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B’nai B’rith President Seth J. Riklin and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:

B’nai B’rith International condemns an International Court of Justice demand that Israel not complete its critical defensive campaign against Palestinian terrorists in Gaza by targeting Hamas leaders and infrastructure in the town of Rafah. Hamas’ last cohesive battalions—along with a majority of the group’s leaders and numerous Israeli hostages abducted on Oct. 7—are concentrated in that southern Gazan town.

Hamas, backed by Iran, committed unprecedented atrocities on Oct. 7 and is openly committed to Israel’s complete destruction.

The court order—not issued in situations where other democracies were necessarily fighting terrorists, in challenging conditions—would grant intolerable victory and impunity to jihadists perennially imperiling Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike, while broadcasting to violent extremists everywhere that exploiting civilians as human shields will result in functional immunity.

The ICJ demand, delivered by a presiding judge from Lebanon—a country that denies Israel’s existence and is dominated by Hamas’ even more lethal Iran-sponsored ally Hezbollah, a fanatic group that has intensified its own devastating war on Israelis since Oct. 7—will only discredit the court and invite cynical politicization by the likes of South Africa’s corrupt, hypocritical government.

Most residents of Gaza temporarily displaced by the Hamas-initiated and Hamas-prolonged conflict have already succeeded in departing Rafah for other areas.

Israel’s most basic duty and right is to ensure its survival and the lives of its diverse citizenry, a fact disregarded by the ICJ today.