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Harrods Letter to British-Israel Chamber of Commerce

  January 22, 2002

Mr Ivor Levene OBE
Chief Executive
British-Israel Chamber of Commerce
Suite 5
79 Baker Street
London W1U 6RG

Dear Mr Levene,

Thank you for your letter of 21st January : please rest assured that I have no intention whatsoever of boycotting Israeli products, as you suggest, and it is unfortunate that this issue has received such widespread and misguided coverage (which is in itself indicative of the ingrained bias against me and my companies in certain sections of the media).

It is true that a handful of products were removed from the Food Halls for a matter of days whilst, in the interests of prudence, the claims made by Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding ("CAABU") were further investigated. This was not a decision in which I was personally involved, however, and I have now satisfied myself that there is no reason why the products should not be put on sale again.

I have, accordingly, instructed my Director of Corporate Communications to write to CAABU in the terms of the attached letter (provided to you in confidence) which clearly sets out Harrods' policy on these matters: we have also circulated a press release (copy attached) so that further misunderstanding do not arise.

I hope that this allays your concerns and re-iterate that Harrods values all of its customers equally of whatever race, nationality or religious persuasion. 1 have no wish, therefore, to become embroiled in any trade boycotts or disputes whatever the political motivation might be behind them and fully endorse your belief in the importance of free trade between all countries in the Middle East.

Finally, you are fully aware that Selfridges was also contacted by CAABU before Christmas concerning its sale of similar products : this, of course, generated far less publicity than has been the case with Harrods and I should be grateful to receive your assurance that you have written in the same terms to Selfridges as you have written to me.

  Yours Sincerely,

Mohammed Al Fayed
Harrods Ltd

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