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Republican Senators Exposed Threatening International Criminal Court

On May 1, four U.S. Senators met with International Criminal Court officials, attempting to pressure them to abort any investigation into Israel’s top officials. The ICC investigation is thought to be heading for possible warrants against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi. Reportedly, two Republicans, joined by two Democrats, responding to Netanyahu’s request to intervene, were involved. On May 3, the ICC’s lead prosecutor, Karim Khan, took the unusual step of publicly calling upon outsiders to cease any attempt to intimidate or threaten the ICC as it attempts to carry out its obligation. Yesterday, the Zeteo Substack made public the level of nastiness that prompted Khan action.

Zeteo, headed by Mehdi Raza Hasan, an American broadcaster (raised in Britain by parents from south India), was provided with a copy—assumedly by someone at the ICC—of a shocking and imperious letter, dated April 24, 2024, signed by a dozen Republican Senators led by Tom Cotton (R-OK), and addressed to Khan. The letter indicates the level of rage and incoherence that passes for deliberation amongst these devout supporters of the “blood and soil” faction that has infected Israel, with a crudity that betrays nothing less than a sickness in Washington. The signers included Sens. Tom Cotton, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Rick Scott, Tim Scott, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and six others.The letter demands that the ICC cease the investigation of Israeli officials. It begins: “Target Israel, and we will target you. Such actions are illegitimate and lack legal basis, and, if carried out, will result in severe sanctions against you and your institution.”

The enraged “lawmakers” charged in the letter that the ICC “is attempting to punish Israel for taking legitimate actions of self-defense against their Iranian-backed aggressors.” It explains: “In fact, in your own words, you witnessed ‘scenes of calculated cruelty’ conducted by Hamas in Israel following the October 7 attacks.” And, indeed, the ICC stated that and is also investigating Hamas officials for international crimes on Oct. 7—yet the senator’s argument is that that represents grounds for not investigating Israel’s disproportionate actions. Further: “These arrest warrants would align the ICC with the largest state sponsor of terrorism and its proxy. To be clear, there is no moral equivalence between Hamas’s terrorism and Israel’s justified response.”

The letter also explained that any action against Netanyahu and other high Israeli officials will be interpreted “not only as a threat to Israel’s sovereignty but to the sovereignty of the United States.” It goes on to cite the “American Servicemembers Protection Act of 2002” (the “Hague Invasion Act”) to threaten that the U.S. military will go into the ICC courtroom in The Hague and forcibly remove any Israeli detainee, should the ICC actually carry out an arrest warrant.

The senators’ letter then proclaims that the ICC is only allowed to charge individuals from countries whose government is “unwilling or unable to police themselves.” But: “You yourself have said that ‘Israel has trained lawyers who advise commanders and a robust system intended to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law.’ By issuing warrants, you would be calling into question the legitimacy of Israel’s laws, legal system, and democratic form of government.” That’s one interpretation, but the obvious one is that the ICC is considering that Israel’s system broke down.

The letter climaxed: “If you move forward with the measures indicated in the report, we will move to end all American support for the ICC, sanction your employees and associates, and bar you and your families from the United States. You have been warned.” (The U.S. has not signed the ICC treaty, and gives it no support in any case.)

And that’s how one deals with a court proceeding.