Yesterday the New York Times ran an article using Yidwithlid and Ed Laskey as examples of how Barack Obama’s Foreign Adviser Robert Malley is being slandered. On first glance I was honored to appear in the same thought as Ed Lasky, as I read it through again I realized that the column was just another example of what is wrong with the NY Times today.
Below is the Helene Cooper’s piece about Malley and my letter to the editor, which knowing the NY Times will only be seen on these pages:
WASHINGTON , March 14— In the blogosphere, a lot of attention recently has been focused on one Robert Malley, one of Senator Barack Obama’s mid-level foreign policy advisors. Mr. Malley, a former Middle East negotiator for President Clinton, is now the Middle East and North Africa program director at the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization that seeks to prevent deadly conflicts. Mr. Malley is well-known and respected on the Washington diplomatic circuit, particularly among the cadre of foreign policy hands who specialize in the Arab-Israeli peace efforts. He is not one of Mr. Obama’s top advisors, those who prep the candidate for debates and speeches, but, rather, one of dozens of middle-level types who send position papers to the campaign and sometimes get together to talk.And yet, Mr. Malley has been targeted by a handful of Jewish bloggers as anti-Israel, and a sign that Mr. Obama, too, if elected president, would carry out anti-Israel policies.In a Jan. 23 article in the online magazine American Thinker, news editor Ed Lasky called Mr. Malley “the next generation of anti-Israel activism.” The article backs this up by referencing Mr. Malley’s father, Simon Malley, who, in the 1960s, founded and edited a left-wing magazine called Afrique-Asie, which was often supportive of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.In a Feb. 5 post on the Jewish blog Yid With Lid, one writer called Mr. Malley “Israel Hating,” and said “I do not believe the sins of the father is visited on the son but this son has chosen to follow in his dad’s footsteps and so has Senator Barak (sic) Obama.” The post follows with a piece called “the Robert Malley-Arafat Connection,” the bulk of which deals with the activities of Mr. Malley’s father.Simon Malley died in 2006, and Robert Malley says that while he respected his father, he does not agree with him on everything. In an interview, he questioned why it is that he should even be put in the position of having to defend himself.“I guess when one is on the defensive one has to say a lot of things,” Mr. Malley said. “I shouldn’t have to say that I’m Jewish, but here I am saying so.” Indeed, Simon Malley was an Egyptian Jew, while Robert Malley’s mother is the American-born daughter of Russian Jews. Indeed, it is interesting that there seems to be a far greater tolerance for debate among Israelis in Israel than there is among the Jewish community in the United States, Mr. Malley and several Israeli foreign policy experts say. Shlomo Ben-Ami, a former Israeli foreign minister, told a Washington dinner party sponsored by the New American Foundation on Thursday night that Israel should negotiate a ceasefire with the militant Islamist organization, Hamas, and that the Bush administration was doing Israel harm by not talking to Israel’s enemies, Iran and Syria.In fact, Mr. Ben-Ami added that “I believe Hamas needs to be engaged beyond a ceasefire.” Mr. Ben-Ami could say those things, but an American would immediately be pilloried for similar comments, Mr. Malley said. “Why can’t we have a genuine debate about whether there are different ways to try and defend U.S. interests and Israel interests?” he said. “We should be able to have a debate where people who have different views of the best way to promote a peace process can express them.”Mr. Malley’s biggest sin in the eyes of the bloggers who have attacked him, aside from being born to his father, appears to be an op-ed that he wrote in the New York Times on July 8, 2001, called “Fictions About the Failure at Camp David,” in which he argued that Israel was not generous enough to the Palestinians, and bore some culpability for the talks’ failure. In Jerusalem, for example, Mr. Malley noted that a new Palestinian state would have been given sovereignty over many Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and over parts of the Old City, but that Israel would have overall sovereignty over the Temple Mount, revered by Jews, but also the area revered by Muslims as the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque. While such a settlement was “a very difficult proposition for the Israeli people to accept,” Mr. Malley wrote, “how could Mr. Arafat have justified to his people that Israel would retain sovereignty over some Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, let alone over the Haram al Sharif?”That is hardly a radical notion today—many foreign policy experts now say the same thing.Mr. Clinton has weighed in on the subject of Mr. Malley’s contribution to Arab-Israeli peace. Speaking after Mr. Malley at a Clinton Global Initiative forum in New York in September, 2005, Mr. Clinton said: “I must say, when Mr. Malley was working with me on Middle East peace, all of our team will tell you he lived the words he just spoke.”“The Palestinians and their cause of a homeland and a just life, and peace for the Israelis, never had a better friend,” Mr. Clinton said.
And my response:
Shame on you!