Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Russell Tribunal-Palestine: Conference I -- Recording of the conference

For those of you who were unable to attend the internet/web conference (Saturday, March 6), or who may have just become aware of it, here is the link to the recording (about 1 hr. 45 min.):

Infinite Conferencing recording: RTP Web Conference I

In this conference you will hear (in order of appearance in the conference) Professor Jeff Halper (anthropologist, author, lecturer, political activist, and co-founder and Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) ), Dr. Ghada Karmi (Palestinian doctor of medicine, author, and a fellow and lecturer at the Institute of Arab & Islamic studies at Exeter University, UK), and Professor Nurit Peled-Elhanan (Israeli peace activist, professor at Hebrew University, and co-founder of the Bereaved Families for Peace) speak passionately, authoritatively, and from their personal experiences about the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP), its mission, the verdict reached by the distinguished members of the RTP jury (in the first session of the RTP just concluded, March 3, in Barcelona), how the RTP is a "people's tribunal" that opens a window of opportunity for all of us to mobilize the international community and empower ourselves with the legal foundation with which to demand action from our governments to respect international laws and the norms of our civil society that have been formulated over the last century to advance us from a dark era of global conflicts forward toward a new era of global peace and cooperation and save ourselves from the ravages of war, the law of the jungle, and the environmental devastation that accompanies war through the various treaties which established the laws of war, universal norms for human rights and humanitarian protections and the charter of the United Nations.

This discussion, led by our host Stephen Lendman (Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization), highlights the hope that the RTP brings to the international grassroots movement for justice and a sustainable peace for Palestinians and Israeli Jews and the hope that the RTP represents (as voiced by Professor Peled-Elhanan) for the Israeli Jews, themselves, to be saved by forces outside Israel and rescued from certain self-destruction that will surely result from the internal turmoil in Israeli society caused by the militarism, racism, and culture of death that exists in that society, which is supported and encouraged by the immoral acts of powerful nations in the West (U.S. and E.U., primarily).

In my humble opinion, this conference is a "must experience" for every U.S. citizen and just might serve as a wake-up call for many of us (hopefully) and shock us into a realization that unless we all make a small committment of our time every week or month to become aware of how this situation in the Middle East is effectively erasing all the progress we have made as a global society toward establishing an international system of laws -- a situation that was created by our government's inaction to end the cycle of impunity that Israel currently enjoys because we protect her from any consequences arising from her illegal and immoral acts vis a vis the Palestinian people -- and begin to take some action to join or support in some way the rapidly growing movement internationally to force our governments to take the actions that they are required to take as signatories on various treaties and as contracting parties in the United Nations charter, etc., and to respect the rule of law and enforce those laws that have been established to protect the rights of all the worlds citizens. I will also just quickly add that we should all heed the warnings of the experts in this conference about how the rule of law is being eroded and what dire circumstances could result if this situation is not reversed by all of us taking action at the grassroots level -- we, the citizens of this global society and increasingly smaller and smaller world of ours. But, also, please take note of the positive side of this discussion regarding the hope that the RTP offers to us and the opportunity for us to join in a movement that WILL ultimately lead to the abolition of Apartheid in Israel, an end to the colonization of Palestine and a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land. Then, please stop and take a few moments to imagine what we could accomplish after we achieve this monumental and historic victory for humanity ...

If you enjoyed/were moved by/appreciated/were impressed with this conference, please consider sending a donation of any amount via check to help support our web conference project and help us support the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in accomplishing its mission: reestablish the rule of law in our world and undermine the forces (primarily here in the U.S.) that perpetuate war and militarism and the other evils that go hand-in-hand with them (see the February 27 post, below, for donation information).

Please note: we were unable to get everyone set up with the the proper video equipment, for various reasons, but mostly due to the last minute nature of our organizing this conference and obtaining the commitments of our guests to attend it. This is the reason we only have pictures of the host and guests on this "video" conference.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Web Conference Announcement

