Response to detailed
reply from the organizing secretary of the Russell tribunal, Mr.
Response by Maurice Ostroff
November 12, 2011
Dear Mr. Crawford-Browne
Thank you very much for your detailed reply to my letter. I appreciate
Although we obviously differ in our views I was hoping we would be able
to conduct a civil discourse addressing the issues rationally. It is
therefore very disappointing that a person of your stature finds it
necessary to resort to ad hominem insults such as your allegation that my
letter to President Zuma about Ms Haneen Zoabi was deceitful.
To the contrary. my letter was completely factual and it is the
Tribunal's letter to President Zuma that is certainly misleading in
alleging that MK Zoabi was subjected to reprisals and that the
reason for the non-existent reprisals was her opposition to
apartheid. I quote the exact words in that letter: 'at least one
witness who has given evidence to the Tribunal this weekend has been
subjected to reprisals because she has opposed apartheid
That allegation is doubly untrue.
a) There have been no reprisals as such against MK Zoabi, unless
you consider as a reprisal the suggestion by one MK that was
rejected, that she be stripped of her citizenship, and
b) it had nothing at all to do with opposition to apartheid. Nobody
in Israel is censured for opposing apartheid.
The objections to MK Zoabi relate primarily to her participation in the
IHH flotilla that attempted to break the Egyptian-Israeli blockade of
Gaza. IPT News of June 3, 2010 reported that IHH has ties to Hamas (a
declared terrorist organization), that a French intelligence expert
revealed that IHH leaders were helping al-Qaida when Bin Laden started to
target U.S. soil and that IHH played an important role in the Al-Qaeda
planned Millennium bomb plot.
I believe that in these circumstances, you will agree it is unsurprising
that MK Zoabi's association with IHH is criticized.
Zoabi is also criticized for other activities that would be considered
seditious by most democratic countries, such as calling for a third
intifada. And you know well how many innocent people including elderly,
the frail and infants were indiscriminately massacred in buses, cafes and
hotels in the Palestinian intifadas. So indiscriminate that Arabs too,
Consistent with the above example of the Tribunal's proclivity
for making unsubstantiated allegations with no pretence at providing
credible evidence, the Tribunal makes the reckless claim that 'the
hacking into the Russell Tribunal website reveals the criminal activities
of Zionist operatives
'. I am surprised that you subscribe to this
patently irresponsible charge. Did you not consider the high probability
that the malfunction might have been due to a technical fault?
When you say that the evidence for Israel being an apartheid state is
overwhelming, I can only assume this claim is made with the same reckless
disregard for credibility as the above knee-jerk allegations.
Your invalid and unsubstantiated statement 'Peace is the last thing on
the agenda for the organized thuggery that masquerades as a government.
The operations of the so-called Israeli mafia are not only immensely
profitable, but are politically protected and encouraged
' ill befits
a journalist of your stature. I am unable to deal with these broad
allegations without seeing some substantiated details of actions that
lead you to these mind-boggling conclusions.
Your allegations that my letter to President Zuma was deceitful and that
I repeatedly smear Mr Hessel and Archbishop Tutu as being anti-Semitic
are absurd. I challenge you to produce one shred of evidence that I have
ever referred to either of these persons as anti-Semitic. In fact I
consistently avoid ad hominem attacks and prefer to address the issues.
I insist therefore that you either substantiate or withdraw these
I have difficulty understanding the hysterical reactions to Judge
Goldstone's two opeds. As the views he expressed in his report were
widely applauded, there is something intellectually dishonest about the
outright rejection when his views differ from the fixed perceptions of
his former admirers.
Goldstone has demonstrated courage and intellectual honesty in publicly
stating his views and one should expect no less from any honest person.
It is dishonest to stubbornly repeat views as if written in stone, when
subsequent evidence proves otherwise. Even Einstein admitted to changing
his views. He added 'Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried
Your challenge that I stand at the Bethlehem checkpoint to
witness the humiliation inflicted by Israeli soldiers on Palestinians is
well made. In sympathy with Israeli civilian organizations, like Machsom
Watch, I am deeply disturbed by what happens at these checkpoints.
