Democrats divided over ICC prosecutor seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Hamas leaders

Democrats are coming out divided against the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday following a prosecutor’s decision to pursue arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas’ top leaders, with one lawmaker describing it as “retribution against Israel for the original sin of existing as a Jewish State.”

Rep. Richie Torres, D-N.Y., made the pointed remark as ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said his office has “reasonable grounds” to believe Netanyahu, Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, its top political leader Ismail Haniyeh and its military commander Mohammed Dief have committed “war crimes and crimes against humanity” since the onset of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7.

“Israel is not a member of the ICC and therefore the ICC has no jurisdiction. The decision to seek arrest warrants is not law but politics,” Torres said in a statement. “It is not justice but rather retribution against Israel for the original sin of existing as a Jewish State and the subsequent sin of defending itself amid the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.

“Today’s decision in effect makes it criminal for a state like Israel to defend itself against an enemy shrewd enough to embed itself in a civilian population, as Hamas has done to an extent never seen before in the history of warfare,” he continued.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant attend a press conference at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv on Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/AFP/Getty Images)

“But for October 7th and Hamas’ unprecedented militarization of its own civilian population and infrastructure, there would be no war in Gaza and no humanitarian crisis among Gazans,” Torres also said. “Hamas is the cause of everything tragic that has ensued and Hamas alone should be the target of criminal prosecution.”


Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., speaks onstage at the March For Israel at the National Mall on Nov. 14, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Fellow New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who previously has said Israel is carrying out a “genocide” in Gaza and has been implementing a “forced famine,” said on Monday that “I think my role as much as possible broadly is … that we cease U.S. funding for human rights abuses, war crimes and violations abroad.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., leaves Columbia University after visiting the anti-Israel encampment there on April 26. (Adam Gray/Getty Images)

“And what we see happening in Gaza, in the West Bank and throughout Palestine has been a broad – and as we’ve seen even from this morning that with the ICC’s designation as well of both Sinwar and Netanyahu – thatthis is happening, and it’s occurring this should not happen with U.S. resources,” she added.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.

Greg Norman is a reporter at Fox News Digital.

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