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:
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
For more information on CODEPINK's Stolen Beauty Ahava Boycott Campaign please visit www.stolenbeauty.org.