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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 in the strongest possible terms the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor’s request that the pre-trial chamber of the ICC approve arrest warrants for the prime minister and defense minister of Israel. The step would be a grave injustice to the Middle East’s only democracy, a grave impediment to lifesaving counterterrorism anywhere and a profound degrading of the standing of the court itself.

The ICC does not have jurisdiction over Israel, which, like the United States, is not a party to it. Israel, forced for decades to fight for its existence and the survival of its citizens against enemies openly sworn to the country’s complete destruction, has employed more care in combating such enemies than any other party to comparable conflict.

Attempting to legally prosecute a democracy’s elected officials would be a reward and incentive to terrorists using their own populations as human shields to maximize carnage, and hobble countries’ ability to practically fulfill their foremost duty of protecting their own citizenry against atrocities. In this case, it would also further fuel virulent anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish sentiment worldwide and make the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict much more difficult than it already is.

While the ICC prosecutor also intends to justly pursue arrest warrants against leaders of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, the implication of equivalence between Israeli government leaders and genocidal jihadists whose operatives have engaged in the mass burning, beheading, rape, torture and hostage-taking of diverse civilians is unthinkable.

The pre-trial chamber must reject the prosecutor’s request and all responsible world leaders must denounce the devastating misuse of the international court.