American foreign policy Israel Middle East peace process

The smears against Rob Malley continue, but former U.S. officials rise to his defense

James Besser has a balanced and informative piece on the ongoing Rob Malley fracas in New York Jewish Week. Among other things, we learn that the offensive smear campaign against Malley and, by extension, Obama has not abated: “In the days leading up to this week’s Democratic primary in Maryland, Jewish voters in Baltimore and the Maryland suburbs of Washington began getting e-mails warning that Sen. Barack Obama is being influenced by “anti-Israel” advisers, and pointing to one in particular: former Clinton administration official Robert Malley.”

Some of Malley’s former government colleagues have decided they are going to weigh in and defend Malley in the public arena. I’ve been forwarded a copy of a statement they have signed. If there are people you know who might be susceptible to the smear campaign, please let them know what Berger, Indyk, Kurtzer, Miller and Ross have to say:

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

Amb. Daniel C. Kurtzer
Former Ambassador to Israel and Egypt
and Assistant Secretary of
State for Near East Affairs

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

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