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Sohrab Ahmari on the Russell Tribunal

Israel on trial without any defense

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Russell Tribunal on Palestine Meets in New York( )

Writing in the Wall Street Journal today, Sohrab Ahmari reports on the the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, which had its fourth meeting in New York over the weekend.

For those unfamiliar, the tribunal is something of a publicity stunt that features jurors, some of them celebrities, including Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd fame), Alice Walker, and Angela Davis. The jurors listen to indictments of Israel without any words of defense from the other side and reach verdicts accordingly. In addition to providing some of the history of the Russell tribunals, Ahmari chatted with some of its most notable actors jurors including Roger Waters:

Catching up with Mr. Waters later, I asked why the tribunal wasn’t hearing an Israeli perspective. “That’s not what it’s for,” he said. “It is a people’s tribunal and we do invite the other side to attend.” (Why would the Israelis have declined such an invitation, I wondered.)

I asked Mr. Waters if he thought perhaps there ought to be a Russell Tribunal on Syria to hold the Assad regime to account for killing some 30,000 Syrian citizens? “I’m not part of the hierarchy of the Russell Tribunal,” Mr. Waters said, sounding annoyed at the question. “I’ve been invited to take part in the Russell Tribunal on Palestine as a juror, so there’s no way I can answer that question because I just do not know.” He did later volunteer: “As far as Syria is concerned, I have no fence to sit on. I am against the Assad rule.”

Check out the whole piece, it’s a great read.

Israel on Trial in New York

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Cool_Romeo says:

This quote struck me:
After Mr. White’s testimony, Mr. Waters of Pink Floyd fame spoke up. “Sitting here as we are New York City,” he said, “it’s hard to ignore the elephant in the room—this elephant being the unfathomable influence in the corridors of power of the Israeli and Jewish lobbies.”
The unfathomable influence of Jewish lobbies in the corridors of power? If anybody has an unfathomable influence, I’d say it’s bloviating musicians.

Geoffrey says:

We really need to stop treating “why aren’t you also condemning [country X]?” as if it were some sort of devastating retort to anti-Israel activists. Would you agree that they had a legitimate point if they penciled in a Syria hearing right after this one?

Waters’ hypocrisy is completely irrelevant to the question of whether Israel should or shouldn’t be taking some specific action, and it lets much better rebuttals go unspoken. This stuff lets the Russell Tribunal off too easily.

I think to characterize this conference as a “publicity stunt” is to be in a deep ditch of denial.


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Sohrab Ahmari on the Russell Tribunal

Israel on trial without any defense

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