The ZOA has expressed concern at the news that President Barack Obama is appointing Robert Malley, a former U.S. diplomat, an Israel-basher, advocate of U.S. recognition of major, unreconstructed terrorist groups Hamas and Hizballah, and proponent of containment of Iran (i.e., not preventing them from attaining nuclear weapons) as senior director at the National Security Council in charge of managing relations between the U.S. and its Persian Gulf allies.
Robert Malley has been a harsh critic of Israel for decades who was attacking Israel during his college years at Yale, when wrote anti-Israel articles in the Yale student newspaper. The ZOA has called upon President Obama to rescind the appointment.
Worrying aspects of Malley’s career:
- Malley, who served as a Special Assistant dealing with Middle Eastern and South Asian issues under President Bill Clinton during 1998-2001, was one of President Obama’s closest advisers for Middle East issues until his affinity for negotiating with Hamas became public in 2008.
- 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, a close confidante of Yasser Arafat and an enthusiast for violent Third World “liberation” movements.
- In a July 8, 2001, opinion piece in the New York Times and in an August 8, 2001 essay in the New York Review of Books, the latter co-written with Hussein Agha, Malley blamed Israel and exculpated Yasser Arafat for the failure of the Camp David Peace talks, contrary to the accounts of all the other Americans and Israelis involved the negotiations, including U.S. Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross and President Bill Clinton himself. Malley’s argument 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.
- In February, 2004, in an appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Malley called for the 2003 Road Map peace plan, which called for Palestinians to take various pro-peace steps, to be cast aside and a comprehensive settlement plan be imposed on the parties with the backing of the international community, including Arab and Muslim states. He anticipated that Israel would object with “cries of unfair treatment” but counseled the plan be put in place regardless of such objections; he also suggested that waiting for a “reliable Palestinian partner” was unnecessary.
- 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 Syria the Golan Heights (along with the adjacent 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 a February 15, 2011 opinion piece in the British Guardian, following the fall of the Mubarak government in Egypt, Malley welcomed the fact that new, upcoming Arab governments would be less aligned with Washington and that these “Governments will have to change their spots; their publics will wish them to be more like [viciously anti-Semitic, anti-Israel Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist regime in] Turkey and less like [Mubarak’s] Egypt.”
- 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 has referred to Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria as “colonies,” writing, “A political opening (immediate concessions of Israel on the colonies or a transfer of the territories and resumption of the peace process) is essential.”
- 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.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “As we stated in July last year when rumors first surfaced that Robert Malley might be appointed to a senior position in President Obama’s foreign policy team, we are deeply concerned about Malley’s record of hostility to Israel, enthusiasm for engaging vicious, unreconstructed terrorist groups like Hamas and unreconstructed terrorist-sponsoring Islamist regimes like Iran.
“We urged President Obama last year not to appoint Robert Malley and to repudiate reports indicating that he intended to appoint him if they were untrue. It is no surprise to us that President Obama did not do this.
“The ZOA views Robert Malley’s appointment as senior director at the National Security Council with responsibility for U.S./Persian Gulf relations as merely underscoring the deeply worrying policies this Administration is pursuing towards Iran.
“President Obama has said repeatedly that he will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, yet he has in the past diluted and delayed passage of U.S. sanctions, supported UN sanctions containing numerous exemptions for major Iranian allies and trading partners, and recently signed the Geneva interim agreement, which permits Iran to retain all vital the elements of its nuclear weapons program. Now, he wishes to appoint Robert Malley, with responsibility for the Persian Gulf, someone who openly opposed measures intended to stop Iran going nuclear and who explicitly favored a policy of containment.
“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. 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.
“Now, when President Obama is beyond electoral recall, he intends to appoint Malley, which suggests that his 2008 words of disagreement with Malley had no basis in fact and were merely a smokescreen to conceal the President’s general agreement with views of Malley, with whom he was apparently a close friend at Harvard Law School.
“If President Obama genuinely means what he says about not permitting Iran to become a nuclear power, we urge him to act on the inherent logic of this position by rescinding the appointment of Robert Malley.”