FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Crimes Behind Israel’s Crimes

by SHERRY WOLF

Last Friday, Palestinian activist Mohammed Khatib, dubbed “a modern-day Gandhi” by the LA Times, was beaten by Israeli armed forces at a peaceful protest. A leader of popular resistance in the West Bank town of Bil’in, Khatib lives by the credo: “Nonviolence is our most powerful weapon.”

That perhaps, along with global exposure of the documented human rights abuses and recognized violations of international law by the state of Israel and its collaborators.

In 2009, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine was founded to do exactly that. First in Barcelona, then London, Cape Town, and now coming to New York City in early October, the tribunal gathers legal experts, scholars, activists, and other people of note to help shed light on the reality of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and demands accountability from Israel’s corporate and international enablers.

Coming to the doorstep of the United Nations in the financial capital of the United States is a bold move for the Russell Tribunal. Amidst the pre-election campaign buzz in which both major parties unequivocally support Israel’s actions, these non-binding hearings will place UN and US policies vis-à-vis Israel on trial.

Among the renowned figures who will publicly offer and weigh testimony in New York City are Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Russell Means, Saleh Hamayel, Dennis Banks, and a Who’s Who of others on the international human rights front.

Khatib himself was a witness at the Cape Town hearings, testifying to the fact that Israel is in breach of the prohibition on apartheid under international law. New York’s tribunal aims to go back to the root of the conflict and focus on UN and US responsibility in the denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination.

Walker, Davis, Means, and Banks—all of whom are Black or Native American—are among the Russell Tribunal participants to issue an “urgent call to others who share our commitment to racial justice, equality, and freedom.” They invite people to attend the hearings in New York City on October 6 and 7, writing, “Each and every one of us—particularly those of us and our fellow jury members who grew up in the Jim Crow South, in apartheid South Africa, and on Indian reservations in the United States—is shocked by what Israel is doing to the Palestinians.” They continue:

Not since Operation Wetback and Operation Gatekeeper have so many families been torn apart; not since Jim Crow have so many rights been denied; not since reservations and internment camps has the United States invested in so many apartheid walls, fences, and cages.

There is no pretense about these hearings. Its participants understand that institutions held in high esteem, such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, have documented Israel’s crimes in the past. The ICJ, in a 1,067-page dossier, has already delineated many violations of international law concerning the “separation barrier” or “apartheid wall,” the 470-mile-long barrier guarded by soldiers with high-powered weapons and checkpoints.

With sessions concerning the legal responsibility of intergovernmental organizations like the UN and the role of the US in supporting violations of Palestinians’ rights, the tribunal is a means of forcing a public debate in the United States to “prevent the crime of silence.” The Nobel Prize winner Lord Bertrand Russell penned those words to define the goal of the original people’s tribunal in 1966, the International War Crimes Tribunal that placed the crimes of the Vietnam war on trial with the support of Jean-Paul Sartre, James Baldwin, Simone de Beauvoir, and many others.

In addition to shining a light on the US and UN’s crimes behind Israel’s crimes, the tribunal aims to stir people to action. The successful example of the international movement against apartheid South Africa that escalated in the 1980s inspires many to divest, boycott, and sanction (BDS) apartheid Israel. Many participants believe the tribunal can give a boost to the rising BDS civil rights movement.

As organizers explain, “The legitimacy of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine does not come from a government or any political party but from the prestige, professional interests and commitment to fundamental rights of the Members that constitute this Tribunal.”

It is easy for the US media and social justice-minded people to ignore the arcane doings of intergovernmental bodies. But when “the two most famous Indians since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse,” Russell Means and Dennis Banks, stand alongside the most prominent woman of the Black Power movement, Angela Davis, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, Alice Walker, and the world’s leading public intellectual, Noam Chomsky, it is hard to look away. 

Registration is now open for the Russell Tribunal on Palestine-NYC, http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/sessions/future-sessions. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RussellTribunal.

Sherry Wolf is the author of Sexuality and Socialism and is a member of Adalah-NY working to build the Russell Tribunal on Palestine-NYC.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
Osha Neumann
A White Guy Watches “The Black Panther”
Stephen Cooper
Rebel Talk with Nattali Rize: the Interview
David Yearsley
Market Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail