DC heavyweights issue letter defending former Clinton advisor: “Anti-Israel” charges have to stop

Yesterday, we told you about leading academics who have had enough of the casual and yet devastating use of the charges of anti-Semitism to silence debate and, in a few of the most egregious cases, destroy academic careers. Today, we return to the political realm where high-level supporters of Israel have come out in defense of their colleague, Robert Malley. Malley, Clinton’s former Special Assistant for Arab-Israeli affairs, is being used as a punching bag in the fight over Jewish votes and who would be president.

Robert Malley’s status as an unofficial advisor to Obama caused, what MJ Rosenberg called a firestorm. Why? Malley’s past articles in the NY Review of Books said Barak, and not just Arafat, was also to blame for the failure of peace talks. A point, Rosenberg points out, which was made by virtually everyone who was there including Clinton himself.

This fact has not stopped the onslaught of attacks, especially meant to sow fears among Jewish voters, on either Malley, or, apparently, former ambassador Joseph Wilson who is supporting the Clinton camp.

MJ Rosenberg says today:

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.

Here’s the full text of the statement:

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
of State

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

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