Last year, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a database of corporations that do business “directly or indirectly” with Israeli settlements. High Commissioner of Human Rights Prince Zeid Raad al-Hussein of Jordan recently demanded of some businesses that they supply information “confirming, clarifying, or contesting” their place in the database and threatening to release it publicly at the end of the year. So far, only one of the companies has been willing to make Zeid’s communication public, although some have leaked information to the press. Anne Bayefsky writes:
Recipients [of Zeid’s letters] reportedly include Coca-Cola, Caterpillar, Priceline.com, TripAdvisor, and Airbnb, as well as Israeli businesses such as the pharmaceutical leader Teva, the country’s two largest banks (Hapoalim and Leumi), the bus company Egged, the national water company Mekorot, and other major Israeli businesses. . . . [These] companies face public censure—driven by the UN’s vast global network—unless they comply with the demands of Zeid and the Human Rights Council. . . .
The fact is that UN Human Rights Council resolutions have the legal status of toilet paper. But that isn’t stopping the high commissioner from huffing, puffing, and bluffing. And alarmingly, until now, nearly all the recipients of these letters appear to have been playing by the blackmailer’s rules [by not commenting publicly]. . . . Shareholders, employees, and communities that depend on the well-being of the blackmailed companies—along with the elected representatives responsible for serving these constituents—have been kept in the dark. . . .
[O]n the off-chance that the UN letterhead makes American CEOs nervous, they need to be reminded that they owe their allegiance to American law and public policy. It is [high time] for Congress and President Trump to step up and answer this UN assault on American businesses and our ally Israel.
Three simple, morally unambiguous steps will do it: the expeditious adoption of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act [currently before Congress], the immediate resignation of the United States from the . . . UNHRC, [and] refusal to send Prince Zeid another penny.