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Senator Urges Jews to Oppose Awacs Deal

Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R. Minn.) urged American Jews to press their Congressional representatives to reject the proposed sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia.

Boschwitz, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East, said this was a major issue on Israel facing Congress since the other, Israel’s bombing of the Iraqi nuclear plant, will gradually disappear. “It is a fight we simply have to win, otherwise there will be no stability in the Middle East,” he said.

His statement was made to some 100 leaders of Reform Judaism attending the annual Consultation on Conscience sponsored by the Commission of Social Action of the Union of American Hebrew Congegations. Boschwitz, who called the Israel raid “defensive,” said people in many of Israel’s neighboring Arab countries will “feel and sleep a little better” because of the Israeli destruction of the Iraqi plant. He predicted that the fight over the AWACS will be “long and hard” and may have been “complicated” by the Israeli raid on Iraq. He noted that if Saudi Arabia now had AWACS, the Israeli planes could have been detected on their way to Iraq.

THREAT FROM RADICAL RELIGIOUS RIGHT

Boschwitz stressed that the opposition should be to the entire package including enhancement material for the F-15s previously bought by the Saudis. He said he doubted that if Congress rejected the AWACS, it would damage U.S.-Saudi relations. He noted that since the sale of 62 F-15s to Saudi Arabia in 1978, the Saudis have purchased an additional $12 billion in weapons. During that time, Israel bought only $1 billion worth of weaponry, Boschwitz added.

The opening session Monday night, was devoted to the “threat” of the radical religious right. Sen. Carl Levin (D. Mich.) said that Jews should “seek allies and join with other groups.” He said that mainline Protestants will be allies in the struggle for human rights and that Catholics reject the urging of the radical right. “Above all we dare not surrender to our opponents the title of ‘moral,'” Levin declared. “We must insist always that our positions are no less moral than theirs. Indeed, we believe that ours is the moral position.” But Levin stressed that Jews should “not be guilty of stereotyping.” He said that not all evangelical Christians are rightwingers and not all Fundamentalists seek to marry religion and politics.

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