Jewish groups call on Canada to condemn UNHRC nomination

UN Geneva Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room WIKI COMMONS PHOTO
UN Geneva Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room WIKI COMMONS PHOTO

Jewish groups are calling on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to condemn the UN Human Rights Council’s nomination of anti-Israel University of Western Ontario law professor Stanley Michael Lynk to the position of special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories.

A letter sent out by UNHRC president Choi Kyonglim March 23 proposed that Lynk be appointed to the position. The council is expected to accept the nomination today without a vote.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, condemned the decision due to what he describes as Lynk’s bias regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict, calling it a “travesty of justice and a breach of the world body’s own rules.”


UN Watch did welcome, however, the council’s rejection of U.K. professor Penny Green, who, according to Neuer, has an even more radical and biased approach to Israel than Lynk.

“Someone who accuses Israel of ‘apartheid’ and openly seeks to dismantle the Jewish state is neither impartial nor objective. We call on Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands and all other council members to uphold the council’s own basic principles and oppose Lynk’s nomination,” Neuer said in a statement.

He held out hope that Ottawa could take a strong stand against the appointment.

“Because Lynk is Canadian, the Trudeau government can play a critical role by making clear to the UN its opposition to the appointment of a manifestly partisan candidate for a post that, under the UN’s own rules, requires complete impartiality,” he told The CJN.

According to Neuer, Lynk also blamed the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on “global inequalities” and “disregard by western nations for the international rule of law,” and proposed to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict by going “back to 1948, the date of partition and the start of ethnic cleansing.”


“One day after Islamists murdered and maimed hundreds in the heart of Europe, the UN’s appointment of someone who instinctively blames such attacks on the alleged crimes of western nations sends absolutely the worst message, at the worst time,” Neuer said in his statement.

“We strongly denounce the appointment of Michael Lynk to this role,” added Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO  of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (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.

“We call on the Government of Canada to object to this appointment and continue working with our allies to press for UN reform. Bodies like the UNHRC must be fundamentally restructured to ensure they are no longer abused as platforms for extreme agendas, but rather serve to advance the UN’s founding ideals,” Fogel said.

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) echoed Fogel’s position, citing a recent letter to Trudeau from Conservative MPs Tony Clement and Peter Kent, who charged that Lynk “plays a leading role in the Canadian Palestinian Education Exchange, a group which promotes ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ events; addresses ‘One State’ conferences which seek to eliminate Israel, and calls for the prosecution of Israel for war crimes.”

Liberal MP Michael Levitt said in a press release that Lynk’s appointment is cause for “great concern.”

“Michael Lynk… has demonstrated repeatedly that he is unsuitable to fulfill this position through his long record of anti-Israel activity,” he said. “Given the concerns that I and others have expressed to Minister Dion, I am pleased that he instructed our Ambassador to Geneva to reach out to the president of the council to underscore the importance Canada assigns to ensuring that the chosen candidate meet appropriate criteria of professionalism and neutrality.

“Clearly Michael Lynk does not meet this standard and I am exceptionally disappointed that he has been selected for this role. I know that Minister Dion shares this concern and I urge him and Global Affairs Canada to look into every available option after a full consideration of the facts.”

“This announcement comes on the heels of a spate of horrific terrorist incidents against Israelis,” said FSWC president and CEO Avi Benlolo. “Just this Monday, March 21, the son of Micah Laikin who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist, testified in Geneva to the council. He pleaded with the council to condemn the murder of his father, to condemn terrorism against Israelis in general and to act against incitement to terror in UN schools in Gaza and the West Bank. At the UNHRC, such pleadings fall on deaf ears.”

In a statement to The CJN, Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, said that his organization is “ashamed that a Canadian will be assuming the mantle of chief propagandist for some of the world’s worst human rights violators.”

“By appointing Lynk, who has a long history of comparing Israel to the Nazis and promoting anti-Israel campaigns, the council has demonstrated its intent to continue its ongoing agenda of demonizing the world’s only Jewish State,” Mostyn said. “Earlier this month, an international B’nai Brith delegation, which included our senior legal counsel, David Matas, was in Geneva to advocate against the very same anti-Israel bias evident by Lynk’s appointment.

“We call on the Canadian government to join B’nai Brith Canada in condemning this abhorrent appointment.”

If his nomination goes through, Lynk will replace Makarim Wibisono, who announced in January that he would step down over Israel’s “refusal” to co-operate with his mandate, which many consider controversial, as it is limited to investigating Israel’s human rights violations.

In his final report to the council on March 21, Wibisono citied a “lack of co-operation [that] regrettably seems to signal the continuation of a situation under which Palestinians suffer daily human rights violations under the Israeli occupation.”

In a statement to The CJN, Lynk said that the nomination has yet to be confirmed and that he is unable to comment at this time. “I would welcome, at the appropriate time, the chance to correct the misleading statements that have been said about me and my views,” he said.