United Nations report urges boycott of businesses dealing with Israel

26 October 2012

A United Nations ‘special rapporteur’ has called on the member nations of the world body to boycott companies that do business with Israel. In a report submitted to the UN General Assembly, Special Rapporteur Richard A. Falk, 82, an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, recommends that several international businesses should be boycotted “until they bring their operations into line with international human rights and humanitarian law and standards,” Falk said in a statement presenting his ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories since 1967’ to the General Assembly.

The report highlights the activities of companies he says are involved in the establishment and maintenance of Israeli settlements. Falk cites Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola from the United States; Ahava, Elbit Systems and Mehadrin of Israel; the Volvo Group and Assa Abloy of Sweden, along with Veolia Environment of France, G4S of the United Kingdom, Dexia Group of Belgium, the Riwal Holding Group of the Netherlands and Cemex of Mexico.

The US government immediately rejected Falk's call for a boycott. Susan E. Rice, the US permanent representative to the United Nations, in a statement on Friday called Falk's boycott call "irresponsible and unacceptable,” adding: “Mr. Falk’s recommendations do nothing to further a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and indeed poison the environment for peace. His continued service in the role of a UN Special Rapporteur is deeply regrettable and only damages the credibility of the UN.” Rice said that “throughout his tenure as special rapporteur, Mr. Falk has been highly biased and made offensive statements, including outrageous comments on the 9/11 attacks.”

Earlier this week, the British government protested to the United Nations about “anti-Semitic” statements made by Falk and urged other democracies to do the same. In earlier remarks, Falk - who is Jewish - had collectively accused “the organized Jewish community” of responsibility for war crimes, and provided the cover endorsement of an anti-Semitic book. In 2011, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon publicly criticized Falk's statements in a blog posting in which the special rapporteur proposed consideration of theories that the United States had orchestrated the 9/11 terror attacks.

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