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Russell Tribunal on Palestine: Delegitmisation of Israeli apartheid has to happen in the courtroom too

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A friend recently confided in me about how he felt the Russell Tribunal on Palestine was pointless. “It’s a waste of money, and it’s all about appeasing and appealing to ruling class people” he told me flatly one night in the pub. Now this is someone I know who is deeply committed to Palestine and whose comfort zones would be most peoples’ conflict zones. He’s someone more at home occupying a BDS target or taking to the streets than sitting quietly in a hall, full of mostly older, graver Europeans with PHDs. But I had to think about what he was saying because it’s not the first time I’ve heard this critique.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine had its’ first session in March 2010 examining European Union member state complicity and omissions with regards to Israeli war crimes. I gave evidence based on my experience as an ambulance volunteer in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. The session took place in stately, opulent surroundings, with the audience lurching to their feet every time the Jury entered. The air and tone were officious, sombre, and serious. Everybody was there to bear witness. Everybody was there to hear ‘truth’ and nothing but the truth. It wasn’t about grand-standing or rabble-rousing or theorizing. It was somewhere between an experiment in deep active listening, post-traumatic group therapy, and church.

But, it made me and others taking part think about the roots of international law, the responsibilities of states and institutions, and structures and systems of protection and violation that we hadn’t really thought about in depth before. These weren’t just dry dirges uttered by people in wigs or hypocrites on podiums. These were real mechanisms and narratives of power articulating and attempting to facilitate universal equality. They were as important in delegitimising Israeli apartheid as supermarket occupations, mass street protests and divestment by major funders of Israel.

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni wasn’t afraid of coming to the UK in 2009 because of a protest picket planned for outside her speech at the Jewish National Fund. She was afraid of coming because there was an arrest warrant out for her. And she didn’t come. That the Cameron government changed the law to allow her immunity from prosecution so that she could come a year later doesn’t weaken the levers of power that were pulled by human rights lawyers to shine a spotlight on her as a war criminal. We didn’t have to make a human chain and chant ‘STOP TZIPI LIVNI’ before being bashed out of the way by robocops; Palestinians in Gaza were able to do it remotely but potently through evidence, paperwork and skypecalls between Gaza city and London.

General Doron Almog was nearly arrested in 2005 at Heathrow Airport for his role in destroying homes in Gaza and for the bombing of a house which killed a Hamas leader and 14 others including nine children. A tip off to the Israeli embassy meant that he never got off the plane and the police waiting to cuff him left empty-handed as he soared back to Israel. But he was delegitimised.

One of the only breaks on Israeli officials’ sense of impunity, unaccountability, and untouchability, is the threat of international law actually being used as it should be, by citizens and lawyers, to mobilise justice for the victims of Israeli violations. Israel calls it ‘lawfare’ and sees it as an attack on its’ freedom to ‘defend’ itself by any and all means necessary; we call it lawfare too, a weapon in resisting the degradation of human lives to the point that they become expendable; inevitable collateral damage under a logic of the powerful emboldened to do whatever, to whoever, whenever they want.

Delegitmisation of Israeli apartheid and colonialism doesn’t just happen on the streets, in classrooms, at the check-out or in boardrooms. It’s got to happen in the courtroom too. It does need to engage people who can’t get arrested or who don’t tweet #BDS every other day. What happens to the millions of people who studied law and practice it, all over the world, including in Palestine, who can see the potential for wins in shifting jurisdictions and legal gears to propel cases forward that can change facts on the ground? Is their expertise invalid? When we say relying on international law is pointless do we inadvertently collude with powerful elites who seek to invalidate that law so that they can get away with murder? We can’t rely on it only, but it can make for a good crutch and a stick.

Looking at Gaza, during and after the massacres, once the anger subsides, one can often feel muted, weakened and buried in a kind of shame. Those who have been forced by torturers to watch others being tortured – a tactic designed to terrorise, humiliate and victimise both the witness and target – report a kind of immobilisation and depression which isolates and silences. It’s clear that we are not in neighbouring cells, us in Western comfort-zones of softly furnished, power cut-free (unless you’re on a pre-payment meter) living rooms, and the ghettoised Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. But that sense of disempowerment, that ‘You cannot stop this’ message from Israel delivered in drone-blows and F16 levellings of whole neighbourhoods; the internalisation of that message is a threat to activism and resistance.

