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U.S. Navy Criticized in Senate for Aiding Arab Boycott of Israel

January 22, 1960
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Senator Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican, today took the Senate floor to criticize a U. S. Navy practice that respects the Arab boycott of Israel.

He referred to cancelation clauses in contracts with United States flag ships. The clauses took into account the Arab boycott regulations. The Navy warned prospective oil cargo contractors of U.S. “options” in event the Arabs refused to accommodate chartered ships. United States ships dealing with Israel would be unable to bid for such contracts.

Denouncing the manner in which the Arab boycott is being applied against American business firms, Sen. Javits cited the Navy’s explanation that it was a matter of “business protection.” Sen. Javits said the U.S. “is not a business firm.”

He said America has insisted on freedom of the seas and must not condone illegal interference with Suez Canal shipping or boycott operations. He pointed out that a recent World Bank loan to the United Arab Republic to improve the Sues Canal was interpreted by the UAR as a vindication of its anti-Israel policies.

Senator Javits’ attack on the Navy came as a result of the disclosure that for nearly two years the Navy has virtually foreclosed bidding on oil cargo shipping contracts to United States flag ships that previously did business with Israel. The special provisions in the Navy contracts with the U. S. flag ships read.

“In the event the vessel is prevented from loading or discharging in any port by the local authorities because of the vessel having previously traded with Israel, the charterer (the Military Sea Transport Service) shall have the option: 1. To cancel the charter as of the date loading is refused or after discharge at another port: 2. To require the substitution of another vessel of similar size, class, condition of tanks or cargo holds, and in a similar position; 3. To nominate other loading or discharge port or ports.”

The Navy also made it clear that the owner would be responsible for the expenses incurred should the Navy be forced to exercise its options.

The national commander of the Jewish War Veterans today called for the punishment of those responsible for the Navy’s compliance with anti-Israel boycott regulations of the Arab League. Commander Bernard Abrams asked that the order be rescinded immediately.

“The revelation that the U. S. Navy has played an active role in the Arab boycott comes as a deep shock to the JWV,” Commander Abrams said. He termed it compliance with “international blackmail” and likened it to discrimination against U.S. Air Force personnel of Jewish faith practiced as a result of Saudi Arabian requirements.

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