Canada Must Reject ICC Assault on Israel

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|May 21, 2024

Ottawa, ON – May 21, 2024 – Yesterday, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan filed applications for warrants of arrest for senior Hamas terrorists and senior Israeli officials. 

In response, Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, issued the following statement: 

"The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) calls on the Government of Canada to vigorously repudiate and distance itself from the ICC Prosecutor’s application to seek arrest warrants against Israeli leaders on charges of war crimes in relation to Israel’s current war of self-defense against Hamas in Gaza. 

"The decision of the ICC prosecutor is morally outrageous, legally flawed, factually absurd, and dangerous to the cause of justice and peace in international affairs. 

"It is morally outrageous because, in seeking to indict both Israeli and Hamas leaders, the court is drawing an obscene moral equivalence between defender and attacker, between Israeli leaders who seek to repel a sworn enemy and leaders of Hamas who have pursued an explicit and unrepentant genocidal mission against the Jewish state. This is akin to indicting both Churchill and Hitler for their roles in World War II and equating their responsibilities for civilian casualties in that war. 

"It also is both outrageous and bitterly ironic that a court, which was established in response to the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews of Europe to stand against dark dictatorships, is making a first-ever violent foray against sitting leaders of a liberal democracy – and specifically against the nation-state of the Jewish people. 

"The application is also legally absurd insofar as the court is seeking to crudely impose itself where it has no jurisdiction. Israel has one of the most rigorous systems of judicial review and self-investigation in the world – making the international court’s purview of Israel’s actions invalid under the court’s own rules.  

"On the facts of the case, the charge is simply false. No country in the history of recorded warfare (and certainly a war forced upon a country by a genocidal attacker) has gone to greater lengths than Israel to protect the enemy population and provide water, food, and other provisions to that population, while simultaneously struggling to achieve its legitimate war goals.  

"Palestinian suffering is real, and no one should be dismissive of the toll the conflict has exacted on the civilian population. But in large part, responsibility rests with Hamas, which has purposefully embedded itself in and underneath civilian neighbourhoods, schools, religious centres, and medical facilities – a horrible reality that every unbiased observer around the world has acknowledged. In that context, the charges against Israel of deliberate “starvation” tactics against Palestinians in Gaza are not only objectionable and abhorrent but also fly in the face of reality. 

"Canada rightly attaches importance to international institutions. It is therefore especially important for the Canadian government to recognize and respond to this dangerous development, which poses a grave threat to the cause of justice and peace in international affairs. The court is effectively acting to usurp the ability of all Western democracies to fight wars of self-defense. This criminalization of legitimate and necessary warfare could, in future, come to haunt countries like Canada, denying them the right to defend the world against barbarity and tyranny. 

"The court’s action must be unmasked by Canada for what it is: a patently political act of violence against the leaders of a sister democracy valiantly fighting to survive a tidal wave of radical Islamist assault. Canada must make it clear that it views the attempt to indict and arrest Israeli leaders as both unwise and invalid, a move that Canada does not endorse and will not enforce." 


About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community.

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About CIJA
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada.