The UNHRC has taken another step to promote boycotts of Israel.
By: World Israel News Staff and JNS.org
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Wednesday published an interim report on companies engaging in business with Israeli companies based in Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights, but stopped short of actually naming the companies.
In a report issued by the UNHRC, the organization noted that 206 companies are accused of doing business in Israeli settlements, but stated that since only 64 of the companies had been contacted about the supposed allegations, the council was forced to delay the publication of their names.
“Once OHCHR (Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) has been in contact with all 206 companies, and subject to determinations of their responses and non-responses, OHCHR expects to provide the names of the companies engaged in listed activities in a future update. Before the determinations on the companies are made public, OHCHR will notify the companies concerned,” stated the report.
The UNHRC report, which was first commissioned in 2016, seeks to create a database of companies doing business in Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and Golan Heights and has been slammed by both Israel and the US as a “blacklist” that will encourage boycotts of the Jewish state.
The panel has no power to levy sanctions or otherwise punish companies. However, the list could put pressure on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to follow up and act against Israel, and could be used as a weapon by advocates of boycotts against Israel.
American companies on the list reportedly include Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Priceline.com, Airbnb and others.
The report’s partial publication came just hours before the UN was set to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day at its headquarters in New York.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, harshly condemned the publication of the report and its timing.
“On the day that the UN is marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the UNHRC has chosen to publicize this information about the number of companies operating in Israel. This is a shameful act which will serve as a stain on the UNHRC forever. We will continue to act with our allies and use all the means at our disposal to stop the publication of this disgraceful blacklist,” Danon vowed.
In August, Danon condemned “this shameful step” as “an expression of modern anti-Semitism [which] reminds us of dark periods in history. 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.”
Danon 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.”
Will the US take action?
“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 previously stated. “These types of resolutions are counterproductive and do nothing to advance Israeli-Palestinian issues.”
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has threatened to act against the UNHRC if it publishes the report. She has warned that the US may pull out of the council if the list of companies is published.
In a speech to the council last June, Haley railed against its makeup and demanded that Israel be removed as a permanent fixture on its agenda. She also hinted that the U.S. may quit the council.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) responded to the report by calling on Congress to take action to prevent “unfair boycotts against Israel.”
“The UN Human Rights Council has issued a highly biased and anti-Israel report targeting the only democracy in the Middle East. It is very concerning that this report could be used to lay the groundwork for boycotts against American companies that do business with Israel,” AIPAC said in a statement.
The UNHRC is infamously biased against Israel, with nearly half of its resolutions focused solely on the Jewish state, 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.