Former UN “Special Rapporteur” Accuses Israel of “Apartheid” on NewsTalk 1010 Radio

April 2, 2023

On the March 30 edition of NewsTalk 1010’s radio program The Rush, hosted by Reshmi Nair, Michael Lynk, the former United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories, was interviewed.

The focus of NewsTalk 1010’s interview with Lynk (listen by clicking the video player below) was about his recent column published in The Conversation entitled: “Why is Canada rejecting evidence of Israeli apartheid against Palestinians?,” co-written with University of Ottawa Professor Alex Neve, former secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.

In his interview with Reshmi Nair, Michael Lynk repeated his longstanding accusation that Israel practices “apartheid” against the Palestinians, as well as against Israeli Arabs, saying that in recent years, human rights organizations have stated that” apartheid exists, either in the occupied Palestinian territories…or in Israel and the occupied territories…between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.”

For her part, Nair tacitly accepted the Lynk’s premise that Israel is an apartheid state by failing to challenge Lynk’s claims.

Referring to a so-called “growing consensus,” Lynk then complained to Nair that Canada has rejected these claims against Israel.

While Lynk repeatedly accused Israel of practicing “apartheid” against Palestinians, the bulk of his arguments made during the radio interview surrounded this alleged consensus, particularly from human rights groups, but in spite of these serious allegations made against Israel, Lynk failed to share why the reports from these organizations cannot be trusted at face value.

For instance, while it is true that organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have accused Israel of apartheid, the conclusions of these groups must be taken with a grain of salt.

Both organizations have a long history of aggressively targeting Israel for opprobrium and singling out the Jewish State for condemnation. Furthermore, despite their provocative accusations, these groups frequently lack credible methodology for determining the veracity of their claims according to NGO Monitor.

Lynk told Nair that apartheid is the appropriate word for Israel’s practices because it most accurately describes “two different peoples living in the same geographic and political space but with such unequal rights based entirely on their ethnicity and nationality.”

However, this is a gross oversimplification on Lynk’s part.

Within Israel, Jews and Arabs alike enjoy full and equal rights, including what jobs they want to pursue, or where they want to live. This resembles nothing like South Africa’s apartheid regime, where Blacks and Whites were separated, and the rights of the country’s Black majority was severely curtailed.

Within the Palestinian territories, the situation may be more complex, but it is still not apartheid.

Israel has offered the Palestinian leadership self-governance, most famously during the 2000 Camp David Summit, when then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat all of Gaza, eastern Jerusalem, and virtually all of Judea & Samaria (referred to by the media as the “West Bank”) with mutually-agreed upon land swaps. The offer was rejected without a counter-offer.

Had that offer been accepted, the Palestinians today would have their own state, with eastern Jerusalem as their own capital city. Indeed, the Palestinian leadership could at any time negotiate in good faith with Israel, rather than funding terrorism and inciting violence against Israel amongst its people.

The vast majority of Palestinians live under the civil control of the Palestinian Authority, not Israel. Israel, like all countries, is responsible for its own citizens, not non-citizens living under the leadership of a foreign power, in this case, the Palestinian Authority, which has shown little to no interest in creating a Palestinian state for its people.

Once again, these scenarios bear no resemblance to South Africa, where the country’s White and Black populations – both of whom were citizens of the same country – were treated completely different.

As for Lynk’s claim that Israel’s alleged crime is now a consensus, this appears to be out of step with the people who actually suffered apartheid: South Africans.

As Rhoda Kadalie, a former anti-apartheid campaigner in South Africa, wrote, “few of those who directly suffered from apartheid directly have bought” the assertion that Israel practices the same against Palestinians.

Lynk is no stranger to controversy. He has been long participated in anti-Israel events and efforts, has dismissed Israel’s concerns about terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and has partnered with groups promoting a boycott of Israel. In 2016, when Lynk was appointed by the United Nations, Canada’s foreign minister at the time, Stephane Dion, called on the world body to review its appointment.

Throughout the course of his interview accusing Israel of apartheid, Lynk never mentioned the Palestinian leadership or its central role in obstructing any potential for a Palestinian state, or its responsibility in taking care of its own people.

For her part, NewsTalk 1010 host Reshmi Nair never challenged Lynk on his controversial claims, instead thanking him at the conclusion of the interview, and saying that “I appreciate all the work that you do.” That failure to hold him accountable for his questionable declarations should have been replaced by thoughtful, critical questions, not a fawning statement of appreciation.

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