Saturday, March 04, 2006

Dubai Ports Back Boycott of Israel


The state-run United Arab Emirates company, Dubai Ports, which the Bush administration has approved to purchased P&O, a British owned company which runs 21 U.S. ports (not 6 as earlier reported), supports an Arab-sponsored boycott of Israel. U.S. law specifically prohibits attempts by Arab countries to boycott Israel.

According to the Associated Press, the Anti-Defamation League is demanding the American administration prevent a Dubai-owned corporation from operating seaports in the United States until the United Arab Emirates issues an official statement indicating it has abandoned the boycott of Israel.

Dubai continues to be an active partner in the economic boycott of Israel," ADL Director Abraham Foxman told Haaretz on Tuesday. "This fact alone is reason enough to suspend or even cancel the implementation of the contract [for the operation of the seaports]," Foxman said. In a letter to Treasury Secretary John Snow, Foxman wrote:

According to the Department of Commerce, as recently as 2005, the government of Dubai was alleged to be asking U.S. companies to certify that goods shipped to Dubai were 'neither of Israeli origin nor do they contain Israeli materials, nor are being exported from Israel.

For decades, the United States has been a leader in the fight against the economic boycott of Israel... Dubai, an adherent to this boycott, should not benefit from America's open trade policy.

There are many complex issues involved in this deal and many serious debates are going on around the country regarding port security and process. Aside from these considerations, if Dubai continues its anti-Israel activity, it must be grounds for the cancellation of the deal.

Foxman points out that the Bush administration demanded that the government of Behrain abandon its boycott of Israel when negotiating trade relations with it. The fact that the administration would so easily overlook this important point with respect to this critical sale is quite troubling.

The story also notes that the U.S. Coast Guard, as of just a few weeks ago, raised concerns about the proposed sale because of U.S. intelligence gaps which made it impossible to conclude that the company was not tied to anti-American terrorists.

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