(JTA) – The appointment of a Canadian law professor seen as strongly anti-Israel to a top UN position is coming under fire.
Jewish groups and Canada’s main opposition party say Michael Lynk, who was confirmed Thursday as the Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, has exhibited a long-held and public anti-Israel bias. The council was expected to accept the appointment without a vote.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) said Lynk, a law professor at Western University in London, Ontario, “has been significantly involved in anti-Israel advocacy in Canada.” The group cited Lynk signing anti-Israel petitions, calling for Israel to be prosecuted for war crimes, accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing, addressing conferences promoting one state, and serving as a leader of a group that promotes Israel Apartheid Week.
“We strongly denounce the appointment of Michael Lynk to this role,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of CIJA. “Despite the specific requirement that candidates for the position demonstrate impartiality and objectivity, Mr. Lynk has a long record of involvement with anti-Israel initiatives and has repeatedly made public statements that demonstrate hostility towards Israel.”
CIJA called on the government of Canada to object to the appointment.
So did B’nai Brith Canada, which said Lynk will be assuming “the mantle of chief propagandist for some of the world’s worst human rights violators.” The group said Lynk has “a long history of comparing Israel to the Nazis and promoting anti-Israel campaigns,” adding that the Human Rights Council “has demonstrated its intent to continue its ongoing agenda of demonizing the world’s only Jewish state.”
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed “profound disappointment” at Lynk’s nomination to the post, charging he has been heavily criticized as a biased opponent of Israel who blamed the West for the 9/11 attacks.
In a statement, the Geneva-based UN Watch said the United Nations’ choice of “a manifestly partisan candidate – someone who three days after 9/11 blamed the West for provoking the attacks – constitutes a travesty of justice and a breach of the world body’s own rules.
“Someone who accuses Israel of apartheid and openly seeks to dismantle the Jewish state is neither impartial nor objective,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
In a March 16 letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Peter Kent, the opposition Conservative Party’s foreign affairs critic, called for Lynk to be disqualified from consideration for the post.
“To avoid further embarrassment and controversy, while also ensuring Israel is not unfairly targeted yet again by a UN body, this position must be filled by a candidate with an objective voice,” Kent wrote.