Resistance demands tactics that reach and transform all levels of the system we are trying to change. We need the D-Lock and the Section 60 (squatters notice widely used in taking buildings for social centres and protest camps in the UK); the RPG and the hungerstrike; a revolution and a constitution. International human rights and humanitarian laws are not the masters tools they are our tools and they can bring down the masters house when used through and in conjunction with popular movements.

The Russell Tribunal’s formality, ‘big name’ jury and appeal to a diplomatic class does not make it any less fierce or grounded. This is about taking the law into our own hands.

The late Stephane Hessel was a patron of the Tribunal. A former resistance fighter, concentration camp survivor and author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ‘Indignez Vous’ – ‘Time for Outrage’ was the name of his last and multimillion-selling book. To my friend who thinks the tribunal is pointless, it’s always going to be time for outrage, the struggle is endless and it needs an ecosystem of tactics to win justice after justice.

The Russell Tribunal will be holding a Special Session in Brussels starting tomorrow on examining the crime of genocide in Gaza. For more information see here.

About Ewa Jasiewicz

Ewa Jasiewicz is an activist and journalist. She is author of 'Razing Gaza' (Podpalic Gaze) and a co-founder of the Polish campaign of solidarity with Palestine www.kampania-palestyna.pl

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48 Responses

  1. just
    just
    September 23, 2014, 10:11 am

    A truly wonderful and inspiring article, Ewa. All of it.

    This especially struck home:

    “Looking at Gaza, during and after the massacres, once the anger subsides, one can often feel muted, weakened and buried in a kind of shame. Those who have been forced by torturers to watch others being tortured – a tactic designed to terrorise, humiliate and victimise both the witness and target – report a kind of immobilisation and depression which isolates and silences. It’s clear that we are not in neighbouring cells, us in Western comfort-zones of softly furnished, power cut-free (unless you’re on a pre-payment meter) living rooms, and the ghettoised Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. But that sense of disempowerment, that ‘You cannot stop this’ message from Israel delivered in drone-blows and F16 levellings of whole neighbourhoods; the internalisation of that message is a threat to activism and resistance.”

    I hope that the Russell Tribunal is successful in demonstrating the enormity of the war crimes and genocide that Israel has committed with impunity. I hope that the impunity ends once and for all. I am grateful for your activism and your dedication to justice.

  2. American
    American
    September 23, 2014, 10:50 am

    ” The Russell Tribunal’s formality, ‘big name’ jury and appeal to a diplomatic class does not make it any less fierce or grounded. This is about taking the law into our own hands.”’

    All for it….I agree this is necessary.
    But I dont think its going to win it because the road to legal justice has a lot of political corruption pitfalls .
    So you need the pub guys that are comfortable with conflict to go out and help clear the path for you.

    • Anonymous
      September 24, 2014, 5:49 pm

      Is it really a big name jury, though? It has people like Vandana Shiva and Roger Waters on the panel. Now Ms Shiva has more gravitas than waters, but her expertise does not lie in war crimes. She’s an environmentalist who has done some stellar work on the subject of theft of traditional knowledge via Intellectual Property Law (I know because I cited her several times in a paper I wrote at Grad School on patenting traditional knowledge).

      As I pointed out below, I find the jury laughable, besides Michael Mansfield who is a well-known radical and socialist lawyer in London (and a hero of mine). The rest should ALL have been lawyers. Having folks like Waters on the panel denies the entire process any semblance of credibility.

      • MRW
        MRW
        September 25, 2014, 10:47 am

        Vandana Shiva views herself primarily as a physicist, which is her training.

      • MRW
        MRW
        September 25, 2014, 10:49 am

        s it really a big name jury, though? It has people like Vandana Shiva and Roger Waters on the panel. Now Ms Shiva has more gravitas than waters, but her expertise does not lie in war crimes

        Juries are not filled with subject matter experts. It is a jury of your peers, regular folk, although in this case ‘big name’.

      • Anonymous
        September 25, 2014, 3:18 pm

        Environmentalist/physicist, makes no difference to what she’s doing here.

