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Exclusive: Dubai ports firm enforces Israel boycott
February 28, 2006 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Exclusive: Dubai ports firm enforces Israel boycott [Defenders of the Bush/Dubai deal argue that we ought to be fair and not be racist in being anti-Arab...that is "un-American."] "The parent company of a Dubai-based firm at the center of a political storm in the US over the purchase of American ports participates in the Arab boycott against Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.....Moreover, the Post found that the website for Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone Area, which is also part of the PCZC, advises importers that they will need to comply with the terms of the boycott....
posted by Postroad (61 comments total)

 
Well, at least thats a good excuse not to let it through, as opposed to the xenophobic BS on dailykos yesterday.
posted by delmoi at 11:33 AM on February 28, 2006


Er, wait a minute. Dubai ports world runs Dubai's ports, and they enforce UAE's laws about imports from Israel in the UAE. How is this bad exactly? No one is suggesting that they are going to keep Israeli stuff out of the US, obviously.
posted by delmoi at 11:36 AM on February 28, 2006


Well, supposedly, we're not supposed to deal with parties that participate in the boycott. (no source, that's just what I heard.)
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:38 AM on February 28, 2006


Delmoi: That argument would apply to any middle eastern company buying any US company, wouldn't it? I don't have a particularly strong opinion on the port deal, but I do enjoy watching Bush twist in the wind over this.
posted by empath at 11:39 AM on February 28, 2006


I believe it's actually against the law in the US to even say if a product comes from Israel or not, but I can't find a reference to it now.
posted by empath at 11:40 AM on February 28, 2006


Ban imports from filthy arab countries now!

(except oil, of course)
posted by Artw at 11:42 AM on February 28, 2006


Dubai's boycott won't affect goods coming in or out of the ports in question.

If the argument is the US shouldn't allow companies controlled by governments with policies we don't like to hold US properties/interests, then there are probably a lot more deals we should look at first.
posted by justkevin at 11:42 AM on February 28, 2006


justkevin, we don't allow people to even go to cuba on vacation, much less purchase cuban products, nor do we allow any american company to do any business with a company that has cuban partners. The idea of restricting trade with unpopular-policy-holders is far from novel.
posted by nomisxid at 11:45 AM on February 28, 2006


Hilarious. Love it. Its irrational hate both the left and right can agree on, like how the Japanese were taking over America in the 80s. Hey, wait a second...
posted by skallas at 11:48 AM on February 28, 2006


Interesting note about Japan. The US wanted Japan to become a shining beacon of capitalism in the Asian world, so we allowed them to protect their markets, while having unlimited access to ours. Worked amazingly well.

Now, for some reason people seem to believe that the exact opposite setup will help poor countries: We get unlimited access to their markets, while restricting our own. Somehow it's not working. I wonder why...
posted by delmoi at 11:53 AM on February 28, 2006


empath: I believe it's actually against the law in the US to even say if a product comes from Israel or not, but I can't find a reference to it now.

I guess I'd better run down to Brookline and tell all the kosher delis to get busy crossing out the words "Made in Israel" on about 1/3 of their products.

Seriously dude, why would this ever be true?? Until you provide a citation, I call B.S.
posted by rkent at 11:56 AM on February 28, 2006


nomisxid,

Right, but we have no problem buying oil from Saudi Arabia or selling our bonds to China, neither of which are paragons of liberal democracies. Our boycott of Cuba is more a political anachronism than a belief that Cuba is the worst human rights violator on Earth. I don't think this port deal benefits Dubai more than our oil purchases help Saudi Arabia.
posted by justkevin at 11:59 AM on February 28, 2006


Sounds good to me. That's globalization, Mr. Bush. You get a Middle Eastern firm participating in a growingly successful boycott to run the US ports, you are going to have to respect its (voluntary, free market) decisionmaking.

/boycott supporter
posted by By The Grace of God at 11:59 AM on February 28, 2006


So what you're saying is participating in a boycott of Israel is a bad thing?

