Congress Should Disapprove Sale of Certain Weapons in Saudi Arms Deal

June 5, 2017

J Street supports the bipartisan joint resolutions of disapproval introduced in both the Senate (S.J.Res.42) and House of Representatives (H.J.Res.102), that would prevent the sale of certain weapons and components comprising part of the recently agreed arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

We share the concerns expressed by Israeli military and security officials that, despite the lack of an official Israeli government objection to the sale as announced, it could reduce Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME) vis-a-vis other countries in the region. J Street strongly supports US efforts to ensure Israel’s QME, which is a bedrock component of the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.

Further, we have concerns about the sale’s transfer of certain weapons systems that could cause significant harm to civilians in the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen. As an organization which believes that the use of force should be a last resort exercised in accordance with international law and all due caution, we cannot support the United States supplying Saudi Arabia with the specific offensive arms identified in these resolutions, which experts believe will further intensify the war’s devastating impact on non-combatants.

We believe increased US cooperation with Saudi Arabia and other Arab-majority countries in the region — especially toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts — can have a positive impact on US, Israeli and regional security. But those seeking to explore the opportunities presented by a greater alignment of interests must take care not to enable a simplistic black-and-white approach to complex regional dynamics that includes pouring some of the world’s most advanced weaponry into a bloody, multi-party conflict with fluid allegiances. Such recklessness is a recipe for fomenting more animosity and extremism directed against the United States and our allies.

Accordingly, J Street lends its support to S.J.Res.42 and H.J.Res.102, and encourages Members to support their passage.

More statements from J Street