After multiple delays over legal, due process and methodological concerns, which do not seem to have been addressed, on Wednesday the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published its “database of all business enterprises” that it claims contribute to “human-rights concerns.” This U.N. blacklist, ordered by the U.N. Human Rights Council, is meant to bolster BDS campaigns, singling out Israel.
This singular treatment of Israel in this exercise, as with many other HRC initiatives, violates the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.
The database is aimed at economically damaging Israel and companies owned by Jews or that do business with Jewish Israelis. In keeping with the BDS objective, 94 of the 112 companies on the blacklist are based in Israel. Many Arab, European and Asian companies that meet the list’s criteria were excluded; large Israeli companies were included, clearly in order to maximize the economic harm to Israel’s economy as a whole.
This blacklist operates under the false premises that business in occupied territory is “illegal settlement activity” barred by international law. In fact, there is no such prohibition, and almost every country engages in and/or facilitates business activities in settlements in situations of occupation. Unsurprisingly, however, the United Nations is only pursuing such a list regarding Israel.
A major category of listed companies are those providing consumer goods and services (food, telecommunications, transportation, gas, water) to both Palestinians and Israelis. The United Nations seeks to bar such companies from operating or impose discriminatory business criteria with little regard as to the human rights and economic impacts on the local population and the companies’ employees. Read more...