Menu JTA Search

Jewish Organizations Urge U.S. to Act on Arab Boycott of Americans

The presidents of 17 major national Jewish organizations in a joint statement today denounced as “international intimidation” the Arab boycott of American citizens and commercial firms who travel in or do business with Israel. The statement emphasized that the Arab policy would collapse if the United States Government strongly opposed it.

The boycott, an extension of the Arab League’s economic blockade of Israel, was condemned by the Jewish leaders as a “systematic blacklisting of any American enterprise that maintains permanent business connections with Israel or with Israeli firms, and indeed to a world-wide effort to boycott any business owned by Jews.”

The statement was issued today through the Presidents Conference, an informal, consultative group comprising the elected heads of the 17 Jewish organizations. It was accompanied by an 18-page report, “Bigotry and Blackmail, ” detailing the operation of the Arab League boycott over the last 10 years.

The statement cited West Germany’s refusal to yield to Arab threats to cease business with Israel and the fact that Holland, France and Switzerland have resisted the boycott by instructing their nationals not to respond to questionnaires circulated throughout the world by the Arab League inquiring whether specified companies employ, or are controlled by, Jews. “Cur own government, however, thus far has taken no public stand against the boycott, “this statement declared.

CHARGE WASHINGTON WITH NOT PROTECTING RIGHTS OF AMERICAN JEWS

The United States, the signatories added, “not only has failed to voice vigorous objection” to religious discrimination against Americans by the Arab states–a practice condemned by the U.S. Senate in the resolution adopted in July, 1956–but subsequent to the Senate’s action it renewed the agreement with Saudi Arabia in which it consents to screen American military, diplomatic and civilian personnel so that no Jew is assigned to the U.S. airfield at Dhahran.

“As a result, ” the Jewish leaders declared, “American Jews are no longer equally protected in their rights of citizenship. ” The report accompanying the statement documents assertions that the Arab League boycott against Americans takes these forms:

1. Use of a public blacklist of American and other companies that invest in Israel, maintain branches, assembly operations or distribution outlets there, or that license patents for Israeli use.

2. Denying American vessels that stop at Israeli ports the right to make calls at Arab ports. Some 100 foreign ships, including many of American registry, have been blacklisted by the Arab countries for sailing to Israel, the document reported.

3. Forbidding American planes that land in Israel to fly over Arab territories. Such aircraft are also denied flight information or rescue services from Arab sources.

4. Refusing any American–excepting those on official business-permission to enter an Arab land from Israel.

5. Barring Jews from employment by American oil firms and other concessioners operating in Arab states.

6. Denying entry visas and, in some instances, even transit visas to American travelers of the Jewish faith.

7. Discriminating against American military personnel, as at Dhahran where Jewish troops cannot be posted and Christian soldiers may not publicly practice their religion or display the symbols and insignia of their faith.

“In the past year, the Arab League has blacklisted some 25 companies in 19 countries and coerced 50 others into discontinuing or not undertaking commercial relations with Israel, ” the report disclosed. It also asserted that some companies, including “the major American and British oil companies have yielded to the Arab boycott. “

ANTI-JEWISH BOYCOTT ACTIVITIES BY ARAB DIPLOMATS IN U.S. CITED

“Arab diplomats accredited to the United States engage on our soil in efforts to direct the boycott against American Jews and against products manufactured or sold by them,” the report pointed out.

The Arab boycott also affected the operation of the International Wheat Agreement. It estimated that U.S. subsidy for the export of wheat to Arab countries for 1949-1955 amounted to $17, 000, 000 “out of tax funds supplied by all our citizens. “

“The Arab League states refuse to ship their American wheat on blacklisted vessels or to buy wheat from American exporters who are Jews or have dealings with Israel, “the report continued. “As a result, shipping costs increase. Our government has declined to take the necessary administrative, legislative or diplomatic action to end this discrimination. In effect, therefore, the United States submits to the operation of the Arab boycott and Americans are taxed for a wheat subsidy plan from which they are barred.”

The Arab boycott “subverts the purposes of U.S. economic assistance, ” the document concluded. “In the broadest sense, the Arab boycott therefore constitutes political and economic aggression. ” The 17 organization presidents, in their statement, said that the boycott “thrives on appeasement and capitulation.”

“We are confident, ” they added, “that Americans deplore the Arab boycott and will want to resist this impairment of the rights and privileges of American citizenship. We are confident, too, that if the United States Government would strongly oppose this international blackmail and medieval bigotry, the Arab boycott against Americans inevitably would end. ” Those signing the statement are:

Dr. Philip S. Bernstein, chairman; American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs, Mrs. Moise S, Cahn, president, National Council of Jewish Women; Benjamin H. Chasin, national commander, Jewish War Veterans of the U. S; Pinchas Cruso chairman central committee, Labor Zionist Organization of America; Dr. Maurice N, Eisendrath, president, Union of American Hebrew Congregations; Moe Falikman, chairman American Trade Union Council for Labor Israel; Moses I. Feuerstein president, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America; Dr, Miriam Freund, president, Hadassah; Dr, Israel Goldstein, president, American Jewish Congress.

Also, Mrs. Rose L, Halprin, acting chairman, Jewish Agency for Israel; Adolph Held, chairman, Jewish Labor Committee; Lernath L. Jacobs, president, United Synagogue of America; Philip M. Klutznick, president, B’nai B’rith, Rabbi Irving Miller, chairman, American Zionist Council; Dr. Emanuel Neumann, president, Zionist Organization of America; Rabbi Isaac Stollman, president, Mizrachi-Hapoel Hamizrachi, and David L. Ullman, chairman, National Community Relations Advisory Council.

NEXT STORY