The Many Layers of South African Hypocrisy on the International Criminal Court

June 23 2015

South Africa recently declined an opportunity to execute a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Omar al-Bashir, the genocidal president of Sudan. Eugene Kontorovich notes the many layers of hypocrisy at play here:

[F]ew other countries reflect the Palestinians’ warped view of international law as [does] South Africa. It has become one of the Jewish state’s most vocal critics, always couching its criticisms in language of law and rights, while embracing monsters like Robert Mugabe, the scourge-for-life of neighboring Zimbabwe. One cannot help being struck by the number of South Africans, especially jurists, at the forefront of international legal efforts against Israel (especially at the UN), including [those] seeking prosecutions at the ICC—Richard Goldstone, John Dugard, Navi Pillay, Desmond Tutu. . . .

So it’s easier for a crate of Jordan Valley dates to get served with process for war crimes in South Africa than the perpetrator of one of the world’s greatest genocides. . . .

Ironically, Bashir’s impunity may only push the ICC to take a harder line on Israel. One would think that genocide . . . would generate enough international consensus and pressure for its prosecution to get a fugitive arrested. . . . But apparently genocide is not enough. So the ICC prosecutor will cast about for a role that will make the court generally useful and appreciated by the international community, [by seeking] out the lowest common denominator of international demand for prosecution. And that’s not prosecution for genocide, but for houses for Jews in Jerusalem. Even the Palestinian Authority and South Africa can get behind that.

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Read more at Washington Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, Genocide, ICC, Israel & Zionism, South Africa, Sudan

Europe-Israel Relations Have Been Transformed

On Monday, Israel and the EU held their first “association council” meeting since 2012, resuming what was once an annual event, equivalent to the meetings Brussels conducts with many other countries. Although the summit didn’t produce any major agreements or diplomatic breakthroughs, writes Shany Mor, it is a sign of a dramatic change that has occurred over the past decade. The very fact that the discussion focused on energy, counterterrorism, military technology, and the situation in Ukraine—rather than on the Israel-Palestinian conflict—is evidence of this change:

Israel is no longer the isolated and boycotted outpost in the Middle East that it was for most of its history. It has peace treaties with six Arab states now, four of which were signed since the last association council meeting. There are direct flights from Tel Aviv to major cities in the region and a burgeoning trade between Israel and Gulf monarchies, including those without official relations.

It is a player in the regional alliance systems of both the Gulf and the eastern Mediterranean, just as it has also become a net energy exporter due to the discovery of large gas deposits of its shoreline. None of this was the case at the last council meeting in 2012. [Moreover], Israel has cultivated deep ties with a number of new member states in the EU from Central and Eastern Europe, whose presence in Brussels bridges cultural ideological gaps that were once much wider.

Beyond the diplomatic shifts, however, is an even larger change that has happened in European-Israeli relations. The tiny Israel defined by its conflict with the Arabs that Europeans once knew is no more. When the first Cooperation Agreement [between Israel and the EU’s precursor] was signed in 1975, Israel, with its three million people, was smaller than all the European member states save Luxembourg. Sometime in the next two years, the Israeli population will cross the 10 million mark, making it significantly larger than Ireland, Denmark, Finland, and Austria (among others), and roughly equal in population to Greece, Portugal, and Sweden.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Abraham Accords, Europe and Israel, European Union, Israeli gas