FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNION OF ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS WELCOMES NEWS OF DELAY OF PROPOSED U.S. ARMS SALE TO SAUDI ARABIA
Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – welcomed reports that the Bush Administration has delayed the formal proposal to Congress of selling sophisticated American weaponry to Saudi Arabia.
When the $20 billion arms sale package to several Arab states was announced last July, the UOJCA expressed, on behalf of its many thousands of American Jewish members, its concern and questioned the advisability of the proposed sale – particularly to Saudi Arabia. The UOJCA stated:
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?
Additionally, the UOJCA commended the more than 250 Members of Congress who stated their intention to oppose the sale. Today, UOJCA president Stephen Savitsky stated:
None of our previously stated concerns with regard to this arms sale have been assuaged in the intervening months. We welcome the news that the proposal to Congress has been delayed and we are optimistic that with further close scrutiny this proposal will be seen for the mistake that it is and either abandoned or radically restructured.