WASHINGTON (Mar. 26)
The Saudi and Kuwaiti governments denied visitor’s visas to Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) because his passport contained Israeli entrance stamps.
The move, a somewhat unexpected happening following the Persian Gulf war, was denounced Tuesday by Melvin Salberg, national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, during meetings of the group held here.
Lautenberg, one of several Jewish members of Congress who have visited the Gulf countries, was able to continue the recent tour of the Gulf states with 16 other senators after being issued a new passport by the State Department.
But the action by the Saudi and Kuwaiti governments, said Salberg, “is yet another example of the Arab world’s unrelenting, knee-jerk hostility toward the Jewish state and an affront to the United States, which sacrificed American lives to save Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from annihilation.”
Salberg said the incident is a “setback” to the hopes that the two Arab countries “would take the lead in engaging in confidence-building measures with the Jewish state, in light of their experiences with Iraq.”
“Confidence-building measures” is a concept invoked by Secretary of State James Baker in his recent whirlwind diplomatic tour of the Middle East in quest of a peace solution.
A spokesman for Lautenberg said the senator plans to discuss the incident with Baker and the ambassadors from the two countries.