NEW YORK (Oct. 17)
Three of America’s largest industrial firms have been placed on the agenda of the Arab Boycott Committee currently meeting in Kuwait, and face possible boycott action by the Arab League, according to a New York Times report today from Cairo.
Two of the American firms, the Ford Motor Company along with its subsidiary, the Philco Corporation, and Coca-Cola International Corporation, have been threatened with boycott action by the Arabs for planning expansion of their operations in Israel. The third company, Radio Corporation of America, has also been placed on the blacklist agenda, although no Arab official has yet publicly disclosed that company’s alleged “offense.” The Times report suggested that it might involve the pressing of phonograph records in Israel.
According to the report, both Ford and Coca-Cola have “discreetly” approached Arab officials with offers to increase their operations in Arab countries to offset planned expansions in Israel. Ford is reported to have made “an attractive offer” to comply with a request by Egyptian authorities to manufacture trucks and cars for report, to offset import costs and to help Egypt earn hard currency. Coca-Cola has recently taken large advertisements in Egyptian newspapers to emphasize its contribution to the Egyptian economy and to disclose plans for building a concentrate plant, its first in the Middle East, at Port Said.
Two other large American firms that have already been blacklisted by the Arab League are Zenith, radio and television manufacturers, and Scars, Roebuck and Co., the large mail order merchandiser. While Zenith was placed on the blacklist for dealing with Israel, Sears is being boycotted apparently out of confusion with an unrelated British firm named Sears. The American mail-order company has not even bothered to explain its “innocence,” the Times report stated.
The report cited claims by Arab officials that, of the 8,000 to 9,000 companies contacted by the Arab Boycott Committee, about 90 percent have complied with boycott demands. The boycott officials said that the remaining 800 companies refuse to comply because they are “Zionist controlled.” Israeli officials, according to the report, are said to consider the boycott more of a nuisance than a serious deterrent to economic development or military security.