(Washington, D.C., Feb. 12, 2020)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We are deeply appalled by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) shameful release of a blacklist of companies with business interests in Israeli territory captured during the defensive Six-Day War of 1967, which includes portions of Jerusalem. The thoroughly discredited U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) had mandated OHCHR to create the database. The list was released today with no notice to the companies affected.
OHCHR does not have the competency to compile such a list, nor does it have the jurisdiction. It, and the UNHRC, are mandated to deal with actions by states, not businesses. When it comes to Israel, however, a special standard is always applied at the U.N. There are plenty of other situations where territories are disputed, however, the only blacklist that exists targets Israel and it is likely that no other country will be targeted with a similar list.
The list, which targets some of the largest and most important corporations in Israel, including the largest banks and telecommunications companies, is clearly meant to serve as a clearinghouse of information for anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns targeting Israel. One hundred and twelve companies are affected; the vast majority – 94 – are based in Israel, but there are others headquartered in the United States, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Thailand and Luxembourg.
The U.N.’s single-minded obsession with Israel is completely unjustified. Instead of helping facilitate peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the world body continues to provoke tensions. Peace can only come from direct engagement between the two sides, not from discriminatory dicta issued by third parties. It is time for those who see the hypocrisy in these kinds of actions to stand up and speak out.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org