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April 10, 2006
Op-Ed - Dubai Still Won
By Fred Taub President, Boycott Watch
    Even before the Dubai Ports World deal had been scuttled, analysts warned of retribution from the UAE if the deal were to fall apart. These same analysts have left out one factor – Dubai may have had a victory in their loss.

    While there was widespread fears in the US about an Arab country running US ports because of the 9-11 attacks and the war on terror, fear was not a valid reason to block the deal despite the uproar from the public. There was one factor that made a major difference regardless of phobias – the possibility that Dubai may use shipment information to undercut Israeli sales by supplying information to Israel’s competitors via Dubai in furtherance of the Arab boycott of Israel. This fear turned reality when a DPW official admitted that Dubai does in fact enforce the Arab boycott of Israel. This is a significant factor because the US would have, by sanctioning the DPW deal, been helping one nation which is friendly to the US damage another nation which is also friendly to the US. This would not be a good situation for the US to be in, regardless of the countries involved.

    The Arab boycott of Israel had long been almost completely forgotten about until Boycott Watch was formed. When Boycott Watch was started about four years ago to monitor and report on boycott efforts, many critics, including the leadership of Jewish organizations, told Boycott Watch not to bother with the Arab boycott of Israel because it is no longer an issue and nobody cares. Instead of following their sage advice, Boycott Watch pursued the Arab boycott of Israel and proved that the campus-based divest from Israel campaign is a new manifestation of the Arab boycott of Israel and is linked directly to the Palestinian Authority, which is signatory to the official Arab boycott of Israel. As such, Boycott Watch proved the Arab boycott of Israel was alive and well, and even uncovered other manifestations of the Arab boycott of Israel in the US and around the world. As a result of this research, Boycott Watch formed Divestment Watch to concentrate on new manifestation of the Arab boycott of Israel, and formulated the arguments against the divest from Israel campaign everyone uses today.

    Our uncovering of the proliferation of the Arab boycott of Israel in the US included stores removing all Israeli products from their shelves, false claims to get Jews who support Israel not to buy from companies that support Israel, and even false ads to get people to hate companies that do business in Israel. International efforts include a Palestinian Authority effort to block global trade with Israel and campaigns against US companies that have offices in Israel. These efforts have all been exposed by Boycott Watch in articles and Op-Ed’s, all of which raised awareness of the Arab boycott of Israel and its goal of economic destruction of Israel. Had it not been for Boycott Watch, these boycotts would have all been looked upon as unrelated actions. It was Boycott Watch that exposed the connecting factors of these actions, the Arab boycott of Israel - thus proving it is more than just a modern day economic factor, but rather economic warfare against Israel that must be challenged and not forgotten or ignored.

    Now there is concern that Dubai may retaliate for the loss of the DPW deal. While some commentators warned of such actions, the question is why did the US ever entertain any deal with a country that could possibly retaliate if the deal failed in the first place? A better question is why did the US approve a deal with a foreign-owned business to begin with? Foreign government-owned businesses deals should always be disapproved because diplomacy and business do not mix.

    As for the diplomatic fallout, if the US and the UAE are such good friends, then shouldn’t we be able to handle a bump in the road? The reality is that the US government, on any level, should never have approved the deal, and even the notion of possible fallout only proves that. If a merger between two US companies failed ending with bad relationships between the CEO’s and one company retaliated with the cancellation of contracts, law suits and a possible FTC investigation would be expected. In a government dispute, the stakes are higher. It is a good thing that corporations such as Microsoft and AT&T do not have armies.

    If the DPW deal was approved, Dubai would have undoubtedly handed over bill of lading information to Syrian-based Central Boycott Office of the Arab League. Rumors that the Arab League will meet again soon to strengthen their boycott of Israel abound, and the Arab League surely will blame the US for calls to strengthen their boycott of Israel. Do not be fooled by these claims – The Arab League has repeatedly taken action to strengthen their boycott of Israel in every one of their meetings over the past several years.

    Even with the demise of the DPW deal, Dubai still won. As an Arab League country that has been cozying up to the US, Dubai won points in the Arab League due to of the loss of the DPW deal because it is now seen as not having perfect relations with the US, a.k.a. ‘The Great Satan.’ The UAE, of which Dubai is a member state, now has an excuse to pacify Islamic extremists who were not happy with their relationship with the US. Dubai, therefore, was in a win-win situation and the US was in a lose-lose situation.

   DPW is still pursuing expansion of its ports management contracts worldwide, and still may end up managing US ports if it does not finalize a deal to sell off P&O’s US contracts. Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) is pressing forward with legislation to restrict management of US ports to US companies. Such actions may first appear protectionist, yet this nation, just like individuals, is responsible for its own primary security. Just as individuals, not police, are responsible for locking their own homes, US port operators too have the primary security responsibilities, not the Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security. It is imperative, therefore, that US companies run US ports.

   Fred Taub is the President of Boycott Watch (www.boycottwatch.org) which monitors and reports about consumer boycotts, and Divestment Watch (www.divestmentwatch.com) which exposed the illegal nature of the divest-from-Israel campaign as well as why divestment is bad for the US and is anti-peace.
© 2005 Divestment Watch