Weaponizes UN Human Rights Council blacklist and BDS movement.
In all the fury over the anti-Israel UN Resolution 2334 the Obama administration marshalled through the Security Council, with an “abstain” vote providing cover for the perfidy, few people have focused on a particularly pernicious and dangerous provision.
I’m not talking about the provisions effectively declaring it illegal for Jews to live in Jewish Quarter of the Old City or to worship at the Western Wall.
Here is the provision I’m talking about in Resolution 2334 (pdf.):
5. Calls upon all States, bearing in mind paragraph 1 of this resolution, to
distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and
the territories occupied since 1967;
Why is that significant?
Helps Implement UN Human Rights Council Blacklist
Most of you don’t realize that the UN Human Rights Council, known for its obsession with attacking Israel, voted in March 2016 to create a blacklist of companies that do business, directly or indirectly, with any Israeli or Israeli business located over the 1949 armistice line. The resolution passed with 32 votes in favour and 15 abstentions.Here is the operative blacklist provision (emphasis added):
17. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in close consultation with the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, in follow-up to the report of the independent
international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, 2 [fn 2 A/HRC/22/63] and as a necessary step for the implementation of the recommendation contained in paragraph 117 thereof, to produce a database of all business enterprises involved in the activities detailed in paragraph 96 of the afore-mentioned report, to be updated annually, and to transmit the data therein in the form of a report to the Council at its thirty-fourth session;
Haaretz reported at the time on the sweeping nature of the blacklist and its potential implications:
The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution, initiated by the Palestinians, obligating the organization to draw up a list of all Israeli and international firms operating directly or indirectly in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
The resolution was passed on Thursday night in Geneva, despite feverish efforts by the United States and several European countries to get the Palestinians to remove a contentious clause which calls for the compilation of a “black list” of companies. The resolution was supported by 32 countries, while 15 abstained. None opposed it.
On Thursday afternoon U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an attempt to block the resolution or at least soften its wording….
Particularly worrisome to Jerusalem is Article 17 of the resolution, in which the UNHRC asks the UN high commissioner for human rights “to produce a database of all business enterprises [both Israeli and international] involved in the activities in the settlements,” that would be updated once a year.
The activities detailed in the resolution are not just settlement construction but even the supply of construction materials or equipment, the supply of monitoring equipment for the separation barrier, the supply of equipment used in home demolitions, supplying security services or equipment to the settlements or supplying financial or banking services that aid the settlements, including loans and home mortgages.
The sweeping nature of the UNHRC resolution covers almost all Israeli businesses, which at least “indirectly” do business with settlements given the interwoven nature of the Israeli economy.
So this is a blacklist, effectively, of all companies doing business with Israel.
The UNHRC is recreating the Arab League anti-Israel boycott blacklist but with a UN imprimatur, something I addressed in my recent lecture, The REAL History of the BDS Movement.
Anti-Israel “human rights” groups like Human Rights Watch are eagerly helping compile the blacklist:
As NGO Monitor correctly points out, the UNHRC blacklist as advanced by anti-Israel groups like Human Rights Watch, effectively is a boycott of Israel:
On November 21, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a letter sent by its Israel/Palestine Advocacy Director Sari Bashi to the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. In it, HRW and Bashi praise the latest efforts to establish a UN boycott of Israel, and even offer up three specific companies to be included on a nascent UN blacklist.
In its letter, HRW recommends that the UNHRC blacklist”
“institutions that carry out  activities…includ[ing] but not limited to providing waste-management services to settlements, financing construction or other projects in the settlements, marking homes in the settlements, quarrying in Area C, with the profits going to the Israeli Civil Administration, organizing professional or semi-professional sports or other recreational activities in the settlements, buying goods made or grown partially or entirely in the settlements or including components produced or grown in the settlements and providing goods or services to businesses located in the settlements.”
To be clear, this list is not about settlements. It is so expansive as to encompass practically every single Israeli company and institution, as well as foreign corporations and institutions that do business in Israel. The only possible exception to inclusion on the blacklist would be institutions that take careful efforts to boycott settlements, and even then it is likely that some may meet HRW’s criteria.
