The Russell Tribunal on Palestine

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(via wendydavis at

Good day to you all.  It’s Terror Tuesday again, and as an antidote, I wanted to bring you this news in case you’d missed it.  Please excuse its copy/paste nature, but real life isn’t leaving me much extra time lately, and I wanted you all to be aware of this fourth and final session of the Peoples’ Tribunal that was held in New York City on at Cooper Union’s Great Hall, October 6–7, 2012.

“The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) is an International People’s Tribunal created by a large group of citizens involved in the promotion of peace and justice in the Middle East. These past years, following, inter alia: the international community’s failure to implement the International Court of Justice’s 2004 Advisory Opinion on the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory ; the lack of implementation of the resolution ES-10/15 confirming the ICJ Opinion, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 July 2004 ; and the Israeli offensive on Gaza in December 2008 – January 2009, committees have been created in different countries to promote and sustain a citizen’s initiative in support of the rights of the Palestinian people, with public international law as a legal frame of reference.

The RToP is imbued with the same spirit and espouses the same rigorous rules as those inherited from the Tribunal on Vietnam created by the eminent scholar and philosopher Bertrand Russell (1966-1967) and the Russell Tribunal II on Latin America (1974-1976) organized by the Lelio Basso International Foundation for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples.”   (more is here)

In these videos, three notables are speaking to us about their thoughts before the start of the Tribunal.

The Jurors were: Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Cynthia McKinney, Mairead Maguire, Stephane Hessel, Ronnie Kasrils, John Dugard, Dennis Banks, Michael Mansfield QC, Judge Martin Pallin, Miguel Angel Estrella, Roger Waters (Pink Floyd; beats me…).

 “May this Tribunal prevent the crime of silence“…

…declared Lord Bertrand Russell to define the spirit and the objective of the International War Crimes Tribunal constituted in 1966 to investigate crimes committed in Vietnam and judge them according to international law.  He says it all, given that when the existing institutions are failing in their duties to investigate or prosecute violations to international law or social justice, it’s the ethical duty of The People speak in the silence.  My hat is off to these folks.

Human rights attorney and activist Noura Erakat writing at says toward the end of her piece, ‘The US on Trial in NY: The Russell Tribunal on Palestine’:

Last week at the UN General Assembly, Barack Obama, President of the world’s most powerful country, exalted the United Nations and the ideals upon which it was built. Namely, that:

’people can resolve their differences peacefully, that diplomacy can take the place of war; and that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.’” 

Yet, as global superpower and a veto-holding member of the UN Security Council, the United States has perpetuated one of the most significant and enduring conflicts of the 20th century. By shielding Israel from accountability and by providing it with unequivocal diplomatic, economic, and military support, the United States has severely reduced the chances of establishing peace and justice among Palestinians and Israelis. To the contrary, by enabling Israeli colonial-settler expansion and militarism, the United States has inflamed tensions and entrenched chauvinistic ethno-national separatist ideals. But who has the audacity, let alone the ability, to successfully challenge the excesses of the global superpower? For the past six decades since Israel’s establishment, no nation, or group of nations, has been successful. Alternatively, like they have done in the past, ordinary people are taking a stab at it.”  (Read the rest here.)

You can watch some of this  event here on Free Speech TV, and read the tribunal’s Draft Findings here.

May we keep the flame for peace and justice alive in our hearts and minds, and try to honor and respect each other, our children and grandchildren as worthy of peaceful resolution to conflicts, without resorting to violence, whether physical or verbal, or the authoritarianism that teaches only through fear, and breeds its own pain and sometimes evil.

Peter, Paul and Mary say it right, imo:

Light one candle for the strength that we need
To never become our own foe;
Light one candle for those who are suff’ring
A pain they learned so long ago;
Light one candle for all we believe in,
That anger not tear us apart;
And light one candle to bind us together
With peace as the song in our heart!

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