HEATHROW (Feb. 10)
Jewish business leaders were this week accused of not being aggressive enough in reply to the Arab boycott in Britain. The charge was made during a discussion of the activities of the Anglo-Israel Chamber of Commerce at a national “Solidarity with Israel” conference here.
Monty Sumray, a prominent fund-raiser for Israel, said that the Jewish community should boycott companies which succumbed to the Arab boycott of Israel and “shout about it from the roof tops on every possible occasion.” The past policy of dealing with it discreetly was not successful, he said.
Lewis Goodman, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, denied that the Chamber’s anti-boycott committee was being passive, but said the Jewish community “should not stoop to a counter-boycott.”
A spokesman for the anti-boycott committee said that he hoped that the British government would take a stronger line against the boycott under the umbrella of the European Economic Community (EEC) than it had done so far on its own. Jewish business leaders had had talks on the subject with Roy Jenkins, before he took up his post as chairman of the Common Market commissioners and a further approach to the EEC would be made in Brussels in March.
It was also hoped that American businesses would add to the pressure for anti-boycott legislation in Europe, if only to prevent European companies from gaining business switched from the U.S. because of U.S. legislation.
In the past year alone, British companies lost between 40 million Sterling and 50 million Sterling of trade–about one-fifth of British exports to Israel–by subscribing to the Arab boycott. The middle range companies were more affected than giant corporations like Xerox, Trans-World Airways and Hilton Hotels, who ignored the Arab boycott.