US Experts and Lawyers Testified at International Tribunal and Findings Identify Legal Remedies and Call for Civil Society Boycott Action
On Monday, November 22, The Russell Tribunal on Palestine announced its verdict after weekend deliberations on corporate complicity in Israeli violations of international law. Juror Michael Mansfield QC, who chaired the concluding press conference, announced the jury's call for the mobilization of civil society to end the involvement of companies in Israeli human rights violations.
Russell Tribunal Jurors included John Dugard, former UN special rapporteur on Human Rights in Palestine; Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel peace laureate from Northern Ireland; Cynthia McKinney, former US congresswoman and former presidential candidate; and Jose Antonio Martin Pallin, a judge in the Spanish supreme court. US activists and lawyers who testified at the tribunal included: Nancy Kricorian and Rae Abileah, coordinators of CODEPINK's Stolen Beauty boycott of Ahava cosmetics, NYC and San Francisco; Josh Ruebner, national advocacy director for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, DC; Yasmine Gado, corporate lawyer, Los Angeles; and Maria LaHood, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, NYC.
“Both Israel and the complicit businesses, are in clear violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, and on the wrong side of world opinion and morality,” Mansfeld said. This relates to "the supply of arms; the construction and maintenance of the illegal separation Wall" and providing services to illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.” US-based Caterpillar was found to have legal liability in breaking international law for supplying Israel with military D9 bulldozers used in the demolition of Palestinian homes, the construction of settlements and the Wall, and in urban warfare in Gaza. Companies that were examined and found liable also included G4S (UK-Denmark), Elbit Systems (Israel), Cement Redstone Holdings (Ireland), Dexia bank (Belgium-France), Veolia Transport (France), Carmel Agrexco (Israel), and Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories (Israel).
Juror and South African liberation struggle veteran Ronnie Kasrils said one "can not underestimate the importance of civil society action on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).”
The press conference heard breaking news of such an action happening in Covent Garden, London, as activists shut down the UK Ahava store. Two activists engaging in civil disobedience, locking themselves together inside the store, and kept the store shut for most of the day until they were arrested in the late afternoon.
“Ahava means love in Hebrew but there's nothing loving about occupation! The dirty truth about this company should make every consumer's skin crawl,” said Abileah, an American Jew of Israeli descent who testified at the tribunal about Ahava's manufacturing of beauty products in Mitzpe Shalem, an illegal settlement in the West Bank. Video of Abileah and Kricorian's testimony is online at: http://bit.ly/hnhCoD (24 mins in).
The public concluding statement from the Russell Tribunal on Palestine is online at:
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) is an International People's Tribunal created by a large group of citizens involved in the promotion of peace and justice in the Middle East. The Russell Tribunal was founded by Bertrand Russell in 1967 to investigate the US war on Vietnam, and throughout the past forty years has held international tribunals on war crimes in conflict regions in Latin America, Iraq, and elsewhere.
For more information on CODEPINK's Stolen Beauty Ahava Boycott Campaign please visit www.stolenbeauty.org.