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

August 21, 2008

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?


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

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.