Thursday, April 26, 2007

UPI: Israel Boycott "Absurd"

I'm uncomfortable with all the anonymous sources in this article, about the fruitlessness and stupidity of the Arab boycott of Israel. But I'm even more annoyed that people are still too frightened to tell the truth using their own names!
--Wendy Leibowitz

DAMASCUS, Syria April 23 (UPI) -- The Arabs set up an organization decades ago to boycott Israel to isolate the Jewish state, but the effectiveness of the boycott dwindles by the year.

Sources close to a four-day meeting that opened in Damascus Monday are describing the conference's agenda as "ridiculous" in the wake of pressure on Arabs to abandon "the weapon of the boycott."

The sources told United Press International on condition of anonymity the "absurdity" of the agenda was a reflection of the pressures placed on the Arab countries by Western powers led by the United States.

"The participating Arab countries in the conference are like someone drowning and trying to prove he is still alive, especially after previous meetings have failed in imposing a ban on multinational firms" dealing with Israel, one source said.

The Central Arab Boycott Office was established by the 22-member Arab League in 1951, three years after the state of Israel was established in part of Palestine, to boycott Israeli products and international firms working with Israel. But the effectiveness of the boycott on the Israeli economy began to dwindle in the early 1990s after the Middle East peace process was launched.

Officials said 14 Arab countries were taking part in the current meeting, with Egypt, Jordan and Mauritania absent, having reached peace agreements with Israel. They complained the West, particularly the United States, has been pressing the Arabs to abandon the boycott on the grounds that it is counterproductive to the peace process, now frozen for several years.

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