UN Human Rights chief sent 150 letters threatening firms reportedly including Caterpillar, Airbnb, Tripadvisor and others to immediately end doing business in Jewish settlements, or they will find themselves on an official UN blacklist of companies that are in violation of “internal law and UN decisions.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has sent letters to 150 global and Israeli firms warning they will be added to a UN blacklist if they do not cease doing business in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Haaretz newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed Israeli and Western officials.
The UN Human Rights Council voted in 2016 to compile the list, prompting an outcry in Israel, which claims that the Council is stacked against the Jewish state. The High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has said he intends to publish the list by the end of the year.
An anonymous Israeli official told Haaretz that the letter warns firms that if they continue to do business in Jewish settlements, they will find themselves on a blacklist of companies that are in violation of “internal law and UN decisions.”
Around half the firms on the list are Israeli, while the remainder are based in the United States and other countries, a diplomat told the newspaper.
US companies who appear on the list include Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Priceline.com, Airbnb, and others, according to a report in the Washington Post in August.
US President Donald Trump’s administration is working to stop the publication of the list.
“The United States has been adamantly opposed to this resolution from the start,” the Post quoted State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert as saying. “These types of resolutions are counterproductive and do nothing to advance Israeli-Palestinian issues.”
Nauert said the US had turned to the UN to oppose funding for work related to the list’s creation but was unsuccessful.
“We have made clear our opposition regarding the creation of a database of businesses operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, and we have not participated and will not participate in its creation or contribute to its content,” she was quoted as saying.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon condemned the vote to compile the blacklist in 2016, saying “when the UN marks Jewish business so that they can be boycotted it reminds us of dark times in the history. The Human Rights Council has turned into an accomplice of the BDS movement and its conduct is both anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic.”
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