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The Answer to the Arab Boycott; Excerpts from an Article by Deputy Prime Minister Eban

(Israel Year Book, 1966)

"Arab hostility has many aspects. In the sphere of international relations it aims at preventing Israel from maintaining friendly and normal relations with the nations of the world. In the economic sphere it strives to block the trade channels that connect Israel with a hundred countries all over the face of the globe.

"Those who are conducting the boycott have not achieved and will not achieve their aim. Israel, as a trading country, is expanding and variegating her import and export ties in all continents and oceans. The more our neighbours intensify their boycott campaign, the more Israel's economic initiative advances into fresh fields.

"The boycott campaign has been particularly vigorous during the past five years. In these very years - since 1960 - Israel's exports have almost doubled. Israel has trade ties with 28 countries in Europe and 29 in Africa, with all 26 countries in tile Western Hemisphere, and with 14 countries in Asia and Oceania. The flag of Israel flies on ships and planes that come and go, laden with cargoes, in the world's ports. Four hundred and forty world companies have signed know-how agreements with Israel.

"And yet the Arab Boycott Organisation, though its central aim is doomed to failure, increases world tension and flagrantly affronts the sovereignty and national dignity of the countries in which it conducts its operations. Anyone who submits to or co-operates with the boycott violates, consciously or unconsciously, the fundamental principles of accepted international law and order.

"The Arab Governments are under no obligation to establish trade with Israel, although their attitude is contrary to healthy and accepted concepts of normal regional relations. But here, it is a matter of Arab organisations which operate on the soil of other sovereign States and have the impertinence to dispatch instructions, directives and threats to non-Arab commercial companies.

"The meaning of these activities is clear. They are founded on the assumption that other sovereign States must subordinate their freedom of decision to the arbitrary dictates of the Arab countries. The Arab Governments arrogate to themselves tile alleged right to decide with whom a particular company in a non-Arab country is entitled to maintain trade ties. This is a deliberate invasion of the sovereignty of other States.

"A number of cases that have recently come to public knowledge give an instructive insight into the peculiar character of the boycott.

"A Government or company that ignores the demands of the boycott is almost always rewarded, as we can see from the number of companies that continue to maintain parallel relations with Israel on the one hand and the Arab countries on the other.

"Resistance to the Arab boycott not only means honouring a principle but is also advantageous. As the Scriptures put it: 'The righteous man shall flourish as the palm tree.'

"The number of Governments that condemn and repudiate the boycott is growing. Some of these Governments have gone so far as to tender official advice to commercial companies to resist the demand of the boycott organisation. We welcome every declaration of this kind.

"There is no doubt that the most effective way to uproot this poisonous growth from the soil of international relations is the employment of national sovereignty to proclaim the boycott illegal.

"The Government of Israel, of course, does not boycott companies that maintain commercial relations with Arab countries. But Israeli importers are entitled to know the identity of companies that discriminate against Israel in compliance with the Arab boycott. The Israeli market is by no means negligible, on the scale of this area, and experience teaches us that surrender to the Arab boycott inevitably arouses an unfavourable reaction in many countries where there is friendship for the State of Israel and a sincere desire for the victory of the principle of free commerce between peace-loving countries. This unfavourable impression often takes the form of a natural attitude of disfavour towards those who support the Arab boycott by surrendering to its dictates.

"The basic principle that governs international law in this field was expressed in the Security Council Resolution of 1951 condemning the Egyptian blockade. This Resolution emphasises, inter alia, that the Egyptian Government has no right to infect other countries with its illegal policy of belligerency, and that there must be no interference with 'the rights of nations ... to trade with one another, including the Arab States and Israel.' Various international economic agencies have also made statements in the same sense. The International Chamber of Commerce ruled in 1964 that on no account should Chambers of Commerce and Industry agree to provide negative certificates testifying to the origin of goods."

Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs