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State Dept. Clarifies Policy on Protecting U.S. Jews from Arab Boycott

The State Department today indicated that it has no plans to act in the Arab boycott against American Jews and American business firms unless it was shown that the boycott was based on religious discrimination and not on affiliation with Israel.

The statement was made by John S. Hoghland, Acting Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations, in a letter to Rep. Leonard Farbstein, New York Democrat, who had asked for State Department comment on the latest Arab League boycott action against Eddie Cantor and six American business firms.

The State Department official reiterated earlier statements that the United States did not recognize or condone the boycott of Israel, “particularly as it affects American citizens or firms;” But, he added the boycott, “as it has been represented to us by the Arab states, does not use race or religion as a basis for restricting trade with the Arab states, but rather is applied to individuals or firms who have particularly close relationships with the State of Israel.”

As examples of activities which were considered “grounds for blacklisting” by the Arab states, the State Department official listed “establishing a factory or branch office in Israel, aiding Israel causes, investing capital in Israel, encouraging the sale of Israel products and providing technical assistance to Israel.” He added that the blacklisting of Eddie Cantor and the six American firms “has been applied because the individual and firms concerned violated boycott principles.”

“Should evidence be presented to the Department that in the cases which you have cited there has been discrimination against the individuals or companies concerned on the basis of religion, you may be assured that the Department would take action appropriate to the situation and in consonance with our national interest,” the State Department official concluded.

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