Confuse the Russell tribunal with facts and you're out
Confuse us with inconvenient facts?
Out you go!
Simply for asking an uncomfortable question, which apparently did not fit with the agenda of the Tribunal, I was forcibly removed from the Russell Tribunal's official press conference. Not only was I not allowed to ask any questions, but in attempting to raise issues of concern, I was thrown to the floor, dragged out of the conference and threatened with more violence
Photo by courtesy of Ilan Ossendrywer
Open Letter to the Russell Tribunal
My name is Janis Just, and I am a political science student at the University of Cape Town. I attended the full proceedings of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine as I am covering it on behalf of a German newspaper. I attended in my individual capacity and am not part of any specific lobby group.
On Monday November 7, I attended the post Tribunal press conference. Organisers of the Russell Tribunal recognised me from a different press conference last week where I asked a question about Hamas� violations of human rights. When attempting to ask a question this time, the organisers called me a �serious heckler� and a �Zionist activist�.
The first accusation is patently untrue, as I did not engage in any heckling whatsoever. As to the second accusation, I have no problem wearing this title. However, their labelling of me as a �Zionist activist� was their attempt to delegitimise my argument and me as a person. This is not only against any democratic convention, it is contrary to the stated intention of the Russell Tribunal itself - which is hears all evidence and seek the truth.
Simply for asking an uncomfortable question, which apparently did not fit with the agenda of the Tribunal, I was forcibly removed from the Russell Tribunal's official press conference. Not only was I not allowed to ask any questions, but in attempting to raise issues of concern, I was thrown to the floor, dragged out of the conference and threatened with more violence.
It would seem that my mere presence there constituted a threat so serious that I had to be removed by any means. What they were afraid of was not that I would disturb their session, but that I would expose their biased agenda.
I have laid a charge of assault against the Tribunal organisers. However, what concerns me more than the physical abuse to which I was subjected, is that a gathering of such eminent persons for a process that has the stated aim of attempting to examine testimony and uncover the truth, in the spirit of judicial enquiry, not only were not capable of hearing differing opinions, but that such opinions were forcibly silenced. That is far more reminiscent of the apartheid regime than any of the allegations levelled against the State of Israel at the Tribunal itself.
The question I wanted to ask and still need answered is the following: Hamas is not only responsible for murder, torture and human rights violations among their own people, but also for terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. What official position does the Russell Tribunal jury take towards the Islamist regime of Hamas ruling the people of Gaza?
To the jurists of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine: I demand an answer to my question and an apology from the organisers of the Tribunal for physically attacking me.