OU Applauds Congressional Letter Urging Administration Not to Cut Loan Guarantees for Israel

Posted on August 12, 2003 In Press Releases

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish synagogue organization, today applauded a House letter to President Bush urging the Administration not to cut loan guarantees for Israel. At the initiative of Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), House lawmakers noted “with grave concern” that, according to media reports, the Administration is considering reducing loan guarantees for Israel “in an effort to pressure Israel into suspending construction of the security fence between Israel and Palestinian-controlled areas.” In the letter, the Representatives stated that “U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process must always have as its primary objective the preservation of Israel’s security and stability. As a sovereign, democratic nation – and our closest ally in the Middle East – Israel has the right and responsibility to make decisions affecting its own future… The U.S. must never pressure Israel to take a position or action which would jeopardize the security of its citizens.”

The Orthodox Union commends the Representatives for urging the Administration not to use U.S. assistance to “dictate how the State of Israel addresses its security needs.” The Administration has indicated it was considering withholding some of the $9 billion in loan guarantees in the $78.5 billion Iraq War Supplemental Spending bill (PL 108-11) that Congress cleared in the spring. Betty Ehrenberg, Director of International and Communal Affairs said, “As President Bush has repeatedly stated, terror is terror, regardless of where in the world it occurs and America must respect and support Israel’s right to act in its own self-defense. We call on the Administration to adhere to the President’s resolve and his total denouncement of Palestinian terror. The fence is a response by the Israelis to nearly three years of a campaign of terror in which more than 800 civilians have been killed. The fence is meant to protect citizens of Israel from being murdered and maimed by terrorists and is in defense of Israel’s security. Today’s suicide bombings at Ariel and Rosh Ha’ayin, proudly claimed by Hamas and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, serve as powerful examples of why the fence is necessary. We applaud the Congressional letter to the President urging that Israel not be penalized for acting in her self-defense. Israel has acted and continues to act in good faith employing confidence-building measures in an effort to achieve peace and security in its entire region, and we should support her.”

The following Representatives signed Representative Lowey’s letter to the President:
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD); Gary Ackerman (D-NY); Shelley Berkley (D-NV); Howard Berman (D-CA); Dennis Cardoza (D-CA); Brad Carson (D-OK); Ander Crenshaw (R-FL); Joseph Crowley (D-NY); Peter Deutsch (D-FL); Rahm Emanuel (D-IL); Eliot Engel (D-NY: Martin Frost (D-TX); Jane Harman (D-CA); Alcee Hastings (D-FL); Steve Israel (D-NY); Mark Steven Kirk (R-IL); Tom Lantos (D-CA); Carolyn Maloney (D-NY); Robert T. Matsui (D-CA); Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY); Robert Menendez (D-NJ); Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); Steven Rothman (D-NJ); Max Sandlin (D-TX); Adam Schiff (D-CA); Brad Sherman (D-CA); Henry Waxman (D-CA); Anthony Weiner (D-NY); Robert Wexler (D-FL)