The U.S. Needs a Better Strategy for Combating the International Criminal Court

Sept. 4 2020

This week, the State Department announced that it is sanctioning the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and another official, after they decided to investigate American military personnel. The move reflects Washington’s longstanding, bipartisan opposition to the court. While recognizing the importance of curbing the ICC’s lawlessness, Orde Kittrie suggests alternative means of doing so:

The stakes for U.S. and Israeli security are high. . . . Experts have speculated that the ICC could indict former president George W. Bush and former CIA directors, including George Tenet, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Israel faces similar risks. Its government has reportedly prepared a list of several hundred current and former Israeli officials, including the prime minister, who could be subject to arrest abroad if the ICC moves forward against Israel.

The United States can more effectively attempt to block the ICC’s illegitimate investigations by building on bipartisan support at home and leveraging common ground with allies. The United States should emphasize that potential ICC steps forthcoming in 2020 that are hostile to American interests could cause damage to the court’s relationship with the United States in ways that would outlast the current administration.

In recent years, more than half the ICC’s 155 million-euro annual budget has come from a handful of close U.S. allies: Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, and Spain. These allies can remind the ICC of the substantively strong arguments that its investigations of the United States and Israel are contrary to its own rules and clash with its founding principles. By steering the ICC away from confrontation with the United States, these allies can protect their own overseas military personnel from problematic precedents.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at FDD

More about: ICC, International Law, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia