Canada Moves Against Arab Boycott

Secretary of State for External Affairs, Donald Jamieson, speaking Thursday in the House of Commons, said that the Canadian government will make public the names of any Canadian companies complying with the Arab boycott of Israel and will deny financial and other support to such companies.

“The government will take measures to deny its support or facilities for various kinds of trade transactions to combat any discriminatory effects of boycotts based on race, religion or national or ethnic origin,” he said. Jamieson explained that companies complying with the boycott will be deprived of such help as obtaining government financing or market information.

He added that such a refusal of government support would be a very serious handicap and an effective deterrent to cooperation with discriminatory provisions of an international boycott, but “despite sanctions by the Canadian government, certain firms may nonetheless agree to boycott clauses for particular projects. All Canadian firms that accept boycott clauses will be required to report all instances of their complying with boycott provisions. Information obtained from such reports will be made available to the public.”

Jamieson also remarked that “the government recognizes that Arab countries consider their boycott of Israel to be a legitimate economic weapon in view of the continuing state of war between Arab countries and Israel. Canada, however seeks to improve its relations and to develop its trade in peaceful goods with all nations.”

While Jamieson did not specify an effective date for implementation of the government’s anti-boycott position, it was assumed that it would go into effect when Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau returns from a visit to Japan this week.

The Canada-Israel Committee, which had earlier briefed Jamieson on its views, called the Minister’s statement a positive step forward. Howard Stanislawsky, assistant director of the committee, said Friday “the program may work. I hope it will. If it does not, we will have to try something else.” The boycott issue was raised earlier this month when Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon visited Ottawa.

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