TORONTO (JTA) — Canada’s foreign affairs minister has called on the United Nations to review its appointment of a Canadian law professor with a history of anti-Israel bias to a key Middle East post.
Stephane Dion is questioning the naming of Michael Lynk of Western University in Ontario as the U.N. Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on human rights in Palestine.
On Friday, the day after the council tapped Lynk, Dion tweeted: “We call on UNHRC President to review this appointment & ensure Special Rapporteur has track record that can advance peace in region.”
Canada’s opposition Conservative Party also called for Lynk to be disqualified from the position based on his past statements on Israel.
Lynk “was not put forward by Canada and does not represent the views of this government,” Dion’s office said in a statement to the Canadian Press, a national news agency.
The statement also said Canada’s U.N. ambassador made it clear that the Human Rights Council should appoint a “professional, neutral and credible” candidate, the Canadian Press noted.
Jewish advocacy groups in Canada used some of the strongest language in recent memory to denounce Lynk as having a long and public history of anti-Israel bias.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said Lynk “has been significantly involved in anti-Israel advocacy in Canada,” including signing anti-Israel petitions, calling for Israel to be prosecuted for war crimes, accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing, addressing conferences promoting one binational state, and serving as a leader of a group that promotes Israeli Apartheid Week.
Similar positions were sounded by B’nai Brith Canada and Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. The Geneva-based group UN Watch said the council’s choice of Lynk was “a travesty of justice.”