Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Countering Bias and Misinformation mainly about the Arab-Israel conflict

THE JOHANNESBURG SUNDAY TIMES re THE RUSSELL TRIBUNAL LETTER TO PRESIDENT ZUMA

HOME
MISCELLANEOUS ARTICLES
INTERNATIONAL LAW
THE SAN REMO CONFEERENCE IN CONTEXT
THE GOLDSTONE MISSION TO GAZA 2009
THE OCCUPATION
GAZA and HAMAS
1948 ARAB-ISRAEL WAR
THE SIX-DAY WAR & RESOLUTION 242
BEHAVIOR OF ISRAELI SOLDIERS
DEIR YASSIN - startling evidence
1967 & ITS CONSEQUENCES
PALESTINIAN REFUGEES
WHAT SOME ARAB COMMENTATORS SAY
APARTHEID,ISRAEL & SOUTH AFRICA
LEBANON & HEZBOLLAH
HUMAN RIGHTS
ISLAMIC EXTREMISM
MEDIA DISTORTIONS
BOYCOTTS & DIVESTMENT
INCITEMENT
MEMORANDA TO UK PARLIAMENT
DOCUMENTS & ARTICLES
RECOMMENDED LINKS
THE ICJ & THE WALL
ACADEMIC FREEDOM
About Maurice Ostroff
The article below by Maurice Ostroff was submitted to correct errors in the Times article reproduced in the right hand column below.
 
 
Click here for the letter to Presideent Zuma
 

Setting the record straight about the Russell Tribunal

letter to President Zuma

 

As the article “Holocaust survivor's dramatic plea to Zuma” of November 8 contains material errors of fact, I ask you to please allow me to set the record straight.

 

According to the article, a letter was sent to President Zuma asking him to protect Israeli MP Zoabi from reprisals for testifying at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. In actual fact the letter stated incorrectly that she is being subjected to reprisals not because she attended the Tribunal, but because she has opposed apartheid. That claim is a blatant misrepresentation of fact, typical of some of the statements by witnesses at the Tribunal. 

The fact is that neither Zoabi nor anyone else is subject to reprisals or even criticism in Israel for opposing apartheid. Nobody in Israel is penalized for expressing opinions and I am proud to live in a country that encourages freedom of speech and in which many human rights organizations that are extremely critical of the government, operate freely. The several Jewish and Arab Israelis who, in addition to MK Zoabi,  gave evidence to the Tribunal know that they have absolutely nothing to fear on their return to Israel. It is because of this freedom of speech  that they are so open in publicly expressing their strong criticisms.

 

Zoabi’s statement "Any Israeli citizen who talks about full national and civic rights for the Palestinians is normally targeted” is another  example of the false propaganda promoted at the Tribunal. Many NGO’s, mainstream newspapers and frequent well attended demonstrations promote these ideals daily without any restrictions

 

The objection raised by a few people to Zoabi is not her criticism of the government, but her incitement to overthrow the state. She openly encourages a third intifada and advocates boycotts and divestment against Israel. She was aboard one of the flotilla ships that attempted to break the joint Egyptian/Israeli blockade of Gaza.

I believe that in South Africa as in most countries, a loyalty oath is required when members of parliament are sworn in. Although I personally do not support it, one can understand the motivation behind the suggestion to deprive Zoabi of citizenship, not because of her opposition to apartheid, but because of disloyalty to her office as a member of parliament. It is also important to emphasise that there is no law to this effect and the idea remains an unsupported suggestion.

 

Kasrils definition of a kangaroo court as a situation in which a helpless individual is dragged into a short trial before being sent "to the gallows" is as inaccurate as his repeated allegations against Israel,

My legal dictionary defines a kangaroo court as an unfair, biased, or hasty judicial proceeding.

 

Since the entire proceeding was based on accusing Israel of apartheid it is appropriate to recall that Judge Richard Goldstone who has never been shy to criticize Israel when he considers it justified declared in an oped to the NY Times “In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute

 Johannesburg 

Sunday Times - Times Live

 

Holocaust survivor's dramatic plea to Zuma

Anna Majavu | 08 November, 2011

 

Death camps survivor and Russel Tribunal jurist Stephane Hessel addresses a press conference yesterday after delivering a letter to President Jacob Zuma appealing for protection for an Israeli MP who testified at the tribunal in Cape Town yesterday

 

A 94-year-old survivor of Hitler's death camps has made an impassioned plea to President Jacob Zuma to protect an Israeli MP from being stripped of her citizenship for testifying at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

 

After sitting in Cape Town at the weekend, where it heard evidence from a range of witnesses, the tribunal declared that Israel was guilty of practising apartheid and called for it to be isolated.

 

The finding sparked fury from the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and SA Zionist Federation, which denounced it as "a vehicle for anti-Israel propaganda".

 

Yesterday, Stephane Hessel, who survived the Nazis' Buchenwald concentration camp and later became part of the team that wrote the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, delivered a letter at Zuma's home in Cape Town asking him to protect Haneen Zoabi, an MP for Israel's Balad party.

 

This came after another Israeli MP, Otniel Schneller of the conservative Kadima party, reportedly asked her country's parliament's ethics committee to strip Zoabi of her citizenship after she said the Israeli state was "racist".

 

Hessel and his fellow jurists, including former cabinet minister Ronnie Kasrils, acclaimed author Alice Walker and Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, told Zuma they were concerned other Israelis and Palestinians who testified at the tribunal would also be persecuted. They want Zuma to get an assurance from the Israeli government that all witnesses will be given safe passage home.

 

Zoabi told The Times: "Any Israeli citizen who talks about full national and civic rights for the Palestinians is normally targeted. It is more of a political persecution," she said.

 

Zuma's spokesman, Mac Maharaj, referred inquiries to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, whose spokesman, Clayson Monyela, did not respond to questions.

 

After declaring at a press conference in Cape Town yesterday that Israel was guilty of practising apartheid, the tribunal called on world governments to institute sanctions against it and break off diplomatic ties.

 

Apartheid is defined under international law as a situation in which two distinct racial groups can be identified and inhumane acts committed against the subordinate group with state backing, according to the tribunal.

 

Jurist and veteran British lawyer Michael Mansfield said Palestinian territories consisted of ''a series of separate reserves with the two groups [Palestinian and Israeli] segregated. He added that Israeli expert witnesses had said this policy was even called hafrada, Hebrew for "separation".

 

"There are two entirely separate legal systems. Palestinians are subjected to military law, which falls far short of ... due process and Israelis living in settlements [inside Palestine] are subjected to civil law," said Mansfield.

 

"Israel subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalised regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law."

 

But South African Jewish Board of Deputies chairman Mary Kluk said the tribunal was staged to "depict Israel in the most damning light possible", and that it had "confirmed predictions that it would be no more than an unbalanced vehicle for anti-Israel propaganda thinly disguised as a quasi-judicial investigation".

 

A small group of the board's supporters protested outside the press conference, some dressed as kangaroos.

 

Kasrils slammed them, saying that a kangaroo court was a situation in which a helpless individual was dragged into a short trial before being sent "to the gallows".

 

The tribunal, he said, was only passing moral judgment and had no power to punish Israel.

 

Enter supporting content here

Please enter your comments here. Thank you
Full name:
Email address:
Subject: