FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNION OF ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS QUESTIONS PROPOSED ARMS SALE TO SAUDIA ARABIA
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization in the United States – questioned the advisability of the arms sale, proposed last week by the Bush Administration, of billions of dollars of sophisticated weaponry to Saudi Arabia.
UOJCA president Steve Savitsky and director of public policy Nathan Diament issued the following statement:
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America represents many thousands of Americans who are deeply concerned about the security interests of the United States, especially as related to threats arising from the Middle East. It is from this perspective that we seriously question the advisability of the arms sale proposal recently outlined by the Administration.
For too many years, in successive administrations, the United States has asked the rulers of Saudi Arabia to play a constructive role in the Middle East and for too many years on too many fronts the leadership of Saudi Arabia has refused or failed to do so. The Saudi rulers have provided millions of dollars of funding to Islamic extremists who kill and maim innocents. The Saudi rulers have undermined U.S. efforts in Iraq. The Saudi rulers have refused U.S. requests to proactively assist with progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Saudi government has funded educational institutions and textbooks which disseminate radical, anti-western and anti-Semitic views around the world. The list goes on and on.
If the litany of failures of Saudi Arabia were not enough to seriously question why the United States would reward this regime with a multi-billion dollar arms sale, we must also question the wisdom of transferring these sophisticated weapons to a country whose rulers are the targets of animosity and whose enemies desire their overthrow; who would control these weapons then?
Despite our appreciation for President Bush’s leadership in the global war on terrorism and his manifest concern for the security of the State of Israel, and despite the fact that this proposal contains a multi-billion dollar increase in military aid to Israel – thus prompting the Israeli government to endorse this proposed package, we cannot in good conscience as concerned Americans do anything other than question this proposal, commend the Members of Congress who have expressed similar reservations and ask that the proposal be withdrawn. ###