Robert Malley
Robert Malley is an American lawyer, political scientist and specialist in conflict resolution. He is currently Program Director for Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group
International Crisis Group
The International Crisis Group is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts around the world through field-based analyses and high-level advocacy.-History:...

 in Washington, D.C., and a former Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 for Arab-Israeli Affairs (1998–2001). Prior to holding that title, he was Assistant to National Security Advisor
National Security Advisor (United States)
The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor , serves as the chief advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues...

 Sandy Berger
Sandy Berger
Samuel Richard "Sandy" Berger was United States National Security Advisor, under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001. In his position, he helped to formulate the foreign policy of the Clinton Administration...

 (1996–1998) and the Director for Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at the National Security Council
United States National Security Council
The White House National Security Council in the United States is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the Executive Office of the...

 (1994–1996). Malley is considered an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

 and has written extensively on this subject. As Special Assistant to President Clinton, he was a member of the U.S. peace team and helped organize the 2000 Camp David Summit.

Early life

Robert Malley was born in 1963 to Barbara (née Silverstein) Malley, a New Yorker who worked for the United Nations delegation of the Algerian National Liberation Front
National Liberation Front (Algeria)
The National Liberation Front is a socialist political party in Algeria. It was set up on November 1, 1954 as a merger of other smaller groups, to obtain independence for Algeria from France.- Anticolonial struggle :...

, and her husband, Simon Malley
Simon Malley
Simon Malley , was a prominent francophone journalist and a strong supporter of Third World independence movements....

 (1923–2006), an Egyptian-born Jewish journalist who grew up in Egypt and worked as a foreign correspondent for Al Goumhourya, a newspaper linked closely to Gamal Abdul Nasser's government. The elder Malley spent time in New York, writing about international affairs, particularly about nationalist, anti-imperial movements in Africa, and made a key contribution by putting the FLN
National Liberation Front (Algeria)
The National Liberation Front is a socialist political party in Algeria. It was set up on November 1, 1954 as a merger of other smaller groups, to obtain independence for Algeria from France.- Anticolonial struggle :...

 on the world map.

In 1969, the elder Malley moved his family — including son Robert — to France, where he founded the magazine Africasia (later known as Afrique Asia), which gave voice to the causes of the newly-independent states such as Algeria and Egypt, and to liberation struggles throughout the world. The elder Malley became a well-known journalist, and was posthumously described by The Guardian as "one of the best known Francophone journalists of his generation, with a rare knowledge of Africa's anti-colonial struggles and the dramas of the continent's newly independent states." The Washington Post, on August 7, 1980, reported the elder Malley was a founder of the Egyptian Communist Party and at the time was under investigation by French authorities for pro-Soviet activities.

The Malleys remained in France until 1980, when President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing is a French centre-right politician who was President of the French Republic from 1974 until 1981...

 briefly expelled Simon Malley from the country to New York. A sympathetic crew member on his airline flight did not inform U.S. authorities that Malley was on the plane and instead got him on the first plane back to Europe. The elder Malley spent eight months editing his journal in Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, and returned to France after François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

's election.

Robert Malley attended Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

, and was a 1984 Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he earned a Ph.D.
A Ph.D. is a Doctor of Philosophy, an academic degree.Ph.D. may also refer to:* Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*Piled Higher and Deeper, a web comic strip*PhD: Phantasy Degree, a Korean comic series* PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 in political philosophy. There he wrote his doctoral thesis about Third-worldism
Third-worldism is a tendency within left-wing political thought to regard the division between developed countries, and developing countries or "Third World" nations against the background of primary political importance...

 and its decline. Malley continued writing about foreign policy, including extended commentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He earned a J.D.
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 at Harvard Law School
Harvard Law School
Harvard Law School is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it is the oldest continually-operating law school in the United States and is home to the largest academic law library in the world. The school is routinely ranked by the U.S...

, where he met his future wife, Caroline Brown. Another fellow law school student was Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

. In 1991-1992, Malley clerked for Supreme Court Justice Byron White
Byron White
Byron Raymond "Whizzer" White won fame both as a football halfback and as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Appointed to the court by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, he served until his retirement in 1993...

, while Brown clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981...

. As of 2010, the couple has two sons, Miles and Blaise, and one daughter, Frances.


