The U.S. Is Right to Sanction the International Criminal Court

June 18 2020

Last week, the White House issued an executive order imposing sanctions and visa restrictions on anyone involved in efforts of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute or investigate American personnel. The order was a response to the court’s spurious accusation that the U.S. committed war crimes in Afghanistan. Given the ICC’s current plans to bring charges against Israel for allowing Jews to build homes in the West Bank, and for taking military action against Hamas in 2018 and 2019, James Sinkinson argues that Washington’s recent move not only strengthens an ally, but demonstrates that those who wish to harm Israel almost always wish to harm the United States as well. Moreover, Sinkinson writes, the decision to sanction the court is a decision to take a stand against lawlessness:

Let’s start with the essential purpose of the ICC, which was set up by the United Nations under the Rome Statute in 2002 to prosecute the most heinous international crimes in the absence of a national legal system capable of doing so. [First], neither the actions of the United States nor of Israel under consideration by the ICC even remotely rise to the level of “heinous.” But more importantly, few countries on earth have internal justice systems more rigorous than those of either country.

In addition, neither the United States nor Israel are members of the ICC, so technically neither is subject to ICC authority. In other words, since the court completely lacks legal jurisdiction in these matters, its only purpose can be [a political one].

[Worse still], the ICC’s case against the United States originated from two nonprofit advocacy groups—the International Federation of Human Rights and the Center for Constitutional Rights—related to the Palestinian NGOs that brought the complaint against Israel to the ICC. [These] Palestinian NGOs “maintain strong ties to the designated terror organizations Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” These organizations are certainly not friends of the United States or Israel.

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Read more at JNS

More about: ICC, International Law, Israeli foreign policy, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations

 

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism