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 harm companies doing business with Israel. Like other similar campaigns, the ultimate goal is to isolate and demonize the Jewish State.
Through its advisory status as an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations (ECOSOC), NGO Monitor sent a position paper to the UN Human Rights Council arguing that the blacklist violates international law, ignores due process rights, and promotes antisemitism.
Anne Herzberg, Legal Advisory at NGO Monitor and author of the position paper, explains:
“The ostensible purpose of the discriminatory blacklist is to attack companies engaged in facilitating ‘settlement activity’ as defined by the UN. This definition is so broad, however, that it also specifically targets companies that helped build Israel’s anti-terror barrier or that provide security services such as metal detectors, identification scanning equipment, and cameras – even in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Far from promoting human rights, the goal of the blacklist is to disrupt Israeli efforts to protect civilians from Palestinian terrorism and is part of a decades-long UN campaign to minimize and justify Palestinian violence.”
The “blacklist” also seeks to criminalize activity mandated by the Oslo Accords, mutually agreed to by Israel and the PLO, and guaranteed by the UN and the international community. The Accords expressly obligates Israel to maintain security in settlements and other areas of the West Bank. Yet, the UNRHC seeks to blacklist companies engaged to fulfill these obligations.
In addition to its destructive impact, the origins of the blacklist and the process under which it is being compiled are highly disturbing. This list, proposed by the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, was originally conceived by BDS activists, and was promoted during a years-long lobbying effort. It is being drafted by anonymous UN bureaucrats, with input from these same BDS activists, and utilizes vague and secret criteria. There is no oversight of the process, no notice of inclusion, and no right to challenge the arbitrary determinations. Due to these issues, NGO Monitor wrote to the Office of the High Commissioner seeking basic information about the procedural aspects of the blacklist, however UN officials were either unwilling or unable to answer the questions posed.
The list should also be viewed in the context of the UN’s “decades of political maneuvering,” which as former Secretary General Ban Ki Moon acknowledged, “have created a disproportionate number of resolutions, reports and committees against Israel.” Despite that there are more than a dozen situations of military occupation and settlement activity taking place around the world, the UNHRC chooses to single out Israel alone. The UNHRC has not taken steps to blacklist economic activities in any of the other cases, despite these instances being far greater in scale, scope, and demographic impact than the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Anne Herzberg continues, “Through this discriminatory blacklist, the UNHRC is furthering the BDS movement’s goal of isolating, demonizing, and harming the Jewish State. It is the latest episode in the long and shameful history of the UN’s anti-Israel obsession and immoral double standards.”