The Russell Tribunal on Palestine Examining Israeli Crimes
The Russell Tribunal known as the International People’s War Crimes Tribunal, was originally organized by the British philosopher Bertrand Russell along with Ken Coats, Ralph Schoenman and Julio Cortanzar shortly after the defeat of the French in Vietnam in 1954.
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) was established in March 2009 to focus world’s attention on Palestine where the blatant violations of international law and human rights are taking place at the hands of the colonial Israeli occupation. Israel is now a defendant in this international court specialized to investigate cases where war crimes and crimes against humanity and violations of human rights have been committed. While it is true that this tribunal has no legal binding authority in its findings and judgments, yet it indeed possesses a very high moral legitimacy to move public opinion toward the truth hidden by the violators of human rights. Many well-known and highly respected jurists sit to hear cases along with many international foundations providing it with financial support.
The Tribunal sessions investigating Israeli practices are held in various world cities aiming at stripping Israel naked from any ability to hide its true ugly image as a major violator of human rights and the only colonial/ apartheid regime still existing in our world. The brutality of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people (whether in Palestine 48 or Palestine 67) has transformed Israel into a full-fledged apartheid regime, totally exposed during the sessions of the Tribunal to the great apprehension of the Israeli government. Officers of the Tribunal, in their filing of court briefs, have shown how Israel is steadily sliding down into the abyss of racism and apartheid by virtue of the enactment of its laws with imbedded apartheid measures aiming at dispossessing the Palestinian people from their remaining lands and from their human rights.
What concerns the jurists in the Tribunal most is the new culture of violence being perpetrated by the religious schools and the extreme right Rabbinic Council teaching Israeli youth “to purify the land of Israel from any Palestinian presence”. Abusing the Torah, they managed to turn its teachings into a real-estate book with ‘Divine Entitlements’ to possess the Palestinian lands by Jews only as “the chosen people of God”. Such egotistical doctrine being taught to Israeli youth brings back to memory the doctrine of ‘the master white Aryan race’ which ignited “the Holocaust” during the Nazi regime. Codifying apartheid in enacted laws in Israeli Parliament and in Rabbinic religious edicts respectively has no relation, whatsoever, to a democratic civil state nor to Judaism. Such practice has rightly changed the code name of Israel from “the only democracy in its neighborhood” to “the last apartheid state still existing”. The racist mentality prevailing in Israel has deep roots entrenched and nourished by the Ashkenazi (western) Talmud written to explain the Torah by Ashkenazi Rabbis who abandoned the Sephardim Talmud written by the Arab Jews who originally came from Arabia representing the real Hebrew community. The Ashkenazi conservative rabbinic council excommunicated the sect of ‘reform Jews’, mostly Americans, for abandoning the Ashkenazi Talmud which is now considered by these Rabbis more holy than the Torah itself. Abandoning the Ashkenazi Talmud by ‘the reform Jews’ of America was for the overwhelming “tone of racism” which declares the Jews as superior to all races and “other races were solely created to serve the Jews” as the chief Rabbis of Shas declared in the news media in Israel. The reform Jews of America could not be the vanguard of combating racism in America against Jews and blacks which equated ‘dogs with Jews’ while holding a racist book, the Ashkenazi Talmud, as a sacred book in their houses. The ‘reform Jews’ in America and Europe still support Israel, but not the racist mentality that has transformed the secular Zionist state into a Talmudist religious state. They have now come together forming the new lobby of “J Street” to stop the Israeli colonial settlers who adhere to a racist doctrine especially after becoming the real power in the current Israeli government which is adamant on transforming Israel into ‘a Jewish state’ that negates the presence of all non-Jews especially the Palestinian Arabs.
The Russell Tribunal, being fully aware of the above, called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to probe Israeli crimes and on the international community to force Israel to conform to international law adhered to by all legitimate states, to boycott Israeli products produced by the colonial Israeli settlers in occupied Palestine and to review Israeli brutality practiced against the Palestinians including Palestinian children harmed and tortured in Israeli prisons. Furthermore, the Tribunal has called on countries to cut their diplomatic relations with Israel if it does not stop violating international law and human rights in occupied Palestine including the Palestinians of 1948 who are Israeli citizens.
Roger Walters, a very high ranking jurist in the Tribunal said that “whoever casts doubt on the Tribunal findings let him go to the occupied Palestine territories and to the (Palestinian) refugee camps and see the truth for himself”. The renowned British lawyer Mansfield Michael said after the last session of the tribunal in 2012, that “the initiative now, after the Tribunal has finished its work, is being transferred to the civil international community and to international lawyers to carry out the work till the Palestinian people attain full justice”.