        “Juries are not filled with subject matter experts. It is a jury of your peers, regular folk, .although in this case ‘big name’”

        Well your average juries are usually selected carefully and weeded out if they display any bias. These weren’t. Every single person on here is someone who is a critic of Israel and therefore the result/decision will be a foregone conclusion, giving the appearance of a kangeroo court. That was one of the main criticisms of Goldstone, and as I said below, whilst I have no love for the man, on this point he is right.

        It should have been run more along the lines of the ICC/ICJ, with every single juror instead performing the function of a judge (hence the need for actual legal experts), and at least the presentation of some kind of case for Israel. (I’ve discussed this below).

        This is all entirely one-sided and as a result will have no effect on the decision-making of the EU and UN. It will be dismissed just as casually as the last four proceedings were. And as for the benefits of having “big-name” people on the jury, very few people who aren’t activists know this is even going on, and when they do are just as critical of the one-sided process of these proceedings as critics like Goldstone.

        This is no courtroom, it’s a joke.

  3. russgreen
    russgreen
    September 23, 2014, 11:03 am

    Hey Mondoweiss, what happened to the rest of your articles? I used to be able to scroll down and see lots of past articles, like an archive. Now I can’t. How do I find your archived articles now? That was a great feature of your website. It would be a shame to lose that.

    • just
      just
      September 25, 2014, 3:24 pm

      Click on the headers at the top– more articles will be revealed!

  4. Les
    Les
    September 23, 2014, 11:23 am
    • eljay
      eljay
      September 23, 2014, 1:42 pm

      >> Les: Rabbi’s car firebombed in Manchester after anti-Israel comments

      Who are these anti-Semites who would dare to fire-bomb a rabbi’s car, and why do they hate Jews so much?!

    • michelle
      michelle
      September 23, 2014, 5:40 pm

      .
      thank G-d he’s alright
      .
      G-d Bless
      .

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 23, 2014, 7:45 pm

        I noticed this paragraph.

        ‘One of his neighbours, who did not want to be named, said: “His views have angered a lot of people around here. A lot of families have boys in the Israeli army.”’

        Manchester boys, but they join foreign fighters Will David Cameron take their passports away from them?

      • Anonymous
        September 24, 2014, 6:04 pm

        If only.

  5. catporn
    catporn
    September 23, 2014, 11:32 am

    I remember feeling sick when the British establishment changed the law, allowing Tzipi Livni and other Israeli war criminals to pass freely into the UK, I can’t imagine the impact it had on the people that had worked so hard to bring about the ruling.
    Yet its there, it happened and all parties involved (and the outside world) know that warrants were served for these war criminals and they can only pass through these borders because they’re being abetted by a corrupted government that’s willing to overlook atrocities committed.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      September 23, 2014, 11:50 am

      These laws and regulations are temporary, as you can see. The US and the UK pretend they are outraged at what Israel does (including those despicable illegal settlements), and then after what I imagine must be some arm twisting and outrage by the zionists, laws are quickly changed to placate the poor injured and insulted Israelis, and it is back to square one.

      They control the US and UK and we know it.

      • just
        just
        September 23, 2014, 11:59 am

        From Ewa’s link:

        “During this session, that will take place in Brussels on 24th and 25th of September, our jury, so far composed of Michael Mansfield QC, John Dugard, Vandana Shiva, Christiane Hessel, Richard Falk, Ahdaf Soueif, Ken Loach, Paul Laverty, Roger Waters, Ronnie Kasrils, Radhia Nasraoui and Miguel Angel Estrella will listen to testimonies from Paul Behrens, Desmond Travers, David Sheen, Max Blumenthal, Eran Efrati, Mads Gilbert, Mohammed Abou-Arab, Mads Gilbert, Paul Mason, Martin Lejeune, Mohammed Omer, Raji Sourani, Ashraf Mashharawi, Ivan Karakashian, Agnes Bertrand and Michael Deas.”

        They don’t control the folks on this jury or those testifying…….

      • amigo
        amigo
        September 23, 2014, 12:49 pm

        “These laws and regulations are temporary, as you can see. ” Kay 24

        Kay, those laws are there to protect Tony poodle Blair and Jack Straw et al who sent British squaddies to Iraq and to protect those who committed crimes in NI such as the “extra judicial killings in Gibraltar and the murder of 13 innocent civilians in Derry.No one has yet been charged or paid a price.

