Submission of the Institute for NGO Research Position Paper Regarding the Preparation of a Discriminatory Blacklist Pursuant to UNHRC Resolution 31/36

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  • Pursuant to UN Human Rights Council Resolution 31/36, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in conjunction with BDS activists, is currently preparing a discriminatory blacklist intended to defame and economically destroy companies doing business with Israel. The ultimate goal is to isolate, demonize, and harm the Jewish State.
  • The UNHRC’s discriminatory blacklist operates from the premise that business in occupied territory is “illegal settlement activity” and is 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 throughout the globe.
  • The discriminatory blacklist also targets companies providing security services to the State of Israel, by labeling legitimate security measures (undertaken everywhere in the world) as “illegal settlement activity”. The purpose is to disrupt efforts to protect civilians from Palestinian terrorism and is part of a decades-long UN campaign to minimize and justify Palestinian violence.
  • The discriminatory blacklist promotes the violation of the documents known as the Oslo Accords (1993-5), mutually agreed to by the PLO and Israel, and guaranteed by the UN and the international community. It seeks to punish activity necessary to carry out Israeli security and infrastructure obligations mandated by the agreements.
  • In contrast to actual international law, the interpretation of “settlement activity” used in Resolution 31/36 is so absurdly broad that the UNHRC may blacklist entities with any presence  and for whatever purpose over the 1949 Armistice lines. Under the UNHRC’s inexplicable logic of Resolution 31/36, being the “wrong” person (as secretly defined by anonymous OHCHR bureaucrats) who is cleaning one’s hands in a sink over the line could be enough for inclusion on the blacklist.
  • The discriminatory UNHRC blacklist is meant as a “backdoor” means to impose sanctions. The UNHRC, however, does not have this power. Under Chapter VII, Article 41 of the UN Charter, the power to levy sanctions and implement enforcement mechanisms is solely vested in the UN Security Council. The creation of the blacklist is therefore an illegal usurpation of the Security Council by both the UNHRC and the OHCHR in violation of the UN Charter.
  • The discriminatory UNHRC blacklist violates due process rules and norms by placing individuals and entities on an illegal sanctions list aimed at causing reputational harm and economic damage. The blacklist is being created by anonymous UN bureaucrats in conjunction with BDS activists utilizing vague and secret criteria. There is no oversight of their work, no notice of inclusion, and no right to challenge these arbitrary determinations. Anne Herzberg, legal advisor of NGO Monitor (a project of the Institute for NGO Research), wrote to OHCHR seeking basic information about the procedural aspects of the blacklist, but OHCHR was either unwilling or unable to answer these simple questions.
  • The UNHRC blacklist violates international human rights law and UNHRC guidelines by promoting religious and national origin discrimination, and supporting antisemitic BDS. There are more than a dozen situations of military occupation and settlement activity currently in place around the globe. Yet, as part of the UNHRC’s ongoing anti-Israel obsession and immoral double standards, Israel alone is singled out.  Neither UNHRC nor OHCHR has taken any steps to blacklist economic activities in any other settlements despite their being far greater in scale and scope, as well as in demographic impact, than Israeli settlements located in Jerusalem or over the 1949 Armistice lines. Moreover, boycotts and blacklists have been used to target and discriminate against Jews throughout history. Many of these efforts have been aided and abetted by the UN. The discriminatory UNHRC blacklist is the latest iteration of that shameful legacy.