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Germany's Siemens Facing American Scrutiny for Agreeing To Boycott Israel

Records show Siemens agreed to boycott of Israeli goods to secure $360 million deal with Turkey

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June 5, 2023

Germany-based conglomerate Siemens agreed to boycott Israeli products to secure a $360 million deal to provide Turkey with high-speed trains, according to copy of the contract obtained by a pro-Israel watchdog group that contradicts months of public denials from the company.

The agreement, which includes a signature and seal from Siemens, has a provision that "providers of goods and works, and their associates and subcontractors, shall be in strict compliance with the Boycott Regulations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States, and the Organization of the African Union." The Organization of the Islamic Conference enforces a boycott of Israel.

The news could raise legal issues for Siemens in the United States, where multiple states have instituted financial penalties for companies that participate in anti-Israel boycotts. The Zachor Legal Institute, the watchdog group that obtained a copy of the contract, said it has added Siemens to its list of scrutinized companies.

"Although modern-day Siemens has expressed regret for their use of forced labor during the Nazi regime, this new evidence of boycotting Israel indicates that this company is still willing to prioritize profits by engaging in economic warfare, this time against the Jewish State of Israel," said Ron Machol of the Zachor Legal Institute.

New York and Arizona officials told the Washington Free Beacon they are looking into the allegations to see if any action is necessary under the states' anti-boycott laws.

Siemens has for months denied a report by German media outlet S├╝dwestrundfunk that the company signed on to the anti-Israel provision as part of the $360 million Turkish railway deal in 2018.

"Neither Siemens AG nor Siemens Turkey signed a boycott declaration in 2018 in connection with the tender for high-speed trains," said Florian Martini, a spokesman for Siemens, in February.

Siemens spokesman Wolfram Trost sent the Free Beacon an identical statement when asked this week about the contract. He declined to comment when asked if Siemens agreed to comply with the boycott regulations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, as stated in the contract.

The Zachor Legal Institute said it has raised the matter with several state law enforcement bodies. At least 36 states have laws or orders opposing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Some of these laws limit government-related business with companies that boycott Israel, such as public pension fund investments or contracting work.

Arizona has been one of the most active states on this issue and has blacklisted 19 companies, including Unilever, Danske Bank, and SNS Bank. State treasurer Kimberly Yee (R.) told the Free Beacon that the state doesn't have any investments with Siemens but that her staff will "monitor the allegations raised on this issue to see what actions, if any, are necessary."

"The Arizona Treasury diligently follows our state's anti-BDS law," said Yee. "When credible evidence exists that a company is in violation of Arizona law, our staff investigates the issue and then takes appropriate steps."

New York, which holds investments in Siemens through its state pension fund, said it is also looking into the issue. Matthew Sweeney, a spokesman for New York comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (D.), told the Free Beacon that the office is "aware of the published reports and will be looking into the matter according to our regular review process."

DiNapoli previously warned companies that "there will be consequences if their anti-Israel activities expose our investments to financial harm."