LONDON (Jul. 29)
Since being taken over by a group of Arab businessmen last month London’s famous Dorchester Hotel has begun to lose some of its oldest and most valued clients. At least seven of the leading Jewish organizations have cancelled functions they were to have held there, or are in the process of doing so.
They include the Friends of the Hebrew University, the Anglo-Israel Association, the Joint Israel Appeal ORT, the Anti-Tuberculosis. League of Israel and the Jewish Blind Society. The Wolfson Foundation has cancelled a luncheon, and Marks and Spencer, run by the Sieff family, has announced that it will no longer hold its annual shareholders meeting at the hotel.
The mass walk-out seems to be a spontaneous reaction to the Arab take-over rather than an organized campaign. Some of those approached by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency were reluctant to admit that their change of plans was connected with the Dorchester’s new ownership. They also seemed a trifle-surprised, and even relieved, on being told that they were not the only group acting in this way.
The hotel itself is trying to play it all down. “It’s all very unnecessary. The hotel has changed in no way.” a press officer said. Moreover, there were no signs yet of the Dorchester’s private Jewish clients deliberately avoiding it. Only last week, the banqueting manager had received inquiries about Bar Mitzvah and wedding parties.
Nevertheless, there seems no doubt that the Anglo-Jewish leadership, despite protestations that it opposes boycotts on principle, is for the first time retaliating in kind to the Arab boycott of Israel and its supporters.