Is that a Drone outside my window, or just a Bulldozer in the front yard?
By Danny Schechter,consortiumnews.com – A “peoples” tribunal, modeled after an examination of U.S. war crimes in Vietnam, is exploring Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians. Meeting in New York City, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine sometimes was legalistic but addressed frequently ignored issues, says Danny Schechter.
The needs and concerns of the Palestinian people are not in the news much in the United States, even though the issues have been around for decades in New York City, which hosts the United Nations.
There have been many detailed studies of media coverage that prove that the U.S. media rarely covers Palestinian concerns or features Palestinian perspectives in talk shows or news programs unless and until violence erupts.
Criticisms of Israeli behavior raised by foreign leaders are also largely ignored unless they are cast as controversies about noisy and sometimes invented allegations of anti-Semitism, rather than any exploration of the underlying issues of international law violations and apartheid-like abuses in the territories occupied by Israel.
Advocates of Palestinian rights and critics of violations of international law seek, often without much success, to call attention to oppressive realities on the ground but not just in an ideological debate. They want to change a U.S. policy that often marches in lockstep with Israel, in part, because of the power of the Israeli Lobby and regional military calculations.
One of the more visible organizations trying to fill the gap is the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, an “international peoples” tribunal modeled on the initiative by the late British philosopher, Lord Bertrand Russell, an esteemed lecturer, author and moral leader who first created the Tribunal concept in the 1960s to feature well-known intellectuals to expose war crimes in Vietnam.
I covered that event when it took place in Stockholm with a jury made up of the likes of Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Swedish playwright Peter Weiss and American anti-war activist David Dellinger among other cultural and political luminaries.
It drew global attention and denunciations by the U.S. government and media when Vietnamese witnesses testified about the chemical defoliation of their country, and systematic and often deadly human rights abuses.
I remember American TV correspondent Morley Safer doing a “stand-up” – after one session when the audience had left – denouncing the Tribunal’s allegations of U.S. war crimes and dismissing the Tribunal as nothing but communist propaganda.Read more…