        Criminals protect fellow criminals.The Americans are no different and can now add Obama to the list of war criminals that need to be ” protected ” from justice.

      • adele
        adele
        September 24, 2014, 9:57 am

        FYI: Raji Sourani and Ashraf Mashrawi were denied permission to travel from Gaza to the Russell Tribunal in Brussels…

        Russell Tribunal @russelltribunal · 21h
        Two of our key witnesses Raji Sourani @pchrgaza and film-maker Ashraf Mashharawi will not be joinng us. Here’s why: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/sessions/extraordinary-session-brussels/press-corner/palestinian-witnesses-prevented-from-leaving-gaza-to-testify-by-israeli-egyptian-blockade

      • Anonymous
        September 24, 2014, 6:49 pm

        They should have been skyped in.

    • JeffB
      JeffB
      January 30, 2015, 4:30 pm

      @catporn

      IMHO the core principle of international law is that ambassadors are to be protected. The UK is free to violate that but that would be an attack on the very concept of civilization something far more serious than anything Livni is accused of. If al-Baghdadi were to want to talk to Obama and we agreed to host him, he should be under US protection from the moment he leaves Iraq until several days after. Once he’s been returned and a few days have passed he’s fair game. But not until then. Same applies to Livni in the UK.

      You do not go around kidnapping other country’s nationals especially their leadership unless you are looking to start wars. The proper place to decide if the UK wants to commit acts that could result in tremendous blowback is the parliament not some judge just issuing an arrest warrant like he would for a shoplifting.

  6. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    September 23, 2014, 2:37 pm

    Bullies don’t listen to compassionate claims to adhere to justice and morally cohesive instances of mercy. They’ve been killing on and off for almost 70 years… What’s plan B?

  7. Inanna
    Inanna
    September 24, 2014, 12:12 am

    Palestine won’t be freed with the pen. International law is useless without enforcement and the British govt chose complicity with Israel when it changed its own laws to allow Livni and others to travel freely without fear of arrest for their crimes. To me, that undermines your point, and that of the Russell Tribunal, that courts are the way forward. Actions in courts will be subsequent to the liberation of Palestine, not precede it.

  8. catporn
    catporn
    September 24, 2014, 5:19 am

    If there’s gonna be a way out of this morass and a just way forward for the people of Palestine, it’ll come from multiple sources, anything that has an impact on the court of public opinion, and the Russell Tribunal certainly fits that bill, is a move in the right direction.

    Unsurprisingly, obstructionist tactics are being used and two of the key witnesses from Gaza have been prevented from testifying today by Israeli and Egyptian authorities.

    There’s a live broadcast of the hearing today and tomorrow http://new.livestream.com/?utm_source=lsplayer&utm_medium=embed&utm_campaign=footerlinks

    • Anonymous
      September 24, 2014, 5:54 pm

      “Unsurprisingly, obstructionist tactics are being used and two of the key witnesses from Gaza have been prevented from testifying today by Israeli and Egyptian authorities.”

      They should have been skyped in. That way we would have still heard from them. It’s not as though they were needed to perform a song and dance routine. We needed to HEAR them SPEAK about WAR CRIMES. It’s not rocket science.

      That’s how Snowden managed to give testimony on surveillance before the European Parliament a while back. A very compelling testimony it was too. Shame the RT organisers were so short-sighted.

      • catporn
        catporn
        September 25, 2014, 8:19 am

        Personally I can’t fault or criticize the Russell Tribunal, I mean ffs, they’re doing ‘something’, more than can be said for most. We don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, the logistics of getting someone to testify across a monitored internet connection seems trivial, but in a state were targeted assassinations and detention without charge are commonplace, who knows how much danger a witness is putting themselves and their family in.

      • Anonymous
        September 25, 2014, 4:52 pm

        “in a state were targeted assassinations and detention without charge are commonplace, who knows how much danger a witness is putting themselves and their family in.”

        These guys who were prevented from leaving had already agreed to speak at the RT. Clearly they weren’t in fear for their lives, and Raji Sourani spoke out openly many many times during the massacre that took place this past summer.

        And as for targeted assassinations, and the like, if Snowden who is living IN HIDING in Russia can be beamed in from a secret location to speak in front of the EU Parliament, then there should have been no problems here.

