A hearty yashar koach to Dan Fleshler for organizing to rebut the smear campaign against Rob Malley and by extension Barack Obama, orchestrated by the wingnut publication, American Thinker (no link for obvious reasons though Dan supplies one for the masochistic among you). A pro-Israel extremist “journalist,” writing there, accused Malley, a senior member of the Clinton team that negotiated at Camp David, or being rabidly anti-Israel. Malley has been an unpaid foreign policy advisor to the Obama campaign. The proof supplied was, of course, of the order and quality of that produced by David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes and Alan Dershowitz in their smear campaigns against the likes of Nadia Abu El Haj, Norman Finkelstein, Rashid Khalidi, Joel Beinin, Debbie Almontaser, and many others. That is to say–lies, innuendo, and distortion masquerading as established fact.
What is worse the “journalist” even delved into the history of Rob’s father’s support for African and Middle East liberation movements in the 1960s. As if his father’s alleged radicalism explained Rob’s alleged anti-Israelism. As if Rob was somehow “guilty” of his father’s sins (which of course they weren’t). Maybe we should vet every campaign foreign policy advisor and go back into their family history looking for skeletons. Why don’t we start with Daniel Pipes’ father Richard Pipes, senior Reagan era neocon ideologue? I mean what’s the point? Daniel’s sins, of which there are many, are his own. Why reach back and blame them on his father?
What is different here is that Marty Peretz, a brother in arms to the pro-Israel propagandists mentioned above, has taken up the cause with a repetition of the smear in The New Republic-an (republished here in the Jerusalem Post):
There are all kinds of spooky rumors that a man named Robert Malley advises Obama on the Middle East. 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 anti-Israel.
This is how such smears begin and take root in peoples’ minds. An especially unsavory author and publication take up the cudgels and then a slightly less unsavory character repeats them. And so on. Until the smear takes on a life of its own and floats through the body politic spewing poison as it goes.
And further, others have more surreptitiously advanced the smear in an anonymous e mail campaign circulated to Jewish voters in Maryland before the presidential primary. As Obama only earned 40% of the Jewish vote in Maryland, I’d say that this viciousness worked in some measure. Expect these dirty tricks to escalate in the months leading up to the convention and general election.
Why is this important? Because a Democratic presidential candidate can be expected to gain as much as 80-85% of the Jewish vote. What if Obama is the nominee and gains only 50-60% of the Jewish vote? That’s a very substantial fall off. In a close election, this could make all the difference between loss and victory.
Obama can be said to be a double victim of a Jewish smear campaign since one of his staffers believes that the Muslim smear e mail campaign was aided and abetted using the e mail list of a “prominent D.C. based Jewish non-profit” (read, AIPAC). By smearing Malley, Jewish militants are by extension smearing Obama as well.
I’m pleased to report that Malley’s colleagues from the Clinton Administration, who support both Obama and Clinton, have organized to rebut the perfidy in no uncertain terms:
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; 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 of State
Amb. Dennis Ross
Former Special Envoy of the President to the Middle East
A final note: American Thinker is the same publication which published a similar smear against UCLA’s Near Eastern Studies program, in which the alleged author of the article attempted to do to the faculty of that program precisely what has been done to Rob Malley. For legal reasons, I cannot at this time report further here about what I believe may be an intellectual fraud perpetrated by this article and its author. In time, I will you can be sure. Anyone who believes a single word emanating from American Thinker, Frontpagemagazine or Campus Watch and their ilk is either a propagandist themselves or entirely naïve, not to mention hoodwinked. They are about as reliable sources as the National Enquirer.