I still can't figure out why the US has such strong ties to Israel. There really is no justification for it other than they aren't Muslim.

Maybe it's just me.
posted by AspectRatio at 12:00 PM on February 28, 2006


we don't allow people to even go to cuba on vacation, much less purchase cuban products, nor do we allow any american company to do any business with a company that has cuban partners.

Am I the only one who thinks the embargo of cuba is a bad thing? I mean, should we really be justifying this position by saying "we're already doing something similar with cuba?"
posted by shmegegge at 12:01 PM on February 28, 2006


AspectRatio writes "I still can't figure out why the US has such strong ties to Israel. There really is no justification for it other than they aren't Muslim."

They're a modern liberal democracy?

Man the level of pure speculation and disinformation in this thread is scary. Illegal to identify Israeli products? (I have some Israeli basil cubes from Trader Joe's in my freezer right now.) "Not supposed to deal with parties that participate in the boycott"? Who knows? Not Metafilter...
posted by mr_roboto at 12:08 PM on February 28, 2006


Office of Antiboycott Compliance
Conduct that may be penalized under the TRA and/or prohibited under the EAR includes:
[...]
Agreements to refuse or actual refusal to do business with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
[...]
Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about business relationships with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:12 PM on February 28, 2006


"I still can't figure out why the US has such strong ties to Israel."

Sadly, this has a lot to do with it-
While only 36 percent of all Americans believe that the Bible is God’s Word and should be taken literally, 59 percent say they believe that events predicted in the Book of Revelation will come to pass. Almost one out of four Americans believes that 9/11 was predicted in the Bible, and nearly one in five believes that he or she will live long enough to see the end of the world. Even more significant for this study, over one-third of those Americans who support Israel report that they do so because they believe the Bible teaches that the Jews must possess their own country in the Holy Land before Jesus can return.
posted by 2sheets at 12:13 PM on February 28, 2006


Note the logical mistake in the wording of the post: "Defenders of the Bush/Dubai deal argue that we ought to be fair and not be racist in being anti-Arab," while "The parent company of a Dubai-based firm at the center of a political storm in the US over the purchase of American ports participates in the Arab boycott against Israel."

Opposition to Arabs is thus equated with opposition to a *country,* or at best to members of a specific culture. Very sloppy.
posted by Coherence Panda at 12:16 PM on February 28, 2006


US Department of Commerce Antiboycott Compliance page.

More details:
Conduct that may be penalized under the TRA and/or prohibited under the EAR includes:

* Agreements to refuse or actual refusal to do business with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
* Agreements to discriminate or actual discrimination against other persons based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality.
* Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about business relationships with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
* Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about the race, religion, sex, or national origin of another person.

Implementing letters of credit containing prohibited boycott terms or conditions.

posted by b1tr0t at 12:20 PM on February 28, 2006


Does that have anything to do with the matter at hand? It seems like a very limited set of restrictions.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:22 PM on February 28, 2006


. Our boycott of Cuba is more a political anachronism than a belief that Cuba is the worst human rights violator on Earth.

Plus, Castro was totally behind the Kennedy assassination. Not that Kennedy didn't try to kill Castro plenty of times, so it's not like he shouldn't have done it.
posted by delmoi at 12:23 PM on February 28, 2006


Fun fact: Despite the Arab countries' ban on Israeli goods, many Israeli manufacturers ship their products to other countries (like Greece and Germany) where they are then stamped with "Made in x" and then delivered to the Arab countries. Many buyers in those boycotting Arab countries know this, and seem to have no problem with it.
posted by Down10 at 12:27 PM on February 28, 2006


Until you provide a citation, I call B.S.

Anti-boycott legislation


That's the best I can do. I guess the law is that you can't label something as NOT being made in Israel, but saying that it is is legal.
posted by empath at 12:36 PM on February 28, 2006


2sheets, that's a great article, chock full of history and hard facts. Thanks.

Also see The Jesus Landing Pad.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:41 PM on February 28, 2006


empath writes "I guess the law is that you can't label something as NOT being made in Israel, but saying that it is is legal."

Where the hell are you getting this from? Every product I buy is labeled as being manufactured somewhere, and most of those places aren't Israel. The page you link to doesn't even mention product labeling.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:44 PM on February 28, 2006


I really don't understand all the people up in arms over this. It's a private business transaction. The ports were run by a foreign company previously. Other foreign countries run other ports in our country. Those who are calling the deal's detractors racist are right. This IS racism!

I think the Bush admin deserves some credit here. Bush believes in the free market and he's sticking to his guns here despite a political firestorm.
posted by b_thinky at 12:44 PM on February 28, 2006


I don't know how anyone can say Bush believes in a free market. That's preposterous.

Whatever his reasons are for taking a stand on this, it's not due to his egalitarian concern for the working man.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:48 PM on February 28, 2006


UAE trade embargo.

UAE Tolerance.

UAE Justice.

UAE Imports.

UAE racism .


(I'm willing to be proved wrong)
posted by pwedza at 12:49 PM on February 28, 2006


Boycott was Israeli? I thought he was a Yorkshireman.
posted by carter at 12:51 PM on February 28, 2006


If any government is gonna run our ports,
it should be the US government.
Move over post office, there's a new kid in town.
posted by nofundy at 12:57 PM on February 28, 2006


shemge, I'm not defending the boycott of cuba, simply saying that such a boycott on purely political grounds is not as unheard of as some people are trying to claim.

mr roboto, I think he means that

"product NOT made in isreal" is bad
"product made in Uzbekistan" is OK

It's just like how monsanto got the FDA to forbid dairy farms from labeling their milk as "BGH-free".
posted by nomisxid at 1:01 PM on February 28, 2006


I would popint out that I am not opposing the Dubai takover because they are, like all Arab countries, anti-Israel. I am merely pointing out how the administration defended the sale by popinting out that we as a nation should not discriminate angainst any people because of who they are and where they are from. It is that blatant hypocrisy by the White House I find annoying. If Dubai can discriminate, then why ought we not have the right to do so too?
posted by Postroad at 1:03 PM on February 28, 2006


Why is everybody mad about the cups?
posted by caddis at 1:04 PM on February 28, 2006


Postroad that is kind of a good point, but if you ask UAE about the boycott, they can say Israel is in violation of numerous UN resolutions relating to security matters within UAE's sphere... they are not 'discriminating', they are using peaceful economic means to try to force change. What could those opposed to the Dubai Ports deal say that would measure up to UN resolutions, etc.?
posted by chaz at 1:13 PM on February 28, 2006


"I still can't figure out why the US has such strong ties to Israel. There really is no justification for it other than they aren't Muslim."
They're a modern liberal democracy?


The US has assisted in the overthrow of modern liberal democracies, especially those in South America, so that reasoning doesn't quite wash.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:17 PM on February 28, 2006


Very well, we contradict ourselves. We are large, we contain multitudes.

What can I say? It's politics.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:21 PM on February 28, 2006


I still can't figure out why the US has such strong ties to Israel. There really is no justification for it other than they aren't Muslim.

Sheeesh. We really need to spend more money on teaching world events in the schools.
posted by caddis at 1:22 PM on February 28, 2006


Postroad (and pwedza):

We do business with lots of countries with suspect records in certain areas. Hell, we are deficient in certain respects as well. A China owned company has a similar contract in California. They are about as bad as it gets in terms of human rights, freedom, etc.

The UAE is the most modern arab economy. They are really working to diversify and are becoming the Singapore of the middle-eaat. It's a tiny country that is becoming a major player in the business world.

I feel that we should encourage this. Economic development in the arab world means less problems for us.
posted by b_thinky at 1:43 PM on February 28, 2006


b_thinky, it's a state owned company. If the free market is such a great thing, why not shop the contract to private businesses? How about ensuring that the jobs will be (gasp!) for Americans only? I don't think that's racism, just common sense. No doubt there's some racism among the detractors, but mostly just disbelief that Bush would go through with something this stupid.
posted by bardic at 1:50 PM on February 28, 2006


Dubai took Michael Jackson off our hands. It seems fair to throw in the ports as part of the deal.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:13 PM on February 28, 2006


posted by b_thinky I really don't understand all the people up in arms over this. It's a private business transaction. The ports were run by a foreign company previously. Other foreign countries run other ports in our country. Those who are calling the deal's detractors racist are right. This IS racism!

I think the Bush admin deserves some credit here. Bush believes in the free market and he's sticking to his guns here despite a political firestorm.


We'll see how enthusiastic you are about outsourcing when your job is outsourced for 0.23 an hour to someone in Bumfuckistan. Pretty soon the only jobs left for Americans will be in the military.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:32 PM on February 28, 2006


bardic: If the free market is such a great thing, why not shop the contract to private businesses?

This wasn't a contract handed to Dubai by the Bush administration. The ports were managed by British-owned Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. Dubai World Ports bought P&O.
posted by justkevin at 2:41 PM on February 28, 2006


The ports were run by a foreign company previously. Other foreign countries run other ports in our country. Those who are calling the deal's detractors racist are right. This IS racism!

It's a state-owned company. The state has ties with Osama Bin Laden, and with financing terrorism.

If this were pre 9/11, I'd say "groovy, go for it". To be honest, I almost say that now, since I don't buy into the "fear of an arab nation" like a lot of folks do (and like certain folks want us to). However, at a time when we're supposedly looking for opportunities to stop terrorism, going so far as to spy on our own citizens without warrants, shouldn't we at least scrutinize this a little more?

Let me know where race enters into that.
posted by davejay at 2:47 PM on February 28, 2006


Shrill Israeli media (and politicians, for that matter) on a paranoid quest to root out any evidence of anti-semitism, real or perceived, in the entire universe?

Or creepy middle-eastern companies with dubious pedigrees swearing autonomy, or at least, benevolent control by governments I woudn't trust with a ten-foot pole?

Hmm, who to choose, who to choose.
posted by wolftrouble at 2:50 PM on February 28, 2006


A China owned company has a similar contract in California. They are about as bad as it gets in terms of human rights, freedom, etc.

I can't argue with that, and I won't. However (and this is going to sound crass, but I'm not saying this as a moral or ethical argument, but as a "this is how things are" argument) -- China doesn't have known ties to terrorist organizations that have successfully committed terrorist acts on our soil.

If someone can prove me wrong on that, please let me know, so that I can be unhappy about the China-owned company as well. What's the name of the company, anyway?

On the other hand, I should think if a company owned by North Korea bought into this deal, we'd be looking just as hard at it, if not harder.
posted by davejay at 2:50 PM on February 28, 2006


This wasn't a contract handed to Dubai by the Bush administration.

Bush Family Ties to the UAE.
"The oil-rich United Arab Emirates is a major investor in The Carlyle Group, the private equity investment firm where President Bush's father once served as senior adviser and is a who's who of former high-level government officials. Just last year, Dubai International Capital, a government-backed buyout firm, invested in an $8 billion Carlyle fund.

Another family connection, the president's brother, Neil Bush, has reportedly received funding for his educational software company from the UAE investors. A call to his company was not returned.

Then there is the cabinet connection. Treasury Secretary John Snow was chairman of railroad company CSX/. After he left the company for the White House, CSX sold its international port operations to Dubai Ports World for more than a billion dollars.

...Another administration connection, President Bush chose a Dubai Ports World executive to head the U.S. Maritime Administration. David Sanborn, the former director of Dubai Ports' European and Latin American operations, he was tapped just last month to lead the agency that oversees U.S. port operations."
posted by ericb at 2:54 PM on February 28, 2006


A China owned company has a similar contract in California.

