The following is excerpted [and amended] from a letter sent out by David A. Harris,
Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, which I received on 2 may 2007.
Have you ever wondered why the United States looks the other way as Saudi Arabia pays
off terrorists, stokes anti-Semitism at home and bankrolls extremist schools that spread fanaticism around the
Or why the civilized nations of the world cannot unify against Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad -- a Holocaust denier who wants to wipe Israel off the map and is developing nuclear warheads that
could enable him to achieve that goal?
Perhaps you’ve asked why the buffoonery and antics of the Venezuelan demagogue Hugo
Chavez -- who supports Iran’s nuclear program -- merit front-page news around the globe.
In all three cases the answer is simple - They’ve got us over a barrel -- a barrel of oil,
These regimes are sitting on the world’s largest reserves of oil, and the result is clear: Through the terrorists
they bankroll and the hatred they preach, they’re getting away with murder.
For the security of the United States -- and the safety of Israel -- the situation is
alarming. The dollars these regimes use to pay off terrorists, publish anti-Semitic propaganda and purchase
weapons for Hezbollah and Hamas … are coming from our pockets -- yours and mine.
That’s because no country on earth is more addicted to foreign oil than the United
States. Our dependence on foreign oil is a clear and present danger to our security in the U.S. and to
Israel and the Jewish communities around the world.
Americans consume more oil per capita than any other nation -- more than 25 barrels a
year for every man, woman and child in the country. Two-thirds of it goes to fuel our cars and trucks. And more
than 65 percent of it comes from foreign sources.
The third largest supplier of oil to the United States is Saudi Arabia, which controls a
staggering 267 billion barrels of oil -- fully a quarter of the world’s petroleum reserves.
And where do Saudi Arabia’s petro-profits go?
They are used to publish official government textbooks that indoctrinate the next
generation of terrorists with hatred for Jews and Israel. “there is no doubt,” says one such textbook, “that
the Muslims’ power irritates the infidels and spreads envy in the hearts of the enemies of Islam - Christians,
Jews, and others …”
Saudi Arabia’s oil profits help finance payoffs to families of homicide bombers who
murder Israelis. They fund a worldwide network of extremist schools -- including in the United States and
Europe -- schools that teach children to hate Jews.
Iran, meanwhile sits on more than 132 billion barrels of oil, making it the world’s
fourth largest exporter of petroleum. Iran used its petro-dollars to supply Hezbollah with many of the more
than 2,000 rockets that were launched against civilian targets in Israel last summer.
There is increasing concern about the influence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez,
whose country is sitting on nearly 80 billion barrels of oil. [In the Editorial page of the Boston Herald
on 2 May 2007, pg. 22, we read, “Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez decided to celebrate May Day in a manner
totally consistent with his leftist roots - he seized control of his nation’s last remaining private oil
Often, as in the case of Saudi Arabia, American policymakers look the other way or make
only mild protests of reckless policies. In other cases, like Iran [and Sudan], the oil-consuming nations of the
world have difficulty coming to a unified and firm position.
Taken together, some of the most unstable, anti-American and anti-Israel governments in
the world control the world’s supply and price of oil through their membership in OPEC.
The fact of the matter is that we’re hooked. Quite often, we’d rather these countries supply us with cheap oil
than change their behavior - and they know it.
This is a massive problem -- but there are real solutions. One of the most
immediate and powerful steps that we can take is increasing fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. The
current standards give car manufacturers no incentive to produce more fuel-efficient cars. All Americans, our
congress, the administration and out auto makers need to get behind this initiative and make it happen sooner
rather than later.
Without the steady supply of petro-dollars from the West, regimes like Saudi Arabia and
Iran [and Sudan] would have far less money to finance terrorism, encourage anti-Semitism and bankroll fanaticism
around the world. Break the U.S. addiction to foreign oil and we cut off one of the largest pipelines of money to
our enemies. It’s that simple.