Monday, November 07, 2011

The "Russell Tribunal" is racist!

The current "Russell Tribunal on Palestine" taking place in South Africa is an absurd exercise in hate masquerading as justice.

Besides the obvious facts that its verdict was decided years before the "trial," that the "judges" are extremist haters of Israel, and that the entire proceedings make a mockery of any pretense of objectivity, it is worth looking at how the "tribunal" is twisting the legal issues.

The purpose of this session is to "prove" that Israel is violating the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, specifically Article II.

Here is Article II:
For the purpose of the present Convention, the term "the crime of apartheid", which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in southern Africa, shall apply to the following inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them:

(a) Denial to a member or members of a racial group or groups of the right to life and liberty of person:

(i) By murder of members of a racial group or groups;

(ii) By the infliction upon the members of a racial group or groups of serious bodily or mental harm, by the infringement of their freedom or dignity, or by subjecting them to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

(iii) By arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups;

(b) Deliberate imposition on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction in whole or in part;

(c) Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups, in particular by denying to members of a racial group or groups basic human rights and freedoms, including the right to work, the right to form recognized trade unions, the right to education, the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;

d) Any measures including legislative measures, designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups, the prohibition of mixed marriages among members of various racial groups, the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof;

(e) Exploitation of the labour of the members of a racial group or groups, in particular by submitting them to forced labour;

(f) Persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid.

It is obvious that Jews and Palestinian Arabs do not belong to different racial groups, as well as that Israeli Arabs are not a different racial group than Palestinian Arabs. The entire legal argument is specious from the start.

But that small fact does not stop the "tribunal:"

After attempting to establish a legal framework, the testimony that followed over the two days examined different aspects of article II with regard to the Israeli-Palestine situation, including whether Palestinians are a separate racial group and the specific actions that may constitute the establishment and maintenance of Jewish domination over Palestinians. The response to the former, submitted by Ingrid Jaradat on behalf of the Palestinian Boycott Divestments Sanctions national committee, was a de-facto yes. While Palestinians don’t usually define themselves as a racial group, they are viewed and discriminated against as though they were a group, according to Jaradat.

Just to be clear on how absurd this is, here is the US' legal definition of "racial group:" A set of individuals whose identity as such is distinctive in terms of physical characteristics or biological descent.

It seems self-evident that a racial group is one that no one can voluntarily leave, yet there is nothing stopping Palestinian Arabs from converting to Judaism. Similarly, if an Israeli Jew would decide to renounce his citizenship and move to Ramallah, would Israel treat him any differently than they would an Arab?

Moreover, the Convention specifically says that the definition of apartheid is where "domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons." They must not only define Palestinian Arabs as a racial group, but they must also define Jews as a race!

The "Russell Tribunal," in order to make its charges, is forced to ascribe racial categories on a religious/national group of people. Even though Jews are comprised of all races by any definition, the "tribunal" must use racial terms to describe Jews as well as Palestinian Arabs in order to even start their hateful path.

This joke of a "tribunal" is, in fact, racist because it defines Jews as a race for the specific purpose of demonizing them.