Russell Tribunal on Palestine is Just as Wrong as Russell Was in 1938
Never mind that Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu used the podium of the UN General Assembly masterfully to refute Palestinian Authority President Abbas’ charge that Israel was guilty of genocide during this summer’s “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza. That calumny will not disappear. Not from the UN, where too many countries with blood on their hands, like Iran, Syria and Libya, too many powerhouse nations like land-grabbing Russia and Tibet-repressing China, too many influential NGOs like Amnesty International, are all too comfortable with Israel being portrayed as the world’s ultimate betrayer of human rights.
Never mind that this big lie feeds the resurgent monster of anti-Semitism on the very continent where 70 years ago, 6 million Jews were murdered, victims of the Nazi genocide and the world’s indifference.
Never mind that Jews the world over are praying this week for a merciful judgment from the Heavenly Tribunal on Yom Kippur. The Jewish State doesn’t stand a chance in the kangaroo courts of the UN Human Rights Council or from the self-anointed moral judges of The Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Palestine.
Timing its activities to bolster Abbas’ diplomatic campaign, the Russell Tribunal is but one organization hard at work excoriating Israel’s alleged “war crimes” during its “terrible assault” on Gaza even before presenting its cooked evidence from expert witnesses about Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” against Hamas.
In 2012, following Israel’s earlier efforts to thwart Hamas, the Russell “people’s tribunal” found the Jewish state guilty of “socoiocide” without specifying any acts of mass murder. The respected NGO Monitor watchdog said this about the tribunal’s nefarious version of the People’s Court:
“With no judicial basis, the Tribunal uses a legal faÃ§ade to create an image of neutrality and credibility. The sessions have ‘jurors’ examining expert ‘witnesses,’ and the ‘findings’ are then published. The use of legal terms and concepts such as ‘witnesses’ and ‘jurors’ belies the complete lack of legal legitimacy and basic notions of impartiality and fairness integral to any legal proceedings.”
The 2012 Tribunal’s “jurors” featured such jurisprudential luminaries as Pink Floyd lyricist Roger Waters, who floated a “pig” balloon over a Belgian performance equating the Star of David with the swastika; Israel-hating novelist Alice Walker who won’t allow her novels to be translated into Hebrew; and anti-Semitic former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D) who views the 9/11 attacks as a conspiracy by George Bush and the Jews.
Now, the Russell Tribunal is convening in Belgium with a new jury heavily weighted with names associated with the notoriously anti-Israel UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in Geneva. The UNHRC—whose member majority is a mutual self-congratulation society made up of dictatorial regimes from China to Iran to Cuba—has condemned Israel for, among many other “crimes”, the perfectly legal naval blockade designed to interdict weapons shipments into “Hamastan” by “pacifist,” axe-wielding activists from the Free Gaza Flotilla. In 2009, the UNHRC’s Goldstone Commission condemned Israel for “war crimes” in a verdict so flagrantly one-sided that even its chairman, South African Judge Richard Goldstone, ultimately had to disassociate himself from the report bearing his name.
The current Russell Tribunal “jurors” include the A-Team of Israel-bashers, including the UN’s former “independent expert” on Israel, Richard Falk, John Dugard, former U.N. Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, and again Roger Watters.
Among the star “witnesses” are: anti-Israel Palestinian, Mohammed Omer; Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, who said last month that Palestinian resistance (ie; Hamas) is ” fighting for us”; Irish Col. Desmond Travers whose prior “expert” testimony before the Goldstone Commission has been thoroughly discredited; Israeli soldier Eran Efrati who never served in Gaza and specializes in spinning the testimony of Israeli war veterans against the IDF ; and “genocide scholar” Paul Behrens who believes that Jews are the major perpetrators of “genocide.”
One thing will be missing from these testimonies: Don’t count on anyone uttering the “H” word—nothing about Hamas members kidnapping and murdering three Israeli teenagers or Hamas’ 9,000 missiles pummeling Israel civilians or Hamas’ subterranean maze of offensive tunnels burrowing directly into Israel where they planned to murder and kidnap untold number of Israeli civilians this Rosh Hashanah.
We live in strange times when it is becoming fashionable to criticize the Nuremberg Trials as unfair “victors’ justice” for condemning Hitler’s surviving high command. And now there is the Russell “people’s tribunal” dedicated to disarming Israel so that Hitler’s posthumous allied murderers can finish his work.
There is some historic symmetry here. Bertrand Russell is remembered as a human rights icon who campaigned for nuclear disarmament and was an early critic of the Vietnam War. What many have chosen to forget however, was a letter he wrote back in 1938, wherein he saw no reason to go to war with Hitler. A better idea would be to invite him to dinner! (The letter is now part of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s archives)
“If the Germans succeed in sending an invading army to England we should do best to treat them as visitors, give them quarters and invite the commander and chief to dine with the prime minister,” Russell wrote to British critic Godfrey Carter.
“We may win or we may lose,” Russell added, referring to the looming conflict with Nazi Germany.”If we lose obviously no good has been done. If we win we shall inevitably during the struggle acquire their bad qualities and the world at the end will be no better off than if we had lost.”
Russell later changed his tune, but in 1938, one of the great “moral” voices of his day was dead wrong about evil when it counted and the “eminent” members of the “people’s court” who invoke his name today are dead wrong about Israel and Hamas.
Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; Brackman is a historian and a consultant to the Wiesenthal Center. This article was originally published by The Hill.