(JNS.org) Diplomat Robert Malley, who was dismissed from President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign team when it was revealed that he met with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, is joining the Obama administration to consult on Persian Gulf policy as the senior director of the National Security Council.
A former Middle East advisor for President Bill Clinton and currently Program Director for Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group, Malley has a history of controversial statements on Israel. In a 2001 article for The New York Review of Books, he took aim at those who blame only Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for the failure of the prior year’s U.S.-brokered peace talks at Camp David.
“For a process of such complexity, the diagnosis is remarkably shallow,” Malley wrote. “It ignores history, the dynamics of the negotiations, and the relationships among the three parties. In so doing, it fails to capture why what so many viewed as a generous Israeli offer, the Palestinians viewed as neither generous, nor Israeli, nor, indeed, as an offer. Worse, it acts as a harmful constraint on American policy by offering up a single, convenient culprit—Arafat—rather than a more nuanced and realistic analysis.
Also in The New York Review of Books, Malley wrote regarding Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, “A war Israel fought without a clearly defined purpose has left the country without any tangible achievement.”
Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks said Malley’s “return to a senior role in Mideast policy making” is “deeply troubling.”
“In his second term, Obama has brought back a number of former campaign advisors, who had been put aside for holding unpalatable views in an election year,” Brooks said in a statement. “Malley is the latest and perhaps most disturbing of these. His appointment demonstrates that Pres. Obama was never as in sync with mainstream pro-Israel and Jewish community positions as he pretended to be during his campaigns.”