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AMERICAN JEWISH CONGRESS CAUTIONS DADE COMMISSION ON BECHTEL BID FOR AIRPORT CONTRACT

 NEW YORK, Nov. 23 ~PRNewswire~ -- In letters sent to Metro-Dade Mayor Stephen Clark and members of the Dade County Commission, The Southeast Region of the American Jewish Congress has expressed concern over Bechtel Corporation's bid for a $200 million airport construction contract because of the firm's continued failure to do business with Israel.
 Rabbi Ralph Kingsley, president of the Southeast Region of the AJCongress and Mark Freedman, AJCongress' regional director wrote in their letters to the mayor and commission, "Bechtel's failure to do business with Israel cannot be explained under any rational set of circumstances. Bechtel officials should be questioned closely by you in the final selection process regarding their corporate policy toward Israel, including their willingness to enter into business agreements with Israel."
 Freedman feels that until these matter are clarified, the Jewish community in Dade County would strenuously object to the awarding of the contract to Bechtel. "As part of a multi-ethnic community, we felt it was imperative to call to the attention of the commission Bechtel's past participation in the Arab Boycott of Israel." The letter points out to the mayor and commissioners that "(A)lthough Bechtel is the largest American engineering design firm doing business in the Middle East, it has shown no interest in entering into business agreements in bidding for engineering contracts in Israel."
 The AJCongress letter also calls attention to a 1983 internal Bechtel memorandum which instructed Bechtel executives to exclude Israel from business development activity, labeling the Jewish State "politically sensitive and unstable." Noted Rabbi Kingsley, "Bechtel's past labeling of Israel as a 'political risk' rings hollow in our judgment. Israel had in 1983, and has now, a stable, democratically elected government, a free market economy and significant foreign investment partners. Certainly the United States would not have authorized $10 billion in loan guarantees if Israel were a political risk."
 Kingsley and Freedman conclude the AJCongress letter by asking the Dade Commission to consider the Bechtel bid in the context of the highest standards of "equal opportunity, economic fair play and professional competence."
 -0- 11~23~92
 ~CONTACT: Mark Freedman of American Jewish Congress, 305-673-9100~


CO: American Jewish Congress; Bechtel Corporation ST: Florida IN: AIR SU:

WB -- NY058 -- 0599 11~23~92 13:43 EST
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Date:Nov 23, 1992
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