A UNHRC session. (Jean-Marc Ferré/UN) (Jean-Marc Ferré/UN)
UNHRC

The UN Human Rights Committee “has become the world’s most senior BDS activist,” the Israeli envoy stated, regarding pending publication of a blacklist of companies with ties to the Israeli “occupation.”

Israeli and US officials have expressed outrage over an upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report that would establish a database of Israeli and international companies operating in Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria – areas several countries deem “occupied” by Israel

In the latest development, the UNHRC has reportedly completed the list of companies on a blacklist. The list is slated to be published at the end of the year.

The panel has no power to levy sanctions or otherwise punish companies, but opponents of the list say it could put pressure on the UN Security Council to follow up and could be used is a weapon by advocates of boycotts against Israel.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon reacted harshly to reports, calling the blacklist a “shameful expression of modern anti-Semitism.”

“This shameful step is an expression of modern anti-Semitism and reminds us of dark periods in history,” Danon stated on Monday. “Instead of focusing on the terrible humanitarian problems plaguing the globe, the Human Rights Commissioner is seeking to harm Israel, and in doing so has become the world’s most senior BDS activist.”

He called on the UN, and the international community as a whole, to “halt this dangerous policy and put an end to this anti-Israel initiative.”

US ‘Adamantly’ Opposes List

According to media reports, the Trump administration is exerting behind-the-scene pressure in an attempt to thwart publication of the list.

“The United States has been adamantly opposed to this resolution from the start” and has fought against it before several UN bodies, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, according to the Washington Post. “These types of resolutions are counterproductive and do nothing to advance Israeli-Palestinian issues.”

American companies on the list reportedly include Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Priceline.com, Airbnb and others.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has threatened more than once to withdraw from the UNHRC over its anti-Israel bias.

“As you know, the United States is looking carefully at this Council and our participation in it,” Haley said in June.

Haley said it is “essential that this council address its chronic anti-Israel bias if it is to have any credibility.”

“Blacklisting companies without even looking at their employment practices or their contributions to local empowerment, but rather based entirely on their location in areas of conflict, is contrary to the laws of international trade and to any reasonable definition of human rights,” Haley said. “It is an attempt to provide an international stamp of approval to the anti-Semitic BDS movement. It must be rejected.”

In March, the UK put the UNHRC “on notice” for its anti-Israel bias.

“If things do not change, in the future we will adopt a policy of voting against all resolutions concerning Israel’s conduct,” said UK Ambassador Julian Braithwaite.

American envoy Erin Barclay told the UNHRC earlier that month that Washington was considering its future engagement with the Council “with an eye toward reform,” saying that its “obsession with Israel” threatens the Council’s reliability.

The US contributes 22 percent of the UN’s budget, and has been discussing whether to cut funding.

UNHRC’s Infamous Bias Against Israel

The Pakistan-led proposal to create the report on settlement ties was backed by 32 countries. The US, which does not have a vote in the UNHRC, voiced strong objections.

In January, the UN approved a motion to fund the blacklist. The vote took place in the Fifth Committee, which oversees the UN’s budget and administration and allocated a budget of $138,700 in funding for the UNHRC to compile the list.

Announcing the intention to create the list last March, the UNHRC explained that they expect to update it annually.

According to reports, the funding will be used to “investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory” and to “produce a database of all business enterprises” that work in those territories, including eastern Jerusalem.

The plan to create the list, which is expected to be used by the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement and other anti-Israel organizations, caused an international uproar when it was announced in the spring of 2016.

The UNHRC is infamously biased against Israel, with nearly half of its resolutions focused solely on Israel while completely ignoring war, strife and atrocities committed around the world.

Israeli leaders and officials have cited the UNHRC for its “obsessive hostility” toward Israel and its “one-sided mandate.”

Over the past 10 years, the UNHRC has passed 62 resolutions condemning Israel. Meanwhile, the world’s worst human rights abusers in Syria, Iran, and North Korea received far fewer condemnations.

By: United with Israel Staff

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