ICC Calls for Arrest of Israeli PM, Exposing Bias Against Democracies


The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, called on Monday for the arrest of Israel’s prime minister for war crimes. In doing so, he hammered another nail into the coffin of the ICC, which predictably has become a force not for a better world but for malevolent international apparatchiks to wield as a weapon against Western-oriented liberal democracies. Khan indefensibly equates Israel and Hamas, which demonstrates why Israel and the United States were right not to sacrifice any sovereignty by signing the Rome Statute, which gives the ICC its gossamer wisps of authority.

Khan’s arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif assert that there are “reasonable grounds to believe that” they “bear criminal responsibility” for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in relation to the Oct. 7, 2023, atrocities and Israel’s military response to them.

Comparing a democratic state that respects the rule of law with a terrorist group dedicated to genocide against the Jewish state is a foul absurdity. It ignores the protocols governing Israeli military action and processes of review, including judicial review, where failures or injustices occur. It makes Israeli military action tantamount in terms and perception to the rape, kidnap, murder, torture, and hiding behind civilians that define Hamas’s operational methods and strategy. It is also Hamas, not Israel, that has stolen international aid sent to relieve Gazan suffering. The notion that Israel has sought to deliberately starve Palestinian civilians, as Khan suggests, is groundless.

A panel of ICC judges will decide whether Khan has provided sufficient evidence to justify his warrants. If they decide he has done so, warrants will be issued.

This would make international travel by Netanyahu and Gallant much more complicated. Many nations are members of the ICC, and although they could grant the Israeli leaders immunity, there is no guarantee that they will give the ICC outrage the short shrift it deserves. Anti-Israel judicial activists will jump at every opportunity to use arrest warrants to thwart or complicate the conduct of Israeli foreign policy. At the margin, this is a blow to Israel’s moral legitimacy. It plays into anti-Israel propaganda in the Middle East and across the globe. Khan knows he is hitting Israel while it is under pressure, including from the Biden administration. It is a cowardly, pandering, despicable act.

The ICC’s leftist anti-Western activism has long been obvious. Khan’s predecessor, Fatou Bensouda, advanced flimsy suggestions that the U.S. military committed war crimes in Afghanistan, but at the same time she gave China a free pass on its well-documented genocide against the Uyghur people.

The U.S. should not let the ICC’s latest outrage pass. Congress should expedite legislation to sanction court officials who pursue action against U.S. citizens and allied officials. Legislation to prohibit cooperation between U.S. government agencies and ICC offices and employees would also be helpful. The U.S. could push allies to commit publicly that they will not enforce ICC arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant. This would defend Israel against an unjust affront but would also serve the broader purpose of deterring allies from supporting the ICC.

What Khan has done underlines why Republicans have rightly shown great skepticism of the ICC for more than 20 years. Principles of democratic sovereignty and basic judicial fairness are at stake. America should not be an idle witness to Khan’s pursuit of injustice.

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