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US to punish countries over UN blacklist of firms in settlements

March 4, 2020 at 11:12 am

Logos of Airbnb are seen with a house mock-up onto it, on December 30, 2019 in Ankara, Turkey. [Metin Aktaş/Anadolu Agency]

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the State Department will take action against what he called the “harassment” of US businesses blacklisted by the “so-called” UN Human Rights Council.

“Neither the UN Human Rights Council nor the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights can tell you what to do,” Pompeo told the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the largest pro-Israel lobby group in North America.

He described the list of companies profiting from Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as “a real threat” and intended to strengthen the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

“If you face harassment, let America know and the US will respond to take action [to help] members of our business community that are being threatened by this release that was so sorely mistaken,” added the US official. “This [the UN] was an organisation set up to ensure no one ever endured suffering like Jews did in the Holocaust, and now it is anti-Semitic… [the] UN’s so-called human rights council… betrays its most fundamental mandate.”

READ: Israel says US will ‘punish’ those who boycott UN blacklist companies

Pompeo’s move was predicted by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN during his speech to AIPAC at the weekend. “This further attests to the strength of the bond of the US-Israel relationship and the alliance between the peoples,” explained Danny Danon.

His comment was made before US Vice President Mike Pence told AIPAC, “In the days ahead, we must ensure the most pro-Israel president in history must not be replaced by one who would be the most anti-Israel president in the history of this nation. That’s why we need four more years of President Trump in the White House.”

Commentators have pointed to this as clear evidence of the Trump White House pursuing an “Israel first” policy, rather than the oft-claimed “America first”.