UN accused of ‘blood libel’ against Israel, latest in long history of alleged bias against Jewish state
The United Nations (UN) has been accused of perpetuating a “blood libel” against Israel after its human rights office named companies it says are linked to Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.
The office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights listed 112 companies in a report it described as a “database” of businesses that it said have direct links with “maintaining or operating settlements in occupied Palestinian territory” without providing any further details or clarification.
The companies mentioned in the report, which range from banks to technology firms to real estate developments, are largely based in the US, Europe, and some in Israel.
The move has sparked outrage among Israeli officials, who have accused the UN of promoting an anti-Semitic “blood libel” against the Jewish state. They claim the report is part of a long history of alleged bias against Israel at the international organization.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called the report “a dark day for human rights at the UN” and accused the High Commissioner of engaging in “political games instead of working to promote human rights around the world.”
“The actions of the High Commissioner signal the desire to harm Israel instead of helping achieve peace in the region,” he said in a statement.
The US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, while saying that Washington did not agree with or support settlement activity, accused the UN of distracting from its “important calling.”
“This blacklist of companies is unhelpful. It does nothing to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In fact, it does just the opposite. It takes both sides further away from what is needed. It perpetuates the conflict and entrenches the divides,” she said in a statement.
The European Union also condemned the “unhelpful measure” as it feared it “will increase tensions on the ground and further complicate efforts to rebuild trust between the parties.”
The UN Human Rights Office defended its report, saying it only presents information that is already publicly available and contains no actionable recommendations.
It said the “primary purpose” of the list is to provide transparency and to signal to challenging companies’ business that operations in respect to settlements might entailed reputational and legal risks.
However, the report has reignited a long-standing debate about alleged anti-Israel bias within the ranks of the UN. Critics say the world body has long used Israel as a punching bag and scapegoat to deflect from other international conflicts.
The latest report is only fueling those claims and is likely to complicate any attempts to revive negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.