Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Courts Are Being Used Against Terrorists--But Also Against Israel

I've written a number of posts under the label Terrorists on Trial, dealing with the attempt by the US as well as Israel and victims of terror to bring terrorists to justice. An article in the European edition of the Wall Street Journal indicates that this battle is not one-sided.

Anne Herzberg of NGO Monitor writes about how the terrorists  and their allies use an
anti-Israel "lawfare" strategy -- the frivolous exploitation of Western courts to harass Israeli officials. The detractors of the Jewish state are increasingly using civil lawsuits and criminal investigations around the world to tie Israel's hands against Palestinian terror by accusing Jerusalem of "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity." In the process, the NGOs also subvert and interfere with the diplomatic relations of Western countries with Israel.

...Apart from Spain, anti-Israeli cases have been filed in Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand, the U.K., Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada and the U.S. by exploiting "universal jurisdiction" statutes. These laws allow courts to rule on cases even though the parties and events at issue are wholly foreign. The honorable intent was to provide relief to victims of real mass murderers in countries that don't respect the rule of law. Instead, these statutes have been co-opted by NGOs to advance an anti-Israel agenda.

The NGOs leading the lawfare strategy are the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), the Ramallah-based Al Haq and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York. They are funded by various European governments, the European Union, the Ford Foundation, George Soros's Open Society Institute and others. Many of the cases are filed in the very countries that have provided the organizations with financial aid.

NGO superpowers with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Federation of Human Rights (France), have supported these efforts by providing publicity, organizing demonstrations and issuing reports crafted as legal briefs to coincide with court hearings.
The issue is not merely whether or not the attempts to have Israelis arrested is successful or not, or the harrassment of Israeli officials. More than this--
the propaganda impact of charging Israeli officials with war crimes and securing arrest warrants is enormous. It further delegitimizes the Jewish state. The threat of future lawsuits restricts the foreign travel of Israeli officials and strains diplomatic relations. Many countries have begun to re-evaluate their laws and the ability of private groups to initiate these lawsuits to prevent future abuse.
Read the whole thing.

The fact that some countries are taking measures is a good sign.

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