In 2009, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine was founded to do exactly that. First in Barcelona, then London, Cape Town, and now coming to New York City in early October, the tribunal gathers legal experts, scholars, activists, and other people of note to help shed light on the reality of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and demands accountability from Israel’s corporate and international enablers.
Coming to the doorstep of the United Nations in the financial capital of the United States is a bold move for the Russell Tribunal. Amidst the pre-election campaign buzz in which both major parties unequivocally support Israel’s actions, these non-binding hearings will place UN and US policies vis-à-vis Israel on trial.
Among the renowned figures who will publicly offer and weigh testimony in New York City are Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Russell Means, Saleh Hamayel, Dennis Banks, and a Who’s Who of others on the international human rights front.
Khatib himself was a witness at the Cape Town hearings, testifying to the fact that Israel is in breach of the prohibition on apartheid under international law. New York’s tribunal aims to go back to the root of the conflict and focus on UN and US responsibility in the denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination.
Walker, Davis, Means, and Banks—all of whom are Black or Native American—are among the Russell Tribunal participants to issue an “urgent call to others who share our commitment to racial justice, equality, and freedom.” They invite people to attend the hearings in New York City on October 6 and 7, writing, “Each and every one of us—particularly those of us and our fellow jury members who grew up in the Jim Crow South, in apartheid South Africa, and on Indian reservations in the United States—is shocked by what Israel is doing to the Palestinians.” They continue:
There is no pretense about these hearings. Its participants understand that institutions held in high esteem, such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, have documented Israel’s crimes in the past. The ICJ, in a 1,067-page dossier, has already delineated many violations of international law concerning the “separation barrier” or “apartheid wall,” the 470-mile-long barrier guarded by soldiers with high-powered weapons and checkpoints. More
Not since Operation Wetback and Operation Gatekeeper have so many families been torn apart; not since Jim Crow have so many rights been denied; not since reservations and internment camps has the United States invested in so many apartheid walls, fences, and cages.