Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation

Welcome to the website of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation.  Launched in 1963, the Foundation was established to carry forward Russell's work for peace, human rights and social justice.  Forty years later, it continues to do so.

Here, you will also find information about our journal, The Spokesman, and links to our publications website Spokesman Books.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Bertrand Russell on dividing wall Palestine Israel

On 4 March 2009, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine was launched at a press conference in Brussels chaired by Stéphane Hessel, Ambassador of France. The initiators of the Tribunal, Ken Coates, Chairman of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Leila Shahid, General Delegate of Palestine to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg, and Nurit Peled, winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, discussed why they called its creation.

Speaking for the Tribunal’s Organising Committee, the former Belgian Senator Pierre Galand explained how it will work. Amongst more than a hundred international personalities who have given their support to the Tribunal, Ken Loach, Paul Laverty, Raji Surani, Jean Ziegler, François Rigaux, Jean Salmon and François Maspero were present in Brussels to give encouragement to this project.

In the tradition of the Russell Tribunal on War Crimes in Vietnam, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine is a citizens’ initiative which aims to reaffirm the primacy of international law as the basis for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and at raising awareness of the responsibility of the international community in the continuing denial of the rights of the Palestinian people.

Russell Tribunal on Palestine - NYC October 6–7, 2012

Eyewitness at the New York Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine by Tony Simpson


The executive summary of the findings of the New York session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine are now available. You can also download PDF version. (A full report will be issued by the end of this month.)

Message to New York Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine from the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation
Bertrand Russell died on 2 February 1970, in his 98th year. Two days earlier he had composed a message to the International Conference of Parliamentarians, who were about to meet in Cairo whilst Israeli air raids reached deep into Egyptian territory. Russell’s message was read to the assembled parliamentarians on the day after his sudden death. He had remarked that:

‘The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was “given” by a foreign Power to another people for the creation of a new State. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their numbers have increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homelands is an essential ingredient of any just settlement in the Middle East.’

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The Russell Tribunal on Palestine can promote peace, truth and reconciliation - article by Desmond Tutu and Michael Mansfield,, Thursday 3 November 2011

London session, November 2010
The second international session of the RToP took place in London, in November of 2010. It examined International corporate complicity in violations of international law arising from Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian land, control of and exploitation of natural resources and crops, domination of trade and infrastructure.

For the full details of this session see the Russell Tribunal's web page Video of London Proceedings.