Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The scandal of the International Criminal Court---be something better


The action by the international criminal court is in a very real way on behalf of the people of the world. All people are responsible for the humanity of our species though it has been our history to defer exertion of our individual responsibility to others, namely governments. When the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court requested arrest warrants for war crimes and crimes against humanity for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leaders of Hamas it was at least a symbolic cry or protest for human beings on earth, most of whom have no government control.  


There comes a time when the greater good of all of people on the planet rises above those of the individual views of how to conduct warfare, be that nations or the war leaders. The greater human need surpasses those of nations, tribes, individual sovereignty, or rank of brutish leaders. 


There also comes a time when as human beings we cannot simply watch barbarism and not feel the need to intervene. In this case prosecutor Karim Khan is acting on our behalf and in the cause of human decency. 

Warfare itself is an aberration of humankind. It is failure. It is a breakdown in diplomacy. It is humankind reverting to barbarism, abandoning higher reasoning. What has transpired since October 7 has been horrific. There is without doubt thousands of years of history of Jews being abused; pogroms, persecution, attempts to exterminate and a seemingly endless discrimination. It is inevitable that would lodge in cultural memory and the collective consciousness of a Jewish state. However, the way the Netanyahu government has conducted the war has been criminal. His actions and policies have taken a nation state, created as a response to the holocaust, to becoming perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Even Israeli citizens and world leaders have urged him to use more restraint and better judgement. There should be discussion about Netanyahu’s motivation. The request for arrest warrants by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is not an anti-Semitic act. It is a strike against barbarism conducted by a state that itself has been the victim of barbaric inhumanity. It is also against a terrorist organization that has no legitimacy in the world of civilized people and who seeded this evil. 


Netanyahu, defense minister Yoav Gallant, Hamas Leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh have behaved in ways that are counter to humankind. The Hamas leaders are cowards, manipulators of Palestinian people, and blood thirsty murderers. There was nothing noble in their orders. There was nothing in their actions that would/or could help the oppression of Palestinian people.


The politics of the International Criminal Court, The International Court of Justice another international tribunal, the United Nations, the treaty of the Rome Statue and individual national support or not, may dampen the righteous justice being sought, but now it’s out there and someone has said it. Netanyahu is a war criminal and the prosecutor has evidence that he says will not erode in court. Same for the Hamas terrorist leaders.


Those of us of an age to have seen what may be “the futility of all endeavor,” over many decades come the understanding of the lines from the Hebrew Koheleth, translated into Greek as Ecclesiastes: “Because in much wisdom there is much grief and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.”


Despite how modern we become, we live like primitive brutes beating each other with stones and clubs.  Now we have “national security interests” and the right to “self-defense” but in the end it is all intellectual lather to justify our failure to advance in how we live with each other. We still fight over land, money, resources, flags, dogma, doctrine and even our God or Gods or gods. 


Associates and friends will say here I go being an idealist again. Well to achieve this age and retain the vision of idealism is, I think, a star on my chart. In now more than 50 years of watching our behavior from alley ways to board rooms and capitols of government and slums, and battlefields and zones of conflict, and great cathedrals, and waddle huts I’ve also learned to be pragmatic, and understand that we are a conflicted creature and our own enemy in reaching the gold rings to which we aspire. We may desire to reach the summit, though we’ll beat up each other to get there. But with push, admonition, sacrifice, prayer and diligence we have made incremental steps in becoming more like humans and less like the brutish louts from which we have advanced. The action of the International Criminal Court, as criticized as it will be, is one of those nudges that tries to push to be something better.  


   See you down the trail. 



  1. This is such an important post. Thank you! I could not agree more.

  2. Nothing wrong with being an idealist. Progress has to start somewhere.