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October 5, 2012

Anti-Israel “Tribunal on Palestine” to Take Place at Cooper Union this Weekend

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTOP), which aims to bring the issue of Palestinian rights to “a court of the people,” will hold its fourth and final session this weekend at Cooper Union in Manhattan. Three previous RTOP sessions that have taken place in Barcelona, London and Cape Town since 2009 produced concluding documents calling Israel an apartheid state, describing the Gaza blockade as “slow motion genocide” and denouncing alleged “corporate complicity” in the Israeli occupation.

The tribunal’s “jury” and “witnesses” are comprised of anti-Israel activists and analysts like Cynthia McKinney; Mairead Maguire, a participant in the May 2010 flotilla; and John Dugard, a South African attorney and former Special Rapporteur on human rights for the U.N. who authored a report comparing Israeli policies to apartheid, as well as Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Alice Walker, the author of The Color Purple. In light of this extremely biased composition, it is obvious what the final “verdict,” which will be announced at a press conference on Monday, October 8, will look like.

A number of prominent anti-Israel activists are also scheduled to speak at specific sessions, including Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement; Phyllis Bennis, a co-founder of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation; and Diana Buttu, who recently appeared at a “one-state solution” conference at Harvard University.

In fact, the tribunal’s website makes it clear that it will not be an objective inquiry: “The Tribunal aims to bring attention to the complicity and responsibility of various national, international and corporate actors in the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the perpetuation of Israel’s impunity under international law.”

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February 10, 2012

One-State “Solution” Conference to be Held at Harvard in March

Update: ADL welcomed Harvard University’s February 24 statement following receipt of a letter from ADL’s National Director to Harvard’s President, Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust. The Harvard University statement, which acknowledged ADL’s concerns, said in part: “We would never take a position on specific policy solutions to achieving peace in this region, and certainly would not endorse any policy that some argue could lead to the elimination of the Jewish State of Israel.” 

Just one month after the major

BDS conference at the University of Pennsylvania, a conference to examine the “possible contours” of a one-state “solution” is scheduled to take place at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government over the first weekend in March. 

The event will feature Stephen Walt, the co-author of the 2007 book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” which infamously asserted that the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. has excessive power and divided loyalties and uses its power to stifle criticism of Israel against America’s true interests. 
Walt is not the only anti-Israel academic who will speak at the conference. The list includes University of Exeter professor Ilan Pappe, Harvard Law School fellow Diana Buttu, Baylor University’s Marc Ellis and many others.  Several of the anti-Israel activists who headlined the Penn BDS conference will attend next month’s event as well, including Ali Abunimah, Dalit Baum and Sarah Schulman.
The conference program focuses on the inevitability of a one-state “solution” and strategies for overcoming the obstacles that might otherwise prevent it. Based on the speakers list and program, it seems likely that the messages propagated at both conferences will be virtually indistinguishable from one another with regard to their one-sided criticisms of Israel and lack of consideration for the complexity of the conflict.
One other thing to note: In contrast to last weekend’s BDS conference, the “One State” conference is receiving significant financial and institutional support from Harvard, including funding from two university departments, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the Office of the Provost.

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