JERUSALEM – While officials here largely maintain a policy against interfering in U.S. election politics, some Israeli security officials quietly expressed “concern” about an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama who has advocated negotiations with Hamas and providing international assistance to the terrorist group.
The officials noted Robert Malley, a principal Obama foreign policy adviser, has penned numerous opinion articles, many of them co-written with a former adviser to the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, petitioning for dialogue with Hamas and blasting Israel for numerous policies he says harm the Palestinian cause.
Malley also previously penned a well-circulated New York Review of Books piece largely blaming Israel for the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David in 2000 when Arafat turned down a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern sections of Jerusalem and instead returned to the Middle East to launch an intifada, or terrorist campaign, against the Jewish state.
Malley’s contentions have been strongly refuted by key participants at Camp David, including President Bill Clinton, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and primary U.S. envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross, all of whom squarely blamed Arafat’s refusal to make peace for the talks’ failure.
“We are noting with concern some of Obama’s picks as advisers, particularly Robert Malley who has expressed sympathy to Hamas and Hezbollah and offered accounts of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that don’t jibe with the facts,” said one security official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official stated he was not authorized to talk to the media about U.S. politics, noting Israeli officials are instructed to “stay out” of American political affairs.
In February 2006, after Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament and amid a U.S. and Israeli attempt to isolate the Hamas-run Palestinian Authority, Malley wrote an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun advocating international aid to the terror group’s newly formed government.
“The Islamists (Hamas) ran on a campaign of effective government and promised to improve Palestinians’ lives; they cannot do that if the international community turns its back,” wrote Malley in a piece entitled, “Making the Best of Hamas’ Victory.”
Malley contended the election of Hamas expressed Palestinian “anger at years of humiliation and loss of self-respect because of Israeli settlement expansion, Arafat’s imprisonment, Israel’s incursions, Western lecturing and, most recently and tellingly, the threat of an aid cut off in the event of an Islamist success.”
Malley said the U.S. should not “discourage third-party unofficial contacts with [Hamas] in an attempt to moderate it.”
Hamas is responsible for scores of deadly shootings, suicide bombings and rocket attacks aimed at Jewish civilian population centers. The past few weeks alone, Hamas militants took credit for firing more than 200 rockets into Israel.
Hamas’ official charter calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel.
Hamas maintained a national unity government with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas until the Palestinian leader dissolved the agreement and deposed the Hamas prime minister last year.
In an op-ed in the Washington Post two weeks ago coauthored by Arafat adviser Hussein Agha, Malley – using could be perceived as anti-Israel language – urged Israel’s negotiating partner Abbas to reunite with Hamas.
“A renewed national compact and the return of Hamas to the political fold would upset Israel’s strategy of perpetuating Palestinian geographic and political division,” wrote Malley.
He further petitioned Israel to hold talks with Hamas.
“An arrangement between Israel and Hamas could advance both sides’ interests,” wrote Malley.
In numerous other op-eds, Malley advocates a policy of engagement with Hamas.
After the breakdown of the Camp David talks, Malley wrote a lengthy New York Times piece that mostly blamed Israel and the U.S. for the breakdown of the negotiations.
Malley was a special assistant to Clinton for Arab-Israeli affairs and was a member of the U.S. peace team during the Camp David negotiations. He currently serves as director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at the International Crisis Group, which is partially funded by billionaire and Obama campaign contributor George Soros, who also serves on the board of the Crisis Group.
Ed Lasky, a contributor to the American Thinker blog, calls Malley a “[Palestinian] propagandist” who, he charged, bends “the truth to serve an agenda that is marked by anti-Israel bias. … Malley’s writings strike me as being akin to propaganda.”
Lasky points out Malley’s father, Simon Malley, was a personal friend of Arafat and wrote in support of numerous struggles against Western countries. Simon Malley founded Afrique Asie, a French magazine that was known for its advocacy for “liberation” struggles throughout the world, including the Palestinian cause.
Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, called Simon Malley a “sympathizer” of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which, headed by Arafat, carried out numerous terror attacks.
“[Robert] Malley has seemingly followed in his father’s footsteps: He represents the next generation of anti-Israel activism,” wrote Lasky.
Obama spiritual adviser also anti-Israel?
Obama the past few days has taken note of his growing negative image within the pro-Israel and Jewish activist community, reaching out yesterday to a coalition of Jewish and Israeli newspapers.
Obama told Israel’s Haaretz daily there is a “constant virulent campaign” being waged against him, aimed particularly at weakening support among Democrat voters within the Jewish community.
Obama said “false” e-mail campaigns calling him Muslim and accusing him of not pledging allegiance to the U.S. have been especially visible in the Jewish community.
The presidential hopeful urged Haaretz and U.S. Jewish newspapers to use their “megaphone” so people can hear “from the horse’s mouth” that anti-Israel accusations against him are “unfounded.”
Mass e-mail distributions have pointed out Obama’s spiritual adviser, Jeremiah Wright Jr. of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, recently presented Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan with a “Lifetime Achievement” award. Farrakhan has expressed consistent anti-Israel views.
Wright, who reportedly married Obama and baptized his daughters, has called for divestment from Israel and refers to Israel as a “racist” state.”
Obama called Wright’s heralding of Farrahkan a “mistake” but has not spoken out against Wright’s views regarding Israel.
Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick noted in a column last week, “Obama has taken no steps to moderate his church’s anti-Israel invective. Obama’s affiliation with Wright aligns with his choice of financial backers and foreign policy advisers. To varying degrees, all of them exhibit hostility towards Israel and support for appeasing jihadists.”
To interview Aaron Klein, contact M. Sliwa Public Relations by e-mail, or call 973-272-2861.