Denial by Japanese Motor Firm of Boycotting Israel Termed Double-talk by Jewish Group

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has described as “fabricated double-talk” a denial by the Nissan Motor Corp. of Japan that it was participating in the Arab boycott of Israel. According to Arnold Forster. chairman of the Presidents’ Conference anti-boycott committee and general counsel of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, Nissan, which produces Datsun vehicles, “is afraid of American public opinion and is trying to wriggle out of a documented fact–that the firm has indeed capitulated to the Arab boycott.” The denial, by Yukata Katayama, president of the Nissan Motor Corp. in the United States, was in reply to a July 14 press conference charge by the Presidents’ Conference that Nissan, the Toyota Motor Corp. and Japan Air Lines all refuse to do business with Israel because of Arab boycott threats.

Mr. Forster said this weekend that Mr. Katayama was quoted in a July 18 Associated Press story as saying that Nissan does not intentionally or accidently support the Arab boycott. The official was quoted as saying that if Nissan “does not actually” trade with Israel, “it is because Israel will not trade with an organization which tried to be neutral, not because of a boycott.” The ADL official said the statement was “in direct contradiction to past correspondence with Nissan.” He cited a letter from M. Zaitsu, manager of Nissan’s export division for Europe and the Middle East, to Arditi. Ltd., a Tel Aviv firm. In reply to an Arditi request for a Nissan franchise. Mr. Zaitsu declared that “we are now exporting around 10,000 units a year to the Arabic countries and have already penetrated the market. According to the boycott resolution of the Israel Boycott Committee, the transaction with your country will surely create the total ban of our export to the Arabic countries…we would unfortunately decline your proposal. Please understand our awkward situation.”

Mr. Forster said that Toyota refused to comment on the boycott charge and refused also to explain the use of Toyota jeeps by El Fatah guerrillas operating on Israeli cease-fire lines. He added that the ADL had photos of Fatah Toyota jeeps captured by Israeli troops. JAL was notified earlier this week that four of the 24 groups which are members of the Presidents Conference–the American Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith, the Jewish Labor Committee and the Zionist Organization of America, with a total membership of more than one million–wound end use of JAL in tourist programs because of the boycott issue. Mr. Fotster also reported that on July 20. a meeting of Israeli and Japanese authorities was held in Tokyo to discuss a mutual landing agreement between JAL and El Al. He said those at that meeting said it was clear that JAL had no interest in talks with Israel and was even unwilling to set a date for future discussions. Mr. Forster. who went to Japan last spring to talk to JAL officials, declared that “nothing has changed since then or since the Presidents Conference made the facts known on July 14. The three are active participants in the Arab economic boycott of Israel.”

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