Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Iran | Tobin | Malley | Israel | Iran | National Security Council

Jonathan Tobin: Malley's Seat on NSC Will Be Issue for Middle East

Friday, 21 Feb 2014 06:46 PM

President Barack Obama's tapping of Robert Malley to the National Security Council is fraught with problems for the Middle East, particularly Israel, Jonathan Tobin, a columnist and senior online editor of Commentary, says.

"Malley is, of course, the last person that [Israelis] want to talk to because he's an advocate of engagement with Iran, of basically of containment of a nuclear Iran," Tobin told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"Although the administration's saying it won't contain Iran, that's what he has advocated all along."

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Malley was the International Crisis Group's program director for the Middle East and North Africa and an adviser to President Bill Clinton at the failed Camp David peace talks in 2000.

He cut ties with the Obama campaign in 2008 after controversy arose over his meetings with officials with the terror group and columns he wrote that partially blamed Israel for the failed peace talks.

"There was terrible violence going on as a result of the collapse of Camp David, which was a Palestinian war of terrorist attrition. Malley was acting as their apologist, acting as [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat's apologist," Tobin said.

"Back in May of 2008, Robert Malley fell on his sword for Barack Obama just as the Obama campaign was [facing a] challenge from Hillary Clinton.

"Jewish groups, pro-Israel groups were outraged that his presence as an adviser to the then-would-be president on foreign policy, and then Malley left the campaign but he is back."

Tobin said Malley is even more dangerous now.

"Over these last several years, when he was working at the International Crisis Group, a very well-heeled consulting group, he's been an advocate of engagement with Iran," he said.

"That's important now, of course, because … engagement with Iran is the issue of the day as the Obama administration engages not merely in nuclear talks with the Iranians, which gave them a very favorable interim deal last November … but detente with Iran, and that's where Malley comes in."

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President Barack Obama's tapping of Robert Malley to the National Security Council is fraught with problems for the Middle East, particularly Israel, Jonathan Tobin, a columnist and senior online editor of Commentary, says.
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