newsIsrael at War

Visiting European lawmakers decry ICC moves against Israel 

“Everybody forgot about what happened on Oct. 7 and talks only about the war,” an Italian lawmaker said.

The entrance to the International Criminal Court. Credit: Robert Paul Van Beets/Shutterstock.
The entrance to the International Criminal Court. Credit: Robert Paul Van Beets/Shutterstock.

A group of European parliamentarians in Israel on a solidarity visit on Tuesday expressed shock and disbelief that the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court in The Hague would create a false equivalence between Israeli leadership and a terror organization.

The unequivocal pushback from the pro-Israel lawmakers across the continent came a day after the court’s war crimes prosecutor sought arrest warrants for the leaders of Hamas and Israel, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, over actions during the seven-month-old war—a move that was strongly condemned by Western governments led by the United States.

“For me, it’s crazy,” said Italian Parliament member Naike Gruppioni. “We can’t accept this. I am shocked about it.”

“It is crazy, idiotic and naive,” concurred Danish MP Charlotte Munch.

“It’s not fair to put in the same balance a terror organization and the leaders of a democratic government whose country has been attacked,” added Spanish MP Maria del Carmen Leyte Coello.

Israeli women victims ‘were not believed’ in Europe

The female lawmakers in Jerusalem were part of an 18-member delegation from 12 European countries aimed to combat gender-based violence.

The weeklong women-only trip was organized by Elnet (European Leadership Network), a non-governmental organization that promotes links between Europe and Israel. It included visits to southern Israeli communities attacked in the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre; a visit to “Hostages Square” in Tel Aviv; briefings at the Knesset, where they launched an international coalition of women against gender-based violence as a weapon of war; and a gala event at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, where they viewed a new exhibit on women’s testimonies from the terrorist attacks that Black Shabbat.

“In all other conflicts, including in Ukraine and Bosnia, people believed women, but here they did not,” said Helena Ferro de Gouveia, a Portuguese lecturer on gender violence referring to the months-long global delay or outright refusal in condemning the sexual assault and rape during the Hamas-led massacre. “And [this] even in the gender-strong liberal countries of Europe.”

“If someone cannot condemn attacks on women, that is pure antisemitism,” said Elise Fajgeles, the French Secretary General of the Governmental Agency that deals with racism, antisemitism and hatred against LGBTQ+ individuals. “Many of the feminists come from the far-left and avoid accepting reality.”

However, the French government official noticeably declined to comment on the International Criminal Court’s move against Israel. In a sign of division within the European Union, France, Belgium and Slovenia each said they backed the request by the ICC chief prosecutor for arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders.

 ‘It’s like everybody forgets about what happened’

The diverse members of the delegation, which included a Syrian-Lebanese German activist and a U.K.-based Iranian-born human rights activist, concurred that the European news of the war was based on misinformation and disinformation and was disconnected from the reality on the ground.

“It’s like everybody forgets about what happened on Oct. 7 and talks only about the war,” the Italian lawmaker said. “This was a massacre.”

She added that while Italy was strongly supportive of Israel, the protests of history-ignorant young university students worldwide indicated that Israeli supporters have not been able to sufficiently counter the misinformation and disinformation to explain the situation on the ground.

At the same time, her Danish colleague voiced consternation about the troubling rise of antisemitism in European countries, including Denmark where, she said, there are four times more Palestinians than Jews.

“The Jewish people are very dear to the Danes. My voice is not only gender-focused but to speak out on behalf of the Jewish people. You just can’t negotiate with terrorists,” she said.

The Spanish lawmaker, from the main opposition conservative party, said that the ruling anti-Israel socialist-led Spanish government, which has announced its intention to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state shortly, was adversely influenced by its far-left coalition partners.

“If you recognize a Palestinian state now, you are almost saying that what Hamas did was right,” she said.

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