Click Here for more information on the UN BDS Blacklist and The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine NGO Network

On March 24, 2016, the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed Resolution 31/36, “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.” The Resolution called on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in consultation with the UN’s Working Group on Business and Human Rights to create a discriminatory blacklist of entities allegedly conducting activities in areas over the 1949 Armistice line. The database is aimed at economically damaging companies that are owned by Jews or do business with Israel, and is ultimately meant to harm the Jewish state.

This blacklist, aimed at advancing discriminatory anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), operates from the false premises 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 UN BDS Blacklist also targets companies that facilitate the promotion of Jewish and Christian heritage and tourism in Jerusalem and the West Bank. In other words, the BDS Blacklist seeks to erase Jewish and Christian history from the Holy Land and is therefore antisemitic in both intent and effect.

Since 2016, NGOs, including a number of groups with ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), have been actively lobbying the UN by signing multiple letters and statements calling for the database to be implemented without further delay.

NGO Letters Sent to UN Officials

  1. In August 2019, over 100 NGOs (the vast majority openly support BDS) wrote a joint letter to Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressing concern for the delay of the publication of the database and “urg[ing] you” to “releas[e] and transmit[] the data including the names of companies.” The letter falsely claims that “businesses [] contravene rules and principles of international humanitarian and human rights law as a result of their operations in or with illegal Israeli settlements.”
  1. In February 2019, multiple NGOs signed a letter to Michelle Bachelet “warn[ing] that further delays in the publication of the UN Database and continued lack of transparency between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and affected communities will only serve to undermine both the Office and the establishment of the UN Database. It would also foster an already- existing culture of impunity for human rights abuses and internationally recognised crimes in the OPT, committed by both State and non-State actors, including business enterprises.”
  1. In November 2018, numerous NGOs sent a letter to Michelle Bachelet calling for the Commissioner to “publish an online, dynamic, and regularly updated Database of businesses active in Israeli settlements” (emphasis in original). According to the letter, “Further delays in the publication of the Database will only serve to undermine its establishment, and the important work done by your Office and others, including members of civil society, to realise this necessary initiative to promote state and business responsibilities to protect and respect human rights.”
  1. In February 2018, multiple NGOs signed a joint letter to Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “applaud[ing]” the creation of the databaseand calling for the UN to “complete its review of all companies named as a matter of urgency. As many of our organizations have already highlighted, the Database should be a mechanism that assists states in meeting their obligations under international law, including the obligation not to recognize as lawful – even implicitly – the illegal situation created by Israeli settlements and not to contribute to maintaining this illegal situation. This entails regulating businesses domiciled in their territory to ensure they are not engaged in listed activities in settlements.”

NGO Statements in Support of the Blacklist

  1. In October 2018, multiple NGOs were signatories on a position paper, “Three reasons why the European Union should support the United Nations Database on businesses activities related to Israeli settlements.” The position paper called for support of the database as it is a “necessary and proportionate measure to promote greater transparency, accountability and respect by both states and businesses of international law.” According to the position paper, “By ensuring the Database is duly transparent and regularly updated, the EU and its Member States will enable States, civil society and investors to productively engage with companies, to prevent human rights violations and address possible breaches.”
  1. In November 2017, numerous NGOs signed a statement “in support of the UN Human Rights Database on Business Activities related to Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” According to the statement, “The Database should be a mechanism that engages states and businesses as a tool for transparency and compliance control, including allowing states to meet their obligations not to recognize an illegal situation by assisting them in identifying companies that operate in settlements and trade in settlements goods. To that effect, it should ensure that data pertaining to companies involved in human rights violations in the OPT is publicly transmitted to the HRC as required by resolution 31/36.”

NGO Ties to the PFLP




Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P)

Health Work Committees

Palestinian Center for Human Rights

Union of Palestinian Women Committees (UPWC)

Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)

  • UAWC is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate,” and by USAID-engaged audit as the “agricultural arm” of the PFLP. According to academic scholar Glenn E. Robinson, UAWC was founded in 1986 by “agronomists loosely affiliated with the PFLP.”
  • According to Israeli security officials, on August 23, 2019, Samer Arbid, UAWC’s accountantcommanded a PFLP terror cell that carried out a bombing against Israeli civilians, murdering 17-year old Rina Shnerb, and injuring her father and brother. According to the indictment, Arbid prepared and detonated the explosive device.
  • In 2010, UAWC organized “a solidarity day with the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmed Saadat…” The “solidarity day” featured Muhammad Bakri, executive director of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees in Gaza, and celebrated “the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi” (an attack perpetrated by the PFLP).