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Middle East Tensions Scare Off US Company from Israel

A US company balked at dealing with an Israeli firm because of concern over area tensions, setting off fears of a “security boycott.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/17/2012, 11:04 AM

Iron Dome in action (file)
Iron Dome in action (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A US company has ended negotiations with an Israeli firm for a large contract because of concern over area tension, setting off fears of a “security boycott.”

The unnamed American subsidiary of the L-3 space communications firm has cited “concern over the situation in the Middle East,” reported Israel Defense, which added, “The message that reached the company in Israel stated that ‘we do not want to approve suppliers from Israel.’”

Last month’s massive Hamas missile bombardment, which reached Tel Aviv, set off the alarm bells. At the time, several companies, including Teva Pharmaceuticals, received worried phone calls from customers.

On the last day of the Pillar of Defense counterterrorist operation, the American firm's officials sent a message to Israeli firms, according to Israel Defense, that although “It is true that we chose your product to answer a certain need, yet additional products were also examined, and they had to pass an internal tender.

“Our greatest concern at this time is with the turmoil in the Middle East, and the senior management does not want to approve more suppliers from Israel. This is a bad timing, but we will keep you informed if anything changes. We have the data of the products that were discussed, should things improve and an opportunity arises."

The message could have been expected from a country in Europe, which has an anti-Israel bias. but having come from the United States, it triggered concerns the same conclusion could spread to other companies.

The CEO of the unidentified Israeli company reportedly turned to the Ministry of Defense's Defense Export and Defense Cooperation division in the US to try to convince the American company to change its mind.

“It’s not that they cancelled a contract, but we were in negotiations for several months, and it seemed as if things were progressing properly,” the CEO was quoted as saying.

“This response is very surprising – I might have expected to learn of such things from a company in Denmark, Belgium or Ireland, but such a response from a leading US factory is quite a slap to the face. I really hope that reconsider their policy.”