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Correction on Malley’s role, and a cyber-dilemma

By Dan Fleshler | February 2, 2008

I was so mortified by the bile that prompted the previous post that I somehow missed a clarification in Politico. This is why they invented newpaper editors and why the blogosphere is out of control:

An Obama spokesman, Tommy Vietor, says, “Rob Malley has no day-to-day advisory role in the Obama campaign. He is among many people who has given his advice to the campaign. The actual day-to-day Middle East advisor is Dan Shapiro.”

Marty Peretz — in his defense of Obama on Israel — accepts the Obama explanation. Per Peretz:

“There are all kinds of spooky rumors that a man named Robert Malley is one of Obama’s advisers, specifically his Middle East adviser. His name comes up mysteriously and intrusively on the web, like the ads for Viagra. Malley, who has written several deceitful articles in The New York Review of Books, is a rabid hater of Israel. No question about it. But Malley is not and has never been a Middle East adviser to Barack Obama. Obama’s Middle East adviser is Dan Shapiro. Malley did, though, work for Bill Clinton. He was deeply involved in the disastrous diplomacy of 2000. Obama at the time was in the Illinois State Senate. So, yes, this is a piece of experience that Obama lacks.”

So now we have an interesting dilemma, the kind they probably don’t teach in journalism school yet. Should I just delete the entire previous post? The arguments are still valid, and the attacks on Malley, including the latest from Peretz, are still very creepy. But in its own small way, does the previous post call attention to accusations that otherwise will not be noticed? Does it keep alive a controversy about the Obama campaign that should be left for dead? Does this post make matters worse?

Or should both posts remain on “Realistic Dove” because false charges and unfair characterizations don’t vanish from the digital world, they are perpetually reified by the search engines and forwarded emails, and at least a few people need to answer them so that inquiring minds can find alternative perspectives?

If you have some thoughts but don’t want to comment publicly, please send advice to dfleshler@yahoo.com.

Topics: Barack Obama, Israel, Middle East peace process | 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “Correction on Malley’s role, and a cyber-dilemma”

  1. Phil Weiss Says:
    February 2nd, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    I think I’d let the original post stand. You were hardly alone in stating that he was an adviser, you instantly and loudly corrected the post when you felt it was wrong. Also: do we know the truth? Obama is distancing himself from Malley. But Malley did advise him re the Middle East. It would be nice to hear from Malley and Samantha Power about their actual roles, and from Obama himself.

  2. Dan Sisken Says:
    February 2nd, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    I agree with Phil Weiss. Those accusations, slander, etc. are circulating “out there” in the dark. Better to call attention to them, their absurdity, and the paranoia they emerge from (and depend on). More light is almost always better.

  3. Richard Witty Says:
    February 2nd, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    The purpose of slander is to provoke fear that changes one’s behavior.

    A one-way heart valve.

    Again, I like Obama’s position re:Israel, that of affirmed support for the relationship itself, but not unequivocal support for every action or policy.

  4. Anon Says:
    February 2nd, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    The politico link doesn’t work.

  5. Dan Fleshler Says:
    February 2nd, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    The link works now. Sorry.

  6. David Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 9:12 am

    I wouldn’t sweat it Dan. Have you seen how many times Phil Weiss has posted factually incorrect statements and not even bothered to correct the story?

  7. Richard Witty Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Who does AIPAC regard as best for Israel, according to its terms?

    More conservative groups?

    More liberal groups?

    My sense is that McCain is indeterminate as to consistency of policy towards Israel.

    Similarly, Obama is an unknown historically, even though he has publicly stated and voted in unequivocal terms that he supports Israel’s existence, right to defend its civilians, unequivocal condemnation of terror as a means, support for the road map, and support for a viable sovereign and law-abiding Palestinian state.

    Hillary has done her homework as far as establishment Jewish networking as far as gaining the confidence of middle-conservative Jewish constituency. She represents an attractive vote to them, in that her social positions are consistent with middle Jewish social perspectives.

    Liberal but not too liberal.

    Of those remaining, I favor Obama as a candidate.

    To my reasoning, he is inviting to youth in particular to get involved, much as John Kennedy’s message and criteria clearly conveyed the importance of idealism conscientiously and competently practised.

    Hillary strikes me as “already knowing”, and less inviting to new voices, whether new perspectives, new communities, or new generation.

  8. Jonathan Mark Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    “””My sense is that McCain is indeterminate as to consistency of policy towards Israel.”””

    McCain has been a strong and consistent supporter of the US alliance with Israel for a generation. I don’t know what his opinions were before that.

  9. agog Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    So, Richard and Jonathan, is that how you judge the merits of the respective candidates: who is best for Israel?

    Shouldn’t the criterion be who is best for the US?

    The two countries’ interests are not one and the same.

  10. Richard Witty Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    I am concerned what their position re: Israel is, and it is important enough to me that it would effect my vote.

    But, my reference would not be unequivocal support but the combination of support and accountability to law that Obama sometimes infers.

    I just asked for reference as to what AIPAC’s position(s) might be.

    What do you think AIPAC’s opinion of Hillary would be? Obama? McCain? Romney?

    How about other groups?

    What are the different candidates positions re: Israel and the future?

  11. Jonathan Mark Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    “””Shouldn’t the criterion be who is best for the US?”””

    Neither of us suggested otherwise. You projected opinions onto us.

  12. Dan Fleshler Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 11:16 pm


    If I had to rank the issues in order of importance to me during this campaign, they would be:

    1) A health care plan that works.
    2) Competent stewardship of the economy (all I ask for is competence) to stop job loss.
    3) A plan to get us out of Iraq that works.
    4) A plan to give me some help in paying my daughter’s college tuition.
    5) A willingness to be active and imaginative and bold in solving the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, which is the key to stabilizing the Middle East and repairing America’s credibility in the world. Does my concern for Israel figure into that? Of course. But the interests of Israel, Palestine and America are, in fact, the same: end the occupation and carve out two states.

    So, do I meet your criteria for being an American?

  13. Richard Witty Says:
    February 7th, 2008 at 11:42 am

    What can Israel do to reward more moderate behavior on the part of Hamas?

    If Hamas does initiate a self-disciplined Hudna, what should Israel’s response be?

    I say, respond in kind.

    If they pass on their Qassam’s to Islamic Jihad, or turn a blind eye to “renegades” within Hamas, what should Israel’s response be?

  14. Will Says:
    February 11th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I’m glad you left the posts up. A distant relative of mine who we keep in touch with by email mentioned the Robert Malley stuff when he said “I don’t get how any Jew can support Obama.” As a Jew who supports Obama, I looked into it for myself, and this blog was helpful.