        I find it really astonishing the way everyone jumps to the defence of the RT. I see many problems with it and I’m entitled to speak my mind – one of the perks of freedom of expression, you know. Activists don’t think or behave as a monolith, nor should we. It’s that kind of behaviour and mindset that leads to people like Chomsky calling those of us who are pro-BDS “a cult”.

      • Anonymous
        September 25, 2014, 4:57 pm

        ” they’re doing ‘something’, more than can be said for most. “

        Anything worth doing, is worth doing well. Take a look over the publicity that the last four hearings have attracted. Very little, if any. How many regular, non-activist, people know this is going on? No-one outside our little posse really has a clue. How many that DO know it is going on, think that the proceedings are credible and likely to have some effect? Very few, if any. (I’ve not many any who feel this way, but a number of people have apparently.)

        A waste of time, money and effort that could be better directed elsewhere.

      • Anonymous
        September 25, 2014, 4:58 pm

        *met any!

        Oh, for an edit function!

  9. just
    just
    September 24, 2014, 9:08 am

    Mads Gilbert testifying now.

  10. just
    just
    September 24, 2014, 10:41 am

    Martin Lejeune testimony almost over– he’s answering questions now.

    • just
      just
      September 24, 2014, 10:42 am

      Next, Ivan Karakashian wrt children in Gaza.

  11. just
    just
    September 24, 2014, 11:08 am

    Max is up wrt war crimes.

  12. just
    just
    September 24, 2014, 12:07 pm

    Max was as powerful as ever. Whew.

    Agnes Bertrand was good wrt international law, and so is Michael Deas on BDS/military embargo, free trade agreements and US complicity.

    • bilal a
      bilal a
      September 24, 2014, 12:18 pm

      1930s rhetoric:

      Max tweets :

      JPost publishes a call for exterminating Arabs and/or Muslims, or “humanoid troglodytes,” as the author calls them:

      https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/514562267153985537

      @davidsheen’s presentation on incitement to genocide in Israel during Gaza war left the audience gasping with horror
      https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/514737594333401089

      • just
        just
        September 24, 2014, 1:58 pm

        I missed David Sheen… I hope that this entire tribunal is made available.

    • Anonymous
      September 24, 2014, 5:10 pm

      Max WAS great today. Shame he didn’t present any of the pics that he took when he was in Gaza. I was also glad that he pointed out that he is not a lawyer and that he doesn’t have any legal expertise, which is why I am confused that he is going to be talking about war crimes tomorrow in a broad context. Why on earth did he agree to that.

      Michael Deas was very good too, but, as he pointed out himself, a Palestinian should have been there making the case for BDS.

      Was Agnes the one talking about the complicity of EU powers? If so, she was brilliant and I’m glad that she wasn’t shy about poking my country (the UK) with a sharp stick. We OUGHT to be condemned for our complicity in this whole affair because it’s not just shameful, it’s criminal.

  13. JohnB
    JohnB
    September 24, 2014, 3:34 pm

    When they arose that morning something had changed somehow, the writing on the wall now said ‘All Semites are created equal, only some are more equal than others.’

    FWIW – Semite (Merriam-Webster):

    1 a : a member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs
    b : a descendant of these peoples
    2 : a member of a modern people speaking a Semitic language

    Origin: French sémite, from Sem Shem, from Late Latin, from Greek Sēm, from Hebrew Shēm.

  14. Anonymous
    September 24, 2014, 4:57 pm

    I have to say that I am one of the critics of the Russell Tribunal, but not for the reasons outined above. *Awaits lynch mob*

    Whilst it arguably performs a very important function in providing a platform so that testimonies can be heard (including those that relate to crimes against humanity) and so that the actions of complicit state players can be held up to scrutiny within the context of their obligations under the law, much of it feels like a kangaroo court. It’s nothing more than a mock trial that feels very much like the kind I used to participate in when I was a law student at university. Someone I know very well and who was the lead co-ordinator for the Portuguese Organising Committee (whilst they were still involved) copied me into much of the email communications that passed between him and Frank Barat, with Frank’s knowledge, in the early stages leading up to the Barcelona hearings. These emails did little to dissuade me from my point of view, indeed they only served to confirm it. These proceedings, and those before them, have ZERO in the way of credibility. I have no love for Richard Goldstone, but I must agree with him when he claimed that “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.”

