Itamar Ben-Gvir

Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir attends a meeting at the Knesset (parliament) in Jerusalem on March 20, 2023

(Photo: Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images)

'Hague Shmague,' Says Top Israeli Minister After ICJ Genocide Ruling

The dismissive reaction by Itamar Ben-Gvir was described by one progressive critic as that of "a petulant, violent child."

Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir was described as a "petulant child" on Friday after he reacted dismissively to the "historic" ruling by the International Court of Justice that determined it does have jurisdiction to hear the genocide charges against Israel brought by South Africa.

"Hague schmauge," Ben-Gvir posted to social media shortly after the ICJ ruling.

Ben Gvir, a top cabinet member in the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been a key cheerleader and architect for the assault on the Gaza Strip that has been described by human rights experts and scholars as genocidal. In over 3 months of the military campaign, over 25,000 people have been killed, with the vast majority being civilian men, women, and children.

James Schneider, communications director for Progressive International, said the reaction of Ben Gvir—who has defended the forced removal of Palestinians from Gaza as "correct, just, moral, and humane"—was that of "a petulant, violent child."

While the ICJ ordered Israel to "take all measures" to avoid acts of genocide in Gaza, Friday's ruling did not itself make a judgement on whether or not a genocide is underway as the prosecution team from South Africa argued during its presentation earlier this month.

In comments reported by the Times of Israel, Ben-Gvir accused the ICJ of being antisemetic and said the decision "proves what was already known: This court does not seek justice, but rather the persecution of Jewish people."

Despite the fact the ICJ was created in 1945, following the defeat of Nazi Germany and to establish an international mechanism to prevent and punish future acts of genocide, Ben-Gvir falsely accused the court of being "silent during the Holocaust" and said Friday's ruling was the continuation of its "hypocrisy."

The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, meanwhile, made clear that the ICJ, by its ruling, "overwhelmingly ordered Israel to prevents acts of genocide in Gaza and prevent and punish" any further incitement to genocide.

In his response to the decision, Netanyahu said "the very claim that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians is not just false, it is outrageous, and the court's willingness to discuss it at all is a mark of disgrace that will not be erased for generations."

The South African Foreign Ministry had a very different take.

"Today marks a decisive victory for the international rule of law and a significant milestone in the search for justice for the Palestinian people," the Ministry said following the ruling.

"There is no credible basis for Israel to continue to claim that its military actions are in full compliance with international law, including the Genocide Convention, having regard to the Court's ruling," the statement continued. "South Africa sincerely hopes that Israel will not act to frustrate the application of this order, as it has publicly threatened to do, but that it will instead act to comply with it fully, as it is bound to do."

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