Schumer accuses ICC of ‘long term, anti-Israel bias’ amid Israeli arrest warrant fears

‘The ICC has been biased against Israel for decades,’ Schumer tells JI

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks after the Senate passed a foreign aid bill at the U.S. Capitol on April 23, 2024, in Washington, D.C.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) accused the International Criminal Court on Tuesday of a decades-long bias against Israel as it weighs issuing arrest warrants for Israeli officials on charges relating to the war in Gaza. 

Schumer said in an exclusive statement to Jewish Insider that he has “always had deep concerns about the ICC’s long term, anti-Israel bias. And I am urging the Biden administration to send a very strong stance against possible arrest warrants that the ICC could issue against top Israeli officials.”

“The ICC has been biased against Israel for decades,” Schumer added. 

Schumer’s statement comes in response to a series of reports in recent days alleging that the ICC is planning to order the arrests of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his war cabinet over their handling of the war in Gaza. The New York Times reported that if the warrants were issued, the officials would be charged with preventing humanitarian aid deliveries into Gaza and with responding too “excessively” to the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks. Senior members of Hamas leadership would also be charged with committing war crimes as part of the case. 

Reached for comment on the probe, a National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement to JI on Monday that, “As we have publicly said many times, the ICC has no jurisdiction in this situation and we do not support its investigation.”

U.S. officials say they fear that issuing such warrants could derail any hope of achieving a cease-fire agreement that would secure the release of all remaining hostages from Hamas’ captivity. Israel unveiled a new deal late last week that would prevent an invasion into Rafah in exchange for the 33 remaining women and children still being held hostage by Hamas. 

The agreement, which Secretary of State Tony Blinken has described as “extraordinarily generous,” would also see the release of a number of Palestinian prisoners in Israel and a temporary cease-fire.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) called on the Biden administration to join him in urging the ICC not to issue arrest warrants for top Israeli officials on charges relating to the war in Gaza. 

Johnson said in a statement provided exclusively to JI on Monday that it is “disgraceful” that the ICC is “reportedly planning to issue baseless and illegitimate arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials.”

“Such a lawless action by the ICC would directly undermine U.S. national security interests,” Johnson continued. “If unchallenged by the Biden administration, the ICC could create and assume unprecedented power to issue arrest warrants against American political leaders, American diplomats, and American military personnel, thereby endangering our country’s sovereign authority.”

Johnson added that the administration “must immediately and unequivocally demand that the ICC stand down and the U.S. should use every available tool to prevent such an abomination,” noting, “Instead of wrongly targeting Israel, the ICC should pursue charges against Iran and its terror proxies, including Hamas, for engaging in horrific war crimes.”

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