Israeli Company Sues UN for Defamation Over Publishing of Black List

Photo by Esty Dziubov/TPS on 13 June, 2019

By: Aryeh Savir

An Israeli company that was placed on the United Nations (UN) Black List targeting Israeli businesses operating in Judea and Samaria has filed a defamation lawsuit against the international organization.

The Israeli Shurat HaDin human rights organization filed a defamation lawsuit on behalf of Rami Levy’s food and cellular companies against the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) following its publication earlier this year of a Black List.

In the report published February, the UNHRC listed 112 companies that are accused of doing business with Israeli companies based in “occupied territory” and harming the Palestinians’ human rights, including 94 businesses located in Israel, and another 18 in six other countries.

The backlisted businesses include banks, cellular companies and booking companies, including Airbnb and Israel’s Bezeq telecoms.

The purpose of the list is to bring about an international boycott of these companies, including businessman Rami Levy’s supermarket chain and cellular network.

Levy filed on Monday a defamation lawsuit against the UNHRC for NIS 280,000 (approx. $80,000) through Shurat HaDin, which specializes in the legal and economic war on terror and anti-Israel organizations.

The lawsuit states that business activity in Judea and Samaria does not violate the rights of Palestinians, but on the contrary, it benefits them.

Rami Levy’s marketing networks employ both Palestinian and Israeli workers while providing fully equal rights. The filed lawsuit notes that if anything, it can be said that the Israeli companies are improving the rights of the Palestinians and their economic well-being immeasurably.

The working conditions and benefits that the plaintiffs provide to their Palestinian workers are 10 times higher than what workers receive in the Palestinian Authority (PA) or in workplaces in its territory.

Moreover, according to the PA’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the average Palestinian worker in the PA currently earns an estimated salary of only NIS 2,200, compared to a Palestinian worker who earns up to three times as much as Rami Levy’s companies.

As for the UN’s immunity claim against lawsuits, the Shurat HaDin explained that, in general, no lawsuits can be filed against UN organizations, but that this lawsuit is exceptional.

An investigation conducted by the Shurat HaDin organization found that the Black List includes only Jewish-owned Israeli companies, and no Arab-owned Israeli companies operating in Judea and Samaria. A list was submitted to the court in a closed envelope that includes 11 such Arab-owned companies.


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