Human Rights

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Watchdog Blasts UN Human Rights Council for Appointing Biased Academic to Investigate Israel

The Geneva-based organization UN Watch blasted the United Nations Human Rights Council for appointing Michael Lynk, a Canadian academic with a record of anti-Israel statements, to be the council’s rapporteur to investigate “Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law.”

A statement by UN Watch on Wednesday charged that Lynk “fails the minimal impartiality requirements set forth in Human Rights Council resolution 5/1,” which states that the criteria for appointees include impartiality and objectivity. UN Watch listed numerous statements and actions taken by Lynk that call into his impartiality when it comes to Israel.

1) He serves on the board of a group, Canadian-Palestinian Education Exchange” (CEPAL), that promotes Israel Apartheid Week.

2) In 2001 he gave a speech at a CEPAL event promoting Palestinian “popular resistance.”

3) In 2009, Lynk signed a statement condemning Israel for committing “war crimes” in Gaza before any investigation had been carried out.

4) Lynk, in an interview said that “the principal issue is to persuade countries, like Canada, France, Australia, England, and other countries that accepted the Rome Statute, to try Israel.” Lynk did not call for the prosecution of Palestinian leaders for their targeting of civilians.

5) Lynk spoke at a “One State Solution” conference, which had the goal of undermining Israel in 2009. His participation came just a half year after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected a peace agreement offered by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. UN Watch noted that “one state solution” is “thinly veiled language for the elimination of the Jewish state.”

6) According to the summary of a talk Lynk gave at another conference he expressed that he “used to think the critical date in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was 1967, the start of the occupation. Now he thinks the solution to the problem must go back to 1948, the date of partition and the start of ethnic cleansing.”

7) Lynk has also expressed that he wants to “isolate Israel” through winning a case against  the Jewish state at the International Criminal Court.

“Someone who accuses Israel of ‘Apartheid’ and openly seeks to dismantle the Jewish state is neither impartial nor objective,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. “We call on Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and all other Council members to uphold the Council’s own basic principles and oppose Lynk’s nomination in tomorrow’s vote.”

Lynk also has a history of anti-Western statements, blaming the 9/11 terror attacks on “global inequalities” and “disregard by Western nations for the international rule of law.” “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.

The mandate for the council’s rapporteur on Israel has faced criticism in the past, as it is rooted in the premise that Israel is violating international law– effectively abandoning due process and declaring the state guilty in advance of any investigation– and does not seek to address any allegations of Palestinian misconduct. Israel is also the only country to have a dedicated item on the UNHRC’s agenda, meaning that it must be discussed during every council meeting.

A  47-nation plenary is slated to vote on Lynk’s nomination Thursday. UN Watch’s efforts to steer the Council to abide by its own founding principles was challenged by Council’s Arab bloc, which accused UN Watch of being a “political and biased source.”

[Photo: PSACAFPC / YouTube ]