    The Jury Panel is something of a joke. Roger Waters?! As much as I respect his standpoint on Palestine, seriously? Was Bono not available?! It ought to have been composed ENTIRELY of lawyers who are competent in human rights, international law and crimes against humanity. (Such lawyers who would have been willing to take part can easily be found – I know several very senior lawyers personally who are leaders in their field and who would have agreed to participate.) Furthermore, a case FOR Israel ought to have been made, if for no other reason so that it could be defeated making crystal clear even to the naysayers that Israel is a rogue, murderous and law-breaking state. Those presenting the broad strokes of certain aspects of the law should also be lawyers, without question. I see from the agenda for tomorrow that Max Blumenthal is going to be talking about war crimes in a broad context. You have got to be joking! I am HUGE fan of Max, have both of his books and consider him to be in the same league as Glenn Greenwald (which is high praise coming from me). He’s also insanely hot! But he has no expertise in the field of war crimes. He’s not even a seasoned war journalist. His testimony today was very powerful (though I would have liked to see him present some of the photographs that he posted up on Twitter) and the proceedings would have been found sadly wanting had he not been there today, but he lacks the qualifications to be able to perform his bit for tomorrow. I don’t understand why a lawyer wasn’t asked to stand in. Where was Daniel Machover? He would have been PERFECT, and if he couldn’t do it then he would have been able to find someone credible.

    I have had serious doubts from the beginning, and very little that the Russell Tribunal has done thus far has assuaged them. I will also say for the record that when Gaza was having the living daylights pounded out of it over the summer, an email was being around by the RT Committee ASKING FOR MONEY for this current phase in Brussels. That was extraordinarily distasteful – our money, if we had any spare, should have been going direct to Gaza, not so that a bunch of people can prat about in Belgium pretending to be serious court of law. At the very least if the court had been comprised solely of lawyers, with journos like Max, Mohammed Omer and the rep from DCI giving evidence, then the European Parliament would have had to take it seriously. But they’re going to dismiss this, just as much as the last set of proceedings have been disregarded. What a wasted opportunity.

    • American
      American
      September 24, 2014, 8:59 pm

      @ Activist Gal

      I agree with what you say mostly —but Russell is better than nothing. We know it has no real legal authority or standing but having a few names like Waters might attract people like him (real hell raisers) to the ’cause.’
      But like you say there are some very qualified legal experts out there that should be doing this.
      I use to be on a list serve, cant remember which one, back when I was keeping up with the legal angle on I/P and there are lawyers who have an interest in this issue—-learned a lot from their arguments back and forth.
      You should get involved.

      • Anonymous
        September 24, 2014, 10:35 pm

        You’re right, there are lawyers who have an interest in this issue, that is the issue of Israel & Palestine, but not all support the Russell Tribunal as it currently stands. The Russell Tribunal may well be all we have, but the format it has adopted is not the most sophisticated and therefore lacks credibility.

        As for Waters, he’s too left-wing and too much of hell-raiser to attract people. We need to think of the optics here and his participation on the Jury does not look good.

        I disagree too much with the way things are being run to want to get involved. Like I said earlier, it’s too pedestrian and far too simplistic. Even some of the mock trials I participated in as an undergraduate were more serious than this.

        Thanks, but no thanks.

      • American
        American
        September 25, 2014, 3:54 pm

        @ Activist Gal

        I disagree about Waters, he attracts people to the issue.

        For the other of not getting involved because its …”it’s too pedestrian and far too simplistic. Even some of the mock trials I participated in as an undergraduate were more serious than this ”

        The fact is the ‘serious law’ hasnt *gotten the job done* in 65 years has it?

        Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way is my motto or shorter form ….put up or shut up.

