U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley slammed a UN report documenting 206 companies with ties to Israeli settlements as evidence of an “anti-Israeli obsession” in the organization.
Categorizing the 16-page work of the Human Rights Council as “a waste of time and resources,” Haley said Wednesday the document could lead to a “blacklist” of businesses that Israeli officials fear would be targeted for an international boycott.
“This whole issue is outside the bounds of the High Commissioner for Human Rights office’s mandate and is a waste of time and resources,” Haley said in a statement.
The 47-member Human Rights Council, which both the U.S. and Israel have criticized repeatedly for its anti-Israel bias, was established in 2006. It replaced the Human Rights Commission which itself drew frequent critizism for its acceptance of members with dubious human rights records.
It voted last year to compile a blacklist of companies that do business in Israeli settlements, meaning Jewish communities in the West Bank or eastern sections of Jerusalem. The resolution called on the rights office to create “database” of companies found to engage in any of 10 activities, either explicitly linked to the settlements or supportive of them.
The move, pushed by the Palestinian delegation, typifies the anti-Israeli “boycott, divestment and sanctions” (BDS) movement of pro-Palestinian activists.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley has made cracking down on the UN’s anti-Israel bias a top priority since taking her position last year. In March she won a significant victory when, after complaints from the U.S., the UN withdrew a report that called Israel an “apartheid state.’
In particular, Haley has put focus on the Human Rights Council for its anti-Israel bias and a membership that includes countries such as Venezuela, Cuba and Saudi Arabia. In June she called the Council a “haven of dictators.”
Now she wants the UN to desist from naming countries that do business in Israeli settlements.
“While we note that they wisely refrained from listing individual companies, the fact that the report was issued at all is yet another reminder of the Council’s anti-Israel obsession,” said Haley.
“The United States will continue to aggressively push back against the anti-Israel bias, and advance badly needed reforms of the Council,” she added.
Of the 206 companies under review, 143 are based in Israel or in the settlements, 22 in the United States, seven in Germany, five in the Netherlands and four in France.
Eugene Kontorovich, head of International Law at the Kohelet Policy Forum, a conservative think-tank in Jerusalem, said no international law was being violated by countries who do business in settlements, and said Israel was being singled out unfairly.
“The U.N. Human Rights Council is supposed to be about human rights, not Israeli wrongs, so to create a report just about Israel seems to go against its own mission,” he said.
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