The Russell Tribune on Palestine- saving Palestine or saving Israel and imperialism?


The first question to be asked about the Russell Tribune on Palestine, is why now? Indeed it is more than 20 years since the Oslo accords which give the PA bantustan status and turns the Palestinian Authorities into subcontractors for Zionism and imperialism. This imperialist scam of Oslo has been so thoroughly exposed that a renewed uprising from the Palestinians is not far off. But today the world situation is different from 20 years ago. Today the masses all over the world have such hatred for the capitalist system that there has opened a period of generalised disequilibrium on a global scale. The conservative base of US imperialism, the bastion of world-wide violence against the masses of the world, has begun to shatter. Millions of working class Americans have intense hatred for the 1% who not only control their lives but also that of billions around the planet. The base of the US military machine has been weakened as the masses in the USA not only question the role of the state as an agent of the imperialist banks, but are moving over to action against the state.


The uprisings in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Greece, Chile, Bolivia, China, England, are shaking world capitalist rule to the core. In such an environment, even the base of the Israeli state is being shaken by a movement among the youth against the Israeli bourgeoisie. If the Palestinian masses and the Jewish youth and workers make common cause to overthrow their common enemy, the Israeli bourgeoisie and their subcontractors the Palestinian bourgeoisie (Hamas and the PA), it would mean that the mainstay of imperialism to subjugate the masses in the Middle East, would be destroyed. It follows that such a revolution would reverberate around the world, including in the imperialist centres- the world capitalist system would be under threat. The reason for the holding of the Russell Tribunal is to help shore up Israel, to help sustain divisions among the working class and to create illusions in bourgeois law- in other words, to try to delay for another 20 years any new revolutionary uprisings of the Palestinian and Jewish masses, or at the least to channel the current and pending uprisings into a dead-end.


The starting point of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine is questioning the non-implementation of UN resolution 181 of 29 Nov 1947 which partitioned Palestine and thus created Israel. In other words, at the very time when the existence of Israel is being questioned everywhere across the globe, the Tribune seeks to reinforce the notion not only of the existence of Israel but also of a Bantustan for Palestinians. No wonder Vavi, the Cosatu Secretary, Tutu and other pro-capitalist elements are all together on the stage- their view and that of the SACP, in line with world Stalinism which was the first to recognize Israel after the 1948 Nakba, is to defend the existence of Israel, under the guise of defending Palestinian rights. The transport and mining unions of Cosatu could stop the flow of diamonds, gold and coal from Anglo American companies in Southern Africa to Israel overnight but they deliberately divert the working class into BDS- individual actions of not buying Israeli oranges. It makes the bureaucracy look good, that they defend the Palestinians while in reality the masses are kept in a state of passivity.


Nowhere in its terms of reference does the Russell Tribune question the 1948 war that ethnically cleansed Palestine and wiped out hundreds of Palestinian villages- (was this not a genocide too?); nowhere does it even raise the non-implementation of the right of return to their original homes of the 5-6 million Palestinian refugees living in concentration camps, mostly in the region. Nowhere does the Russell Tribune question the existence of Palestinian political prisoners (over 7000) held mostly in gulags in Israel but also in the West Bank and Gaza.


The Russell Tribune recognizes the right of Palestinians to a ‘sovereign state’ but in the context of recognizing Israel, this can only mean the revival of the long-discredited 2-state- Bantustan for Palestinians ‘solution’.


The Tribune wants to use the South Africa model- namely the maintaining of the wealth of the country in the hands of JP Morgan Chase and Anglo American (the 1%) while removing ‘racial barriers’ but maintaining the separate group areas and thus maintaining the capitalist structure and privileges of the existing capitalist class- this is the ‘model’ that imperialism wants to use for Palestine, except they will not even allow a shadow of the pretence of the ‘Mandela-miracle’ that South Africa is today.


Goldstone criticizes the Tribunal from the right- yet he was involved in a similar capitalist scam, covering up on the crimes of the state during the period of the worst state violence during which over 25 000 were killed by the state- only a handful of killers were arrested- how many even went to jail? Most of the killers were kept on in the state (thanks to Joe Slovo and the SACP) and tens of thousands of these killers went to work as subcontractors for US imperialism to help butcher the masses in Iraq after 2003.


There have been Russell Tribunals on Vietnam (where US imperialism was found guilty of genocide and war crimes), in Chile (where the Pinochetist killing machine is still part of the state) and Brazil (where state violence still abounds). Yet in each of these cases not a single action has ever been taken against US imperialism. Similarly not a single step forward for Palestinian democratic rights will occur through the Russell Tribunal. The only illusion that will be strengthened is that bourgeois law and justice will help- it will divert the masses from the necessary path of revolution against the capitalist system.


US imperialism was so desperate to avoid mass uprisings against its puppet regimes  (Egypt and the Israeli regimes) and subcontractors (Hamas and the PA) that they ordered the release of 1000 Palestinian political prisioners. This was to allay revolt and to rebuild the image of these regimes that are their mainstay of curbing and dividing the masses in the region.

The Russell Tribune is about saving Israel. It should be rejected. Forward to the Third Intifada, which can only be on a global scale against the 1%.  4.11.2011