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July 16, 2013 6:07 pm

UK Zionist Federation Slams Transport for London Deal Banning Sale to Israel

avatar by Zach Pontz

The Emirates Air Line towers. Photo: Wikipedia.

The United Kingdom’s Zionist Federation has sharply condemned Transport for London, the local government body responsible for most aspects of the transport system in London, England, for agreeing to an Israeli exclusion condition put forward by the United Arab Emirates. The condition was included in an Emirates Airlines sponsorship contract for Thames Cable Cars, a cable car link across the River Thames in London. Thames Cable Cars is also referred to as the Emirates Air Line.

“As part of the agreement, the cable car scheme can not receive funding from Israeli owned finance houses or banks. It also cannot sell a majority stake in the scheme to Israeli owned companies,” said Paul Paul Charney, Zionist Federation Chairman, in an email to The Algemeiner.

“This sets a dangerous precedent effectively allowing UAE money to dictate government policy through commercial contracts. Bi-lateral trade has doubled over the past year, making Israel one of Britain’s key trading partners. This contractual exclusion would not benefit the UK in the long run,” Charney added.

News and opinion website MayorWatch first revealed that TfL agreed to abide by UAE foreign policy when entering into the contracts and partnerships relating to the Thames Cable Car deal.

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That means a ban on a future sale to any entity with which the UAE does not have diplomatic relations – Israel.

The contract also says TfL would default on the agreement if it agrees to sell part of the cable car to a “conflicting person”.

The contract defines a “Conflicting Person” as:

(i) any Competitor; or (ii) any person who is a national of, or who is registered, incorporated, established or whose principal place of business is in a country with which the United Arab Emirates does not at the date of this Contract or at any relevant point during the Term maintain diplomatic relations;”

The UAE does not have diplomatic relations with Israel nor does it recognize Israel as a state.

Danny Price, TfL’s head of the Emirates Air Line, told Huffington Post UK that it was “factually incorrect to suggest that the contract we have with Emirates constrains TfL from entering any contracts with any other body or organisation of our choosing.

“It is to be expected that a sponsorship contract would include a clause to ensure that an organisation cannot simply introduce someone else that cuts across the commercial interests of a main sponsor.

“This is standard practice and simply means that, if we were to sell the Emirates Air Line to someone else, then Emirates would have the option to withdraw their sponsorship. Moreover, we have no plans to sell the Emirates Air Line.”

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