American Jewish Committee (AJC) is appalled by the decision of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, to request arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

This effort is a moral outrage based on blatant falsehoods that will harm the Court’s credibility, completely undermine its core mandate, and embolden enemies of democracies around the world. 

Khan’s claims that Israeli officials are “causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, and deliberately targeting civilians in conflict” are slanderous, factually unsupported, and contribute to a broader effort to demonize the State of Israel and the Israeli people. 

Like every nation, Israel has the inherent right of self-defense enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter. In response to Hamas’ brutal October 7 attack, during which more than 1,200 people were murdered, thousands injured, and more than 240 kidnapped, Israel’s military actions against Hamas have been carried out utilizing a military code of conduct that strives to protect civilian life. The Prosecutor’s charges assume the opposite - that Israel’s intention has been to deliberately harm innocents.

That Khan is pursuing simultaneous warrants against Hamas leaders, thereby creating a false equivalence between leaders of a democratic country and leaders of a genocidal terror organization, is abhorrent, deeply offensive, and further points to the hypocrisy of this pursuit.

AJC’s position has been consistent and is shared by governments, including the United States: the ICC has no jurisdiction to pursue these warrants. Palestine is not a state, and no international body with the authority to do so has determined that it is one. Nor has any other mechanism in the Rome Statute been triggered that would allow the Court to consider this case. The consequences of the Court’s 2021 decision to defer conclusively answering this foundational question are now evident.  

Moreover, Israel is a democracy with a robust and independent judiciary capable of actively considering any allegations that might have led to the Prosecutor’s pursuit of arrest warrants. AJC has full confidence in Israel’s independent judiciary to address any alleged illegal acts committed by members of its military force, as it has always done. Requesting arrest warrants targeting Israelis ignores the principle of complementarity underpinning the Rome Statute, which dictates that the ICC should act only when the states with the primary responsibility to do so are unable or unwilling to exercise it.


AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 regional offices across the United States, 15 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world. For more, please visit


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