On December 23, 2016, the UN approved funding to further create the blacklist.
The creation of the blacklist was warmly welcomed by the website of the BDS Movement, which saw it as a first step to a UN-enforced boycott:
Welcoming the news, Riya Hassan, Europe Campaigns Officer for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the broadest coalition of Palestinian organisations that leads and supports the BDS movement, said:
“By voting to establish this database, this resolution supports the view of the the BDS movement that companies must be held to account for their participation in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and international law.” ….
“This is a welcome step but the UN Human Rights Council must go further to hold Israel to account for its violations of international law including by supporting a full ban on trade with illegal Israeli settlements and a two-way military embargo.”
As the BDS Movement statement noted, the creation of the blacklist was not enough to launch a UN-sponsored boycott, there had to be another step.
The United Nations Security Council just created that enabling step, in the language quoted early in this post, as part of Resolution 2334. To quote that language again:
5. Calls upon all States, bearing in mind paragraph 1 of this resolution, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;
Now, under Security Council authority, nations are called upon to implement the blacklist being created by the Human Rights Council and anti-Israel groups like Human Right Watch.
While Resolution 2334 was passed under Security Council Chapter 6 of the UN Charter, not Chapter 7, and does not have the force of law, it advances the UNHRC agenda to implement the blacklist.
Boost for BDS Movement and EU Boycott Efforts
The call upon states in the fifth operative paragraph to distinguish between dealings between Israel-proper and the territories will also be used by BDS activists and states to buttress their boycott campaigns.
Professor Gerald Steinberg, President of the Institute for NGO Research in Jerusalem, notes that Resolution 2334 will be used by anti-Israel NGOs and anti-Israel activists to advance the boycott of Israel:
The network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, B’tselem, Breaking the Silence and many more – largely financed by European governments and radical foundations such as the Soros group and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund – has promoted anti-Israel Security Council resolutions for at least 16 years – since the infamous UN Durban Conference of 2001. The NGO Forum at Durban marked the launch of BDS and the political war to demonize Israel, and the widely publicized propaganda presentation of Hagai Elad, the head of B’tselem, in what was supposed to be a closed Security Council consultation on October 14, marked the latest “victory.” For the self-proclaimed human rights community, Israel is “low hanging fruit” ripe for the picking, in comparison to the impotence of efforts to prevent real and monstrous war crimes in Syria, among other venues.
Aggressively marketed by the NGO network, this Security Council resolution will be cited at dozens if not hundreds of university BDS events in the coming months and perhaps years, as well as in the anti-Israel (and often antisemitic) programs involving the World Council of Churches and similar groups. The language calling on the Palestinians to end violence and incitement will, as always, be erased, making a mockery of the Obama administration’s façade of “balance.”
As an analysis in Ynet points out, Resolution 2334 par. 5 also will embolden nascent EU boycott efforts:
Article 5 of the resolution calls to create a distinction between the State of Israel and the settlements built on lands captured in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War.
This article calls on the international community not to aid those settlements and allows for countries and organizations to boycott the settlement enterprise—either directly or indirectly.
Officials in Jerusalem are worried such a call would encourage the European Union to make its policy of labeling settlement products into law and call for a boycott these products.
Such a move would lead banks, gas stations, HMOs, retailers, high-tech companies and others to close their branches beyond Green Line to avoid being included in the “blacklist” of companies doing business in the settlements and consequently being boycotted as a result.
While purporting to oppose the boycott of Israel, Obama has given the worldwide boycott of Israel a major advancement, and has helped move the UNHRC obsession with destroying Israel closer to reality.
Congressional Anti-Boycott Legislation Needed
It’s now up to incoming President Trump and Congress to undo the boycott damage done by Resolution 2334, including by passing and signing into law sweeping anti-boycott legislation, just as Congress did in the 1970s in response to the Arab League boycott.
That legislation must address not only companies that support the boycott, but also countries and UN agencies.