CONFERENCE START TIME: The conference will begin at: 7:00 A.M. (San Francisco) / 9:00 A.M. (Chicago) / 10:00 A.M. (New York) / 3:00 P.M. (London) / 5:00 P.M. (Jerusalem/Ramallah) on Saturday, March 6. Note: duration will be either 60 or 90 minutes depending on last minute pending arrangements.
EXPERT GUESTS: Joining our host, Stephen Lendman (Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization) will be: Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan (Hebrew University Professor, peace activist, and one of the founders of the Bereaved Families for Peace -- an outspoken critic of decades of Israeli colonialism, occupation and apartheid and was awarded the Sakharov prize for Human Rights and Freedom of Thought); Dr. Ghada Karmi (Palestinian doctor, expert on Middle East politics, Research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter, and author of In Search of Fatima about her exile from Palestine, and Married to Another Man, arguing for a one-state solution); and Professor Jeff Halper (anthropologist, author, lecturer, political activist, and co-founder and Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) ).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Russell Tribunal-Palestine: Web Conference I -- UPDATE 2

DONATION INFORMATION: We are launching our non-profit (Coalition for U.N. Commission) concurrently with the initiation of this web conference project. We are currently not funded and are dependent on your donations to recover our expenses for these web conferences. We are committed to helping the Russell Tribunal On Palestine (RTP) convey to the American public the results of their proceedings with first-hand reports from RTP representatives immediately following the conclusion of the sessions of the Tribunal. As Frank Barat (Coordinator, RPT, London office) announced today in a promotional email, "It is important for us to reach the US [because] one of the future session[s] will focus on US and UN complicities. In this regard, John French is organising a web conference on March 6."

Please help us report on these sessions of the Tribunal by bringing the opinions of these brave peacebuilders into your living rooms via these internet conferences.

Until we reactivate our federal tax ID number (which will allow us to use Network for Good for credit card donations), we must use the process we set up last year for our dialogue project in Israel -- the Tikkun Olam Dialogue Project (which was never launched due to the IDF attack on Gaza in December, 2008). Please be assured that all funds will be directed to the RTP web conferences. Please send a $39 donation per person via check, payable to the Tikkun Olam Dialogue Project, to the following address (please also write “Member #539720″ on your check):

Tikkun Olam Dialogue Project
C/O Bay Federal Credit Union
3333 Clares Street
Capitola, CA 95010 U.S.A

Then, to register for the conference, send us an email to: uncommission (at) – and type “Request to join RTP web conference” in the Subject line of your email and let us know how many people are registering. We will then send you a notification email when the conference date has been set with all the information you will need to logon to the conference, etc.

Thank you for helping us proceed toward recovering the dignity of our nation's citizens by strengthening the rule of law and undermining the rule of the jungle.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Russell Tribunal-Palestine: Web Conference I -- UPDATE 1

ANNOUNCEMENT: Dr. Nurit Peled (Israeli peace activist, professor at Hebrew University, and one of the founders of the Bereaved Families for Peace) and Ms. Leila Shahid (P.A. envoy to the E.U.) will be joining Cynthia McKinney as “expert guests” in this conference. Also, Dr. Ghada Karmi (Palestinian doctor of medicine, author and academic) is now attempting to rearrange her commitments on March 6 to be able to join her fellow organizers and contributors to the RTP in this conference.

(Please see the post below for all general information about the conference.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Russell Tribunal-Palestine: Web Conference I

Before I describe for you and inform you about the Web Conference on the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP), let me first thank you for your interest in the web conference and the RTP. Also, please let me say, if you are a newbie to the issues surrounding Palestine and Israel, be assured that we will endeavor to keep you in mind and provide explanations during the conference when such background might be required (after all, our mission is one of education and educating the masses here in America, which is desperately needed to correct the effects of the biased (pro-Israel) news reporting on anything related to the Palestine-Israel conflict by the mainstream news media in the U.S. in the last six decades [1] ). On the other hand, if you are not new to these topics, I believe that you will be quite satisfied with the depth to which we will be exploring the subject matter and that you will come away from this conference enlightened and informed (and, perhaps, more hopeful and motivated, as well – which, I expect, might also apply to our newbies).

This is the first of, hopefully, a series of conferences on the subject of this ongoing Tribunal (there will be more conferences if we are supported by sufficient interest in them and donations from the participants to cover our expenses – our non-profit is quite nascent and is not currently funded). This first web conference will report on the proceedings and the verdict of the jury in the first session of the RTP (Barcelona, 1 – 3 March, 2010 – one or two more sessions are planned for later this year) and will feature presentations of opinion, analysis and round-table discussions by and between our Host and our Expert Guests (who will be participating in this video/telephone conference) regarding the mission of the Tribunal and how the verdict of the jury applies to the U.S. government’s role and responsibilities relative to its relationship with the government of Israel (GOI). (Note: the questions being submitted to the jury mostly concern the role, responsibilities and wrongdoing of the European Union, however, most of this also applies to the international community and, particularly, the U.S. because the U.S. is, for example, the main supplier of weapons and other military aid to Israel.)