After his Supreme Court clerkship, Malley became a Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

 where he published The Call From Algeria: Third Worldism, Revolution, and the Turn to Islam — a book that charts Algeria's political evolution from the turn of the century to the present, exploring the historical and intellectual underpinnings of the crisis in Alegria. His book received critical acclaim, and Malley was described as "exceptionally well read, creative in seeing connections and influences, and gifted with a graceful, if world-weary writing style."

Malley went on to serve in the Clinton administration
Presidency of Bill Clinton
The United States Presidency of Bill Clinton, also known as the Clinton Administration, was the executive branch of the federal government of the United States from January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001. Clinton was the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a second full term...

 as Director for Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at the National Security Council from 1994–1996. In that post he helped coordinate refugee policy, efforts to promote democracy and human rights abroad and U.S. policy toward Cuba. From 1996-1998 he was Executive Assistant to National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. In October 1998, Malley was appointed Special Assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli Affairs, a post he held until the end of the administration in 2001.

After his service with the administration, Malley became Senior Policy Advisor for the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Development in Washington, D.C. He later became Program Director for Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group
International Crisis Group
The International Crisis Group is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts around the world through field-based analyses and high-level advocacy.-History:...

 in Washington, D.C., directing analysts based in Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

, Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

, Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 and Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. Malley's team covers events from Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 to Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, with a heavy focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the situation in Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, and Islamist movements throughout the region. Malley also covers developments in the United States that affect policy toward the Middle East. Malley is involved in the J Street
J Street
J Street is a nonprofit liberal advocacy group based in the United States whose stated aim is to promote American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Israel-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically. It was founded in April 2008....


According to Barack Obama's presidential campaign
Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008
Barack Obama, then junior United States Senator from Illinois, announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States in Springfield, Illinois, on February 10, 2007. On August 27, 2008, he was declared nominee of the Democratic Party for the 2008 presidential election...

, Malley provided informal advice to the campaign in the past without having any formal role in the campaign. On May 9, 2008, the campaign severed ties with Malley when the British Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

reported that Malley had been in discussions with the militant Palestinian group Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

, listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization. In response, Malley told The Times he had been in regular contact with Hamas officials as part of his work with the International Crisis Group. "My job with the International Crisis Group is to meet with all sorts of savory and unsavory people and report on what they say. I've never denied whom I meet with; that's what I do", Malley told NBC News, adding that he informs the State Department about his meetings beforehand and briefs them afterward. Malley has published many articles in which he calls upon the Israelis (and the international community) to bring Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 to the negotiating table in order to secure an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire and insure that any agreement reached with Palestinians will be respected by the Islamist movements in Palestinian society too (see Views Section).


Robert Malley has published several articles on the failed 2000 Camp David Summit in which he participated as a member of the U.S. negotiating team. In his analysis, the main reasons for the failure of the Summit were the tactics of then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

 and the substance of his proposal which made it impossible for Arafat to accept Barak's offer. Malley rejects the opinion that lays all the blame for the failure of the Summit on Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

 and the Palestinian delegation.

Malley argues that negotiations with the Palestinians today must include Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 because the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 is no longer considered the Palestinian people's sole legitimate representative. He describes the PLO as antiquated, worn out, barely functioning, and, because it does not include the broad Islamist current principally represented by Hamas, of questionable authority. Malley favors negotiating with Hamas at least for the purpose of a cease-fire — citing Hamas officials in Gaza who made clear they were prepared for such an agreement with Israel.

He supports efforts to reach an Israel-Hamas cease-fire which would include an immediate end to Palestinian rocket launches and sniper fire and a freeze on Israeli military attacks on Gaza. Malley's arguments rest on both humanitarian and practical reasons. Malley points to the blockade
Israel-Gaza conflict
The Gaza–Israel conflict is a theater of the long-term Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the territory of the Gaza Strip. Palestinians' active resistance to military occupation was escalated in the territory following the overwhelming election to government of the militant Islamic political party...

 imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 has not stopped Hamas's rocket attacks on nearby Israeli towns and notes that the siege has caused millions of Gazans to suffer from lack of medicine, fuel, electricity and other essential commodities, so cease-fire would avoid "enormous loss of life, a generation of radicalized and embittered Gazans, and another bankrupt peace process."

