American Jewish Committee Charges U.s.a. Bows to Arab Boycotts
Menu JTA Search

American Jewish Committee Charges U.s.a. Bows to Arab Boycotts

Download PDF for this date

The American Jewish Committee asserted today, in a lengthy document submitted to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, that the United States Government is suffering “a loss of integrity and prestige” by “accommodating” to discrimination against American citizens by nations affiliated with the Arab League. In a comprehensive fact sheet backing up its charges, the AJC noted that the Arab League countries, through activities directed out of offices in Syria and Kuwait:

“1. Blacklist many American companies having Americans of the Jewish faith among their officers, owners, directors, or even personnel.

“2. Refuse visas to American citizens of the Jewish faith and forbid them to disembark in some Arab League countries.

“3. Prevent American servicemen and civilian employees of the Jewish faith from serving at an American airbase built in an Arab country with American funds, and maintained by the United States.”


The document, entitled “Invasion of American Rights on the Part of Arab League Nations,” made these specific charges:

The Department of Defense “has deferred to Saudi Arabia’s exclusion of American Jews” at the Dhahran Air Base, and also imposes restrictions on Christian worship in Saudi Arabia.

The Department of Agriculture and the Commodity Credit Corporation “have accommodated to the Arab boycott” in contracts for dry cargo vessels owned by American citizens that carry surplus commodities sold to Arab countries under the Agricultural Trade Act of 1954. The contracts, according to the AJC, “state explicitly that the vessels are prohibited from calling at Israel waters or ports” and “trans-shipment is prohibited.”

The Arab boycott, according to the AJC, is “partially prosecuted in this country” with the result that “American principles are flouted by representatives of foreign governments on American soil.” The document cites the fact that Kuwait requires “that the absence of Jews in American companies be certified by an agency of the U. S. Government.”


In recent years, according to the AJC, officials of some airports in Arab countries have forced American Jews to remain in their planes during stop-overs in Arab countries. Although citizens who have suffered this “indignity” have complained to the U. S. Department of State, declared the AJC, the “there is no indication that a forthright protest” was effectively lodged.

The issuance of visas by some Arab governments, the document reported, “adheres to a similar discriminatory pattern.” Americans of any faith who carry an Israel visa on their passports “are denied entry by most Arab League countries especially those neighboring Israel.” Americans “who are identified as Jewish are automatically barred from Jordan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia” whether they intend to visit Israel or not, stated the AJC.

All these acts, the fact sheet said, “deny the equality of American citizenship.” The AJC added:

“Foreign countries have no sovereign right to discriminate among American citizens. As recent court decisions have underscored, no such right is vested in our own states, or in the Federal Government. That any other power should presume to tread on liberties declared inviolate by our Constitution is an assault upon the American people, an invasion of American rights. The dignity of the United States, its status as a champion of universal human rights, demands that this invasion be promptly repelled.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund