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Richardson Defends Ford Administration on Boycott Actions

Secretary of Commerce Elliot L. Richardson last night defended the Ford Administration’s record in dealing with the Arab boycott and promised that Ford will continue in his efforts against the “immoral” boycott.

Addressing the Annual National Dinner of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Richardson, who presented the U.S. President’s “E” Award to the organization for excellence in expanding U.S. exports, said that the Ford Administration is the first and only Administration to take action against the Arab boycott by ordering the disclosures of the names of American companies which comply with Arab boycott demands.

Earlier in the evening, at a meeting sponsored by the Young Jewish Leadership of New York in the apartment of Irwin Ackerman, a young Jewish businessman, Richardson said that the Ford Administration does not support legislation “prohibiting any form of compliance” with the Arab boycott because such action will be “challenging Arab machismo” and therefore prejudicing U.S. ability to help reach a solution of the Israel-Arab conflict.

COMMERCE IS A VITAL ASPECT

In his address to the more than 800 guests at last night’s dinner, Richardson pointed out the increasing economic ties between Israel and the United States. He noted that Israel’s commerce is a vital aspect of its struggle for survival, adding that Israel’s economic strength must be assured in order to enable her to continue as a free democratic state.

Simcha Dinitz, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, who also addressed the audience, said that Israel imports about $3 billion a year from the United States and that this amounts to creating 160,000 jobs in America. “This is surely not an economic burden to the U.S.,” Dinitz said. He added that Israel’s exports to the U.S. amount to $300 million annually. Sam Rothberg, general chairman of the Israel Bond Organization, was named Man of the Year by the AICC. He was presented with the award by Max Ratner, president of the AICC.

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