Israel Must Go on the Offensive against the International Criminal Court

Jan. 23 2020

The International Criminal Court (ICC), has a staff of 900 people and an annual budget of $160 million. But between its creation in 2002 and 2018 it has seen only nine cases to completion—all involving African countries—of which only two resulted in convictions. At the end of last year, it announced a formal investigation into supposed Israeli war crimes. Manfred Gerstenfeld urges Jerusalem to respond forcefully:

The government could have prepared a strong reaction crafted over many months, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Naftali Bennett instead resorted to calling the court “anti-Semitic.” This may well be true, . . . but it is largely irrelevant. Anti-Semitism is not the battleground on which Israel’s political campaign against the ICC should be conducted.

Choosing the Israeli-Palestinian issue over dozens of other cases incomparably more in need of investigation by the ICC was a [purely] political decision. In order to gain relevance, the ICC needs to get away from Africa, and [the chief prosecutor] thought Israel would be a winnable target. The ICC thus defined itself as a political adversary of Israel, if not an enemy.

From a strategic point of view, the ICC should be confronted as an enemy. Israel should focus on vigorously publicizing that the deficiencies of the court grossly exceed its merits. The process of exposure will be much quicker if Israel mobilizes as many allies as possible who have come to a similar conclusion, including the U.S. Negative exposure of the ICC will be much faster than will the court’s investigation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: ICC, International Law, Israel diplomacy

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism