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May 02, 2002
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Texas Company tries to boycott Israel

A texas company tried to boycott Israel, but it backfired. After an Israeli lawyer tried to buy some part for his car, he received a fax from Texas Automotive Export informing him that "Texas Export will not do business with Israeli citizens at this time."

In the letter, which featured prominently in the Israeli media as well, Harris suggested to Udiz that Israel "rein in [its] military and stop [its] oppression of the Palestinian people." The letter concluded, "Your country has lost the respect of the civilized world." For the actual fax, click here.

I had seen this story originally a few days ago, and was one of the hundreds of citizens that sent them an email.

After our response, in a statement issued Friday, Harris said, "I deeply regret my letter written in anger to Mr. Avi Udiz. I respect the right of Israel and its citizens to defend themselves. I regret any inconvenience or insult that was caused by my letter".

For the full story, click here - I also copy its orginal text below:

After deluge of reactions, Texas firm "regrets" boycott letter
By Ellis Shuman April 28, 2002

After hundreds of angry American citizens e-mailed, faxed, wrote to and called Texas Automotive Export of Dripping Springs, Texas, to complain of its apparent boycott of Israeli customers, a company representative issued a statement expressing "regret" for his original letter written to a Tel Aviv attorney. The company, John Harris insisted, "has no boycott of Israel, its citizens or any other country."

Israelinsider reported on Thursday that Harris had written to attorney Avi Udiz and informed him, "Texas Export will not do business with Israeli citizens at this time." In the letter, which featured prominently in stories in Maariv and Yediot Aharonot as well, Harris suggested to Udiz that Israel "rein in [its] military and stop [its] oppression of the Palestinian people." The letter concluded, "Your country has lost the respect of the civilized world."

In a statement issued Friday, Harris said, "I deeply regret my letter written in anger to Mr. Avi Udiz. I respect the right of Israel and its citizens to defend themselves. I regret any inconvenience or insult that was caused by my letter."

Harris's statement followed earlier denials by Texas Automotive Export representatives that the company was boycotting customers in Israel. "Don't believe everything you read on the Internet," wrote a sales representative by the name of Mark to dozens of people who had contacted him regarding the story. He suggested, "Have your friends place an order; we will send the parts if we have them."

Udiz, who had turned to Texas Automotive Export in a request for replacement parts for his Isuzu jeep, doubts that Harris's apology was "sincere." Udiz said, "He only issued the statement after local lawyers contacted him threatening legal actions against his company."

According to a warning issued by the Bureau of Industry and Security at the United States Department of Commerce, the compliance of American businesses to "requests to engage in activities that further or support the boycott of Israel… may be prohibited by the Export Administration Regulations and reportable to the Department." The 1976 Tax Reform Act specifically prohibited "agreements to refuse or actual refusal to do business with or in Israel."

Readers offer help, argue Israel's case
In response to the original article, many israelinsider readers offered their help to Israeli customers in need of auto parts from the United States. "I will purchase them and ship them over for them," wrote one reader from Texas.

Other readers wrote to John Harris in defense of Israel's war against terrorism. "Israel must do whatever it takes to crush the Palestinian terror machine, if for no other reason, just to save their own lives," one reader wrote. "At a time in America's history when we are engaged in a struggle against terrorism, to trash a country which is doing the same is tantamount to an endorsement of terrorism itself," wrote another.

Some readers were quick to point out that Harris's views "in no way reflect the views of the people of the state of Texas, and most Americans." But another reader, who admitted to having "immense pride in being Jewish," wrote to say that "in Texas, you keep the fact that you are Jewish to yourself, especially at the work place."

Readers suggested that they would launch a boycott of Texas Automotive Export, and any other companies that boycotted Israeli customers. One reader reacted to Harris's original letter that stated Israel "has lost the respect of the civilized world" by saying that Texas Automotive Export "has lost my respect and I will never lose respect for Israel.


Here's the message I sent Texas Automotive Export:

-----Original Message-----
From: David Melle
To: tae@texas-export.com
Subject: Please do more research on Israel and the conflict - www.FactsOfIsrael.com

Hello,

Texas Automotive Export has probably received many faxes, email and comments after its decision of not doing business with Israeli customers. Your comments about “reining in the Israeli military” were also out of order unless you support terrorism.

I doubt you do, and I strongly suggest you do a bit more research on the subject before condemning a whole nation and wishing its destruction (or its acceptance of daily terrorist attacks, which is the same).

As an Israeli who is devasted after every Palestinian suicide bombing, I can tell you that we will continue the fight against terrorism and we will fight for our survival even if that angers you.

I am saddened that you took this position and I hope you learn more about Israel and the Middle East. Don’t hesitate to check out my Website at http://www.FactsOfIsrael.com for information on the History, Geography, Stats and more. If you have any questions or comments, please email me, I’ll be happy to answer.

Bye,

David Melle
dmelle@factsofisrael.com
http://www.factsofisrael.com/

Posted by David Melle at May 02, 2002 08:51 AM
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(According to digits.com)