American Jewish Committee Issues Report on Arab Boycott of U.S. Firms

The American Jewish Committee today made public a report establishing that more than 80 American-owned ships have been blacklisted by the Arab League boycott. The report emphasizes that the Arab boycott is placing “extensive arbitrary restraints” on American foreign traded.

In describing the impact of the boycott which not only affects American citizens of the Jewish faith but U.S. citizens of all faiths, the Committee stressed that it “has interfered with the commercial pursuits of Americans and American companies in many foreign countries. It has subjected American foreign trade to arbitrary restraint. It has obstructed American shipping and visited abuse upon American seamen in defiance of international law.”

The U.S. firms hit by the Arab boycott–the majority of them publicly owned and ranging in size from medium to large-scale enterprises–are engaged in the production of rubber, chemicals, petroleum products, radio and television equipment, cosmetics, drugs, plastics, business machinery, watches. Construction engineering firms have also been affected by the boycott, the Committee stressed.

The AJC report on the Arab League boycott was made public in connection with the opening sessions of the American Jewish Committee’s national executive board meeting at the Hotel Roosevelt. The executive board, which will be convened through this weekend, is the top policy-making body of the organization.

The Committee stated that many companies have refused to yield to the boycott. “Some feel that the Arab market, despite its overwhelming strength, would not compensate for loss of Israel business. Some have discovered that certain cynical Arab countries are not above dealing with recalcitrant companies whose products are in short supply in the Middle East. Some simply object on principle to threats and foreign dictation.”

BLAMES U.S. GOVERNMENT FOR ‘ACCOMMODATING’ TO ARAB DISCRIMINATION

The Committee drew attention to the fact that the United States Government is suffering “a loss of integrity and prestige” by “accommodating” to discrimination against American citizens by Arab League nations, “Apart from the blacklisting of American firms and vessels, Arab League nations are refusing visas to American citizens of the Jewish faith and forbidding them to debark in some Arab League countries; preventing American servicemen and civilian employes 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 report stated.

At Arab insistence, the U.S. Defense Department also “imposes restrictions on Christian worship in Saudi Arabia,” the Committee emphasized. “In that country, U.S. chaplains refrain from wearing crosses, and Catholic priests wear lay attire in order to avoid offending the religious sensibilities of local authorities,” the report said. It pointed out that each and all of these acts, the Committee asserted, “deny the equality of American citizenship.”

Terming the general boycott situation as “an invasion of American rights,” the Committee said: “The dignity of the United States, its status as a champion of universal human rights, demands that this invasion be promptly repelled.”

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