US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said the US government would not furnish any information for a database of companies operating in Israeli-controlled territories that the UN’s human rights office released.
“The United States has long opposed the creation or release of this database,” Pompeo said in a statement. “Its publication only confirms the unrelenting anti-Israel bias so prevalent at the United Nations … Attempts to isolate Israel run counter to all of our efforts to build conditions conducive to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that lead to a comprehensive and enduring peace.”
He urged other countries to join the US in rejecting the effort.
The United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday named 112 companies it said have business ties to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
A spokesman for Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the report was not a “blacklist” and was not intended to qualify any of the companies’ business activities as illegal.
But the release prompted a Palestinian threat of legal action against the firms, and raised concerns that the companies could be targets of boycotts or divestment to pressure Israel over its settlements.
Pompeo, along with two leading US Senators, assailed the release for its potential of making companies boycott targets.
Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator Rob Portman, who sit on the Finance Committee and Foreign Relations Committee, called it an “anti-Israel database, akin to a blacklist, of companies” that made major US companies, including General Mills and Airbnb vulnerable to boycotts.