Jewish Clinton officials defend Malley


Five Jewish former U.S. diplomats excoriated a campaign to trash another ex-diplomat who advises Barack Obama.

“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,” says a letter circulating in the Middle East policy community, with signatories who also served under Clinton. “They claim that he harbors an anti-Israeli agenda and has sought to undermine Israel’s security. These attacks are unfair, inappropriate and wrong.”

A recent e-mail and internet campaign claims that Malley, one of a host of former officials who have offered advice to the presidential campaign of Obama (D-Ill.), “hates” Israel and is allied with Arab radicals.

The signatories to the pro-Malley letter, three with ties to pro-Israel groups, are: Dennis Ross, a former top Middle East negotiator who also advises Obama, and who is a top fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which leans pro-Israel; Martn Indyk, a former ambassador to Israel who now heads the Saban Institute, a peace think-tank founded by Israeli-American media magnate Haim Saban; Aaron David Miller, a former senior State Department adviser who subsequently directed the “Seeds of Peace” program that encourages dialogue between Israeli and Arab youths; Daniel Kurtzer, a former ambassador to Israel; and Sandy Berger, a former national security adviser.

Malley, who now works with the International Crisis Group, differs with some of the signatories over who was responsible for scuttling the 2000 Camp David Israeli-Palestinian talks, but the differences are more over degree with no one assigning absolute blame to any party.

“Whatever differences do exist, there is no disagreement among us on one core issue that transcends partisan or other divides: that the U.S. should not and will not do anything to undermine Israel’s safety or the special relationship between our two nations,” the letter said. “We have worked with Rob closely over the years and have no doubt he shares this view and has acted consistent with it.”




Recommended from JTA