This article currently appears in The Algemeiner:
With humble apologies and much respect to the fabulous Australian marsupials, it must be said that the Russell Tribunal is nothing more than a kangaroo court. The Russell Tribunal or International War Crimes Tribunal was founded by British philosopher, Bertrand Russell in 1966 with the aim of investigating America’s foreign policy and military intervention in Vietnam. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine was founded in March 1999 with the purpose of investigating crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians. Charges of practising Apartheid have been levelled at the Jewish state. Strange how no investigations have ever been carried out by the Tribunal against suicide bombings or incitement to hate.
This weekend the Tribunal wrapped up four years of “investigations” and members made their recommendation to the ICC to investigate crimes committed by Israelis against Palestinians, simultaneously calling for a boycott on the import of goods from the West Bank.
Let’s examine the credentials of some of the esteemed jurists who serve on the Russell Tribunal for Palestine:
The jury in this particular Tribunal included the late Stephane Hessel, who claimed to be a survivor of Buchenwald Concentration Camp. On closer inspection it was found that the only records of a Stephane Hessel were of prisoner 10033 who entered Buchenwald on 17 August 1944 and died of typhoid. The Stephane Hessel in question died on the 26th of February 2013 at the age of 88.
Former Pink Floyd member, Roger Waters, seems to have forgone bass playing and song writing for political posturing. Fond of commenting on walls, whether it is The Wall or the erm….other wall (we call it a security fence), Waters has made his dissatisfaction and disdain public. On the issue of the rights of Israeli civilians who are targets for rockets and suicide bombers, Waters is comfortably numb.
Former South African Minister of Intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils, is also a card carrying member of the ANC.. Kasrils’ own human rights record is almost farcical. Ask him about the Bisho massacre which resulted in the deaths of 28 people. The Bisho massacre is a serious black mark on Red Ronnie’s record. Investigated by the Goldstone Commission (yes, it is true) Kasrils was severely criticised for his part. Then sometimes Red Ronnie goes green – Hamas flag waving green. For a man who prides himself on his fight against the racist Apartheid machine, one has to wonder what he was thinking inviting Hamas leader, Ismael Haniyeh, he who advocates the destruction of Israel and genocide of the Jews to South Africa. Now that is just not cricket…
John Dugard is a professor of International Law. A favoured UN lackey, Dugard reports to the UN Human Rights Council on “the situation in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967”.In 2001 Dugard was appointed as an unpaid expert by the UN Human Rights Commission to investigate only violations by the Israeli side, prompting Israel and the U.S. to dismiss his reports as one-sided. Now with friends like this….
Alice Walker is one of America’s most celebrated writers. Famous for writing “The Colour Purple”, Walker was active in the civil rights movement and credits Dr Martin Luther King as the catalyst for her involvement. She must have been absent when Dr King, always a strong supporter of Israel and Zionism declared that “Israel is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvellous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security, and that security must be a reality.” In an interview in June 2011, Walker characterised the United States and Israel as “terrorist organizations” stating “When you terrorize people, when you make them so afraid of you that they are just mentally and psychologically wounded for life — that’s terrorism.” Walker has banned The Colour Purple from being published in Israel. She dishonours the memory of Dr Martin Luther King and all he stood for.
While the Tribunal enjoys no legal jurisdiction and cannot implement penalties, it can make recommendations as discussed above. In the interest of balance it would behove the Tribunal to allow for pro-Israel jurists or take testimony from victims of terror in Israel.
Anything else is just a witch hunt or in this case, kangaroo court, albeit in smart clothing.