Our host for the conference will be Stephen Lendman (Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization – if his schedule allows – the date for the conference is only tentative at this point) and our expert guests will include Cynthia McKinney (U.S. Presidential Nominee, Green Party, 2008; former U.S. Democratic Congresswoman, Georgia -- if her schedule allows), who will be a member of the Tribunal’s jury. (Note: we are currently seeking several other experts to be guests in this conference, including organizers and other contributors to the RTP.)

[HERE’S HOW TO SIGN UP TO ATTEND THIS CONFERENCE: Send an email to uncommission (at) – use “Request to join RTP web conference” in the Subject line of your email and tell us how many people are registering for the conference. We will then send you a notification email when the conference date has been set with all the information you will need to logon to the conference, etc.
IMPORTANT NOTE – As mentioned above, we are not currently funded, so you will need to make a donation in order to participate in this conference. Please see UPDATE #2 (Feb. 27 post), above, for donation information. Thank you.]

So, you may be asking yourself, why have all these people from every walk of life from around the world (England, France, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Portugal, Ireland, Lebanon, Algeria, Australia, Italy, South Africa, Egypt and, of course, Palestine and Israel are all countries in which national committees are being formed in support of the RTP) decided that they must form a people’s tribunal to investigate whether or not the “European Union and its member states [has] breached their obligation to promote and ensure respect for the Palestinian people’s right of self-determination; breached their obligation to ensure respect for international humanitarian law vis-à-vis the Palestinian people in the case of the blockade of the Gaza Strip and the “Cast Lead” military operation conducted by Israel from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009; breached their obligation to ensure respect for international humanitarian law and the right of the Palestinian people to sovereignty over their natural resources in the context of Israel’s building of settlements and pillage of natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory [OPT]; breached their obligation to ensure respect for international law in connection with the construction of the wall by Israel in the [OPT];” etc.(these are some of the questions the RTP jury will be considering)?

The answer is: for many reasons, but primarily, because the citizens of all these countries believe that it is their responsibility to ensure that their governments cease these breaches of treaty obligations and end their complicity in the criminal acts being committed by the GOI and believe that they must take it upon themselves to bring about such change in their government’s policies and believe that a people’s tribunal is the only option available to them because their governments have failed to take the appropriate action to stop the GOI from continuing these atrocities and violations of international law and, in fact, promote such immoral acts by remaining silent and continuing business as usual and maintaining amicable diplomatic relations with the GOI (despite the fact that many of these atrocities and violations of law committed by the GOI first occurred sixty years ago and have been repeated over and over ever since [2], and despite the fact that the result of the most serious and blatant of these atrocities occurred more than a year ago and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian children, women and the elderly [3] ).

Why is nothing being done by our governments to stop these crimes? Well, a very brief and generalized answer is that the Zionist nationalist movement in Israel (which has always maintained effective control of the Israeli government) currently has an advantage when it comes to international matters at the level of governments, because the state of Israel has been recognized, generally, internationally, whereas the Palestinian Authority (PA) (the de facto government of the Palestinian people) was only just recently formed (within the last two decades) and has been handicapped in terms of legitimacy and credibility by problems with government corruption, infighting among political factions, and the perception that only Palestinians have relied on terrorism to achieve political objectives (which, in reality, is just the product of pro-Israel propaganda and pro-Israel bias in the U.S. mainstream media – the truth is both sides in this conflict have used terror tactics). In other words, most of us in this country (U.S.) are biased (in favor of Israel) in our opinions regarding what we believe are the facts associated with every issue that, together, constitutes the essence of this conflict and, as a result, we are predisposed to believe that Israel is justified in its actions and the Palestinians are not; we only perceive Palestinian violence as “terrorism” versus concluding that it is legitimate resistance to an illegal military occupation, or justified resistance to the Apartheid regime that has been established by the GOI in the Palestinian territories with the “separation wall” and other restrictions on Palestinians to movement within their territory and access to their property and education and health services, etc. (this Apartheid regime in the Palestinian territories is actually more brutal in many ways than its previous counterpart in apartheid South Africa [4] ). Similarly, we do not perceive what the government of Israel (GOI) does as anything but justified and as self-defense against terrorists. Another advantage that the GOI has over the PA in the political arena and the struggle for public opinion – an extremely significant advantage – is the fact that the Zionists have been very busy for more than a century developing their political influence in the U.S. to the extent that they now essentially control the executive and legislative branches of government [5] (which then stymie the judiciary, giving them complete control of our government on issues that are of import to the GOI – this I learned from personal experience).

So, a people’s tribunal (developed and utilized very effectively by the British philosopher, Bertrand Russell, and others, in the 1960’s to affect public opinion about the Vietnam war) is, indeed, the only tool available to citizens in the U.S. -- and, perhaps, anywhere in the world -- to begin to educate our fellow citizens and create the immense momentum required for a grassroots movement to force such change in the policies of our government. In doing so, we will reestablish the rule of law that has been rendered ineffective by our “leaders” and our “representative” government (that is only representative of the ruling elite in this country and the most powerful lobbies) and restore the only protections we have against violations of our universal rights to life, liberty, and happiness (and one that simply was not enumerated in the Constitution, but is nonetheless our right anyway – the right to be free from government that operates above the law – refer to the Ninth Amendment). (Note: “The rule of law, also called supremacy of law, means that the law is above everyone and it applies to everyone. Whether governor or governed, rulers or ruled, no one is above the law, no one is exempted from the law.” From Wikipedia.)

I believe that my government has made me responsible for the killings of Palestinian children, women and the elderly (because, as Amnesty International confirmed, U.S. weapons were used by the GOI in the attacks on Gaza [6] ) and because of this, I cannot look any Palestinian in the eye without feeling this sense of guilt for these crimes against humanity (which also, by the way, applies to Iraqis and Afghanis, as well). This has robbed me of my liberty and deeply affects my daily life in very negative ways (for example, I used to enjoy my patriotism, which is no longer possible for me.) (Note: see the article, “On July 4, Put Away the Flags,” by Howard Zinn, July 4, 2007.)

In order to regain my dignity and self-respect and restore the liberty that has been taken from me by my government, I have vowed to do everything in my power to ensure my government ceases its actions which escalate violence and fuel this conflict and implements sincere efforts to assist the parties in the conflict achieve justice and a sustainable peace. The launch of this non-profit (Coalition for U.N. Commission) concurrent with the initiation of this web conference project (Project Lawfare: Russell Tribunal – Palestine) are the genesis of my vow of action.

Please join us in this web conference and please join us in this movement to restore our democracy and the dignity of the American people [7].


1. “Analysis of Media Coverage of Israel/Palestine,” if Americans knew, (which also refers to the website for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting and their “numerous studies on coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”).
2. Ilan Pappe, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,” Oneworld Publications Limited, 2006. (Note: this reference covers only the initial ethnic-cleansing atrocities from 1947 – 49 (referred to by Palestinians as “al Nakba”, or “the catastrophe”). My comment about these atrocities being “repeated over and over ever since” is referring to the additional ethnic cleansing which occurred in 1967 and also the innumerable acts of dispossession of homes and property which have occurred continuously since 1947 and are still occurring today in East Jerusalem and everywhere in the West Bank. For numerous references on Palestinian dispossession, see: “Israel: arbitrary confiscation of land or dispossession of Palestinian property,” UCC [University College Cork, Ireland] Palestine Solidarity Campaign,
3. “Operation ‘Cast Lead’: 22 Days of Death and Destruction,” page 6, Amnesty International Publications, 2009.
5. Mearsheimer, John, Walt, Stephen, “The Israel Lobby,” pp. 3 – 12, (see London Review of Books,
6. “Fuelling conflict: Foreign arms supplies to Israel/Gaza,” Amnesty International, 2009,
7. “For dignity depends on peace, and peace depends on justice, and justice depends on truth. So, our charge today is to help the world attain dignity.” (And, her closing comment in this speech:) “You can rest assured that I will do all I can to promote dignity, a vision of peace that relies on truth and justice for all of us.” These are quotes from Cynthia McKinney’s speech to The Forum on Gaza Genocide: Solution for Palestine, London, 31 March 2009. She also said in this speech, “I spent International Human Rights Day 2008 in Havana, Cuba with family members of victims of U.S. aggression against that fiercely independent island country. And while I was there, over and over and over again I heard the word ‘dignity.’ And how there is dignity in resistance.” There IS dignity in resistance, and that is exactly what I intend to do here in my country – resistance to the control of the ruling elite and the Israel Lobby on OUR government and their collaborative assaults on my liberty.