Tell John McCain: Smearing Diplomats Isn't Straight Talk, It's Dirty Politics

August 21st, 2008

John McCain's campaign and the right-wing smear machine has set their sights on former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Obama adviser Daniel Kurtzer. His sin? Encouraging Syria to accelerate peace negotiations with Israel.

Apparently, to the McCain campaign, visiting Damascus and talking about peace with Syrians is just shy of treason. Said McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb cynically: "If one of Senator Obama's advisers has been to Damascus, we just wonder how many have been to Tehran." [1]

Since when is talking to people with whom we have conflicts a political crime? Click here to ask Senator McCain to disavow smears against Ambassador Kurtzer and to support Israeli-Syrian negotiations.

Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer, an Orthodox Jew, is a strong supporter of Israel and a seasoned American diplomat. He believes that achieving peace between Israel and Syria is in the best interests of both the United States and Israel.

In attacking Kurtzer, the McCain campaign is not only smearing the good name and reputation of one of America's leading Middle East diplomats and experts, it is opposing stated Israeli government policy.

Is this John McCain's plan for Israel and the Middle East? Oppose Israel's efforts to end its conflicts with its neighbors diplomatically and endorse personal attacks on leading American diplomats?

Peace with Syria is in the best interests of Israel, the United States, and all the residents of the Middle East. Pulling Syria away from Iran's influence should be a key objective of U.S. foreign policy. Successful engagement with Syria would further pressure Iran to negotiate over its support for terror and its nuclear program.

Refusing to negotiate with Syria is counterproductive - increasing Iranian influence in the region and placing U.S. interests and Israel in greater danger.

In the past, John McCain valued his reputation for integrity and rejected baseless, vicious attack politics. So far this campaign season, the straight talk express seems to have been run off the road. Let's show him that pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans won't stand idly by as he attacks peace, diplomacy, and the diplomats themselves.

1. "Obama Adviser Offers Some Advice to Damascus: Daniel Kurtzer Says Israel-Syria Negotiations Should Be Moved Along," by Eli Lake. New York Sun, August 20, 2008.