WASHINGTON (May. 3)
President Carter today commended the Business Roundtable and three Jewish organizations for reaching an agreement on legislation to counter the Arab boycott of Israel and Jewish businessmen. “I can strongly recommend Congressional approval” of the legislative language adopted by the Roundtable, Carter said in a statement issued at the White House. He said “Passage can occur very soon.”
The Business Roundtable consists of about 150 major American corporations and the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress. In commending the representatives of those organizations, the President said the language “embodies concepts previously outlined” in the set of principles the organizations had adopted. “In my view, one of the most gratifying aspects of the agreement is its reasonable balance for stringent controls over the undesirable impact on Americans of foreign boycotts and the need to allow continuation of American business relations with countries engaging in such boycotts,” Carter said.
He outlined the restrictions in the legislation which include a prohibition against all forms of religious and ethnic discrimination; a prohibition against U.S. firms refusing to do business with a boycotted country as a condition to do business in another country; and a prohibition against U.S. firms acting as enforcers of a foreign boycott.
“At the same time,” the President said, “the agreement supports limited exceptions which recognize that other countries, like the U.S., may seek to impose their own laws within their own countries.”
Sen. Adlai Stevenson (D.III.), chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee dealing with the boycott, also hailed the Roundtable agreement and said it assured passage of the counter-boycott law. The Senate may vote on the legislation Friday but more likely next week. It will then go to the Senate-House conference to iron out differences with the House anti-boycott measure that was overwhelmingly adopted last month.