that he intends to appoint him if they are in fact untrue.”

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