NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress (WJC) today condemned threats to blacklist 150 Israeli and international companies for doing business in “occupied Palestinian territories.”
The condemnation follows reports of a letter sent two weeks ago by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein warning the companies that they would be added to a database of businesses acting in violation of “international law and U.N. decisions.” The letter also requested the companies clarify their business activities in Israeli settlements to the high commission.
“It is most unfortunate that an important U.N. body would blackmail global businesses into joining a hypocritical international boycott campaign against Israel,” said WJC CEO Robert Singer.
In a meeting between Singer and the High Commissioner in November of 2016, Singer expressed his organization’s strong opposition to the compilation of such a database. Since then, numerous senior WJC officials as well as members of the WJC’s Jewish Diplomatic Corps (JD Corps) have expressed the same views to many ambassadors to the U.N. Human Rights Council.
On Monday, the World Jewish Congress delivered a statement at the Human Rights Council calling on the Office of the High Commissioner to refrain from publishing the database.
“The World Jewish Congress reiterates its strong opposition to the publication of this shameful and counterproductive blacklist,” declared JD Corps member Caroline Lea Elbaze. “Such a database hinders the advancement of peace in the Middle East. Further, its adoption falls well beyond the mandate of the Council, opening the door to arbitrary boycott attempts.
“This backlist is another example of the UN’s rampant bias and double standard against Israel. Another action serving only to single out Israel.”
Some 30 of the 150 companies are American, with many others from countries including Germany, South Korea and Norway. The rest are Israeli.
According to Israel's Ministry of Economy, a number of international companies receiving the letter have replied to the human rights commissioner by saying they do not intend to renew or sign new contracts in Israel.
About the World Jewish Congress
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.
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