The House of Representatives has passed a GOP-led effort to sanction the International Criminal Court over its kangaroo prosecution of Israeli officials. And the timing is perfect: It has just been revealed that ICC prosecutor Karim Khan knows the whole thing is a sham too.

Back in 2013, as a high-profile lawyer who’d argued on both prosecution and defense sides of international criminal law cases, Khan wrote a stinging rebuke of the institution he now represents. In a paper for Duke University law school’s journal dug up by MEMRI, he criticized the ICC as “unfamiliar with the realities of criminal investigations and courtroom litigation,” questioned the prosecutor’s ability to “rely on anonymous summaries of witness evidence that may be significantly lacking in substance,” and he raised alarm that prosecutorial disclosure practices at the ICC leave defendants in the dark, undermining their “fundamental rights” as laid out in the very treaty that established the ICC.

The most telling excerpt, however, is on the impossibility of a fair process for defendants: “In the case of a client suspected or accused of committing international crimes, the public perception of the client’s guilt is often further magnified by the assistance of well-financed civil-society groups, nongovernmental organizations, and international media pushing a narrative that becomes accepted as the ‘truth’ even before the client appears in court.”

Guilty until proven innocent is the most generous way to describe a fake court’s very real damage to the legitimacy of international law and institutions and to the liberal-democratic understanding of the rights of the accused.

But it’s also the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in microcosm. Compare Khan’s description of the role played by NGOs and sympathetic media with how Matti Friedman, a former Associated Press reporter who wrote about the media’s problems covering Israel after the 2014 Gaza war, describes the effects of this same alliance on coverage: “these groups are to be quoted, not covered. Journalists cross from places like the BBC to organizations like Oxfam and back. The current spokesman at the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza, for example, is a former BBC man. A Palestinian woman who participated in protests against Israel and tweeted furiously about Israel a few years ago served at the same time as a spokesperson for a UN office, and was close friends with a few reporters I know. And so forth.”

In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, these NGOs are extremely powerful, because their perceived authority magnifies their voices above those who may know much more about the issues but who don’t have the megaphone or the credibility lent to the European-funded activist groups masquerading as “humanitarians.” Throughout the current war, polls of American public opinion have never demonstrated that the progressive pro-Hamas rump on college campuses or among city protest groups should be catered to. In Israel vs Hamas, Americans don’t hesitate to side with Israel. Even the “ceasefire at any cost” crowd is smaller than it looks and sounds. A Marist poll last week put their share of the public at 25 percent. Yet they have nudged President Biden’s policies in their direction.

How? The protests on college campuses showed not just the organizing power of the left but the role of the media in amplifying their grievances and whitewashing their violence and lawbreaking. And it works in the other direction too: In many cases the media plays a key role in feeding the wildfire of misinformation that fuels the protests before turning around and reporting on them.

UN groups have been uncritically parroting the obviously inaccurate Hamas-produced death tolls. So have the media. In explaining why the Washington Post trusts Hamas propaganda enough to report it as fact, the paper quoted Omar Shakir in Hamas’s defense. Shakir is the Israel/Palestine director of Human Rights Watch and someone who was expelled from Israel over his support for BDS-affiliated groups that seek Israel’s destruction. In other words, if you switched the staffing of the Hamas Health Ministry and Human Rights Watch, the output of both organizations would likely be unchanged.

Employees of the UN’s Palestinian agency, UNRWA, have been credibly accused of taking and holding one or more hostages during the current conflict and of participating in the Oct. 7 attack. UNRWA was caught sharing space and resources with Hamas commanders, and its schools have reliably been found to host Hamas weapons and tunnel entrances. Yet high-level officials and directors at UNRWA, this clear adjunct of Hamas, go on to leadership positions at the International Committee of the Red Cross (and vice versa). Despite the Red Cross’s clear pro-Hamas orientation during this conflict, journalists quote it as if it speaks in the voice of God.

All of which, as we have seen, feeds the hysteria of the crowds organized by Palestinian groups. That hysteria, in turn, is reported on by the same journalists who’d whipped those protesters into a lather by using Omar Shakir or a Red Cross official on loan from a Hamas-linked UN agency.

In 2013, Karim Khan explained clearly how all of this creates a weighted narrative that influences supposedly objective processes. Now, a decade later, Khan is using that same system to his benefit just so he can nail the Israelis with bogus smears. Those charges will then get reported ad nauseum in the press, and the cycle continues from there.

Though he didn’t intend it at the time, Khan was shining a light on the entire squalid ecosystem of institutional corruption, unethical journalism, and incestuous melding of propaganda outfits that are often funded by governments that then justify their policies toward Israel by citing that very propaganda. If you can’t beat ’em, Khan decided, might as well join ’em.

What’s everyone else’s excuse?

+ A A -
You may also like
Share via
Copy link