- N.C. math whiz to unveil secret of March Madness picks
- An appealing offer: Chiquita merges with Fyffes to make world’s largest banana firm
- Amnesty International says Syria guilty of war crimes for food blockade
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: ‘We are going to crush them’
- Adam Lanza’s dad: He would’ve killed me ‘in a heartbeat’
- North Korea holds election: 100% turnout, Kim Jong-un gets — 100% of vote
- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
U.S. urges UAE to end its boycott of Israel
The Bush administration said yesterday it is pressing the United Arab Emirates to drop its economic boycott of Israel — a major sticking point in the proposed takeover of key U.S. ports by a UAE-owned firm.
A joint U.S. agency team traveled to the oil-rich Gulf kingdom last month to discuss the boycott, and a senior Commerce Department official will press Dubai again during a visit this month, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said.
“The United States wants to see the boycott against Israel dropped completely by everybody, and that’s our position,” he said.
Mr. Ereli said the talks on the boycott were part of a larger drive to nail down a bilateral free-trade agreement with the UAE.
But U.S. lawmakers said the country’s participation in the Arab League boycott raises fresh questions about the deal to allow UAE-owned DP World to purchase the management contracts for New York, Baltimore and other major U.S. ports.
“Obviously, it should be a factor” in whether to approve the deal, said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, who has helped rally bipartisan opposition to the Dubai deal in Congress.
“Security has to come No. 1, but [the boycott’s] something that has to be weighed,” he said.
Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, New Jersey Democrat, added, “I don’t like the fact the UAE is a party — whether directly or indirectly — to a boycott, which is illegal under all kinds of international agreements, against Israel, and that it is still sticking by that.”
Leading U.S. Jewish groups have long sought to end the boycott.
The boycott “is an anachronistic practice that has been used by the Arab world to unfairly isolate and stigmatize Israel,” said Josh Block, a spokesman for the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “No company should be participating in the boycott.”
Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote in a Feb. 28 letter to Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, “If Dubai continues its anti-Israel activity, it must be grounds for the cancellation of the deal.”
It has been illegal since 1977 for U.S. companies to comply with the boycott, either by agreeing not to do business with Israel or by certifying that their products do not contain any Israeli materials. Companies are also required to report any requests for such restrictions to the Commerce Department.
Last year, two firms were fined for issuing certifications “in connection with requests by entities in the United Arab Emirates to support the Arab League boycott of Israel,” according to a Commerce Department official authorized to speak to the press.
The official said the requests to honor the boycott did not come from the government of Dubai or the government of the UAE. Such requests sometimes come from purchasing companies.
In 2004, the most recent year for which complete records are available, 118 U.S. companies reported receiving boycott requests from UAE export partners, according to the office of Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida Democrat.
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Investigators puzzle: How does a 777 jetliner just disappear into thin air?
- Russia besieges Crimea as U.S. seeks diplomacy; Putin remains undeterred by Obama's sanctions
- As Crimea falls, Obama takes Key Largo golf vacation, Biden hits Virgin Islands
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- CURL: Today's GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- Adam Lanza's dad: He would've killed me 'in a heartbeat'
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again