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October 07, 1988 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-10-07

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

-

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Mich.-Israel

Continued from Page 1

phone calls from disgruntled
members of the metropolitan
Detroit Arab community. Ac-
cording to a 1985 study by the
non-profit community
development agency, United
Community Services, the
local Arab community is the
largest in the United States.
Representatives from the
American-Arab Anti-
Discrimination Committee
said Michigan must not pro-
mote trade with Israel when
"Israel's free trade status
with the United States is
under question due to alleg-
ed violations of workers'
rights in the occupied ter-
ritories?'
The Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative is in-
vestigating Israel for alleged
mistreatment of Palestinian
laborors in the West Bank
and Gaza. A decision on the
matter is expected this
month.
American-Arab
Anti-
Discrimination Committee
Director Terry Ahwal said she
is thrilled that the hearings
have been postponed. She
called MICH a "contradic-
tion" and said legislative ap-
proval of such a government
board "would be rewarding
Israel for violation of labor."
"The delay makes me feel
at least they (legislators) are
willing to listen," she said.
"We don't want to apply
pressure, we just want to give
facts. We want to kill this

MICH organizer Burton
Leland, a state representative
from Detroit, called the delay
frustrating. The board's pur-
pose, he said, is to secure
ongoing relations between
the state and Israel. Several
states
including
Massachusetts, Virginia,
Texas and Maryland — have
formed similar trade
commissions.
"My colleagues backed off a
bit because of opposition by
the Anti-Discrimination
Committee," Leland said.
"I'm expecting lots of con-
troversy. But I will pick this
thing up in November."
Although Ross and Gov.
James Blanchard support
Israeli ventures, future ,corn-
merce directors and governors
may oppose such business
deals, Leland said.
"They (Ross and Blanchard)
have worked with Israel
without being in the high pro-
file spot," he said. "The rela-
tionship already exists. This
just puts it on the books:'
In the past year, for exam-
ple, plans have been launch-
ed to bring an Israeli car
manufacturing company to
economically distressed Ben-
ton Harbor. The factory would
build the world's first mass

4

produced automobile for han-
dicapped drivers.
The
American/Israel
Chamber of Commerce and
the state Department of Corn-
-merce also are working with
Ann Arbor-based Domino's
Pizza International to bring
the chain to Israel.
Ross, several legislators and
representatives from the
American/Israel Chamber of
Commerce have been lobby-
ing this past year throughout
Michigan for increased state
business ties with Israel. The
Arab objections mark the first
setback in Ross's campaign.
"I'm sure we (the state
House) could have passed this
last week, but we never would
have been able to get it to the
Senate anyway until after the
election, " said state Rep.
David Honigman, R-West
Bloomfield, a co-sponsor of
the bill. "Yet for some unnam-
ed political reason, it has
become surprisingly con-
troversial. We can assume
that some Arabs have
political power."
The MICH board would
comprise 15 "ethnically
diverse" members, five to be
appointed by the governor,
five to be appointed by the
speaker of the house and five
to be appointed by the senate
majority leader. Ex-officio
members of the board would
include the state's directors of
commerce and agriculture, or
representatives from each
department.
The board would promote
trade and foster cultural,
scientific and technological
cooperation between
Michigan and Israel. It would
not make grants or loans and
would not act as a lobbying
body to influence domestic
and foreign policy.

4

,

4

ADL To Fight
Japanese Bias

New York — The Anti-
Defamation League has an-
nounced a three-part plan to
address issues of Jewish con-
cern in Japan and the Pacific
basin.
As part of the plan, ADL
will commission a public opi-
nion poll in Japan this fall to
ascertain Japanese attitudes
toward Jews and Israel.
In addition, ADL leaders
will go to Japan to meet with
government, business and
community leaders there to
discuss recent outbreaks of
Japanese anti-Semitism and
the country's business and
diplomatic relationship with
Israel.
The third part of the ADL
program is the establishment
of a Pacific Rim Committee.

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