TEL AVIV – The United Nations on Wednesday published its long-anticipated blacklist of more than 100 Israeli businesses that operate in West Bank settlements.
The UNCHR’s list was denounced as by Israeli leaders, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowing to “contest it with all of our strength” while President Reuven Rivlin said its publication brought to mind “dark periods in our history.”
The Palestinians hailed the move as a “victory for international law.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tweeted the UN “hit a new low today publishing its Antisemitic blacklist of companies it claims are involved in Israeli ‘settlement activity.’”
Multiple efforts were made by the U.S. to halt the list’s publication, which took four years to compile. It comes months after the U.S. announced that it no longer considers West Bank settlements to be illegal and weeks after President Donald Trump unveiled his peace plan which allows for Israeli sovereignty over those communities.
Of the 112 companies listed, 94 are Israeli businesses and 18 are international, including General Mills, producers of famous brands including Häagen-Dasz and Cheerios; Airbnb; TripAdvisor; Expedia; and communications giant Motorola. The Israeli companies listed include large corporations such as all the major banks, transportation firms Egged and Israel Railways Corporation, and all major telecommunications companies, as well as smaller businesses including popular restaurant chains.
The companies were not informed prior to the publication of the list.
“Those who boycott us will be boycotted themselves,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
“The UN Human Rights Council is a biased and uninfluential body. There is a reason why I already instructed to sever any connection with this body, and the US administration took that step with us. In recent years, we have promoted laws… stating that steps must be taken against anyone attempting to boycott Israel. Therefore, this body is insignificant. Instead of the organization dealing with human rights, it only attempts to discredit Israel. We reject any such attempt.”
Foreign Minister Israel Katz charged the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet of giving in to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
“The high commissioner’s decision to continue the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) anti-Israeli stance is a stain on her office,” Katz said.
He went on to note that the council constituted countries that are major human rights violators on the world stage.
“The State of Israel will not accept such discriminatory and anti-Israeli policies, and we will work in all ways to prevent such decisions from being implemented,” Katz said.
“I am proud to give these businesses a platform,” President Reuven Rivlin said after reading out a long list of Israeli companies mentioned on the list.
“I am proud that these are Israeli businesses, patriots who contribute to Israeli society, to economy and to peace. Although we do not promote private businesses here in this house, when Israeli businesses are under the threat of boycott, we will stand with them,” he said.
“Boycotting Israeli companies does not advance the cause of peace and does not build confidence between the sides. We call on our friends around the world to speak out against this shameful initiative which reminds us of dark periods in our history,” he said.