A joint Jewish-Christian group in the US has called on the country's Congress to act against President Bill Clinton's growing inclination to bash Israel.

The campaign is being headed by the National Unity Coalition for Israel, an umbrella organisation representing over 40 million Christians and Jews.

Coalition president Esther Levens said this week: "Now is the time for our people to take immediate action and call these moves for what they are: an abandonment of Israel's interests, a betrayal of our solemn promises, a rewarding of terrorism and tyranny.

"We want all of Israel's Jewish and Christian friends to get on the phone and complain to Congress. If not now, when?"

In a statement, the NUC said: "We, Christian and Jewish leaders of organisations representing over 40 million Americans, are alarmed by recent actions of President Clinton which are shifting US policy against Israel. We call upon the president to reverse these ominous and unjust actions.

"President Clinton has humiliated the democratically elected prime minister of the Jewish state, Benjamin Netanyahu, refusing to meet with him, and meeting instead with his political foes. We can recall no other instance where the leader of a major ally the United States was so publicly embarrassed by a US president. In reality, the president is humiliating the United States by betraying an ally and demonstrating the shallowness of American loyalty.

"The Clinton administration continues to publicly blame Israel for its own failure to maintain the coalition against Saddam Hussein. In fact, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, France and Russia sense US waffling and feel neither led nor protected by us. The Arab states in particular fear US weakness and feel the need to appease Iraq. This has nothing to do with Israeli peace policy. It has everything to do Clinton's lack of resolve. Scapegoating Israel is the most craven sort of cover-up for this failure. And it hands Saddam yet another victory: by being tough, he can hurt Israel.

"The Clinton administration is now pressing Israel to concede more territory to the PLO, all the while ignoring PLO non-compliance with its signed promises. America promised the Israelis that "reciprocity" would be the guiding principle of the peace process. On the basis of this promise, the Israelis gave up Hebron -- burial place of the Hebrew Patriarchs. Yet the Clinton administration has not insisted on PLO compliance, not even that it change its Covenant which pledges Israel's destruction. The president demands the Israelis yield more of their homeland when Arafat proclaims (in Arabic) that his territory will be used for the phased plan to destroy the Jewish state. Again, President Clinton's policy rewards tyranny and terrorism: the Palestinians who blow up Jews in Jerusalem are praised by Arafat and the president tells Israel to give in. Is this not an incentive for the Palestinians to murder more Jews?

"These actions taken together are seen -- by Israelis and Arabs alike -- as a significant shift in American policy against Israel, toward the Palestinian Arabs. Signs of a weakened Israeli diplomatic position can only encourage and excite those pledged to her destruction. The president is playing with fire.

"The United States of America must not abandon Israel, a beleaguered ally with whom we share history and Judeo-Christian values. We have always understood Israel to be a valued friend. We should stand by her in her travails," the NUC statement said.

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