- Important figure in the Egyptian Communist Party
- Political journalist
- Founded the bimonthly journal Afrique Asie
- Passionately anti-Israel, anti-West
- Close friend of Yasser Arafat
A key figure in the Egyptian Communist Party, Simon Malley was born on May 25, 1923 to a Syrian family in Cairo. After high school, he became a political journalist and was later dispatched by an Egyptian newspaper to cover the United Nations in New York, where he met his wife, a native New Yorker named Barbara Silverstein. At the time, Miss Silverstein worked for the UN delegation of the National Liberation Front, the leftist, anti-American political party that led the independence movement in Algeria in the 1950s and early ’60s. The first major focus of Mr. Malley’s work in journalism was Algeria’s war for independence (1954-62).
According to American Thinker news editor Ed Lasky, Malley “participated in the wave of anti-imperialist and nationalist ideology that was sweeping the Third World [and] … wrote thousands of words in support of struggle against Western nations.” For example, Malley backed the 1952 revolution of Gamal Abdul Nasser, a pro-Soviet socialist who went on to serve as president of Egypt from 1956-70. Nasser, in turn, appointed Malley to be the New York representative of the Egyptian daily newspaper Al Goumhouria.
After immigrating to Paris in 1969, Malley co-founded (with his wife) the bimonthly journal Africasia, which was later renamed Afrique Asie. This publication, whose readership of nearly 120,000 was based mostly in Africa and Latin America, supported various leftist revolutionary “liberation movements”—particularly the Palestinian cause—as well as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. According to an October 4, 1980 New York Times report, Afrique-Asie commonly “criticized moderate African and Middle Eastern leadership and denounced Israel,” a nation which Malley himself detested. An Associated Press report from 1980 stated that the magazine also supported “the Cuban intervention in Angola and Ethiopia, the seizure of American hostages in Iran, the Algerian-backed guerrilla war in southern Morocco, and the Arab opposition to Israel and the  Camp David agreements.” Malley’s personal admiration for hard-line communists was on display, meanwhile, when he conducted a 20-hour interview with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and, on another occasion, a lengthy interview with African National Congress president Oliver Tambo.
By contrast, Malley—whose publishing enterprise was funded by the Soviet Union, Romania, Libya, and Algeria—passionately denounced “western imperialism.”
In 1980 Malley and his family were expelled from France for what French officials described as “political activities which do not correspond with, and even run contrary to, French interests in certain countries.” An October 3, 1980 United Press International report stated: “[French] Interior Minister Christian Bonnet told the Assembly that some articles written by Malley were ‘genuine appeals to murder foreign chiefs of state…’”
Among those who publicly protested the French government’s expulsion order was Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat. According to Alex Safian, associate director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, Malley and his wife “were rabidly anti-Israel and counted … Arafat as a personal friend.” “Indeed,” writes Safian, “Arafat was among those ‘leaders’ (for want of a better word) who intervened with the French government to readmit the Malley family to France after they had been expelled for their radical activities.” Adds Ed Lasky of the American Thinker: “Simon Malley loathed Israel and … spent countless hours with Yasser Arafat and became a close friend of Arafat.” According to Middle East Forum president Daniel Pipes, Malley was a sympathizer of the PLO during the height of its terrorism activities against the West.
With Francois Mitterrand’s election as French president in 1981, the expulsion order against Malley was lifted and he returned with his family to France. He later resurrected his magazine, under the title Le Nouvel Afrique Asie, in which he published (in December 1989) a long interview with Yasser Arafat. That same edition also featured a copy of Arafat’s personal letter congratulating Malley on being permitted to return to his home.
Simon Malley died on September 7, 2006. His son, Robert Malley, served as President Bill Clinton’s Special Assistant for Arab-Israeli Affairs (1998-2001) and as a foreign-policy advisor to Barack Obama. The younger Malley subsequently became a leading figure (including President & CEO) with the International Crisis Group.
Further Reading: “The Robert Malley-Arafat Connection” (by Alex Safian, CAMERA.org, 2-2-2008); “Barack Obama’s Middle East Expert” (by Ed Lasky, American Thinker, 1-23-2008); “Simon Malley: Journalist with Rare Insight into Africa’s Anti-Colonial Struggles” (The Guardian, 9-26-2006).