Arab League Boycott

The League of Arab States was founded in 1945.  One of the first acts of the League Council, taken on 2 Dec 1945, was to approve Resolution 16 calling for a boycott by Arab countries of Jewish products and manufactured merchandise in the pre-Israel Palestine Mandate.  This was followed soon after, on 12 Jun 1946, by Resolution 70 which called for the creation of a bureaucratic structure to implement the boycott.  A Permanent Boycott Committee was established, based in Cairo, and the boycott continued in various ways until and after the creation of State of Israel in May, 1948. 

On 6 Feb 1950, Egypt issued a decree authorizing the search of ships and aircraft to stop the shipment of war materiel to Israeli forces.  After this decree was issued, the Arab League boycott expanded into a secondary boycott, blacklisting individuals and companies which did business with Israel, and a tertiary boycott against individuals and companies which did business with blacklisted individuals and companies.  United Nations Security Council, on 1 Sep 1051, passed a resolution (UN Doc. S/2322) condemning the Egyptian practice as an “abuse of the exercise of the right of visit, search and seizure,” and called up0n Egypt to terminate the restrictions.  The resolution was ignored by Egypt. 

On 19 May 1951, the Arab League Council passed Resolution 357 establishing the Central Boycott Office in Damascus, to replace the Permanent Boycott Committee.  Biannual meetings were to be held to coordinate boycott policies and to compile blacklists of individuals and firms which had violated the boycott.  On 11 December 1954 the Arab League Council passed Resolution 849, approving the Unified Law on the Boycott of Israel. The provisions were implemented in legislation by most member states over the following year, uniformly formalizing application of the boycott in Arab States. The resolution contained new prohibitions against dealing with agencies or persons working for Israel, and with foreign companies and organizations with interests, agencies, or branches in Israel. The export of Arab goods to countries to be re-exported to Israel was criminalized, imposing large fines and hard labor. In 1972, “General Principles for the Boycott of Israel” were issued by the Central Office of the Boycott of Israel, further specifying its modus operandi.

The boycott peaked in the 1970s, declining thereafter.  Detailed information on the development and impact of the boycott can be found in the sources below.

Development of the League of Arab States [US State Department Bulletin]
Pact of the Arab League States [UN Treaty Series, Vol. 70 – Arabic, English, and French]
Arab League Council Resolution 16
Arab League Council Resolution 70
Egyptian Decree on Ship and Airplane Searches [Egyptian Official Gazette (No. 36), 8 Apr 1950]
Arab League Council Resolution 357
Arab League Council Resolution 849 (Unified Law on the Boycott of Israel]

Further reading: