Jewish World Review June 16, 2004 / 27 Sivan, 5764

Joe Scarborough

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The Saudis can't have it both ways anymore | Following a string of terror attacks against Americans and Western interests inside Saudi Arabia, the U.S. ordered diplomats and family members out of the country. Now, America's had a long, complicated relationship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its royal family. And since 9/11, that relationship has only become more difficult. A lot of people here in America, including me, have criticized the Bush administration for being too soft on the Saudis.

It was, after all, George W. Bush who famously declared after 9/11, you're either with us or you're with the terrorists. But you know what? Saudi schools have preached hate against Americans and Jews for years, while Saudi funds have fed terror attacks against Americans and American interests.

Like just last month, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah blamed Jews for the recent terror attacks, saying "We can be certain that Zionism is behind everything." And the Saudi interior minister claimed the Jews were behind 9/11. Now, some are suggesting the Saudi royals are finally cracking down on terrorists. But, if so, it may be too little too late.

The Saudis are reaping what they've sown. You don't teach hatred and fund terrorism for years and then simply switch sides when you're in the middle of a war on terror. That's why al Qaeda's striking back at the Saudi kingdom right now. But now is the time for the Saudis to stand firm. Any softening, any softening at all, are just going to empower the terrorists. If you don't believe me, just remember what happened in Madrid.

The Saudis are taking small steps, like cutting money supplies to terrorists. And it's a start, but they've still got a long, long way to go. The Saudi royals have to prove that they can stand up to bin Laden and his band of butchers. This has to be a beginning and not an end.

In the meantime, the Bush administration needs to crank up the pressure, because, after all, time may not be on America's side.

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Former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) hosts “Scarborough Country,” 10 p.m. ET, weeknights on MSNBC. Comment by clicking here.

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