The United Nations has published a list of 112 companies that operate in areas occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967. On Wednesday, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) published the list, which is likely intended to assist organizations who might wish to boycott these companies over doing business with the State of Israel.
Among the members of the ironically named UNHRC are such bastions of human rights as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Venezuela. The United States announced its withdrawal from the council in June of 2018 over its rabid anti-Israel bias and its condemnation of the way the United States was handling the illegal immigration crisis on its border with Mexico.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had strong words for the UNHRC’s publication of what is being termed a “blacklist.”
“Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted,” Netanyahu said.
“The UN Human Rights Council is a biased body that is devoid of influence. Not for nothing have I already ordered the severing of ties with it. It was also not for nothing that the American administration has taken this step together with us.”
On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority (PA) was extremely happy with the release of the list. The PA promised to use the information to punish companies that operate in what it considers “their territory.”
“We will pursue companies listed in the report legally through international legal institutions and in courts in their countries for taking part in human rights violations in Palestine,” said PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh.
Shtayyeh went on to say that Palestinians would “demand compensation” for what he termed “use of our occupied land illegally.”
The list of 112 companies includes 94 that are domiciled in Israel, along with 18 from other countries. American companies on the list include General Mills, Airbnb, and Motorola Solutions.
Michelle Bachelet, a socialist who was once the President of Chile, currently serves as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Bachelet — perhaps going for extreme understatement — said, “I am conscious this issue has been, and will continue to be, highly contentious.”
Rupert Colville, a spokesman for Bachelet, claimed that the list was not really a “blacklist,” nor does it accuse the businesses on the list of acting illegally.
“[It’s] not a blacklist, nor does it qualify any companies’ activities as illegal,” Colville said.
Then why publish the list?
Bachelet’s office offered similarly confusing explanation: “While the settlements as such are regarded as illegal under international law, this report does not provide a legal characterization of the activities in question, or of business enterprises’ involvement in them.”
So what these companies are accused of is conducting business in what the United Nations calls “illegal” settlements. Never mind how much they’ve improved livability in the area. That these businesses operate in these disputed settlements is reason enough for the United Nations to “out” them.
President Trump has officially recognized Israeli sovereignty over the occupied territories in Israel. In November of last year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “The conclusion that we will no longer recognize Israeli settlements as per se inconsistent with international law is based on the unique facts, history, and circumstances presented by the establishment of civilian settlements in the West Bank.”
When countries (or the Palestinian Authority) lose territories in a war that they started, it’s unreasonable to ask the victorious nation — and in this case, the nation that was attacked in the first place — to just give back those territories. Israel has made these territories better and more livable than they were before. There’s simply no good reason for them to just surrender them back.
To say that the UN is biased against Israel is so self-evident that it borders on ridiculous. With this and all the other outrages the organization regularly commits, isn’t it far past time to withdraw from this organization?
Photo: AP Images