Lawfare Project calls upon the United Nations Human Rights Council to clarify its stance on the bigoted Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel and Jews

The Lawfare Project recently learned that the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) invited a number of pro-BDS organizations to participate in the HRC’s 34th session, which is currently underway.

In light of the HRC’s own history of pervasive and marked bias against the Jewish state, and the undeniably anti-human rights positions and activities of BDS proponents, The Lawfare Project called upon the HRC to publicly clarify its stance on the the BDS campaign. We hope the HRC will honor its mandate and decry the campaign and its goals of of isolating, demonizing, and bankrupting the Israeli and Jewish people, particularly given the recent reports that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley are contemplating the United States’ withdrawal from the HRC.

A PDF of the letter is available here, and the full text appears below.

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March 17, 2017


Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Michael Lynk
Special Rapporteur

Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli
President, United Nations Human Rights Council

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Dear Sirs:

We are deeply troubled by the decision to permit BADIL Resource Center, Addameer, and Al-Haq to participate in the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC). These organizations publicly and vocally advocate for the discriminatory Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, which seeks to isolate, demonize, and bankrupt Israeli and Jewish individuals. Inclusion of such entities further demonstrates the HRC’s own pervasive bias against the Jewish state and its people, which has reportedly prompted U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to suggest that the United States withdraw from the HRC.

According to its own website, the HRC is “responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and mak[ing] recommendations on them.” While BDS proponents like BADIL, Addameer, and Al-Haq purport to promote and protect the human rights of Palestinian Arabs, their actions have the opposite effect.

Ironically, the impact of BDS has repeatedly proven to harm the very people it is supposedly intended to help. When Israeli companies targeted by BDS ultimately relocate out of the disputed territories, hundreds of Palestinian employees find themselves jobless, unable to support themselves or their families. Consequently, Palestinian civilians themselves openly oppose such boycotts, but their desperate pleas are ignored by their self-proclaimed protectors.

Moreover, while organizations like those participating in the HRC session-some of which receive or have received funding from the United Nations Development Programme-busy themselves by obsessively crusading against Israel, the only democracy in the region, they refuse to acknowledge-and implicitly support-the objectively heinous abuses of human rights committed by Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and the autocratic and theocratic leaders of neighboring Arab nations against their own people. Muslim children are illegally indoctrinated from infancy and recruited to take their own lives in suicide-homicide attacks. Women are subjected to “honor violence” based on unsubstantiated accusations of impropriety and infidelity.  Homosexuals are tortured and murdered in the most draconian of ways. Journalists who expose terrorist activity and government corruption are jailed. Men, women, and children alike are forced to die as human shields protecting rocket arsenals and weapons caches.

Organizations like BADIL, Addameer, and Al-Haq unfailingly sanction these atrocities, and also dedicate their efforts exclusively to vilifying the Jewish state through economic, cultural, and academic boycotts and propaganda, to denying the human rights and humanity of the Jewish people, and to actively inciting Jew-hatred across the globe.

In truth, BDS is only pro-Palestinian to the extent that it is anti-Israel. Its inherent conclusion is that the only way to support Palestinian self-determination is to reject Jewish self-determination. BDS adherents never ask, nor explain, how the destruction of one group could lead to advancement of another. Their efforts do not seek peace. Any sincere pursuit of peace requires acceptance of a fundamental truth-that Israelis and Palestinian Arabs are entitled to equal respect and protection of their human rights.

In light of these realities, and due to the inclusion of anti-human rights groups like BADIL, Addameer, and Al-Haq in the HRC session, we hereby ask a simple question: Does the Human Rights Council support the BDS campaign against Israel?


The Lawfare ProjectUN