Brings to mind -- McCain: Port Sale Overblown Since UAE is ‘Freer Than China’.
posted by ericb at 2:56 PM on February 28, 2006


"Americans are strongly opposed to the Bush administration's agreement to allow a Dubai company to operate terminals at six American ports and are increasingly negative about the situation in Iraq, according to the latest CBS News poll.

Seventy percent, including 58 percent of Republicans, said DP World, controlled by the emir of Dubai, should not be allowed to operate the ports..."

[International Herald Tribune | February 28, 2006]
posted by ericb at 3:26 PM on February 28, 2006


Isn't China rather reknown for the number of successful Chinese spies it has managed to have infiltrate US businesses and, especially, defense contracting companies?

How bizarre that you'd welcome Chinese ownership of anything American.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:46 PM on February 28, 2006


Cook Political Report/RT Strategies Poll[PDF]
Congress should take special action to block the government’s decision -- 61%

We should trust President Bush and his Administration in their decision -- 27%
posted by ericb at 3:54 PM on February 28, 2006


Chaz--again, I am not arguing whatsoever about Arab countries boycotting Israel in this post. I am simply saying that the administration is arguing that we ought not be against the deal because the company and country are Arab. Such discrimination is not fair, they argue. My point: Arab and country (Dubai and others) discriminate against Israel so why must we not discriminate if they are free to do so? What is good for ghe gosse is good fgor the gooser.
posted by Postroad at 4:04 PM on February 28, 2006


Chaz--again, I am not arguing whatsoever about Arab countries boycotting Israel in this post. I am simply saying that the administration is arguing that we ought not be against the deal because the company and country are Arab. Such discrimination is not fair, they argue. My point: Arab and country (Dubai and others) discriminate against Israel so why must we not discriminate if they are free to do so? What is good for ghe gosse is good fgor the gooser.
posted by Postroad


That's kinda missing the point, I think. A boycott based on a political stance and a set of double standards based on a perceived stereotype aren't the same thing. If the UAE came out and said "We support terrorism and we're proud of it," we'd be completely in our rights to nix the deal, just like a UAE boycott of any product from a company run by a Jew would be racist. But neither is the case.

It'd be fine if we had a policy of not permitting foreign interests to run integral parts of our economic and security structure, but that's obviously not the case either. We're making such a stink about this simply because it's an Arab company ... and all Arabs are potential Al Qaeda members, of course. Yes, that's racist. You might as well not let Blacks become cops -- I mean, Blacks have a history of committing crimes, right? And while we're on the subject, have you stopped beating your wife yet?

Do I believe Bush is fighting this out of some idea of fairness to brown people? Of course not. But you know what they say about stopped clocks.

Oh, and ericb -- are you trying to suggest that simply because a lot of people oppose the deal, it isn't a good idea? I'm sure I can think of plenty of things in recent memory that a large portion of the American public was wrong about.
posted by Amanojaku at 5:57 PM on February 28, 2006


Oh, and ericb -- are you trying to suggest that simply because a lot of people oppose the deal, it isn't a good idea?

Not at all. The poll numbers merely show that a majority of Americans think it's a bad idea. From a "political" point-of-view the numbers indicate erosion of support for Bush and his Administration's handling of the deal. I suspect that many of the Republicans who are up for reelection this year are concerned with the potential impact this deal (and/or the way in which it was communicated) may have on folks voting this fall in the mid-term election.

Many folks are beginning to have doubts about this Administration's competence in managing the affairs of state. The CIA leak case, administration and congressional Republicans indicted and/or under investigation, Katrina, domestic spying, Iraq potentially on the edge of civil war, Jack Abramoff and K-Street lobbying, the PR disaster related to Cheney's shooting incident and now the port deal. One thing after another. Hence, it's no surprise that Bush's job approval rating is at an all time low (34%) -- with Cheney's at a embarrassingly low 18%. Not a lot of confidence these days in those leading our country.
posted by ericb at 6:21 PM on February 28, 2006


AS one of Big Oil's puppet states in the mideast, the filthy-rich UEA is clearly a much desired business partner for Bush and his corporate cronies, as noted by ericb.

We also shouldn't ignore how much money they pour into weapons.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:58 PM on February 28, 2006


GOP Grows Uneasy on National Security
"Karl Rove, the president's political guru and deputy chief of staff, has already signaled that he intends to use national security as the defining issue for the fall congressional campaigns, just as he did to great effect in 2002 and 2004. But with Bush's numbers still falling, the Republicans who will be on the ballot have decided to define the security issue in their own way rather than defer to the president's interpretation.

...Much of the dialogue in Washington right now centers on security disputes pitting Republicans against Republicans." [Washington Post | February 28, 2006]
posted by ericb at 8:57 PM on February 28, 2006


GOP GOVERNORS WORRIED ABOUT BUSH "GAFFES":
"Republican governors are openly worrying that the Bush administration's latest stumbles -- from the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina to those of its own making on prescription drugs and ports security -- are taking an election-year toll on the party back home. The GOP governors reluctantly acknowledge that the series of gaffes threatens to undermine public confidence in President Bush's ability to provide security, which has long been his greatest strength among voters." [The Associated Press | February 28, 2006]
posted by ericb at 9:18 PM on February 28, 2006


You know, it's hard to imagine DP World doing a worse job than the one being done until now at a port like Baltimore:

At least one of the ports where DP World is set to operate, Baltimore, has been dogged by security shortcomings for years. A Baltimore Sun investigation in June 2005 revealed that the port's fiber-optic alarm system on the perimeter fence malfunctioned and was usually switched off, and that port police were so understaffed that their patrol boats often dry-docked because there was no one to operate them. The newspaper also found that a pair of "video cameras" guarding the entrance to one important marine terminal were actually blocks of wood on poles.

Last summer, a tour of the port, the nation's eighth largest, revealed gaps in perimeter fences, unattended gates, surveillances systems that didn't work and insufficient police patrols on land and sea.


This deal is a distraction from the deeper issues of security the U.S. government is not dealing with.
posted by mediareport at 9:45 PM on February 28, 2006


Because static defenses can’t be overcome.
*sigh*
This isn’t a moot point. I think it’s important that we have good security at ports rather than someone’s metaphoric “brother in law” getting the contract. Not to mention the racist b.s. from some arabs (in much the same way some ‘white’ men are racist) against the Israelis and the tense situation and the nukes the Israelis I’m sure are willing to use - all the geopolitical/corruption/moral stuff aside... static defenses against terrorist threats, while reasonable to have, are not as important than other methods.
I’d rather see us beef up the coast card f’rinstance.
Which I’ve read Bush did...but not much....and has let it lapse...but might still do more for....

I really have no clue, there’s more spin coming from this administration than a tornado, and the news is becoming indecipherable at best and indistinguishable from spam in general.

I will say not having a country connected to terrorism, the taliban, etc., would just be good operational security all things being equal.
But maybe there’s some goofy reason that makes this legit in some way. I really don’t know.

I’m off to go increase the size of my penis with this thing I bought online.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:06 AM on March 1, 2006


Congressman Peter King (R.-NY), Chairman, House Homeland Security Committee, " said that the Bush administration did not investigate whether the UAE company had ties to terror. King said there was 'no investigation into terror whatsovever.' ...King maintained that he had asked officials at Treasury and Homeland Security whether they had checked out whether the company had ties to Al Qaeda. The response was to King was 'You don't understand. We don't conduct a thorough investigation.'" [source]
posted by ericb at 2:35 PM on March 1, 2006


Breaking News: Al-Qaeda Infiltrated UAE Government, According To 2002 Letter
posted by ericb at 3:47 PM on March 1, 2006


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