Jerusalem – The imbalanced nature of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) raises concerns that the European Parliament is being exploited to advance counterproductive initiatives, warned Jerusalem-based research organization NGO Monitor. MEP Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL-Portugal) will host a special hearing at the Parliament on September 25, to announce a “judgment” that will inevitably condemn Israel and ignore Hamas.

“Europe’s ability to contribute to the difficult and complex efforts to seek a peaceful solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict is not helped by such entirely one-sided political events” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “This framework, which its critics have labeled a ‘kangaroo court,’ only adds to the friction and distrust.”

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) first met in 2009, seeking to portray itself as a legitimate judicial body. In fact, however, the tribunal has no judicial basis and uses its legal façade to create a false image of neutrality and credibility.

Justice Richard Goldstone publically criticized RToP in a 2011 article in The New York Times, stating, “It is not a ‘tribunal.’  The ‘evidence’ is going to be one-sided and the members of the ‘jury’ are critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known.”

Indeed, the session to be held this week claims to “look into Israel’s crimes (including War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and the Crime of Genocide).” The pivotal role of Hamas, which is recognized by the EU as a terrorist organization, will not be examined or condemned. As shown by NGO Monitor, the “jurists,” are all individuals whose predisposed hostility against Israel belies any impartiality or due process.  This list includes Richard Falk, a former UN official who was condemned by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for undermining UN credibility, and Roger Waters, who is also known to use antisemitic rhetoric.

“In July, the EU Foreign Affairs Council strongly condemned rocket fire aimed at Israeli civilians,” continued Steinberg. “Unfortunately, the one-sided nature of the RToP departs from this productive approach. The European Parliament should focus on more balanced approaches that do not dismiss the Israeli perspective.”

See NGO Monitor’s website for more information about the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.