Nearly nine out of 10 U.S. businesses who are approached, go along in some way with the requirements of the Arab League economic boycott against Israel, according to an analysis released today by three Jewish organizations that is based on 836 reports filed with the Commerce Department in October.
While 87 per cent of the boycott requests were complied with, 614 of the cases involved "negative certificates of origin" where a company simply states that the goods it is shipping were no made in Isreal, while nine cases involved a declaration that the company would not do business with any firm that has a relationship with Israel or an Israeli national.
Other cases involved assertions that the manufacturing firm or shipper was not on the Arab League blacklist, which does not necessarily mean that the company does not also do business with Israel.
The American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress and Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith used the occasion of the report's release to call on Congress to pass what ADL National Director Benjamin R. Epstein descrined as "a law that "early makes it impossinle for American businesses to participate in this economic war against Israel."
Such legislation died in the last session of Congress, although the ominibus tax bill signed into law last year contains provisions to cut off tax benefits to firms that participate in the boycott.
The Export Administration Act requires U.S. companies to notify the Commerce Department when they are asked to comply with the Arab League's long-standing boycott, but it does not bar them from going along.
During the recent presidential campaign, President Ford, who was under criticism for his administration's opposition to legislation that would have clearly prohibited compliance, ordered the release of filings made after Oct. 6 and today's analysis is based on the first month of public reports.
However, no names of companies are included in the analysis.
According to the report, only in 4 per cent of the cases was there a refusal to go along with the boycott request, while in another 9 per cent. The companies said that the decision on whether to comply was made by "another party" or that no decision had been made.