Jerusalem (Dec. 4)
The decision by the Arab League to boycott the products of “Zionist” industry and commerce, beginning Jan. 1 next, represents a greater immediate danger to Jews outside of Palestine than to Jewish industry within the mandate.
While Hebrew newspapers here today attacked the “undemocratic character” of the decisions reached by the seven member states of the Arab League, meeting at Cairo, Palestine’s Jewish merchants are not yet seriously worried. Nevertheless, the conservative Hebrew daily newspaper, Haboker, charges that the Arab League’s decision, which was announced yesterday, violates the fourth clause in the Atlantic Charter, which deals with the freedom of commerce.
The same newspaper points out the boycott is also an example of the racial discrimination expressly forbidden by the United Nations Charter. At the same time, Jewish businessmen here point out that the export trade of Palestine with the neighbouring Arab states is only a very small percentage of the total. They add that the (##)trus by-products, which made up Palestine’s main export item, are not imported by any of the Arab countries.
In fact, they emphasize further, the Jewish export trade, and particularly the rapidly growing diamond-culture industry, is confined to Europe and to North and South America. It is recognized, on the other hand, that the Arab League boycott right possibly disturb the medical and dental supply industries of Palestine, but the steady and large orders forthcoming from Turkey are expected to cushion any such effect.
One difficulty facing the Arab states, if they attempt to carry cut the boycott after the turn of the year, will be to distinguish between Jewish and Arab products made in Palestine, Jewish businessmen explain. Doubts are also expressed by them that a boycott within Palestine of Jewish business establishments by Palestine Arabs can be effectively maintained. The point is also raised that the economic life of the Arab and the Jew in Palestine is considerably interwoven up and down the scale.
But the Arab League proposal to “boycott Zionists in Arab countries” represents a far more serious problem, in the opinion of Jewish leaders in Palestine. The Cairo reports of the boycott decision, say that “one of the main tasks of the boycott will be to ascertain a method of distinction between Jews and Zionists.” This, it is foreseen, will place Jews in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Arabia in an exceedingly tough spot. A well-organized boycott could ruin many long-established business enterprises in no time at all. Conceivably. the point may be reached in any of the Arab states where the mere denunciation of a Jew as a Zionist will be used as a means of depriving him of his job or his shop or other business.