EU backs ICC after Netanyahu’s “anti-Semitism” smear

Two men sitting together

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defense minister Benny Gantz, left, are likely to be targets of the ICC war crimes investigation.

Menahem Kahana Reuters

The European Union appears to be rejecting Benjamin Netanyahu’s smears against the International Criminal Court after Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda confirmed on Wednesday that she would be launching a formal investigation into war crimes in Palestine.

The Israeli prime minister blasted the investigation as “the essence of anti-Semitism,” and other Israeli leaders lashed out in similar terms.

Asked by The Electronic Intifada for the EU’s reaction to Netanyahu’s comments, the bloc’s spokesperson Peter Stano did not respond directly regarding the Israeli leader.

However, Stano affirmed that the “ICC is an independent and impartial judicial institution with no political objectives to pursue.”

He also reiterated that the EU “respects the court’s independence and impartiality” – an implicit rebuke of Israel’s outlandish charges of anti-Jewish bias.

Stano noted that the ICC is “a court of last resort, a fundamental safety net to help victims achieve justice where this is not possible at the national level, thus where the state concerned is genuinely unwilling or unable to carry out the investigation or the prosecution.”

The EU also urged “states parties to the Rome Statute and non-states parties” – the latter a clear reference to Israel which has not signed the court’s founding statute – “to have a dialogue” with the ICC that should be “non-confrontational, non-politicized and based on law and facts.”

Given the EU’s long record of virtually unconditional backing of Israel, it is remarkable that it has held fast to its support for the ICC as at long last the court takes up Israel’s unchecked violations of Palestinian rights.

The ICC investigation will cover alleged crimes since June 2014, a period that includes Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza and the ongoing construction of settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

The EU’s position represents a break with allies such as the United States, Canada and Australia that have openly opposed the court investigating alleged war crimes in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Notwithstanding the EU’s support for the ICC, Israel lobbyists are taking comfort from how some individual EU member states, notably Germany, are opposing a war crimes probe.

US opposition to justice

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated that the Biden administration “firmly opposes” justice and accountability for Palestinian victims of Israeli war crimes.

This opposition is not surprising given that the Obama-Biden administration resupplied Israel with munitions while it was bombing Gaza in the summer of 2014, killing more than 2,200 Palestinians, including more than 550 children.

Biden’s stance will cheer Netanyahu and other top Israeli leaders including defense minister Benny Gantz, who will likely be targets of the ICC investigation. Gantz was the Israeli army chief at the time of Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza.

Nonetheless, after years-long delays and decades of waiting for justice, Palestinians are at last seeing their quest to hold Israel accountable and check its crimes bearing fruit.




Winken, Blinken and Nod. Purblind Blinken. Treating Israel unfairly? What twisted sense of fairness in in play here? What's fair about Gaza? What's fair about the WB? What's fair about being in contiunuous breach of international law? Why doesn't Blinken tell the truth. Here it is: the US supports democracy, the rule of law, free speech, human rights only till its interests are questioned, then it resorts to lies, tricks, neglect of law, bullying, suborning and maximum violence. When he says the US will stand by Israel what does he mean except, we will stand by any goon ,any thug, any gangster who looks after our interests. There is not a hint of moral thinking in this. Blinken is a moral nullity. The entire US administration is such if it can't see the difference between an interest and a principle. Where's the evidence that anything unfair is being suggested? What in our experience since 1948 reveals unfairness to Israel? Israel used ethnic cleansing, dispossession, murder, rape, robbery, extortion and terrorism to get its own way in Palestine. That's fair? Israel imprisons 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. That's fair? Mr Blinken, you need to spend five minutes thinking about what it means to be human. Our humanity is common. It is our biological inheritance. No one is good enough to have power over anyone else. Think, Mr Blinken, why are Israelis allowed to control Palestinians? Nothing in our natural endowment dictates that. It is entirely the outcome of racism leading to conquest in pursuit of lucre. That is what you defend, Mr Blinken? That is what the US defends? It is moral insanity. The ICC is a court. It has no political agenda. It rests on the facts and the law. The facts. Show us one fact which indicates Israel is being treated unfairly. Just one. Show us one which indicates the Palestinians are being treated fairly. Just one. Your world is upside down, Mr Blinken. Your thinking belongs in a nursery rhyme.


What about the attack on Gaza in 2008-9. Clear evidence of white phosphorus being used as well as dime bombs and block busters. I watched this horror on Al-jAZEERA at the time and was reduced to tears by the killing of children and women, and the huge scale destruction of homes and vital civilian structures. Tzipi Livni a huge enthusiast of this slaughter raphodised over this crime in public. Hammas was and is entitled to resist by force agst prison conditions and unlawful siege and occupation, but still prepared to be tried for alleged crimes. If Israel thinks it is innocent then it should be the first to accept jurisdiction of the ICC..


It says very little for the mindset of government’s of countries who are opposed to an investigation into war crimes and human rights abuses against the Palestinians. By there opposition they are really saying that they support atrocities committed by Israel for decades, making them complicit.


I'm glad that the EU is not caving to Israeli pressure as the US continues to do. We must stand up as a global community and demand a full investigation and then pressure Israel to cease its illegal occupaton of the Palestinian people. This has been going on for way too long, and for the most part, Israel is never held accountable.