Menu JTA Search

House-senate Conference Committee Approves Anti-boycott Measure

An amendment to the U.S. economic assistance authorization bill to counter discrimination by Arab governments against American Jews, Blacks and women has been approved by a House-Senate conference committee.

Its supporters led by Sen Clifford Citse (R. NJ), said following its adoption late last Thursday that they expect both branches of Congress to approve it without much opposition when the legislators return to the Capitol after the Thanksgiving holiday recess.

The amendment, designed to counter Arab discrimination, particularly by Saudi Arabia, directs the President not to take into account in assigning officers or employee of the United States to serve in any foreign country, their race religion, national origin or sex but that “such assignment shall be made solely on the basis of ability and relevant experience.”

The Secretary of State is directed to establish “such rules as may be necessary” to Implement the law six months after its enactment, Case, who authored the amendment, said the conference committee, by its approval, “put tooth into the effort” to prohibit discrimination against Americans by countries “wishing to receive our assistance,” The amendment, he said, “is a welcome stop towards assuring that all Americans are given equal treatment overseas as well as at home regardless of their race, religion or sex.”

FORD’S REGULATIONS DEEMED INADEQUATE

The conference committee action, resulting from Congressional activities that included hearings since last January, came shortly after President Ford announced Thursday regulations designed to protect American citizens against discrimination, such as the Arab boycott.

Along with Case and others, Rep, Elizabeth Holtzman (D.NY) welcomed the President’s regulations but she added that they were both “long overdue and inadequate,” The President, she said, was only endorsing the “first section” of the Holtzman-Rodino bill she and Rep. Peter W. Rodino Jr. (D. NJ) had introduced last spring.

“American citizens and businesses must not only be protected against foreign pressures to discriminate but against foreign efforts to dictate with whom they can and cannot do business,” Rep, Holtzman said.

“In other words, an Arab country should not be able to tell an American business not to hire or trade with Jews. It should also not be permitted to tell an American business not to trade with Israel or with an American company that trades with Israel. The Ford proposal is inadequate because it does not deal with this latter problem, which is actually the direct object of the Arab boycott.”

Statements to the effect that Ford’s regulations were inadequate were also issued by the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish Committee. Ford’s regulations to end foreign boycott practices that discriminate against Americans because of race, color, sex, religion or national origin will not affect U.S. firms complying with the Arab boycott against Israel. They were drawn up solely to bar discrimination in the U.S.

NEXT STORY