UN list companies Israeli settlement, it seeks to blur the borders.
The wall-to-wall support for West Bank settlements voiced in Israel on Wednesday in response to the UN human rights office’s release of a list of businesses operating in the settlements shows that the annexation everyone is talking about these days has actually happened de facto long ago.
Without any dramatic Knesset votes or referendums, and without the need for any favors from the Trump administration, the entire Israeli establishment stood unambiguously on the side of the settlements.
Granted, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surprisingly restrained himself from accusing the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of anti-Semitism. But he did announce, as is customary among countries that are becoming increasingly internationally isolated, that “If anyone boycotts us, we’ll boycott them.” Israel is already boycotting the International Criminal Court and numerous other multilateral organizations, so adding one more to the list won’t be a big deal.
Ministers from Netanyahu’s Likud party, including Yariv Levin and Gilad Erdan, were less restrained. They jumped straight into the standard clichés – exploiting and cheapening the Holocaust by accusing the UN of anti-Semitism.
The prize, however, goes to President Reuven Rivlin. The very president who tries so hard to project a statesmanlike, tolerant, balanced image said that the list is a “shameful initiative reminiscent of dark periods in our history.”
In other words, publishing an international database about businesses that operate in the settlements – which is illegal according to international law and UN resolutions – is just as bad in Rivlin’s eyes as the Holocaust. It should be pointed out that this list isn’t even accompanied by any actual sanctions or boycotts, much less gas chambers.
This is also the same president who just recently hosted an impressive phalanx of dozens of world leaders at a conference against anti-Semitism in Jerusalem, where he urged them to protect democracy. Just as the international community was able to unite after World War II to promote a shared goal, he added, it must continue working together today on the basis of shared values.