Saturday, 29 Feb 2020 - 4 of Adar, 5780

UN releases blacklist of firms with ties to Israeli settlements

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Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz blasted the decision to release the blacklist, calling it a “shameful surrender to pressure by countries and organizations interested in harming Israel.”

By JNS

The U.N. Human Rights Council published a blacklist on Wednesday of 112 companies connected to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

“I am conscious this issue has been, and will continue to be, highly contentious,” said Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, adding that “we are satisfied this fact-based report reflects the serious consideration that has been given to this unprecedented and highly complex mandate.”

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) list includes 94 based in Israel and 18 in six other countries.

The list, which has been in the works for nearly three years, could result in companies appearing on it to become targets for boycotts or divestment. Among some recognizable U.S. companies are TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Expedia, General Mills and Motorola Solutions.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz blasted the decision to release the blacklist, calling it  a “shameful surrender to pressure by countries and organizations that are interested in harming Israel.”

“That, despite most world countries refusing to join this forceful political effort,” he in a statement.

“The decision is a stain on the Office of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. The State of Israel will not accept this discriminatory and anti-Israeli policy, and we will continue to act in all routes to prevent the implementation of decisions such as this one,” read the statement.

Anne Herzberg, legal advisor and U.N. Liaison at NGO Monitor, said in a statement, “Working at the behest of the notorious U.N. Human Rights Council, the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights has officially decided to endorse antisemitic BDS by issuing a defamatory list of companies it claims are supposedly involved in ‘settlement activity.’ These companies have done nothing wrong and many are involved in providing goods and services to Palestinians pursuant to the Oslo Accords.”

“This list was made in conjunction with pro-BDS and PFLP-linked NGOs,” she continued. “All countries targeted by OHCHR, particularly Israel and the United States, should reassess their relationships with Commissioner Bachelet’s office, including cancelling all cooperation and the millions of dollars and euros provided to her each year in funding.

“The maligned companies should begin assessing plans to take legal action against the U.N. officials who prepared the list and those who will propagate its false claims.”

The list, which has been in the works for nearly three years, could result in companies appearing on it to become targets for boycotts or divestment. Among some recognizable U.S. companies are TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Expedia, General Mills and Motorola Solutions.

International-law expert Eugene Kontorovich said “the UNHRC’s blacklist is nothing more than attempt to demonize companies for doing business with Jews.”

“Nothing in international law prohibits Israeli or other companies from doing business in the West Bank, regardless of how one views the status of that territory,” he continued. “Many European countries have explicitly stated that there is no legal obstacle to such business.”

“Even the UNHRC itself knows that doing business in disputed territories is not legally problematic,” added Kontorovich. “As our research has shown, many of the world’s leading multinationals do business in occupied territories around the world. The UNHRC is not making any efforts to blacklist those companies and has never suggested their actions are problematic.

“Indeed, some of the very companies on the UNHRC list do business in occupied territories such as Western Sahara. Thus, the UNHRC is saying, ‘You can be engaged in massive operations to support occupation, and we won’t blacklist if that business does not involve Jews.’ ”

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