U.S. urges UN not to publish anti-Israel blacklist

Trump administration urging UN not to publish “blacklist” of firms doing business in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

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Elad Benari,

United Nations Human Rights Council
United Nations Human Rights Council
Reuters

The Trump administration is urging the United Nations not to publish a “blacklist” of international firms that do business in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, diplomats and others said Monday, according to the Washington Post.

The UN Human Rights Council voted to approve the database of companies last year, despite objections from the United States and Israel.

American companies on the list drawn up by the Geneva-based council include Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Priceline.com, Airbnb and others, people familiar with it told the Washington Post. It is not clear whether the list has been finalized.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, has told U.S. officials he plans to publish the list by the end of the year and has asked for comments by September 1 from countries where affected firms are headquartered, diplomats said.

U.S. officials would not comment on which firms were included on a version of the list recently transmitted to U.S. diplomats.

When the announcement of the blacklist was first made public, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned it and said that "the UNHRC has become an anti-Israeli circus with their attacks on the only democracy in the Middle East and their disregard for the gross violations in Iran, Syria and North Korea.”

The prime minister called on “responsible governments” not to respect the UN resolution that discriminates against Israel.

Earlier on Monday, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, blasted the blacklist.

“This shameful step is an expression of modern anti-Semitism and reminds us of dark periods in history. Instead of focusing on the terrible humanitarian problems plaguing the globe, the Human Rights Commissioner is seeking to harm Israel, and in doing so has become the world’s most senior BDS activist. I call on the UN, and the international community as a whole, to halt this dangerous policy and put an end to this anti-Israel initiative," Danon said.

Zeid had agreed to one postponement in the publication of the list this year, partly in response to a U.S. request, according to the Washington Post. He has indicated he plans to move ahead now, arguing that the list is a resource for consumers and travelers, according to diplomats from several affected countries who requested anonymity to describe behind-the-scenes jockeying over the issue.

“The United States has been adamantly opposed to this resolution from the start” and has fought against it before several U.N. bodies, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Monday, adding, “These types of resolutions are counterproductive and do nothing to advance Israeli-Palestinian issues.”

The United States joined Israel in unsuccessfully opposing U.N. funding for work related to the database, Nauert said.

“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 said.

The UN is known for its anti-Israel bias, and regularly approves anti-Israel resolutions.

The body's former Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, publicly admitted that the UN has an anti-Israel bias, but he chose to admit this in the final days of his term.