  15. Mayhem
    Mayhem
    September 24, 2014, 8:10 pm

    About Ewa Jasiewicz:
    Jasiewicz chose to daub anti-Israel graffiti on the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto, which is effectively a huge Jewish cemetery where over 100,000 Jews died in the Ghetto between its construction in 1940 and its liquidation in 1943, mainly from starvation, disease and random killings by their German guards. It is not a place to daub political graffiti, much less anti-Israel graffiti. If Israel had existed in the 1930s, it is possible that many of the Jews who died in the Ghetto, or were taken from there to their deaths, would have been saved.  I also don’t know if Jasiewicz thought about the use of boycotts as a discriminatory weapon by the Nazis to separate Jews from wider society, before exterminating them; however she did think about boycotts of Israel, because she helped hold a Palestinian flag marked with ‘BDS’ (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against the Ghetto wall. If anti-Zionists like Jasiewicz want to avoid being accused of antisemitism, she should not have adopted antisemites’ lowest form of attack, by desecrating a Jewish cemetery.
    http://blog.thecst.org.uk/?p=1686

    • MRW
      MRW
      September 25, 2014, 11:01 am

      This is the story from that link you gave, Mayhem. You have misrepresented what Eva Jasiewicz was doing there, and merely copied the opinion of the writer of the article above.

      Yesterday, Israeli and Polish activists met in the ruins of Warsaw’s old Jewish Ghetto.

      The activists sprayed ‘Liberate All Ghettos’ in Hebrew, followed by ‘Free Gaza and Palestine’ in English on a wall of an original block in the ghetto. The block is across the street from the last fragment of the remaining perimeter wall of the Ghetto. They also hung Palestinian flags from the wall.

      This was first time such an action took place in the ghetto.

      Yonatan Shapira former Israeli Air Force captain and now refusnik and BDS activist said:

      ‘Most of my family came from Poland and many of my relatives were killed in the death camps during the Holocaust. When I walk in what was left from the Warsaw Ghetto I can’t stop thinking about the people of Gaza who are not only locked in an open air prison but are also being bombarded by fighter jets, attack helicopters and drones, flown by people whom I used to serve with before my refusal in 2003.

      I am also thinking about the delegations of young Israelis that are coming to see the history of our people but also are subjected to militaristic and nationalistic brainwashing on a daily basis. Maybe if they see what we wrote here today they will remember that oppression is oppression, occupation is occupation, and crimes against humanity are crimes against humanity, whether they have been committed here in Warsaw or in Gaza’.

      Ewa Jasiewicz, activist with Kampania Palestyna and one of the co-ordinators of the Free Gaza Movement who just returned from participating in the Freedom Flotilla said:

      `Yonatan could have been the pilot in the Blackhawk that dropped commandos onto the Mavi Marmara that killed nine activists from our flotilla. I could have been one of them. Poland is full of the ruins of ghettos and death camps and shrines to those who sacrificed their lives in the defence of not just their communities but in resistance to fascism.

      People here need to wake up and realise that occupations and ghettos did not end with the end of the second world war. These tactics and strategies of domination and control of other people and lands are present in Palestine today and are being perpetrated by the state of Israel. We have a responsibility to free all ghettos and end all occupations’.

      • Mayhem
        Mayhem
        September 26, 2014, 2:36 am

        @MRW, I agree with the opinion expressed in the story I mentioned – therefore it is MY opinion.
        Nothing can refute the fact that when a pro-Palestinian activist makes anti-Zionist mieage over the memories of massacred Jews their actions reek of vile anti-semitism. Just because one deluded Israeli refusenik backs her position doesn’t give her any justification to exploit the memory of the dead, who would turn in their graves at the thought of her disgusting opportunism.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        September 26, 2014, 4:43 am

        the dead, who would turn in their graves at the thought of her disgusting opportunism.

        And you would know this how? It sounds to me like you are engaging in your own kind of opportunism.

      • just
        just
        September 26, 2014, 10:26 am

        And what of Wiesel’s & Co. “opportunism”, mayhem?

  16. Citizen
    Citizen
    September 25, 2014, 6:44 am

    International law, just like civil and criminal law, at least in the USA, must “have teeth.” or it’s just window dressing “on the books.” Many laws are on the books, but only selected ones have teeth, that is, are implemented regularly. It’s always instructive to look at the enforcement provisions of any legislated law. And all elastic “weasel words.” I don’t know if it’s still the same, although I’d bet it is, but when I was in law school subjects like “International law” and “Jurisprudence” were electives, not mandatory courses. Further, my experience was that such electives were the domain of highly ideological teachers and so one had to echo their prejudices when participating vocally in the class room.

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