No British Legislation Against Arab Boycott in Foreseeable Future
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No British Legislation Against Arab Boycott in Foreseeable Future

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There will be no British legislation against the Arab boycott in the foreseeable future, it was learned here today. A House of Lords committee has decided, after four months of public and private hearings, against supporting early passage of the foreign boycotts bill, which is modeled on U.S. anti-boycott legislation. However, supporters of the bill, sponsored by Lord Byers, a Liberal peer, do not regard the decision as a failure in their bid for stronger British action against the boycott.

They hope that the committee will recommend many other measures which the government could take short of legislation. They say British companies should be left in no doubt of the government’s active abhorrence of the boycott’s discriminatory effects.

In the past, British companies have been given no protection against boycott pressures and have been advised to fend for themselves in what they regard as their own commercial interests. Opponents of the boycott also want British embassies and trade missions to cease disseminating business opportunities containing boycott clauses. The Foreign Office should stop authenticating negative certificates of origin, they add. The precise reasons for the Lords committee’s decision will not be known until their report is published early September. The report will also disclose what alternatives, if any, they recommend. However, their decision comes as no surprise in view of the government’s lack of support for the foreign boycotts bill and the uncertainty about a possible general election in October.


That this is not the end of the anti-boycott campaign is underlined by the publication here today of a book strongly critical of the boycott.

Entitled “The economic War Against the Jews,” its authors are Terence Prittie and Walter Henry Nelson. The American edition, published last year, had been part of the evidence considered by the Lords committee, and both men testified at one of its first hearings.

The book attacks Britain as having been “willing victims” because of the Foreign Office’s readiness to supply negative certificates of origin. They also say British companies have deprived themselves of major contracts in Israel through fear of offending the Arab boycott office.

Describing America and Britain, Israel’s leading trade partners, as the chief battlegrounds in the economic warfare against the Jews, Prittie and Nelson add that the threat is global. “While the Middle East dispute continues to smoulder, no nation can feel snug and safe,” they state.

The book, published by Secker and Warburg, is a history not only of the Arab boycott but also of the growing resistance to it, which cumulated in the recent American legislation. “The victims of this international blackmail must unite, “the authors conclude.

“Almost 30 years experience has shown that firm resistance to Arab pressure succeeds. Israeli skill and valor triumphed in four bloody and destructive wars. With continued help from its friends in the Western world, Israel will triumph also in the economic war that asks her strangulation.”

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