By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 13 February, 2020
The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations condemned the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for its release of a report backlisting businesses operating in Judea and Samaria and warned against acting on it.
Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated that release of the “incredibly biased” report was “unacceptable” and accused the OHCHR of “direct support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement against our close ally Israel.”
The release of the report “is a political move” made by High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, an action that serves as “further evidence that the OHCHR, which is supposed to be the lead human rights office in the United Nations, is overly politicized and focusing a disproportionate amount of time and resources on Israe,” he stated.
“Instead, OHCHR should focus on the real human rights crises in the world such as the ongoing slaughter of civilians in Syria,” Risch advised.
He called on Bachelet to “immediately redact the report and to take no further actions on this database.”
In the report, the UNHRC listed 112 companies that are accused of doing business with Israeli companies based in “occupied territory,” including 94 businesses located in Israel, and another 18 in six other countries.
The backlisted businesses include banks, cellular companies and booking companies, including Airbnb and Israel’s Bezeq telecoms.
The UNHRC report, which was first commissioned in 2016, has been slammed by both Israel and the US as a “blacklist” that will encourage boycotts of the Jewish state.
The report has no power to levy sanctions or otherwise punish companies. However, the list could put pressure on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to follow up and act against Israel and could be used as a weapon by advocates of boycotts against Israel.
The US’ former Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that the UN “hit a new low” with the publishing of “its anti-Semitic blacklist of companies it claims are involved in Israeli ‘settlement activity’.”
“The timing of this after the US released a peace plan is conniving and manipulative at best. Shameful,” she added.
The US has previously threatened to act if the UNHRC publishes the blacklist.