NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress has praised the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on her decision to postpone the publication of a blacklist of Israeli and foreign companies operating in the West Bank, which was expected for release at the UN Human Rights Council’s 40th session in Geneva this month.
World Jewish Congress CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer, who held a private meeting with Bachelet last month in Geneva to convey his concern over the blacklist and urge its cancellation, said: “On behalf of our President Ronald S. Lauder, the World Jewish Congress extends its deep gratitude to High Commissioner Bachelet over her principled decision to carefully and professionally evaluate the report and postpone the publication of this tendentious blacklist.”
“While we appreciate her stance that time is needed to fully consider the input submitted and ensure that due process is respected, we underscore our position that this publication should not only be postponed, but canceled in its entirety,” Singer said.
“The publication of such a database falls well beyond the mandate of the Council and is a politically motivated exercise which would financially hurt thousands of employees of the targeted companies, both Israeli and Palestinian, whose livelihood and personal security would be compromised,” Singer said.
“Furthermore, the champions of this report often promote an agenda venturing on discourse that is antisemitic and hurtful to the Jewish people. Should the database be published, we fear that the actions of the Council may inadvertently lead to the targeting of Jewish communities and fuel antisemitism around the world and, consequently, run counter to the Council’s noble goals of protecting and promoting human rights for all,” Singer added. “We must do everything in our power to minimize the vast potential damage before it spirals out of control.”
“In my meeting with Commissioner Bachelet last month, I expressed the serious concern of Jewish communities worldwide regarding this blacklist. I conveyed the same message in my meetings with the ambassadors of Brazil, Russia, Romania, and Argentina, and in a series of letters to many of the important players in the UNHRC,” Singer added.
“I sincerely hope that the members of this Council will recognize the devastation such a report can cause. We urge the international community to join us in condemning this biased and damaging publication and work together to ensure that it is taken completely off the table,” he said.
“The WJC will continue working with the various missions and the Office of the High Commissioner on this critical matter in an effective and professional manner,” Singer said.