The head of U.N.’s top human rights agency has reportedly been sending letters to 150 companies around the world, warning them that they will soon be added to a blacklist of firms that do business in Israeli settlements.
Haaretz reports that U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has sent the letters warning that such companies are doing business in “occupied Palestinian territories” and, therefore, will be blacklisted for violating “internal law and U.N. decisions.”
The outlet reports that 30 of the companies are American, while half are Israeli.
Israel rejects the characterization that it is occupying land, instead saying some territories are disputed, and the status should be determined in final status talks with the Palestinian Authority. The PA, however, has repeatedly bolted talks and has rejected numerous Israel offers of a Palestinian state.
The Human Rights Council — which U.S. and Israeli leaders have repeatedly blasted as anti-Israel — voted in March to compile the blacklist, part of a Palestinian-backed move typical of the anti-Israeli “boycott, divestment and sanctions” movement.
Zeid’s office has been tasked with publishing the list and agreed to one postponement but is now reportedly planning to publish the list by the end of the year.
Secretary-General António Guterres’s office did not say whether he agreed with the move and said the list was still being formed.
“My understanding of that issue is the list is still being reviewed, its an issue for member states to deal with at this point,” spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told Breitbart News in August.
Haaretz reports that Israeli officials say the fear of divestment is already pushing companies to respond to Zeid by saying that they do not intend to renew the contracts in an effort to avoid being placed on the blacklist.
Both U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley and President Trump have slammed the Human Rights Council for its anti-Israel bias as well as its membership — which includes countries with poor human rights records, such as Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Venezuela.
“It is a massive source of embarrassment for the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council,” Trump said in his address to the U.N. General Assembly this month.
“Blacklisting companies without even looking at their employment practices or their contributions to local empowerment, but rather based entirely on their location in areas of conflict is contrary to the laws of international trade and to any reasonable definition of human rights,” Haley said in an address to the Human Rights Council in June. “It is an attempt to provide an international stamp of approval to the anti-Semitic BDS movement. It must be rejected.”
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.