One day after last month’s vote in the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israeli activities in areas it conquered in 1967, the world body’s General Assembly approved funding to create a database of companies that do business in those areas, which some fear could be used to create a “blacklist,” Fox News reported Tuesday.
The General Assembly allocated $138,700 to create a database of businesses with commercial activities in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank. “The types of data they are talking about acquiring would be to form the basis for future sanctions against companies that did business on the West Bank,” former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton told Fox News. “That’s the only purpose of it that I can see.” Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren predicted last month that the success of the resolution (which the Obama administration chose not to veto) would boost boycott efforts.
The initial request for funding the database was submitted in April. The application stated that it would be used to “investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory”—including eastern Jerusalem—and would “produce a database of all business enterprises” in those areas.
“There is a structural, institutional bias against Israel and approving money to blacklist the Israeli companies is helping the [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] movement—basically another opportunity for the UN to single out Israel,” former Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor told Fox News. “There is nothing constructive here—this will not lead to anything but more violence in the region.” He added that further boycotts of Israel would inevitably hurt the approximately 30,000 Palestinians who are employed by Israeli companies located in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank.
A United Nations effort to boycott Israel could provoke Congressional backlash. Sen. Ben Cardin (D – Md.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, promised on Wednesday that “going forward, Congress will take action against efforts at the UN or beyond that use Resolution 2334 to target Israel.” Cardin and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a resolution in the Senate condemning the UN’s vote; a similar resolution passed the House of Representative on Thursday.
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