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December 12, 1986 - Image 123

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-12-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

LEAPIN LIZARDS

out whether a firm with
which it seeks to do business
is on the Arab League
blacklist. The information,
according to a 1984 issue of
Boycott Report, could be ob-
\ tained through a call to the
/ commercial section of the
Saudi embassy in Washing-
ton, with no questions asked
other than the name of the
caller and of his or her com-
pany.
"In terms of U.S. law,
\ there's nothing that prevents
the Saudis from saying what
they want or from dis-
seminating information,"
Hordes said.
The Arab boycott of Israel
includes a ban on dealing not
only with countries that do
business with the Jewish
State, but with those that do
business with those that do
\-. business with the Jewish
State. Hence, the need to
know who is on the blacklist
maintained by the central
boycott office in Damascus.

The Bechtel memo obtained
by Weisberg was -drafted 10
\_ years after the company was
sued by the Justice Depart-
ment for violating the Sher-
man Anti-Trust Act by com-
plying with the requirements
of the anti-Israel boycott. The
suit, which preceded passage
of the anti-boycott law, con-
cluded with the company

agreeing not to blacklist
firms in order to abide by the
Arab ban. But the reputation
of Bechtel as a company set
on protecting its interests in
the Middle East brought ap-
prehension to the Jewish
community when Secretary of
State George Shultz and De-
fense Secretary Caspar
Weinberger were first nomi-
nated to their posts. Shultz
had been the company's
president and Weinberger the
head of its legal department.

We almost forgot to subscribe
to the Jewish News, Mom!

Although Shultz has since
established close ties with Is-
rael and its political leader-
ship, Bechtel and other larte
companies that have long
shunned the Jewish State
appear unlikely to follow suit
in the commercial sphere.
And the methods employed
by these companies to avoid
getting placed on the Arab
League blacklist are unlikely
to come under the scrutiny of
the Commerce Department.

"They prioritize cases in
terms of what they're likely
to do well with," Hordes said.
Nevertheless, he said the dis-
closure of the 1983 memo was
constructive. "I'm glad (Weis-
berg) did the piece because it
raised an issue that needed to
be raised, even if in this case
the law is unenforceable,"
Hordes said.

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