Russell Tribunal on Palestine A Major BDS Failure
European Union funds groups that promoted Kangaroo Court in Cape Town
JERUSALEM – In a complete mockery of due process, the so-called Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) yesterday issued a concluding press release which repeated the slander that Israel “subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalized regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law.” Instead of promoting human rights, peace, and reconciliation in the decades-long Arab-Israeli conflict, this legal façade was exploited for a racist attack on Jewish nation and Israel, says NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institution.
“The organizers of the RToP failed to achieve any of their objectives; in every media framework, they were forced to awkwardly defend and explain this farcical kanagroo court,” says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “The organizers and participants continue to be seen as promoting hatred, abusing the instruments of justice to support racist attacks against Israel, ignoring Palestinian violence and exploiting the victims of the real apartheid regime. At every turn, the participants were condemned for their involvement in this immoral activity, which is the antithesis of promoting understanding, peace, and reconciliation between the Jewish and Arab peoples.”
In many South African newspapers, editorial writers and others noted the inherent bias and “kangaroo court” nature of the event. This was highlighted in the hour-long nationally broadcast radio debate between Prof. Steinberg and “witness” John Dugard. In the international media, Judge Richard Goldstone’s op-ed in The New York Times referred to the RToP as “one-sided” and the apartheid charge as “slander.” Additionally, Facebook pages and the website www.russeltribunal.com provided detailed information to expose the farce of this event.
Some scheduled participants, including South Africans Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, demonstrated sound judgment and withdrew at the last minute. But many of the remaining participants run NGOs that are funded by the European Union and many European governments, including Palestinian Committee for Human Rights, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Badil, and Al Haq.
Steinberg added, “The EU and individual European governments have a moral obligation to immediately stop their funding to these NGOs, as it clearly contradicts EU and European policy.”
According to Pierre Galand, international co-coordinator of the Tribunal, the budget for the RToP’s Cape Town session was €190,000. Editions Indigene, which published Time for an Outrage, raised €100,000; the Belgian support committee of the Russell Tribunal raised €15,000; and the Caipirinha Foundation lists RToP as a grant receiver (amount undisclosed).
NGO Monitor notes that at the RToP concluding press conference, “juror” Alice Walker stated, “Zionists will no longer control our congress.”
“The real tragedy of the RToP is the platform it provided to promote hatred and racism under the façade of justice,” adds Steinberg. “By demonizing Israel and using the RToP to promote boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), a negotiated two-state solution is more difficult to achieve. The EU, other funders, and NGOs that promoted and participated in this are contributing to the demise of human rights principles. As Judge Richard Goldstone wrote, ‘In Israel, there is no apartheid.’ This farce was a pathetic, last ditch attempt to spread a vicious lie.”