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October 5, 2012 0

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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