Biden Reversed Trump Policy Against ICC, Leaving the U.S. and Israel Vulnerable

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 7: Secretary of State Antony Blinken stands alongside President J
(Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) warrants Monday against Israeli leaders — equating them with Hamas terrorists — come in the wake of President Joe Biden’s reversal of sanctions against the ICC for such investigations.

The ICC announced warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, along with Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammad Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh.

Israeli leaders — both in government and opposition — condemned the warrants, recognizing that the ICC seeks to prevent Israel from defending itself against terror. Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s main political rival, called the warrants a “crime of historic proportions.”

The ICC warrants came after the Biden administration offered only meek public opposition to chief ICC Karim Kahn. The Biden administration was even suspected, by Israelis, of using the looming ICC warrants as a way of pressuring Israel to comply with U.S. policies, such as not pursuing Hamas terrorists in the town of Rafah.

What has transpired arguably would not have happened had Biden not reversed President Donald Trump’s policies against the ICC.

In June 2020, Trump issued Executive Order 13928, slapping sanctions on ICC officials who attempted to investigate U.S. soldiers — and soldiers of allied countries — for military actions against terrorists.

The order, noting that the U.S. is not a party to the Rome Statute establishing the ICC, declared:

I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that the situation with respect to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its illegitimate assertions of jurisdiction over personnel of the United States and certain of its allies, including the ICC Prosecutor’s investigation into actions allegedly committed by United States military, intelligence, and other personnel in or relating to Afghanistan, threatens to subject current and former United States Government and allied officials to harassment, abuse, and possible arrest. These actions on the part of the ICC, in turn, threaten to infringe upon the sovereignty of the United States and impede the critical national security and foreign policy work of United States Government and allied officials, and thereby threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States.

I therefore determine that any attempt by the ICC to investigate, arrest, detain, or prosecute any United States personnel without the consent of the United States, or of personnel of countries that are United States allies and who are not parties to the Rome Statute or have not otherwise consented to ICC jurisdiction, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.

The order froze the assets of any ICC official “directly engaged in any effort by the ICC to investigate, arrest, detain, or prosecute any United States personnel without the consent of the United States … or prosecute any personnel of a country that is an ally of the United States without the consent of that country’s government.” It also denied entry visas to ICC officials engaged in such investigations.

Israel, like the U.S., is not a party to the Rome Statute; Trump’s order therefore protected Israel as well.

President Biden revoked Trump’s order shortly after taking office. Biden and the Democrats, proclaiming that “America is back,” sought to cultivate international goodwill by giving the ICC credibility and power.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared at the time:

We continue to disagree strongly with the ICC’s actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations. We maintain our longstanding objection to the Court’s efforts to assert jurisdiction over personnel of non-States Parties such as the United States and Israel. We believe, however, that our concerns about these cases would be better addressed through engagement with all stakeholders in the ICC process rather than through the imposition of sanctions.

He added that the U.S. was “encouraged” about efforts to reform the ICC, though evidently they were not successful.

Monday’s warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant — leaders in a democratically-elected government in a country with a highly-respected judiciary — distort the facts about Israel’s careful adherence to international law, and ignore the fact that Israel was brutally attacked, without provocation, by a terror organization that pays no heed to international law.

Biden’s reversal of Trump’s policy — even as Biden recognized the bias of the ICC against the U.S. and Israel — meant criminalizing the fight against terrorists, leaving both the U.S. and Israel vulnerable and unable to defend themselves.

Today, Netanyahu and Gallant risk their freedom if they travel abroad. Ordinary Israeli soldiers — including hundreds of thousands of reservists with civilian lives, some of whom live outside the country — fear they may be next.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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