Unfortunately, checkpoints are necessary to prevent terrorists like
recently released Palestinian prisoner Wafa Al Biss from carrying out
their plans. On her return to Gaza, she encouraged cheering
schoolchildren to follow her example.
You may know that Wafa's life was saved by doctors at Soroka hospital in
Beersheba where she was successfully treated for massive burns suffered
in a gas-tank explosion. She developed a good relationship with the
medical team and her family was so appreciative of the six-month
treatment she received that they wrote a letter of appreciation to the
doctors. It said "the care was wonderful and warm".
Nevertheless, on June 20, 2005 Wafa entered the Erez crossing ostensibly
to travel to Soroka hospital for further treatment. However, this time,
she intended to carry out a suicide bombing in the hospital where she had
received such excellent treatment. A belt of explosives was hidden in her
Her heavy clothing aroused suspicion at the crossing and when the
explosive belt was revealed, she attempted unsuccessfully, to detonate
Wafa revealed that she had been instructed by the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs
Brigade to use her personal medical authorization documents, to carry out
a dastardly suicide attack in a crowded portion of the Israeli hospital
which had treated her.
Not even al-Qaeda targets hospitals and the thunderous silence of the
Russell Tribunal's jurors and witnesses about the many egregious actions
of this nature that make checkpoints necessary is disturbing.
See this NBC video
clip of the incident
Wafa's case is not unique. There have been many instances of attempts to
smuggle bombs concealed in ambulances. All these attempts are inspired by
incessant incitement to violence and hatred of Jews and infidels.
My question to you is how can we discourage the PA and Hamas from their
continuous incitement and encouragement of terrorism, so that security
measures like checkpoints and the Wall become unnecessary and a two-state
solution becomes possible?
The PA repeatedly rejects Israel's right to exist, presents the conflict
as a religious battle for Islam and Israel's destruction is taught as a
A Fatah member of Palestinian parliament, Najat Abu Bakr, told PA TV that
the PA's public position is the old 'stages plan' to proclaim publicly
that what they seek is only the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while in fact
the real goal is all of Israel.
The above views are consistent with the hate-filled charters of the PLO
and Hamas which bear no resemblance to the ANC's Freedom Charter. While
the ANC Charter states 'South Africa shall strive to maintain world
peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation -
' article 9 of the PLO Charter declares that armed struggle is
not merely tactical, it is the overall strategy.
The Hamas charter makes it absolutely clear there is no room for peaceful
negotiation. Article 13 unambiguously states 'Initiatives, and
so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in
contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. .
proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time'.
The irrationality of the Hamas concept, so different from the sober
tone of the ANC Charter, is illustrated by obsessive phobia about
freemasons, rotary clubs, Lions and similar organizations, promising that
these organizations will be obliterated when Islam is in control.
It is implausible to expect persons who subscribe to the above principles
and are indoctrinated from infancy to hate their neighbours, to seek
peace with them. Allow me to refer you to the
example of this video clip
Since you challenged me, I reciprocate by challenging you to view the
above clips, read the charters and then justify the Tribunal's deliberate
avoidance of these realities in the context of the ME conflict.
I cannot see the relevance of your reference to the Wikileaks
revelation that a former US ambassador reported on organized crime in
Israel other than this being another big stick to wield against Israel.
Yes! Organized crime is a large and distressing problem in Israel as in
many other countries and we are doing our best to deal with it, but with
respect I ask what it has to do with apartheid?
Surely you will agree that South Africa and Zimbabwe have greater
problems with their organized crime? Permit me to quote Matthew 7:5,
'first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see
clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye
Positive contribution to Peace
I would like very much to pursue the sentiment in your final
paragraph in which you say 'Nonetheless, we remain hopeful that the
people of Israel and Palestine will before long resolve this prolonged
conflict and, to the surprise of the international community, will
thereafter make immensely positive contributions to peace in the Middle
East and the world
I would be very pleased to promote this worthy aim in cooperation