Moral Cretins at the ICC

L: Benjamin Netanyahu R: ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan announced Monday he is seeking arrest warrants against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defense minister Yoav Gallant as well as Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, a move that puts genocidal murderers and their would-be victims on a level moral playing field.

The specifics of the charges illustrate the ICC’s moral obscenity and its ignorance of the way democracies have historically responded to existential threats. Khan accuses the Jewish state of, among other things, deliberately starving civilians in Gaza on the grounds that it has an obligation to provision Hamas as it wages war against it.

Established in 2002, the ICC ostensibly polices genocide and other war crimes. In reality, it makes them more likely to happen by unleashing lawfare on the very actions required to stamp them out.

The Americans and the British mounted a savage bombing campaign in Europe and Japan that killed over a half-million civilians in World War II. Approximately 100,000 Tokyo residents died in a single raid in March of 1945, more than in either atomic strike. The Brits conducted area attacks on German cities night after night, making no distinction between civilian and military targets in an atmosphere of total war.

Public opinion was supportive. A poll of Londoners conducted by the New Statesman in 1944 recorded 60 percent approval of the air raids. A 1945 Gallup poll found that 85 percent of respondents approved of bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and a plurality of respondents in a Gallup poll conducted the same year said their use decreased the likelihood of a future war. Likewise, Israeli public opinion is supportive of the conduct of this war. A whopping 80 percent think the IDF should take civilian suffering into account very little or not at all in its conduct of the war, and, among Israeli military and political leaders, IDF chief of general staff Herzi Halevi gets high marks, with 48 percent of the public characterizing his performance as good or excellent.

There is a reason that neither the United States nor Israel is a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, a free-floating international court unchecked by any executive or legislative powers or held to account by public opinion.

Former national security adviser John Bolton said it best, and Israelis would do well to channel his spirit. "We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC," Bolton said when the court targeted American servicemen in 2018. "We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us."

Undeterred by preening prosecutors in the Hague, Israel should ignore the ICC and take a page from the Greatest Generation. Time to bounce the rubble.