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3 Jewish Groups Urge Strong Federal Anti-boycott Laws

Three major American Jewish organizations, in their first jointly sponsored press conference, called today for “strong federal anti-boycott legislation” in the face of “the widespread extent of surrender to Arab boycott demands” by American companies.

Benjamin R. Epstein, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, Bertram H. Gold, executive vice-president of the American Jewish Committee and Naomi Levine, executive director of the American Jewish Congress, released an analysis of 836 reports filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce during the four weeks beginning Oct. 7.

The analysis disclosed compliance by American firms with Arab boycott demands in at least 87 percent of the cases. The study was prepared by the ADL in behalf of the three groups and was based on information supplied to the Department of Commerce following President Ford’s order that boycott related reports by U.S. companies with the Department be made public.

Noting that the findings of the study underscore the urgent demand for anti-boycott legislation the three leaders stated: “Without a strong federal law the Arab states will remain free to intimidate and manipulate American industry in their economic war against Israel. Without a strong federal law. Arab regimes will continue to violate American principles of free trade and free enterprise.” Such legislation is needed, the three leaders continued, to shield U.S. firms “from Arab blackmail that distorts their business judgments and twists their business decisions.”

Observing that an initiative on anti-boycott legislation is underway in the House and Senate, Epstein warned that efforts are being made to stop such legislation. Mrs. Levine said that the monitoring of American firms in their response to Arab boycott demands will continue in the months ahead.

The study issued today showed that in only four percent of the 836 cases was there refusal to agree to Arab demands. In the remaining nine percent, the study disclosed, the companies reported either that the decision on compliance was being made by “another party” or that no decision had yet been made. The most common boycott request was for certification that goods were not made, in whole or in part, in Israel.

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