Canadian University Condemned for Alleged Role in Assisting Anti-Israel UN Mandate
The University of Western Ontario was slammed on Friday by multiple Jewish rights groups for its alleged role in assisting the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in its ongoing investigation into supposed Israeli violations of international law.
The criticism followed revelations by monitor group UN Watch that, for the past 14 months, the school has allegedly extended “support in kind” to Michael Lynk, the UN’s “special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967” and a Western law professor. The university’s reported contributions to Lynk’s UNHRC work — which UN Watch called a “permanent, politicized, and prejudicial investigation” into Israel — have included the provision of “research assistants, office space and admin assistance.” UN Watch estimated the worth of these services to be $100,000.
Judy Zelikovitz — the vice president of university and local partner services at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs — said that her group had spoken with “senior administrators at Western University seeking answers” and that the school “has confirmed that they are investigating whether the resources [Lynk] is using are those that he has always been entitled to as a member of faculty (and that the University cannot withdraw from him) or if they are additional resources for his UNHRC role.”
According to Aidan Fishman, the campus advocacy coordinator for B’nai Brith Canada, the university “may not have the capacity to prevent Lynk from fulfilling his widely-condemned mandate,” but he maintained that the administration “does have an obligation to the Canadian public and members of the Western community to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not abused by materially supporting this hateful and counterproductive anti-Israel campaign.”
UN Watch sent a letter to the president of Western, Amit Chakma, demanding the school “cease and desist” from supporting Lynk’s UNHRC mandate, asserting that the Israel investigation “constitutes a violation of the university’s Institutional Principles and Values — including those of ‘integrity,’ ‘fairness’ and the ‘commitment to serve the public good’ — as well as its non-discrimination policy.”
UN Watch wrote, “Western’s actions are extraordinary,” claiming that both the mandate and the mandate-holder have proven themselves to be “biased” and the “furthest thing from impartial.”
“Lynk’s record was found to be so egregious that the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took the unprecedented step of calling on the UN to reconsider his appointment,” UN Watch added
“As it stands now, Western is the only entity in the world listed as providing financial support or assets in kind to this bigoted mandate,” according to the group.
The watchdog has also started a petition that it plans to present to Chakma after collecting 1000 signatures (at the time of this writing, the petition held 741).
Chakma was not available for comment. Three senior communications representatives did not respond to calls for comment.
An exhibit currently display at a Western art gallery has been condemned by Jewish groups as glorifying Palestinian terrorism and inciting violence. The individual behind the exhibit, a doctoral candidate at Western, is the sister of a terrorist who led the 1972 attack on 22 Israeli schoolchildren and their 3 teachers. She has honored her brother in at least one previous work.