OPEN LETTER TO PM TRUDEAU
MARCH 15, 2016
PLEASE DISQUALIFY ANTI-ISRAELI CANDIDATES FOR UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR FOR PALESTINE
Dear Prime Minister:
We are writing to you today as the Official Opposition Critics for Foreign Affairs regarding two of the eligible candidates for the position of “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967”. The two leading candidates, Penny Green and Michael Lynk, have both promoted extreme anti-Israeli views. Canada must strongly and publicly condemn these two candidates and strongly advocate for their disqualification.
According to UN Watch, Ms. Green has posted tweets accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “apartheid” and has compared Israel to the Islamic State. She supports the total boycott of Israel as a part of the Boycott, Sanction and Divest (BDS) movement. She even went so far as to complain that the United States and the United Kingdom have not yet started “bombing Israel for its massacres.” It is absolutely outrageous that such an individual can be considered the leading candidate for any UN body.
Michael Lynk, a Canadian who is currently the second ranked candidate, plays a leading role in the Canadian Palestinian Education Exchange (CEPAL), 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. Mr. Lynk also blamed the events of 9/11 on “global inequalities” and “disregard by Western nations for the international rule of law.”
Regardless of the questionable nature of even requiring a one-sided UN Special Rapporteur on these issues, the two leading candidates are prima facie disqualified from the position. The rules of the UN Human Rights Council are clearly defined in resolution 5/1 and 16/21 – the criteria of “impartiality” and “objectivity” are to be of “paramount importance” when selecting and appointing mandate-holders. Ms. Green and Mr. Lynk should have been disqualified from the outset. Furthermore, Richard Falk, who held this position in 2014, is an outspoken supporter of Hamas. 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.
As you know, the House of Commons recently adopted a motion to condemn the BDS movement as an unwarranted attack against Israel. To continue standing up for the right of Israel to exist and live in peace with its neighbours, Canada must exercise its influence at the UN. We call on the Government to write to the Council president, South Korean ambassador Choi Kyong-lim, and call on him to disqualify these candidates as they do not meet even the most minimal criteria of impartiality and objectivity as required by Human Rights Council resolutions.
Given your government’s stated intent to continue building on former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s strong support of the State of Israel, we trust you will receive advice in the collegial manner intended.
The Honourable Tony Clement
Official Opposition Critic – Foreign Affairs
The Honourable Peter Kent
Official Opposition Deputy Critic – Foreign Affairs