(Washington, D.C., March 3, 2021)--B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We are outraged by outgoing International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s announcement that she is opening an investigation into allegations of “war crimes” by Israel.
It does not suffice that the prosecutor is also open to probing Palestinian war crimes. There is no moral or legal equivalence whatsoever between Israel, a democratic state seeking responsibly to protect the lives of its diverse civilian population, and Palestinian terrorist groups openly committed to indiscriminate atrocities and the very destruction of the Jewish state.
As we have previously affirmed, the Court has no jurisdiction in the Palestinian areas, and “Palestine” is not a state and thus not one that can bring legal claims—something made fully apparent in the Palestinians’ own ongoing pursuit of statehood and refusal of sovereign obligations in the meantime. Additionally, Israel’s legal system—certainly unlike that of the Palestinians, all the more so in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip—is internationally renowned for its independence and capacity to investigate and respond to criminal offenses. This by itself removes any place for the ICC to scrutinize Israeli personnel.
Above all, the acquiescence of the prosecutor to politicize the ICC and exploit it as a propaganda tool not only batters the standing of the court and distracts it from truly grievous and systematic crimes around the world, but also intolerably stands to handicap law-abiding nations’ abilities, rights and fundamental duties to combat the brutal asymmetric warfare of terrorist organizations. Such infringement cannot stand, and democratic countries will be obligated to do whatever possible to protect service-members engaged in entirely legitimate and necessary defensive activity.
We demand that the ICC discontinue any prosecution of the single most humane military in a most dangerous region.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit bnaibrith.org.