09 November '16..
More than a few good souls hung their hopes on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, when it was established in 2002. There were even those dreamers who claimed that finally the appropriate forum for judging crimes against humanity and war criminals had been found, and that they would no longer be able to find refuge in their countries and escape the long arm of the law. Israel and the U.S., who recognized early on that the new platform would be used by an array of shadowy regimes, eventually becoming a weapon for the worst of criminals, faced criticism. And here we are. Only a few years have passed, and it is already clear that the Israelis and the Americans were right.
The current crisis began with the recent withdrawal of some African countries from the court. Other countries are expected to follow their lead, and none are hiding their reasons behind the move: an unwillingness to extradite Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, one of the worst tyrants of our time, and general anger over the court "hounding" Africans. If we translate this from the language of political correctness, we will get the real picture -- the principle of justice is the last thing that interests the absolute majority of the court's member nations. A huge portion of those members are far from democratic, and they have no interest in promoting human rights or punishing those who intrude on these rights.
139 countries supported the establishment of the ICC, mostly as a means of bashing their opponents. Some saw it as the ideal playing field for hurling accusations against Israel in an attempt to make the victim the accused. Israel's enemies fantasized about seeing Israeli leaders and soldiers led into the courtroom in handcuffs. This court has been asked to investigate Israel at least twice, and no objections were made in response. In case you were wondering, the court is not investigating the massacre in Syria. The court is not even capable of arresting Al-Bashir, whose hands are stained with the blood of millions. Bring a ruthless tyrant to justice? No. Blame Israel? Most definitely.
The ICC has fallen victim to the same plague that killed off international initiatives like the U.N., UNESCO and the International Court of Justice. All of these were introduced by decent people, noble souls who really and truly wanted to bring about tikkun olam and comprehensive peace. They started off as the initiatives of pure idealists, and were instantly hijacked by those with dark ulterior motives. The decision-making process in all of these forums is driven solely by political interests, and if some moral resolution nevertheless manages to pass -- as in the resolution calling for the arrest of Al-Bashir -- the anti-democratic majority will do everything it can to ensure it remains a dead letter. Israel was wise to not follow the way of fools and become a part of this process.
Ariel Bolstein is the founder of the Israel advocacy organization Faces of Israel.
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