March 27, 2024

Kurtzer Headlines April 7 Event as Peace Coalition Pursues Multiple Initiatives

By Donald Gilpin

Daniel Kurtzer, former United States ambassador to Israel and Egypt and currently professor of Middle East policy studies at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, will be the keynote speaker at the Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) Membership Renewal Gathering on Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m.

“We are pleased to present an outstanding expert on Middle East peacemaking at this time of major war and violence, and imminent starvation,” said CFPA Executive Director the Rev. Robert Moore. “We need all of the insight and guidance we can muster to rapidly end this deeply troubling and divisive war, release the hostages, alleviate the catastrophic humanitarian crisis, and find a way toward a lasting solution with a just peace for all.”

Taking place at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton on Cherry Hill Road and preceded from 2 to 3 p.m. by a free members-only lunch, the event is just one of multiple current CFPA initiatives, including ongoing advocacy for nuclear disarmament, gun violence prevention, a “diplomacy not war” campaign, and their peace voter campaign leading up to the 2024 primaries and general elections.

Kurtzer served for 29 years in the U.S. Foreign Service and also as deputy assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs and as principal deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and research in addition to serving stints as U.S. ambassador to Egypt in the Clinton administration and to Israel during George W. Bush’s
first term.

Kurtzer was a member of Middle East peace teams for Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and Warren Christopher, and he is the co-author of Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East; co-author of The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011; and editor of Pathways to Peace: America and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Kurtzer was also a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy board and was previously an adviser to the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

As the 2024 June primary elections approach, CFPA has also been busy in

carrying out its peace voter campaign, conducting candidate briefings, and starting to prepare its peace voter guides.

The U.S. Senate seat for New Jersey, currently held by Robert Menendez, and the 3rd district congressional seat currently held by Andy Kim, who is running for the U.S. Senate, are two races that CFPA is already targeting.

In a March 25 telephone interview Moore noted that the Democratic Senate primary appeared to be closely contested until Tammy Murphy bowed out on March 24. Kim, the front-runner, will be participating in a candidate briefing with CFPA in early April. Also in the race for the Democratic nomination, labor leader Patricia Campos-Medina completed a 90-minute candidate briefing with CFPA on March 15.

The CFPA candidate briefings focus on the nuclear weapons threat, seeking both to learn the candidates’ views and to provide them with additional information. “We have world class experts on the nuclear weapons danger,” said Moore. “We start with that issue, which is more important than ever now with recent developments. This helps the candidate to be as educated as possible on this major issue that they have to deal with.”

Physicist Frank von Hippel, co-director of the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University and the School of Public and International Affairs; and Stewart Prager, Princeton University professor emeritus of astrophysical sciences, affiliated faculty member of the Program on Science and Global Security, and co-founder of the Physicists Coalition for Nuclear Threat Reduction, are among the experts participating in this year’s briefings. Prager was also the director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory from 2009 to 2016.

In addition to the nuclear threat issue, the CFPA candidate briefings cover the topics of gun violence prevention, “diplomacy not war,” the Israel-Hamas war, and more.

CFPA has held briefings for Democratic candidates Carol Murphy, Herb Conaway, and Sarah Schoengood in the Democratic primary race for the District 3 congressional seat, which represents East Windsor, Hamilton, Hightstown, Lawrence, and Robbinsville in Mercer County and a number of towns in Burlington and Monmouth counties. 

Democratic and Republican primary races for the District 7 congressional seat currently held by Republican Thomas Kean Jr. are uncontested, and the CFPA will be inviting Kean and Democratic candidate Sue Altman to participate in candidate briefings in the coming months.  District 7 includes Hunterdon and Warren counties and parts of Somerset, Morris, Sussex, and Union counties.

Following the briefings, the candidates respond in writing to a questionnaire, which provides further information for the CFPA Peace Voter Guide, comparing the candidates on major issues.

“That is to inform the voters,” said Moore. “It’s a voter education instrument. We’re not partisan. We do not advocate. We don’t say vote for this person or that person. We want the voters to know where the candidates stand on the major issues.” CFPA Peace Voter Guides will come out before the June primary and again before the November general election.

Moore continued, emphasizing the urgency of the nuclear weapons threat in Ukraine and elsewhere, and noting that CFPA has been working for more than 43 years to call for reductions globally in nuclear weapons. “We need to reinvigorate our nuclear abolition efforts,” he said. “We need the public’s attention to be focused on this and we need to focus the people’s power to really make a difference.”

Visit CFPA at for more information on the April 7 Membership Renewal Gathering and other CFPA initiatives.