Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Kemp: Will Oppose U.s.-saudi Deal Unless Saudis Join Peace Process and Reject ‘jihad’

March 4, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Rep. Jack Kemp (R. NY) has warned that he will oppose the Reagan Administration’s proposed sale of extra equipment to improve the combat capability of Saudi Arabia’s 60 F-15 jet fighters unless there is more “evidence of a quid pro quo” between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Kemp spoke at a dinner given in his honor by Bnai Zion, the American Zionist fraternal order, which presented him with its 73rd annual Friendship Award.

“They (the Saudis) must begin to join the peace process and make a step toward the relaxation of tension and the rejection of jihad” (holy war), Kemp said. He urged the sale to Israel of American electronic surveillance and satellite technology for security purposes. He also called for a renewed commitment of the U.S. to Israel and urged President Reagan to “very quickly” arrange another round in the autonomy talks between Egypt and Israel.

Kemp warned against the European Economic Community’s (EEC) Middle East initiative which, he said, would have the United Nations coordinate the peace process. He said the best chance for peace in the Middle East centered on making Israel strong militarily and economically and demonstrating to the world that “We in the United States would never back away from our alliance with Israel.”

Kemp’s remarks followed a speech by Rabbi William Berkowitz, president of the Jewish National Fund, who also denounced the proposed sale of advanced equipment to the Saudis as on “inappropriate response” to their call for a holy war against Israel and “hazardous to America’s strategic interests.” He challenged the Washington view that Saudi Arabia is a “moderate” state and warned that the improved F-15s would be used against Israel.

Recommended from JTA