South Africa: Unions welcome holding of anti-Israel “tribunal” in Cape Town

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) has warmly welcomed the holding of the third Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) this coming weekend in Cape Town.

In a statement issued three days ago, the union wrote:

“It is quite befitting for our democracy to host such an important international political event. The struggle of the people of Palestine for freedom from Israeli occupation and oppression is as just as our struggle for freedom from Apartheid rule.”

The statement continues, saying “a free, democratic South Africa is duty-bound to continue rendering international solidarity to the beleaguered and fighting masses of Palestine in their quest [for] freedom and national self-determination. Our own liberation cannot be complete while our fellow brothers and sisters in Palestine are still living under Zionist terrorist rule.”

In case anyone is in doubt as the result of the “tribunal’s” hearing, the union goes on to say:

“As SATAWU, we know Israeli oppression of Palestinians from first-hand experience. The striking resemblance between Israel and Apartheid South Africa, politically, economically and socially, does justify the current characterisation of Zionist Israel by progressive forces internationally as Apartheid Israel. At the close of the third RToP this fundamental truth, among others, will have been thoroughly explained in great detail to the whole world.”

In what sense is this a tribunal, with a jury, holding hearings?  It sounds more like a Stalinist show-trial, which is exactly what it is.

The statement ends with the rather odd exclamation:

“Let the representatives of the revolutionary working class and the democratic forces of our country tremble before the revolutionary international jury, the third RToP!”

Shouldn’t that, um, be the “Zionist-terrorists” who tremble?  Perhaps the author of the statement got a bit excited with such over-heated rhetoric.

But what is this “revolutionary international jury” — the Russell Tribunal on Palestine — all about?

One need to no further than the website http://www.russelltribunal.com/ in order to find out.

This website, produced by NGO Monitor in Jerusalem, thoroughly deconstructs the RToP.

As Judge Richard Goldstone (yes, he of the famous “Goldstone Report”) writes in The New York Times:

“In Cape Town starting on Saturday, a London-based nongovernmental organization called the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will hold a “hearing” on whether Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid. It is not a “tribunal.” The “evidence” is going to be one-sided and the members of the “jury” are critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known.”

There doesn’t appear to be a single trade unionist on the “jury” of the “tribunal” – just the usual suspects, people who pop up whenever the opportunity arises to attack the Jewish state. One wonders why SATAWU – or COSATU – would want anything to do with such a body?