Agency Urged to Name Companies Receiving Requests to Cooperate in Arab Boycott Against Israel

Representative Benjamin Rosenthal (D.N.Y.) in a letter to the Commerce Department has asked the Department to make public the names of companies receiving requests to cooperate in the Arab boycott against Israel, saying that a failure to do so “would be flouting the express desire of Congress.” Companies receiving such requests are required to file a report with the Commerce Department, which has the option of disclosing them or keeping them confidential.

However, the law does not require the company to include its response to the request, the department source said. Thus, there is no assurance that each filing company is indeed cooperating with the boycott. But Rosenthal feels that keeping the request reports secret makes it easier for companies to also withhold any positive responses.

In effect, he said, “the department is shielding exporters from possible public criticism for complying with the boycott requests. If an exporter knew that the fact of his compliance might become public he might be less likely to comply with the boycott.”

And, he pointed out in the letter, it is the intent of Congress in both the Export Control Act of 1965 and the Export Administration Act of 1969 to “oppose restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by foreign countries against other countries friendly to the United States.” The department said it would study the matter and prepare a reply for Rosenthal.

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