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American Israeli Lobby's Influence in Washington

August 20, 1988

We are disappointed by The Times publication of Record's column.

From the very outset, Record misstates the facts of U.S. policy in the Middle East, and his argument is replete with distortions of AIPAC's actions and the role we play.

Case in point is the blame Record levels at AIPAC for the "loss" to the U.S. economy stemming from reports of the recently concluded arms deal between Saudi Arabia and Great Britain. Yes, we at AIPAC have fought certain proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia. We do not fight all such proposed sales, in fact AIPAC has fought only 15% of them. However, when we do, we do so only because such sales constitute a genuine threat to Israel and thereby destabilize the region, something which is not in our country's best interest. The 1985 Saudi demand to purchase our most advanced F-15 fighter bomber posed just such a threat.

Record makes the assertion that the Saudis turned to the British Tornado fighter bombers only after Congress opposed the sale of additional F-15s. But he fails to mention that the Saudis wanted to purchase the advanced attack version of the bomber, known as the F-15 E "Strike Eagle," which is so advanced that it is just now entering service with the U.S. Air Force and is not yet being sold to any other foreign country. It was the Administration, not only Congress, that objected to Saudi demands to buy the "Strike Eagle."

To further argue that the British-Saudi deal means a $25-billion loss for the U.S. economy is a gross exaggeration, misleading and incorrect. Simply stated there are no "made in the U.S.A." equivalents for most of the items included in this package.

For example, the U.S. does not produce a military jet trainer similar to the British Hawk 200. Likewise, there is no U.S. equivalent to the Sandown class British minesweepers.

Even with the British-Saudi arrangement for the construction of two new air bases there is little loss to the U.S. economy. In the past such projects have meant little in the way of new American jobs. Labor is most often subcontracted out to foreign companies.

Record also fails to mention that the British-Saudi deal is a weapons-for-oil barter arrangement. Our country has never agreed to a barter arrangement for the sale of American weapons.

For the record, AIPAC was established and continues to carry out a singular mission--to maintain and strengthen the relationship between the United States and Israel. AIPAC is an American organization funded by Americans.



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