The US and Israel have condemned the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) publication on Wednesday of a ‘blacklist’ of 112 companies that it say conduct business in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Israel, the US and the UK for years reportedly tried to block the publication of the blacklist.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the list’s publication “only confirms the unrelenting anti-Israel bias so prevalent at the United Nations”.
He stated: “I am outraged that High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet published a database of companies operating in Israeli-controlled territories. The United States has long opposed the creation or release of this database, which was mandated by the discredited UN Human Rights Council in 2016″.
The Secretary of State said the list was counterproductive to achieving peace: “We call upon all UN member states to join us in rejecting this effort, which facilitates the discriminatory Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) campaign and delegitimises Israel. Attempts to isolate Israel run counter to all of our efforts to build conditions conducive to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that lead to a comprehensive and enduring peace”.
According to Israeli officials, Commissioner Bachelet consistently refused to meet with Israeli diplomats to discuss the blacklist.
The list is dominated by Israeli companies, including banks and construction firms. But it also lists a number of international firms, including travel companies Airbnb, Expedia and TripAdvisor, tech giant Motorola and construction and infrastructure companies including France’s Egis Rail and British company JC Bamford Excavators.
Six of the companies listed are based in the US, four in the Netherlands, three in the UK, three in France, and one each in Luxembourg and Thailand.
In the UNHRC report the council said the companies’ activities “raised particular human rights concerns”.
The UNHRC has a long history of singling out Israel for condemnation. As Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson condemned the UNHRC in February 2018 for its “disproportionate” focus on Israel, which he said was “damaging to the cause of peace”.
To date, the UNHRC has adopted 82 resolutions against Israel, as compared to 136 resolutions that have been adopted on the rest of the world’s countries combined.