Strong words signal strong feelings in diplomacy, and the United States last week reacted with a stern rebuke of a United Nations official’s comments after he suggested international sanctions against Israel over the Palestinian conflict would be effective. “The United States is deeply disturbed by recent comments from UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk calling for academic and economic boycotts against Israel, and by his report to the UN General Assembly,” said a statement from the US Mission to the UN.
Lynk, in a report and in follow-up press comments, called last week for sanctions against the Jewish State to force a withdrawal from territory claimed by the Palestinians, according to The Times of Israel. The news report quoted Lynk, the UN Human Rights Council special rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories, as listing out multiple examples of such sanctions and claiming those would cause a “sea change… in the attitude of the Israeli government.”
Lynk’s comments come despite the reality that the Palestinians have generally refused to even negotiate peace with Israel for years, in addition to rejecting multiple Israeli peace offers in the past. The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has repeatedly criticized the UN for being one-sided and unfair in their treatment of Israel, and the statement from her office said the latest comments from Lynk were more of the same.
“Mr. Lynk’s remarks, and the very existence of this report, underscore the Human Rights Council’s chronic anti-Israel bias,” said the statement. “The United States will continue to oppose attempts to undermine the UN system through actions that unfairly target Israel.”
The US also highlighted the unfair treatment of Israel at the UN by noting that the mandate for Lynk’s report was the infamous HRC Agenda Item 7, “the only Human Rights Council agenda item that targets a single country: Israel.”
The Israelis too pointed to the Human Rights Council as a flawed institution. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon posted to Twitter that “The @UN_HRC has lost its legitimacy. It focuses obsessively on Israel instead of resolving the world’s real human rights problems.”
Lynk’s comments fall in line with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which despite its unfair treatment of Israel has struggled to mount many meaningful sanctions against Israel so far. That doesn’t mean that Israel takes it lightly.
Danon posted the quote from Lynk about sanctioning Israel and tweeted, “Mr. Lynk exploits his position to spread hateful incitement against Israel & is acting as a BDS activist under the auspices of the @UN.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 29, 2017)