Persian Gulf Crisis

The Board of Trustees of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolves:

  1. Jewish tradition explicitly endorses the right of self-defense and regards a pre-emptive military action in the face of a real and imminent danger of attack as a form of self-defense. Peaceful means for the resolution of conflict need to be fully explored before military force is employed. Such action should be taken with the broadest possible support, including public opinion and the Congress. Military action if undertaken should be employed at the appropriate levels required to accomplish the goals in the shortest possible time and with the lowest loss of life.
  2. We join in the condemnation of Iraq's conquest of Kuwait. The invasion must not be allowed to succeed. International law demands Iraq's unconditional withdrawal.
  3. We are encouraged by the broad international coalition that President Bush has so successfully assembled, and we applaud the actions of the United Nations Security Council, particularly the resolution of November 29th, 1990, setting the deadline of January 15th, 1991.
  4. We regard the use of military force to accomplish the restoration of Kuwaiti independence, freeing of all hostages, and an effective deterrent, or end to, Iraq's capacity to threaten other nations, as an acceptable response by the United States and other nations.
  5. We reject any linkage or comparison between the current crisis and other regional disputes, in particular the Israel/Arab/Palestinian issue. These situations are not comparable. The West Bank and Gaza, unlike Kuwait, were not sovereign entities prior to the 1967 war; Israel neither sought or initiated that war, unlike Iraq's invasion of Kuwait; and UN Resolution 242 calls for Israeli withdrawal from territories it occupied only in the context of a negotiated peace that includes secure and defensible borders for all parties.
  6. After weeks of deepening crisis and increasing possibilities of war, we note with hope the initiative of President Bush in inviting the Iraq Foreign Minister to the United States and sending Secretary of State James Baker to Baghdad to pursue the possibility that Iraq can be induced to abide by the UN resolution and the view of the entire civilized world.
  7. As the crisis continues, we call on the President of the United States to explore all reasonable means to resolve the current crisis without the use of military force, recognizing that when all such means have been considered and explored, the use of military force is an acceptable moral option to accomplish the restoration of Kuwaiti independence, freedom for the hostages, the elimination of Iraqi biological, chemical and nuclear capabilities and the diminishment of Iraq's offensive-military capacity.