British Company Backs off from Compliance with Boycott

An international subsidiary of National Power, Britain’s biggest state-owned electric company, has backed off from compliance with the Arab boycott of Israel.

The subsidiary, British Electricity International, an overseas consulting firm, came under strong pressure from Parliament and government circles before it disowned a decision by a top executive to reject a request for technical assistance from the state-owned Israel Electric Corp.

A National Power spokesman confirmed last week that the company is prepared to do business with Israel, and issued a statement denying that it supported the boycott.

That was not the case last July, when K. Bernard, BEI’s regional director for the Middle East and Europe, informed Israel Electric’s secretary, Pinchas Miara, that working with Israel in effect might jeopardize the British firm’s position in Arab countries.

BEI’s managing director, John Anderson, says now that he hadn’t seen Bernard’s letter in advance and that it was “misconceived.”

Martin Savitt, chairman of the anti-boycott committee of the British-Israel Chamber of Commerce, has asked BEI for confirmation that it will accept commercial inquiries from Israel.

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