The United States “continues to oppose” any efforts to add more businesses to a United Nations database that effectively acts as a blacklist of companies operating in Israeli settlements, calling it a “genuine threat” to business in the region. And the Americans are taking active against the list. Axios reported last week that the US has pushed for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk not to expand the UN database of businesses conducting business in Israeli communities in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank, and the Old City of Jerusalem.
The report said Israeli officials are concerned additions to the list will lead to more business boycotts in Israel. Türk has until the end of the year to decide.
While US spokesperson Vedant Patel last Friday didn’t directly confirm the US campaign revealed by Axios, he nonetheless had strong words about the list. “Our view is that this database only serves to reinforce an anti-Israeli bias that too often finds traction in UN venues,” said Patel to reporters in comments published by the US State Department. “And also this database poses a genuine threat to companies doing business or considering business operations in the region, and then that’s why we’ve opposed the creation of this database and continue to oppose any work to update it.”
He said the US would not be providing the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights’ office with any information for the list, noting “our position has been repeatedly made clear in public statements as well as in meetings that we’ve had directly with the Office of the High Commissioner.”
Patel started to explain that the UN database “could lead to the potential targeting of” businesses, presumably for boycotts or other economic pressure, before stopping himself by saying he didn’t want to “speculate about what the potential activities could happen.”
“But those are the kinds of things that are of great concern and could potentially be a genuine threat to companies doing business or considering business in the region,” said Patel.
In their report, Axios noted that Airbnb—one of multiple US companies on the list—temporarily suspended listings in the so-called West Bank after being put on the UN list, but retracted that move.
At the time the list was created in February 2020, then-Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan slammed the database as “another disgraceful decision by the Human Rights Council, which proves once again the UN’s consistent antisemitism and Israel-hatred.”
In an Israeli press statement in response to the publishing of the UN the list, Erdan noted ironically that the list would negatively impact the Israeli economy in Judea and Samaria that employs Palestinians.
Said Erdan, “The publication of the blacklist’s only achievement is that it will hurt the livelihoods of thousands of Palestinians who coexistence and cooperate with Israelis on a daily basis in Judea and Samaria.”
Israeli settlements in scope of the UN database include cities, towns and communities in famous Biblical locations such as Hebron, Beit El (Bethel), Efrat and Biblical Jerusalem, which includes the Old City.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 13, 2022)