(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
B’nai B'rith Speaks Out At United Nations Human Rights Council Against Biased Report On 2014 Gaza Conflict
B’nai B’rith International was responsible for delivering two statements on June 29 at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, both relating to the council’s recent report on the 2014 Hamas-initiated Gaza conflict.
The first, delivered by B’nai B’rith representative to the United Nations in Geneva Klaus Netter, admonished the council for its refusal to even acknowledge the terrorist group Hamas by name in its resolution launching the investigation, let alone fully recognizing its true intentions to destroy Israel. Netter said: “Human rights mechanisms such as this Council often see their role as to name-and-shame human rights abusers. Unless the abuser is Hamas. In that case, the Council will ignore-and-obscure. We must ask: What it will take for this Council to pronounce the name ‘Hamas?’”
Netter noted: “There is no moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas. As recently confirmed by a group of international military experts, Israel far exceeded the obligations of International Humanitarian Law in its counter-terrorism operations last summer. Hamas, on the other hand, dug tunnels into Israeli territory with the sole aim of carrying out horrendous terrorist attacks against Israeli farming communities near the border.”
In his statement, Netter focused on the lack of acknowledgement that Israel was defending itself against the “ruthless terrorist organization” that is Hamas.
Click here to read Netter’s intervention: http://bit.ly/1g2xdHs
Separately, in cooperation with JINSA (the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs), Geoffrey Corn, a professor of law and the U.S. Army’s former senior expert on the Law of Armed Conflict, spoke under Agenda Item 7 about the flaws inherent in the report on the Gaza conflict.
In his intervention, Corn raised a number of objections to the validity and accuracy of the report. At one point, he focused on how Hamas terrorists hid fighters and weapons among the civilian population of Gaza: “Specifically, it omits assessment of how an enemy’s systemic failure to distinguish himself from civilians, and in fact deliberately exploit the perception of civilian status, impacts the reasonableness of attack judgments.”
Click here to read Corn’s intervention: http://bit.ly/1InXBGL
To watch these interventions, see Chapter 49 (02:03:18, Netter) and Chapter 53 (02:11:55, Corn) here: http://webtv.un.org/watch/item7-general-debate-34th-meeting-29th-regular-session-of-human-rights-council/4328108187001
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
In the wake of the naming of partisan “experts” to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) “independent, international commission of inquiry” on Gaza, B’nai B’rith International reaffirms its clear expectation of bias on the part of the probe. The UNHRC selected William Schabas of Canada, Doudou Diène of Senegal, and Amal Alamuddin of Britain.
B’nai B’rith considers the commission itself illegitimate as it was born of a UNHRC resolution that stridently excoriated Israel in advance of the “inquiry” it launched and didn’t so much as mention Hamas by name. It was specifically designed to scrutinize not years of cross-border terrorist attacks against Israelis, but rather Israel’s defensive response to them. Any suggestion that there is equivalence between terrorism and a state defending its civilians from that threat is both outrageous and unacceptable.
Naming individuals with prior, public positions harshly critical of Israeli policy reinforces strong anticipation that the Gaza probe’s conclusions are foregone. Schabas, for example, was quoted in 2013 as saying, “my favorite would be [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu within the dock of the International Criminal Court.”
Alamuddin—who is engaged to actor George Clooney—has now said she is unavailable to sit on the UNHRC commission. Nonetheless, she specified in a statement that she was “horrified” by what she called the “crimes” committed in the “occupied Gaza Strip.” Gaza, however, saw all Israeli military personnel and civilians depart in 2005, and it has been the origin of relentless, criminal violence against the civilians of Israel by Palestinian terrorist groups led by Hamas. Her intended appointment reveals not only the inherent bias of the UNHRC commission and its dispatchers, but also a deplorable attempt to garner publicity for yet another exercise in anti-Israel bias.
See where B'nai B'rith International stands on the issues.