Recently, columnist Douglas Bloomfield wrote a denunciation of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama's critics (Opinions: "Don't Fall for the Extreme Anti-Obama Smear Campaign," Oct. 2) that can only be described as a confused diatribe.
There is only one point on which we agree: "[Sen. John] McCain has a strong pro-Israel record, the aura of a war hero, [and] close ties to the Jewish community." McCain is clearly the strongest candidate on national security, and has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to Israel and its right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state.
Bloomfield should be ashamed of his smear campaign against the Republican Jewish Coalition. This is a pivotal election, and the RJC understands there's a lot at stake in November for the Jewish community. That's why we've worked to highlight the stark policy differences between the candidates.
Let me make it very clear: The RJC doesn't traffic in or have any connection with false, anonymous and sleazy e-mail campaigns against Obama, questioning his race or religion. They don't have any place in this campaign.
In marked contrast, the RJC has raised difficult but fair questions about the Democratic candidate's positions on serious issues like Israel, Iran and who the candidates might choose as their advisers. And we've done this through legitimate forms of advertising — all of which have been carefully sourced so readers can verify the facts.
By lumping us together with unidentified fringe groups and implying that legitimate criticism is racist, Bloomfield is employing the same irresponsible and shady tactics he condemns.
The truth is, there are plenty of facts about Obama that should concern all Americans:
It is a fact, for instance, that 24 hours after declaring to AIPAC that Jerusalem should be the eternal, undivided capital of Israel, Obama flip-flopped and claimed he used a "poor choice of words."
It is a fact that Obama helped honor well-known critic of Israel, Rashid Khalidi, at an event where anti-Israel poetry was read and America was sharply criticized. Obama himself talks about his long friendship with Rashid and his wife, and the impact the couple had on his political outlook.
It is a fact that Obama's own Web site reads: "Obama supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions." And, as has been reported repeatedly in the press, Henry Kissinger does not agree with this foreign policy.
It is a fact that Obama has had a long, personal friendship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a man now notorious for his public anti-American and anti-Semitic rantings. And while the mainstream media ultimately gave Obama a pass for his 20-year relationship with Wright and the Trinity Church, we cannot afford to ignore his ties to this radical spiritual leader.
And it is a fact that Obama still has Gen. Tony McPeak as his campaign national co-chairman, despite an interview McPeak gave to The Oregonian in which he raised age-old anti-Semitic canards by blaming the failure of the Middle East peace process on the political influence of "Jews in New York and Miami."
These are just some of the legitimate truths the RJC has raised, and which Bloomfield seeks to dismiss and sully with insults.
Bloomfield is right — there is extremism in this election. But that extremism doesn't rest at the RJC. Barack Obama has a troubling past that the Jewish community cannot afford to ignore.
Bloomfield and others in the Jewish community might not like what they hear, but perhaps they should spend more time learning about `the candidate rather than shooting the messenger.
Matthew Brooks is the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, D.C.