In addition, Malley calls for Israel, the Palestinians, Lebanon, Syria and other Arab countries to resume negotiations on all tracks based on the Saudi Peace Initiative which promises full Arab recognition and normalization of relations with Israel in the context of a comprehensive peace agreement in exchange for a withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Occupied Territories
Israeli-occupied territories
The Israeli-occupied territories are the territories which have been designated as occupied territory by the United Nations and other international organizations, governments and others to refer to the territory seized by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria...

 to the 1967 borders, the recognition of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 as its capital, and a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees.

"Today, Malley still stands out for his calls to engage in negotiations with Syria and Iran and for finding 'some kind of accommodation' with Hamas", The Jewish Daily Forward reported in February 2008.

Criticism from Israel supporters

Malley was criticized by supporters of Israel after co-authoring an article in The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books is a fortnightly magazine with articles on literature, culture and current affairs. Published in New York City, it takes as its point of departure that the discussion of important books is itself an indispensable literary activity...

arguing that the blame for the failure of the 2000 Camp David peace talks should be divided between all three leaders who were present at the summit (Yasser Arafat, Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton), and not just Arafat, as was suggested by some mainstream policy analysts. "Later, however, other scholars and former officials voiced similar views to those of Malley", according to a February 20, 2008 article in The Jewish Daily Forward.

Malley and his views have recently come under attack from critics, such as Martin Peretz
Martin Peretz
Martin H. "Marty" Peretz , is an American publisher. Formerly an assistant professor at Harvard University, he purchased The New Republic in 1974 and took editorial control soon afterwards. He retained majority ownership until 2002, when he sold a two-thirds stake in the magazine to two financiers...

 of the magazine The New Republic
The New Republic
The magazine has also published two articles concerning income inequality, largely criticizing conservative economists for their attempts to deny the existence or negative effect increasing income inequality is having on the United States...

, who has opined that Malley is "anti-Israel", a "rabid hater of Israel. No question about it", and that several of his articles in the New York Review of Books were "deceitful." On the conservative webzine The American Thinker
The American Thinker
American Thinker is a daily conservative online magazine dealing with American politics, foreign policy, national security, Israel, economics, diplomacy, culture, and military strategy. American Thinker has been mentioned in other media including Le Monde, The Guardian, Inter Press Service, Campus...

, Ed Lasky asserted that Malley "represents the next generation of anti-Israel activism."

Malley told the Jewish Daily Forward that "it tends to cross the line when it becomes as personal and as un-based in facts as some of these have been." While he loved and respected his father, he said, their views sometimes differed, and it is "an odd guilt by association" fallacy to criticize him based on his father's views. Simon Malley was called a sympathizer of the PLO by Daniel Pipes.

In response to what they called "vicious, personal attacks" on Malley, five Jewish, former U.S. government officials — former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger
Sandy Berger
Samuel Richard "Sandy" Berger was United States National Security Advisor, under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001. In his position, he helped to formulate the foreign policy of the Clinton Administration...

, Ambassador Martin Indyk
Martin Indyk
Martin Sean Indyk is Vice President and Director for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Indyk served as United States ambassador to Israel and Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs during the Clinton Administration. He is known as the framer of the U.S...

, Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer, Ambassador Dennis Ross
Dennis Ross
Dennis B. Ross is an American diplomat and author. He has served as the Director of Policy Planning in the State Department under President George H. W...

, and former State Department Senior Advisor Aaron David Miller
Aaron David Miller
Aaron David Miller is an American Middle East analyst, author, and negotiator. He is on the U.S. Advisory Council of Israel Policy Forum, is Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and has been an advisor to six Secretaries of State. Miller worked within the United States Department...

 — published a letter (dated February 12, 2008) in the New York Review of Books defending Malley. They wrote that the attacks on Malley were "unfair, inappropriate, and wrong", and objected to what they called an attempt "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." This view is also shared by M.J. Rosenberg, Director of Policy for Israel Policy Forum and a former editor at AIPAC, who condemned the attacks on Malley, writing that Malley is "pro-Israel" and the only reason he is being criticized is because he supports Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Published books

  • The Call from Algeria: Third Worldism, Revolution, and the Turn to Islam, Berkeley: University of California Press (1996), ISBN 978-0520203013

Selected published articles

  • Robert Malley & Henry Siegman
    Henry Siegman
    Henry Siegman is a German-born Jewish American nonfiction writer and a journalist specializing in the Middle East policy towards Israel, and a visiting professor at the University of London.-Early life and education:...

    , "The Hamas Factor", The International Herald-Tribune, December 27, 2006

External links

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