NEW YORK (Aug. 31)
Jewish leaders urged the New York City Council today to approve a bill to ban the granting of municipal contracts by the city to contractors who participate in the international Arab boycott.
Speaking before the City Council’s Committee on Economic Development on behalf of the measure (Intro. 1177) were Jack Elkin, vice-president of the American Jewish Congress and Jewish Community Relations Council chairman; Leonard Marks, vice-president of the American Jewish Committee’s New York chapter; and Richard Liskov, president of the recently formed Jewish American Political Action Committee.
Marks said the bill would complement the recently-enacted federal anti-boycott law by extending its effect to transactions with a municipality. He said the measure would prevent firms in violation of the federal law from doing business with the city government at the same time.
Marks also said the bill would not conflict with state and local requirements for competitive bidding but that it would “prevent the use of our tax dollars to support discriminatory practices in the private sector which are contrary to public policy and repugnant to the citizens of this city.”
SUPPLEMENT TO FEDERAL LAW
Elkin testified that the bill represents an important moral expression by the people and government of the city of New York and that the city should “reward those companies which have the moral fortitude and commitment to refuse to be pressed into such reprehensible–and now illegal–practices.”
Elkin said also the bill was a necessary supplement to the federal anti-boycott law because it was the responsibility of the city, not the federal government, to set the city’s purchasing and contracting policies. Similar testimony was given by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.
Organizations joining in a call to the City Council to approve the legislation included the National Council of Jewish Women, the Council of Jewish Organizations in Civil Service, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, the Staten Island Community Council, the New York department of the Jewish War Veterans, the New York Federation of Reform Synagogues and the Labor Zionists of America.
The Jewish groups publicly urged the mayoral
Councilman Eugene F. Mastropierei, chairman of the Council’s Economic and Industrial Development Committee, who presided at the hearings, is a supporter of the bill. The pending legislation had been previously introduced by Councilmen Leon Katz and Edward Rappaport, both of Brooklyn.