Washington (Oct. 20)
A national coalition representing all major segments of American Christianity has proposed a boycott of the Mobil Oil Corporation because of what the coalition has termed its aggressive media campaign on behalf of the sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia.
The proposal was made by the 150 participants who attended a two-day National Christian Congress for Israel held at the Capital Quality Inn here last week. The Congress was sponsored by the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel (NCLCI).
The Congress called upon “all fair-minded Americans to join with us in a boycott of Mobil Oil products” and drew attention to the company’s “use of paid political advertising supporting the sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia.” A resolution adopted by the Congress stated that such a sale “would place American security and Middle East peace prospects in serious jeopardy. We strongly object to the use of excessive corporate profits to sway American public opinion with such paid political propaganda.”
SEEKS ‘QUADRILATERAL’ PEACE PROCESS
Rep. Jack Kemp (R. NY) told the gathering that Saudi Arabia should not be given such sophisticated military hardware until it agrees to the Camp David peace process and certain other conditions of mutual interest to the U.S. and Israel.
In response to questions, Kemp, who last week voted against the sale of AWACS, said he would like to see the Camp David process move from a trilateral process involving the U.S., Israel and Egypt to a “quadrilateral” process including Saudi Arabia and, ultimately, the Sudan and Chad, among other Middle East states.
“This quadrilateral process would assure the survival of Saudi Arabia,” Kemp said. “But it would involve reciprocity by the Saudis of the Camp David process.” In acknowledging the importance of the Saudis to the region’s security the New York lawmaker said he opposed the controversial AWACS proposal at this time because Saudi Arabia was not, in his opinion, the “moderate” Arab state it was presumed to be.
THE HOLOCAUST AND CHRISTIANS
At another session, the Rev. Robert Drinan, a former Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts, who is now professor of international law at the Georgetown University Law Center, said that anti-Zionism was the new code word for anti-Semitism.
“The Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel both occurred in our time,” Drinan said. “Only Christians and Jews believe God intervened in history and spoke to Abraham and his descendants. If we adore the same God, can we sit back and allow Israel to be jeopardized or destroyed in our time?”
A similar note was sounded by Dr. Franklin Littell, NCLCI president and an internationally known expert on Jewish-Christian relations, who noted that his travels throughout the U.S. had demonstrated that those who were concerned about the lessons of the Holocaust were also those who showed concern for the survival of Israel. He said that many had “dreamed for years” of bringing together representatives of all segments of American Christianity in a united demonstration in support of Israel, such as the Congress had done.
THE THRUST OF THE CONFERENCE
In defining the thrust of the Congress, Mary Rose Black of Berkeley, Calif., chairperson of the California Christian Committee for Israel, said than many Christians consider it “a slap in the face that our voices are not heard in the media.”
Following the closing session, participants held a prayer vigil outside the Soviet Embassy on behalf of persecuted Jews and Christians in the Soviet Union. According to Littell, Congress participants represented Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and mainline and evangelical Protestants from across the country.