J Street Supports Effort to Stop Massive Advanced Arms Sale to UAE

December 7, 2020

Dylan Williams, J Street’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Strategy, made the following statement:

“J Street urges senators to vote in support of four resolutions rejecting the Trump administration’s proposed sale of F-35 aircraft and other advanced weapons systems to the United Arab Emirates. The Joint Resolutions of Disapproval (S.J.Res.77, 78, 79, and 80) introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) may receive a vote this week.

“It’s a core belief of J Street that diplomacy and negotiation, not the use of force, is the path to conflict resolution, security and stability in the Middle East. If it were to go through, this proposed sale of a massive quantity of advanced, highly destructive weapons systems to the UAE would only fuel a region-wide arms race and exacerbate ongoing conflicts that are having devastating consequences for civilians’ human rights and are imperiling US interests.

“The F-35 aircraft and associated systems are some of the most powerful and sensitive military technology the United States and its closest allies possess. Defense experts in the United States and Israel have warned of the significant risk that such technology could be transferred — inadvertently or otherwise — to hostile actors once in the UAE’s possession. This concern is especially grave given evidence that the UAE transferred US-origin military equipment to al-Qaeda-linked fighters and other militias fighting in Yemen, as well as forces subject to UN embargo in Libya.

“While the Israeli government has officially stated it does not object to the proposed sale, many Israeli security leaders have warned that the transfer of this type and volume of advanced weapons technology to the UAE could materially erode Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge — a cornerstone of Israel’s security that J Street steadfastly supports.

“As pro-Israel Americans dedicated to helping secure the State of Israel as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people, we welcomed the agreement officially establishing mutual recognition and diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. We believe that if the “peace-for-peace” model set forth in this normalization agreement is to be a sustainable one, it must be able to stand on its own merits. Such diplomacy should not hinge on the wide-scale introduction of deadly weaponry into the region that will endanger civilians and further erode the security of the US and our allies.”