As a taxpayer of Geneva, a great city with its rightful place in the history of human rights and international law, I cannot understand why my mayor this weekend will be lending the good name of Geneva to the “Russell Tribunal on Palestine,” an extremist political exercise that corrupts the core principles of justice, including Audi alteram partem.
Mayor Rémy Pagani, head of Geneva’s À gauche toute! — a regrouping of the city’s Communist Party and other left-wing factions — is scheduled to participate in the anti-Israel event on Oct. 6-7 in New York.
Yet his actions are at odds with Geneva’s hosting of the European Headquarters of the United Nations. After all, even Judge Richard Goldstone, head of the Geneva-based U.N. fact-finding mission on Gaza which sharply criticized Israel, wrote this earlier in the New York Times (emphasis added):
[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. While “apartheid” can have broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa. It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.
Mayor Pagani’s participation as a key figure in this phony and slanderous tribunal raises serious questions about his qualifications to be mayor of an important European city, and damages the reputation of Geneva as a capital of international human rights and humanitarian law.