One of the Obama campaign’s informal Middle East advisers, Robert Malley, confirms to NBC NEWS that he has resigned from any role in the campaign because critics have tried to make an issue of his meetings with Hamas. The Times of London called him about it this morning, and has posted a story online. As a result, he called Obama’s campaign today and took himself out of any future role.
Malley’s paid job is with the International Crisis Group, which, he says, requires him to meet with Hamas and others. Malley worked for six and a half years at the Clinton National Security Council under Tony Lake and Sandy Berger. Lake is now one of Obama’s top foreign policy advisors.
Speaking to NBC NEWS, Malley said, “I decided based on the fact that this was becoming a distraction that it was best that I remove myself from any association with the campaign.” [complete article]
Editor’s Comment — Even though Malley resigned, the Murdoch-owned Times couldn’t resist giving this story the headline: “Barack Obama sacks adviser over talks with Hamas.” Neither The Times nor NBC News saw fit to reprint a statement in defense of Robert Malley that was issued in February and that was signed by Bill Clinton’s former National Security Adviser and two former US ambassadors to Israel. This is what they wrote:
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
Amb. Dennis Ross
Former Special Envoy of the President to the Middle East
I guess having influential and highly respected friends and colleagues ultimately doesn’t count for much in a political environment that has been shaped by the New McCarthyism.