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Australian Parliament May Discuss Arab Boycott Threat to Firm

The possibility that the Arab anti-Israel boycott may be raised this week in the Australian Parliament developed today after sharp criticism by major Australian newspapers of a boycott threat against a Sydney manufacturer. A special meeting of the Executive Council of the Board of Deputies of Australian Jewry has been called to consider the boycott threat.

Frank Heller, a producer of bathing suits whose firm acts as an agent here for the Israeli Diva company, was warned in a letter not to trade with Israel. After the United Arab Republic Embassy here admitted the existence of the boycott, the Sydney Daily Telegraph denounced the boycott and called for a protest against Arab interference with free trade. The newspaper also urged the Commonwealth Department of Trade to issue “a firm statement deploring” the boycott threat. It also called the Arab threat “an impudent attempt at blackmail.”

The Daily Mirror called the Arab warning “sheer impertinence” and added that “it is time that the Department of External Affairs told the Arabs in Canberra very bluntly that we will not have our foreign trade plans dictated by any outsiders.” The Mirror added that “we have already had one apparent instance of Arab pressure in the Qantas Airlines cancelation of its plans to open an office in Tel Aviv.” It was believed that many Australian firms had received such warning letters from the Arab boycott League in recent months.

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