The President of Chile, Verónica Michelle Bachelet

World Jewish Congress has praised United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet for postponing the publication of a blacklist of Israeli and foreign companies operating in the West Bank.

The schedule was expected to be released at the UN Human Rights Council’s 40th session in Geneva this month.
WJC CEO Robert Singer expressed his concern over the blacklist at a private meeting with Bachelet in Geneva last month.

He also conveyed the message with ambassadors of Brazil, Russia, Romania and Argentina, and in letters to important players in the UNHRC.
Singer described the High Commissioner’s decision as principled to professionally evaluate then postpone the report’s publication.
“While we appreciate her stance that time is needed to fully consider the input submitted and ensure that due process is respected, we underscore our position that this publication should not only be postponed, but cancelled in its entirety,” Singer noted.
“The publication of such a database falls well beyond the mandate of the Council and is a politically motivated exercise which would financially hurt thousands of employees of the targeted companies, both Israeli and Palestinian, whose livelihood and personal security would be compromised.”
Singer added that backers of the report often promoted an agenda expressing dialogue that is anti-Semitic and hurtful to Jewish people.

“Should the database be published, we fear actions of the Council may inadvertently lead to the targeting of Jewish communities and fuel anti-Semitism around the world and, consequently, run counter to the Council’s noble goals of protecting and promoting human rights for all,” he said.

“We must do everything in our power to minimise the potential damage before it spirals out of control.”
Singer hoped Council members would recognise the devastation such a report might cause.

“We urge the international community to join us in condemning this biased and damaging publication and work together to ensure it is taken completely off the table,” he said.
“WJC will continue working with various missions and the Office of the High Commissioner on this critical matter in an effective and professional manner.”

By Howard Lawrence